Monday, May 4, 2009

Is Favre Coming Back ... Again?

Gregg Doyel writes, for CBS Sports, that Brett Favre is "probably" going to come back, this time to be the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

As I've said many times, I am a Green Bay Packers fan. I've been one as long as I can remember — even though I grew up in the South. I remember watching the Packers on TV when Vince Lombardi was still their coach. I think I "officially" became a Packer fan (the word "Cheesehead" didn't exist yet) when I was collecting football cards in elementary school.

In four decades of pulling for the Packers, I have seen many disappointing seasons. When my friends were aligning themselves with the successful teams of the day — the Dolphins, the Cowboys, the Steelers, the Raiders and, later, the 49ers — I doggedly pulled for the Pack as they struggled through numerous sub–.500 seasons.

So, when Favre came along and began leading the Packers into the playoffs, I rejoiced. At last, a successor to Bart Starr, my childhood idol. In the years to come, I saw Favre take the Packers to two Super Bowls and win three MVP awards.

I knew, in recent years, that his days were numbered, but I always wanted to see him come back for one more year, hoping to see him take the Packers to the promised land once more.

Well, he never did take the Packers back to the Super Bowl, but he gave Packer fans many memorable moments in his final years wearing the green and gold — including the ones captured in the video I have attached to this post.

And last year, his tenure in Green Bay finally came to an end. I mourned his departure but I took it somewhat philosophically. I waited 30 years between Super Bowls, I told myself. If necessary, I will wait another 30.

If anything, his performance with the Jets last season showed two things — 1) he was still capable of giving football fans some memorable performances, and 2) he is no longer capable of single–handedly carrying a team to the Super Bowl. He did some great things for the Jets last year, but he will turn 40 during the coming football season. He's never suffered a major injury, but a 40–year–old quarterback is not as resilient as a 25–year–old quarterback — and if he plays for Minnesota, he will spend at least half the season playing indoors on artificial turf, which has virtually no "give."

Logically, he should retire for good. But that's his choice to make. Not mine or anyone else's.

Doyel insists that Favre is "a liar, a fraud, a creep" who keeps coming back for selfish reasons.

I'd like to know where Doyel was when Michael Jordan kept retiring and then un–retiring. According to his CBS bio, Doyel's 36 years old so he must be old enough to remember those episodes. And he's covered ACC basketball in his career — he's even written a book about Coach K and Duke (Jordan went to North Carolina).

Did he regard Jordan as "a liar, a fraud, a creep" for continually returning to the NBA after retiring? My guess is no, that, like many basketball fans, he welcomed the opportunity to once again see Jordan do what he had always done best.

As a Packer fan, I would be sorry to see Favre playing in the same division as the Packers, but Doyel is wrong when he suggests that the Vikings are the Packers' greatest rivals. Although I have never lived in Green Bay, I think a lifetime of pulling for the Packers qualifies me to say this — the Chicago Bears are the Packers' greatest rivals. The Chicago–Green Bay series is the oldest rivalry in the NFL, and there may never be a head–to–head coaching matchup to rival the one between Lombardi and George Halas.

But if Favre suits up in Viking purple next season, he will make the Minnesota–Green Bay games worth watching.

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