So, Brett Favre finally made a decision. Instead of coming out of retirement again to play for the Minnesota Vikings, Favre has decided that discretion is the better part of valor. He is (at least for now) going to stay retired.
The shoulder that he was worried about? Apparently that was not the issue. The issues were his knees an ankle – which had been giving him problems during his workouts. The other major stumbling block was the fact that he wasn’t prepared mentally for the rigors of an NFL season.
So Favre has decided to take his ball and go home. It seems to me that he also may have realized that he was coming back (again) for the wrong reasons. It was clear to almost everyone that this dalliance with the Vikings was nothing more than a way to get back at the Green Bay Packers for whatever transpired over the last eighteen months. It wasn’t the right reason to come back. Favre may have realized that and decided it wasn’t worth it at the end of the day.
Was it the right decision? Maybe, maybe not. The only one that can say that for sure is Favre himself. He’s the one that has to look at himself in the mirror every day. He’s the one that has to live with the decision. If he’s comfortable with the decision – if he is happy with the decision – then it was the right one. But, only time will tell.
There will be many different reactions to this news. Talk to any Vikings fan, and there probably will be a lot of anger directed towards Favre. Maybe rightly so. After all, Favre basically held the Vikings hostage for the last three months while he decided whether or not he wanted to play again. Certainly Favre would have been a better option than either Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson. So you can understand if Viking fans feel like Favre teased them. You can understand if they feel like jilted lovers left at the altar by a partner who wound up getting cold feet.
By contrast, talk to any Green Bay Packer fan today and you will get a completely different take. For the last three months many Packer fans felt like Favre had committed treason – that he was for lack of a better term sleeping with the enemy. Now that Favre has decided not to play for one of Green Bay’s rivals he will probably be considered one of the good guys again. In Green Bay the Favre jerseys might very well be taken out of the closets and worn proudly by more than a handful of Packer Backers.
Then there are your average fans – those with no real allegiance to either the Packers or Vikings. They are probably disappointed to a degree – because let’s face it – the NFL with Favre on the field is a hell of a lot more fun than without him.
And there are probably more than just a few fans who don’t believe that this story is completely over. Those that think Favre might jump at the chance to play again should an opportunity come up during the season – an opportunity that would mean he wouldn’t have to go through the rigors of training camp or a sixteen game season.
And it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that some team during the season – a team that has quarterback issues – would put a call into the old gunslinger. If a team thinks that a forty year old Favre is a better option than what they have, they almost have to feel Favre out. And, if you are Favre – should that happen – you might very well consider it.
But, considering it and doing it are two very different things. Something tells me this might really be it for Favre. I know I’ve said it before and had egg on my face as he returned to the New York Jets and teased the Vikings, but I really think it’s over.
My gut tells me that yesterday’s decision to stay retired was Favre’s and only Favre’s. I don’t believe he made the decision to play for the Jets on his own. I don’t believe he made the decision to consider Minnesota on his own.
Favre has surrounded himself with a lot of people who have become rich and famous just by being in his inner circle. People who don’t want the money to stop coming in. People who like to hear other people talking about the legendary quarterback. Favre is seemingly influenced very easily. Heck, three years ago – when he waited until late April to decide whether or not he was going to play – he followed the advice of Phil Simms. Simms didn’t talk to Favre privately. The advice was given to Favre on a national radio show that Favre just happened to be listening to.
I have no doubt that those people were in Favre’s ear telling him to stick it to the Packers by playing for one of their chief rivals. And, knowing that Favre doesn’t have a great relationship with Packers GM Ted Thompson, they knew that Favre would (at the very least) consider it.
The decision to stay retired, though seems to me to be Favre’s and Favre’s alone. The reasons he has given for staying retired sound like the reason he retired in January. Favre feels like he just cannot do it physically anymore. It’s not the first time he has talked bout that, and it isn’t the first time that he has talked about being mentally unprepared to go through what a player of his stature needs to go through for a sixteen game season.
Favre has long talked about just wanting to relax and take time off. Now he has the chance to do it.
But he also has to rehabilitate his image. The constant waffling on his football future has caused a lot of people to look at him and make jokes. The best thing Favre can do now is to go underground. No commercials. No interviews. No nothing. The best thing Favre can do now is to keep out of the public eye. As time goes by, people will forget about the waffling and flip flopping and will just remember the thrills he gave to millions of fans on the field.
As time goes by the wounds that were opened by Favre and the Packers will heal to the point that Favre will return to Lambeau Field to have his jersey retired.
But the only way that will happen is if Favre does what he hasn’t shown the ability to do for a very long time.
Stay out of sight.