The news that Brett Favre will retire isn’t shocking. In fact, I am not completely convinced that he will stay retired. Hyper-competitive athletes like Michael Jordan, Roger Clemens and Jerry Rice have struggled with retirement in recent years, so there is a reason to believe that Favre could be leaving the door a little bit open to return to the gridiron. But if this is it, then it’s sensible for him to retire the way he is.
The timing of Favre’s retirement makes sense in some ways, though. His last game – as of right now – was a playoff game at Lambeau Field. For a man who is as identifiable with his franchise as any other athlete today, it is fitting for Favre to end his career in the stadium in which he was so beloved.
Even though the Packers lost that game – and even if Favre’s interception late in the game was one of the reasons for that loss – I have to believe that he would rather walk away from the sport having played his final game in a playoff atmosphere at his home stadium.
He really is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, maybe the greatest. He surely has as many intangibles as any other quarterback in NFL history. His accomplishments are as lengthy as any recent professional athlete: Nine-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All-Pro, three-time NFL MVP, one-time Super Bowl champion as well as being the NFL record-holder for career passing touchdowns, yards, completions, attempts and, uhhh, interceptions. Not to mention his incredible consecutive starts streak of 253 games.
All those accomplishments and records are insignificant, though, to Favre leaving the game the way he wants to. He leaves with his team having made the NFL Final Four. He leaves having played his last game on the field on which he will be immortalized. He leaves the game on his terms, the way every athlete envisions his or her departure. And that should be good enough for all of us to accept.