Senior writer jclombardi highlights setting sun on legendary Favre watch.
A Long, Painful Farewell: Brett Favre has never known how to let go, and as his concerned family watches, he’s paying the price in a final season of brutal hits, ugly picks and unseemly scandal. If you must witness an avalanche, do it from a distance. As Brett Favre’s career plunges downhill, close family members are waiting in Mississippi, calling him, texting him and watching him lose, waiting for this season to finally, mercifully end. His brother Scott drove from his home in Mississippi to the opener in nearby New Orleans, but that was it. His sister, Brandi, says, “Every other year I wanted him to come back and play. This season can’t end quick enough for me. He’s averaging a bad injury a game.” Anyway, even if they flew up to Minnesota for a game, they wouldn’t be able to console (or celebrate with) Brett afterward. He is so wiped out that he usually just heads home, eats a quick dinner and goes up to his room. Deanna Favre lives with Brett near the team’s training facility in Eden Prairie along with their younger daughter, Breleigh and still goes to every Vikings home game, but this has not been a fun autumn for her. For years Deanna has enjoyed having a famous husband. Now her marriage is being scrutinized and ridiculed. Less than three years ago Favre was one of the most beloved athletes in America. In the fall of 2007 he broke Dan Marino’s record for touchdown passes and John Elway’s mark for wins by a quarterback, and, at age 38, extended his own record for consecutive starts by a quarterback to 253. Favre took the Packers to within one game of the Super Bowl that season, losing to the Giants in overtime at Lambeau Field. Then he either forced his way out of Green Bay or was forced out, the first rumblings of the avalanche. “I hate that it ended the way it did,” Bonita says. “It was such a wonderful experience, those years in Green Bay. It’s just the way it ended … and he should have stayed retired then. But we can’t go back.” These people have loved Brett Favre the longest and know him best. The Favres learned long ago that they can’t talk Brett into or out of anything. And if he regrets these last three seasons—a 9–7 finish with the Jets in 2008; an ’09 run with Minnesota that ended with an interception in the NFC Championship Game; this year’s debacle—he has kept it to himself. He has not even told his family. Favre has said this is his last season. “I’m done, I’m done,” he told reporters. This time almost everybody believes him. He is, in every way, limping to the finish. Favre’s friends and family can’t imagine him putting on a coat and tie and goofing around on some TV network every week. He hates traveling, and those studios are usually in big cities. Once he’s done, he’s done: back to Mississippi for good. Then what? The obsessive mind does not choose to obsess, and it cannot stop obsessing on demand. Brett is three years younger than Scott but looks 10 years older, and Scott has a simple explanation: “He really doesn’t seem to enjoy life like he probably should.” Nobody thinks Favre will be happy working on his property for the rest of his life. Scott hopes Brett gets serious again about golf. Favre is an avid hunter, and not long ago he brought in deer from Texas for his estate. But he can’t bring himself to shoot them. Last spring, Bonita says, Brett found a fawn on his property with no mother in sight, and he kept it in a stall and bottle-fed it—she was a fickle fawn, and she would only take the bottle from him. But Favre still loves to go on hunting trips away from his property, and once in a while he’ll shoot a huge buck and give it to somebody. Most of the time, though, he doesn’t even fire a shot. It is hard to tell if Brett Favre is hunting or just sitting alone in the woods.
Commentary: Legendary QB Brett Favre will go down in the NFL history books as the one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He helped turned the Packers franchise around after almost two decades of losing times. His number four will be retired by the Packers. His name will be put up along side the rest of the Packers legends in Lambeau field. Finally, he will be an instant Hall of Famer. If this weekend remind us of life’s intangibles and classic lessons about a flawed Hamlet character, it is to understand the legend and the man.