Friday, July 11, 2008

Favre Retirement Quandary: A Fan's Perspective

Brett Favre retired in March, much to my surprise. The last few years, when he'd contemplated retirement, I'd prepared myself for it. But last year? When the Packers were so close to getting in the SuperBowl? When Favre had a year so much improved from his last few? I thought sure that it wasn't even a worry this year.

And then he retired, teary-eyed, saying he could play, but he didn't want to. He was just "tired."

I wasn't happy, and I was very unsure how I'd react to watching a Packers team without Favre at quarterback (something I really can hardly ever remember seeing) when this football season started.

By now, I'd become at least more accustomed to the idea. I was going to the first preseason game of the season, and looking forward to seeing Aaron Rodgers' first game as a starter. As it turns out, that may not be what I see at all!

For those of you not big into football, Brett Favre has expressed his desire to come back out of retirement this season. The Packers, who have been obviously moving forward, intensely working the offense with Rodgers at QB, didn't welcome him back with open arms, and with good reason (especially because if Rodgers, a first-round pick and college star, doesn't get his chance now- he's likely to refuse to re-sign with the Packers after his contract ends next year. And then the Packers are left without a probable heir when Brett does retire in the next few years.)

Brett's upped the ante, requesting "an unconditional release" from the Packers. His love of playing football (something I normally laud as one of my favorite qualities of his) has led him to seek a release from the Packers. If they won't let him play, well, then- he wants to go to someone who will.

I can understand that he just wants to play, but one of my other favorite Favre-ian qualities is his loyalty to the Packers. And seeing Favre in a uniform other than a Packers one will not sit well with me, or many other fans. I think Favre feels his loyalty has been betrayed, but really- did he expect the Packers to sit around waiting for him, or did he expect them to continue building for the future of the team? They've waited for him to decide until June before, so when he gave them a decision as early as March, they surely figured- like me- that he was sure this time.

Finally, his very reasons for wanting to retire completely contradict what would happen if he came back. Oh, you're tired from working so hard to win? Oh, you'd be disappointed if you didn't get a Super Bowl next season? How does switching to a new team, learning a new offense, getting in sync with new teammates and coaches fix those problems?

I can understand that Favre wants to play again; after 17 years, it makes sense that he'd miss football. I wouldn't even mind seeing #4 behind center at the game I'm going to this season. But that still doesn't mean I'm happy about the way Brett Favre handled this- and I consider myself a big fan of his.

There's a part of me that hopes Brett Favre is just trying to tempt the Packers. It's like he's standing at the top of a building, leaning over and shouting, "I'll do it! I'll jump!"-- he's trying to show them he's so serious about playing that he won't even limit his team options. Still, threatening to go to a new team seems like a stupid political move, but I think the thought of him trying to manipulate the Packers into taking him back is slightly preferrable to the thought of him actually wanting to play for another team.

As it stands, I think the Packers have little choice but to take him back. Sometimes teams need to focus on rebuilding, and we will need a new QB soon- but in the meantime, Favre's doing fine and it's not as though the rest of our team is young and needs time to improve. The Packers' head guys really have no way to come out of this looking classy at this point, but I think their best option is to come out with their tails between their legs, welcoming Brett back onto the team- even if that means screwing over poor Aaron Rodgers (who's showed an amazing string of patience while waiting for his turn at the helm).

Because, when it comes down to it, the Packers need to build the best team. And Rodgers looks promising, but how many other teams, given the choice, would pick an unproven college star with a tendency for injury over a tried-and-true, passionate and prolific legend, who's sure to bring in revenue (and probably wins) for the team?

This is a no-win situation at this point, but here's my best idea for what to do next:
Packers- take him back, grudgingly. Favre- accept, gracious and gracefully. Rodgers- you were so close this time. Better luck next year?

P.S.-- No matter what happens, GO PACKERS! :)

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I love Favre, and I was really really surprised he retired after how close they were.

That said, he signed a lifetime agreement- the first of its kind, if I am correct. Going back on that is like a divorce, and I do NOT like that.