“You know what I think is the saddest thing about sports? People who stay too long at the party.”
This quote is from one of my favorite cheesy chic flicks, The Cutting Edge and partially sums up how I feel about this whole Brett Favre debacle. Anyone who knows me understands that I am pretty much a walking billboard for Favre; I even posted how sad I was about his retirement back in March. Regardless of my personal, selfish feelings about wanting Favre to stay on the field forever however, there also comes a point in every sport where even the most renowned stars must admit that it is time for them to leave. Admit it to the world but most importantly, admit it to his or herself and bow out, hopefully gracefully. I had incorrectly assumed this is what happened with Favre this past spring when he officially got on television and cried for about six minutes of a ten minute press conference explaining how he had made the decision to retire.
His lifetime stats are impressive with about 260 games started in his seventeen year career he has 5,377 completions for 61,655 passing yards, and 442 touchdowns. Sure he threw a lot of interceptions and got sacked a lot as well but in a lifetime career there are few who could touch his level. Consider how Favre compares to another top rated QB, one of the top ten of all time who played eighteen seasons in the NFL, Johnny Unitas.
Unitas, just like Favre, played his career years split between two teams, the Baltimore Colts (for those of you under 25 the Colts were moved to Indianapolis in 1984) and the San Diego Chargers. Unitas spent 17 seasons with the Colts and finished his career in California for just one season the year I was born. He started 211 games, threw 2,830 completions for a total of 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns. His overall rating? 78.2. His interceptions? 253. His sacks? 230.
Favre is rated at 85.7 although in his lifetime he threw 288 interceptions and was sacked 439 times. Obviously that is a huge jump from the numbers put up by Unitas but Favre’s rating was achieved with one less year in and throwing for 21,416 more yards than Johnny. Divide Unitas’ total yards in half and Favre’s difference between their totals is more. See, impressive.
Lots of people far less publicly renowned than him have retired in this country; many of them were likely on the same day that Favre handed in his televised resignation. Those people may have received a nice cake, maybe some cards of encouragement and possibly a few tears from co-workers who had known them for years. I find it difficult to imagine that any of these people would come back to their place of employment just over three months later and express their interest in having their old job back, telling the employer they changed their mind and explaining they would have gone somewhere else if it was not for that pesky non-compete agreement (read: contract). On the overview of the past few weeks this is essentially exactly what Favre did and it is really time to pin down why.
Here we are. We are all waiting with bated breath to see what will happen to our favorite right arm from Mississippi. Will number 4 start with the Packers or be traded to a rival team? If traded what are the chances he will start there? When Favre went to Green Bay from Atlanta in the 1992 season he was about to turn 23, now at 38 I have to wonder, is this going to be his banner year or simply a publicity stunt by the Packers for reasons unknown. Regardless of what all this is about, it sure will be fun to watch it unfold on Sports Center where there has been a separate ticker category created just for Favre.
EDIT: Its the Jets. Now what? I am a Pats fan. I am a Favre fan. At least Green Bay was neutral. How can I possibly watch the JETS as a fan of New England. Fuck.