Who’s Really to Blame?

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat.  I am a Brett Favre fan.  I want to see Favre play for as long as he possibly can.  I think football is more fun when Favre is in it.  He’s also really, really good.

Favre is a very polarizing figure in the world of sports, but why is that?  People have been calling Favre a drama queen, but is Favre really creating the drama? On the surface it’s easy to criticize Favre for his perceived multiple retirements, but let’s take a step back and really look at it.

What do you see when you turn on ESPN or NFL network?  Is it Favre speaking to reporters or reporters talking about Favre?  Remember just a week ago when the story broke that Favre was finally done playing?  Why did we think that?  Favre’s coaches and teammates said over and over again that they hadn’t heard anything from NFL’s version of the iron man.  The point I am trying to make is that while people have grown sick and tired of hearing about Brett Favre 24 hours, 7 days a week, are they tired of the quarterback who threw for 33 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions as a soon to be 41 year old, or the media that shoves it down our throats when there actually isn’t anything to report?

In my opinion Favre should only be concerned with the opinions of about 75 people.  Favre’s teammates and coaches have basically begged for the gray beard of the NFL to return, so why should anyone else care?  A few years back Michael Strahan retired, but just until the end of training camp.  Favre is not blameless in this whole situation, but when during the off season did he ever say he wasn’t going to play in 2010?  All I ever heard was “If my ankle is healthy, I’ll play”.  Did I mention he threw 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions last year?

What makes fans love and respect Favre is also what drives people crazy.  The guy wears his emotions on his sleeve.  I believe that when Favre first retired it was because he was a true Green Bay Packer.  After close to two decades Favre woke up one morning, and wasn’t a Green Bay Packer anymore.  He shouldn’t have announced he was done, but he made a mistake, and rushed to a gut wrenching decision.  Favre then decided the same thing that lots of guys do, he wanted to go somewhere and stick to the team that thought he was done.  This sounded great, but the problem was Green Bay wasn’t about to let him go to a team in the same division so he was traded to the New York Jets.

Do you remember what Eli Manning did when he got drafted by the San Diego Chargers?  How about John Elway when he was picked by the Baltimore Colts?  Manning and Elway did what tons of athletes do every year, they forced a trade, and ended up with a team that they were comfortable with.  What did Favre do?  He played 16 games with the New York Jets.  He played with a torn bicep on a team he didn’t fit in with in a city he never wanted to be in.

On almost this exact date last year Favre joined the team he had wanted to go to from the time he said good-bye to Green Bay.  A talented team with a coach he was familiar with in a city that allowed him to play the Packers twice a year.  My good friend, and Packer fan Hayes pointed out to me that Fran Tarkenton was very vocal about the fact that Favre didn’t join the Vikings until late August.  Tarkenton talked about how Favre owed it to his teammates and coaches to get into camp.  Fran obviously forgot that during the last 7 years of his career he played the same retirement game that Favre has for the last 3.  Tarkenton forced a trade in 1967, and that was after he had already gotten his head coach to resign.  Some experts say that Tarkenton single handily set the Vikings back 5 years when he forced that trade.

Stories like this are, and always have been a  part of sports, but just as Lebron James recently discovered, in 2010 there are 24 hour news channels, endless internet reports, cell phone cameras, and idiot blogs from people that don’t know what they are talking about……….this one included.  There were multiple stations yesterday tracking flights from Mississippi to Minnesota…….are you serious?  Do you honestly think that Favre wanted that?  Do you think he asked 3 Viking teammates to fly down to his home and try to convince him to play this year?  We’re tired of hearing about it, but isn’t that because it’s all we hear about?  Do you really think a 40 year old QB has to do everything in training camp that a 22 year old rookie does?  Doesn’t everyone always talk about how meaningless pre season games are?  Why does it matter what talking heads or random fans think?  Shouldn’t we put more stock in Favre’s teammates, the guys that battle with him for 16 weeks that want him to play?  Isn’t it more annoying when someone says “I’m so sick of this whole Brett Favre story” followed by hours and hours of that same person talking about the Brett Favre story?

Is it possible that Favre is actually too honest and open?  If he didn’t always have a camera and a mic in his face maybe we wouldn’t have heard anything from him at all.  Isn’t it possible that at one moment you lean one way, and a few days later you lean another way?  I said a few years back I was going to quit my job, and then changed my mind.  If you want athletes to be honest don’t turn around and crush them for telling you how they feel in any given moment.  Don’t love the emotion on the field and hate it off the field.  Don’t hate a battle tested, tough as nails quarterback for skipping one pre season game while he decides if he can do it one last time, hate the fact that while the decision was being you were forced to listen to it when it wasn’t even a story.

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~ by tuben4 on August 18, 2010.

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