A legend remembered: What is Brett Favre’s legacy?
Last week, the Green Bay Packers hosted their first Thanksgiving football game in franchise history. Before the clash with divisional rival Chicago, the Packers paid tribute to legendary quarterback Brett Favre and retired his number four jersey. Favre’s reckless style of play, hold nothing back personality, and retirement saga overshadowed his on the field performance for some football fans. Despite the controversy, Favre will be remembered as the best player to ever wear Packers’ green and yellow.
Favre was Green Bay’s starting quarterback for 16 seasons, led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1997, and is the only player in NFL history to win three consecutive MVP awards. When he retired after his 20th NFL season, Favre was the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, passing yards, completions, attempts, total starts, and wins for the quarterback position (his touchdown record has since been broken by Peyton Manning). Perhaps Favre’s most impressive skill was his toughness. He started an NFL record 297 consecutive games (321, if you include playoffs). Quarterbacks are often considered the least tough players on the field, but Favre played through all of his injuries.
As much success as he had, Favre’s career had some serious low points. Green Bay’s iron man struggled with an addiction to painkillers in the 90’s. He voluntarily entered the NFL’s substance abuse program and was able to overcome his addiction. In 2010, Favre was investigated for improper behavior in regards to New York Jets media personality Jenn Sterger. Sterger claimed Favre left her inappropriate voicemails and sent her lewd photographs. The NFL’s investigation was inconclusive, but Favre was fined $50,000 for not cooperating with the investigation.
It is difficult to find a more poorly handled public relations incident than the Favre retirement saga. Favre retired and then famously unretired in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. He held franchises and fan bases hostage with his indecision. The situation became so gruesome that Favre was actually booed at Green Bay’s Lambeau Stadium when he returned as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He finally called it quits for real in 2010.
Now that Favre is a few years removed from the spotlight, he is remembered most as a great quarterback who made football fun to watch. He was supremely talented but always threw caution to the wind in search of the next big play. Other great quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady will throw the ball away or take a sack to avoid a mistake. When Favre got in trouble, he would heave the ball as far as possible or take off on a quarterback scramble. This helped him become the NFL’s all-time leader in interceptions thrown but also led to some of his best plays. Favre’s exciting play and love of the game are what will define his legacy.
Does Favre deserve to be mentioned in the conversation of best quarterback ever? Did his personality and ego get the better of him in his final NFL years? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4