Monday, January 21, 2008

My heartbroken ode to Brett Favre

THE man. There will be no arguing with me.

I have to say one thing before I go any further: I love Brett Favre.

I've loved him since I was 12 years old. At the start of the 1996 season, Los Angeles had no football team. It was the first year I payed even the slightest bit of attention to football, and I fell in love with the reigning Super Bowl champs and their QB. I admit, it was a bit of a convenient, random choice. But my hometown no longer had a team, and there was something about Favre that my 12-year-old self just adored.

I've followed Favre and the Packers for 12 years now and my loyalty has never wavered. So much has been said about Favre. He is the best QB the game of football has ever seen (sorry Tom Brady - check back with us in seven years or so and we'll talk. Until then, sit back and deal with being second-best) and one of the classiest sportsmen I've had the pleasure of watching in my admittedly brief life. Watching him and the Packers play just makes me HAPPY.

The 2006 season was awful. Critics proclaimed Favre, already old for a QB, finished. He teared up at the end of the 8-8 season and everyone thought he'd retire. But he came back for 2007 and absolutely blew everyone's expectations out of the water. Breaking records left and right (including most touchdown passes AND most interceptions in consecutive weeks) Favre and his cannon of a right arm lead the Packers to a 13-3 record, the NFC North title and a spot in the NFC Championship game.

They faced a resurgent Giants team, led by the Manning no one cares about. The Giants came out of nowhere in the last month of the season so clinch a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. And, in front of a hostile crowd of 72,000 at Lambeau Field, the Giants shocked the Packers in overtime, 23-20, ending Favre's Cinderella season and, possibly, his career.

I'm not gonna lie: I cried. I'm a girl, sue me.

My heart broke for my team and for Favre, who, in a perfect world, would've gotten one last shot at another Super Bowl title. My heart broke when, in overtime, Favre threw an interception that set up Tynes 47-yard field goal to win the game for NY...what could possibly be the last pass he ever makes. He deserved so much better.

But the Pack couldn't run the ball. Ryan Grant, so effective in last week's victory against Seattle, went absolutely nowhere all night long. The Green Bay O-line had incredible difficulty holding back the Giants defense, which meant Favre was under pressure all night long. The Packers' D, to me, seemed to have difficulty making the first tackle all night long. They got a last-second reprieve when Tynes missed the 36-yard field goal as time expired...but then came that second pass, the one Favre will probably wish until the end of his days that he could have back. It was a bad decision, plain and simple.

It would just be a damn shame if that's how Favre, for all that he's brought to the game of football, goes out. If that's the last thing people remember about him. Seeing his face answering questions after the game also broke my heart. He was agonized, and I'm sure it doesn't make his decision of whether or not to come back any easier. Should he come back for one more season, hoping the magic and his soon-to-be 39-year-old arm holds out (when they could very likely revert to the 2006 Packers...or worse)? Should he retire with pride in knowing that he's the best QB and one of the best players the NFL has ever seen and that there's very little he hasn't accomplished?

As long as he can still hold a football, I'd love to see him on my television screen every Sunday (and sometimes on Monday and Thursday). Football will be a little less classy when he's gone, a little less fun to watch. Plus, as long as he's out there, I always have faith in Green Bay to pull out a miracle.

I'm gonna say it now: Favre in '08. (And then I'm going to bury my face in my pillow and cry a little bit more).

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