Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favre Retires

Bear fans can breathe a little easier today. After 17 illustrious years, the 3- time MVP of the NFL, Brett Favre has retired. His team, the Green Bay Packers, unsuccessful in their bid to land free agent Randy Moss and what Favre relates as mental exhaustion seem to be the causes of his retirement. Favre in a message to ESPN relates that the study, preparations, and expectations of last year’s near miss Super Bowl season led to this decision. He leaves the game the all-time leader in wins, passing yards, touchdowns and consecutive games started by a quarterback. His last season was one of his best, He led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game after passing for a stunning 4,155 yards, looking very much at times like a younger version of himself. In addition, he threw 28 TDs — including an overtime Hail Mary pass to beat Denver in front of a national audience — and had a 95.7 quarterback rating. He was also voted into the Pro Bowl, but declined to go.

He will be missed. His riverboat gambler, swashbuckling style and his child-like, youthful enthusiasm for the game made his a breath of fresh air in this current time of corporate polish that the new commissioner expects of his NFL. Back slapping teammates, drawing pistols, high-fiving refs are gestures that the current administration frowns on, but were # 4’s trademarks. "Brett Favre has informed us of his intention to retire from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL," Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team. "He has had one of the greatest careers in the history of the National Football League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms — not many players are able to do that.

"The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He has given Packers fans 16 years of wonderful memories, a Super Bowl championship among them, that will live on forever. ... The uniqueness of Brett Favre — his personality, charisma and love of the game — undoubtedly will leave him as one of the enduring figures in NFL history."

And deservingly so. After 257 games, 253 starts, 5,377 completions, 8,758 attempts, 61,655 passing yards, and 442 TDs, Favre has earned his place in NFL history. For the last few years, the question of whether or not Favre was going to retire has been the most debated topic during the off-season. Two years ago he let his decision linger as reports both that he was returning and that he was retiring emerged. In fact, at one point he was supposedly going to announce his retirement at his charity golf tournament. Of course, those reports ultimately proved to be false.

After his final game of the 2006 season, a tearing and emotional Favre appeared on national TV and seemed to be bidding the game adieu. But once again, he had a change of heart and came back for what proved to be one heck of a final hurrah. This time, Favre appears to have made his final decision. However, like in the past, Favre could wake up any day now and decide to change his mind, although that doesn't seem likely at this point. He did leave the door open by saying that he can still play…
After 253 straight starts has he really hung them up? It appears so. Best wishes, Brett. You will be missed.

James Myers
The Entertainment Critic

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