Last Thursday night, I watched the first Green Bay Packer game of the pre-season with a little sadness. This could be the last season for Brett Favre.
I can remember the moment I became a huge fan of Favre. It was 1996 and Aaron and were glued to the TV all winter, watching the progress of the Packers to the Super Bowl. (Good thing we didn't have any kids at the time!) Many of you have seen the clip - it was the first throw for Favre in the Super Bowl and he hit Andre Rison for a touchdown. Favre rips his helmet off and goes running to his teammates and coaches on the sidelines like he'd just won the entire game right there. I remember laughing so hard with Aaron at this crazy young quarterback who was bound to lead us to victory.
Now, years later, I feel sort of like we've grown up with Favre. We've watched him win and lose; we've seen his battles with himself and his own addictions. And more recently, we've witnessed his suffering through the death of his father and the diagnosis of cancer in his wife. He strangely feels more like family than some player in the NFL.
I think what I like about Favre is his authenticity. He isn't like any other quarterback who has ever played the game. He has a leadership quality that comes from being himself and being confident in his abilities. He's like your favorite uncle at the family reunion who plays with all the kids even though he's twice their size, and has a maturity you admire without taking himself too seriously. We've been watching him for so long - it's going to be hard to see him retire.
I watched with a slight scowl as the Favre heir-apparent, Aaron Rodgers waited on the sidelines last Thursday night. He's a top pick out of California - blah, blah, blah. The verdict is out on California boy. I must admit, though, in a short interview I saw on ESPN, he acted pretty humble and low-key. I guess that's a good sign.
For now, I'd just like to vote for a few more years of Favre. At least until we win the Big One.