Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Brilliant Career Tarnished

On March 5, 2008, Brett Lorenzo Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL. On July 2, 2008 he came out of retirement and nine days later asked for his unconditional release. Instead, the Packers traded him to the New York Jets on August 4, 2008. On February 11, 2009 Favre informed the Jets that he was once again retiring. On April 28, 2009 the Jets released him from his contract, allowing him to sign anywhere he wanted. August 18, 2009 Favre once again came out of retirement and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Finally, on January 17, 2011, Favre officially filed his retirement papers with the NFL.

Besides his propensity for keeping all of America guessing whether or not he is going to play, Favre had a few other blemishes during his illustrious and storied career.

Early in the 2008 season, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported that Favre gave the Detroit Lions a lengthy scouting report on Green Bay’s offensive schemes before the Packers played the Lions in the second game of the season. There were no denials from Lions coaches regarding these allegations.

In 2010, the NFL investigated Favre for allegedly sexting and leaving inappropriate voice messages for Jets sideline host Jenn Sterger during the 2008 season. He was found not to have violated the NFL’s personal conduct code, but was fined $50,000 for failing to cooperate with the investigation.

This past week there were numerous reports that Favre would listen to the Chicago Bears if they contacted him after the injury to Jay Cutler and the less than stellar performances of Caleb Hanie in his first two starts. The Bears lost both of those games with Hanie contributing six interceptions. Mercifully, the Bears did not reach out to Favre to come out of retirement.

I say mercifully because the quarterback had done enough to tarnish his brilliant NFL career. With his skills greatly diminished and his body significantly broken down, playing for the Bears would have only added to the besmirching of his reputation.

The purpose of listing all of the dates of when Favre retired and then subsequently came out of retirement was to establish a timeline of when his legacy started losing some of it’s luster among his legions of fans.

Having witnessed Favre’s first moment of glory with the Packers in person, I was one of those fans. I was there September 20, 1992, when he tossed a 35-yard TD pass to Kitrick Taylor with 32 seconds left in the game, sealing a dramatic come-from-behind victory for the Packers over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Today I no longer am able to count myself as a fan of number 4. The talk of the Bears being potentially interested in Favre made me cringe. It also got me thinking about when he began falling out of favor with me.

Looking back, it wasn’t when he left the Packers and started his much-documented period of flip-flopping between retiring and making comebacks. It wasn’t when he was doing his Judas Iscariot routine with the Lions or even when he was sending pictures of little Brett to Ms. Sterger.

No, it happened much earlier. The date that I began to question my infatuation with Favre was January 6, 2002. More specifically, it occurred with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter of the Packers 34-25 victory over the New York Giants.

That is when he changed the play called in the huddle and flopped to the ground so Michael Strahan of the Giants could record his record-breaking sack. The play looked questionable because the Packers were leading 34-25 and Favre didn’t have a blocker in front of him.

Brett Favre Laying Down For Michael Strahan

Some joked that Favre’s flop was his worst acting performance since his stiff cameo in the movie “There’s Something About Mary”. Packer players weren’t joking about the play.

Teammates said Favre called a run in the huddle. The quarterback insisted he changed the play to a naked bootleg to catch the Giants off guard. After the game Packer linemen were rather tight-lipped about the play.

Tight end Bubba Franks had the blocking assignment on Strahan on the play. “That was called as a running play,” Franks said. “I don’t know if it was a bad snap or what. I was run blocking. I didn’t know it was a pass.”

“We wanted to avoid that sack,” right tackle Mark Tauscher said. “I know Earl Dotson and the offensive line as a group wanted to keep that from happening.”

When asked about the sack, Packers center Mike Flanagan, also irritated about Strahan’s gift, said: “That’s not something I’m talking about. Go ask Brett.”

Of course Favre denied that he gave Strahan the sack. That’s what he does best - deny things. He is always in denial. He never does anything wrong. He just shrugs his shoulders with that boyish smirk on his face.

It was on January 6, 2002 when I first started to suspect that Brett Lorenzo Favre cared more about himself than his teammates. It was on January 6, 2002 when I first questioned the integrity of Brett Lorenzo Favre. For me, it was on January 6, 2002 that the brilliant career of Brett Lorenzo Favre first became tarnished.

Until next time…from the booth.


Leplume said...

Oh yes, Brett Favre. As you know I am a rabid Packers fan. I used to adore Brett Favre and that play was so questionable that's when I started wondering about him too. I feel bad for the guy. I really do. He was, at one time, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He loved the game and that was evident. But, he started to love the spotlight even more and that's why now, at an age far too old to even think about coming back to play, he's out there making hints and trying to sell the Brett Favre of the good ol' days. That guy doesn't exist anymore. What's left is a sad man longing for his glory days.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Oh no, we are agreeing on things! Sports even. The next thing you know we will be agreeing on Survivor. Nah! Not unless it's Russell Hantz…

randy lain said...

A few of these knuckleheads at work suggested that Perve was coming to Chicago, I was absolutely, totally sure there was NO CHANCE. The Bears have made some bad moves over the yrs, but they're WAY Smarter than that.