An open letter to Brett Favre

Dear Brett,

It’s that last drive of the 2008 season, isn’t it? You can’t get it out of your head. You made your triumphant return in a city that didn’t understand you, showed them you could play on any field in any part of the country, and gave the world one final poignant look at how good football can be without the dog killing, drunken driving, sexual misconduct, and manslaughter. You showed us a country boy can survive in the big city. You scored one for the old guys and proved you are one of the best quarterbacks who has ever lived. You did it and gave your team a short at the Superbowl.

But that last drive is still sitting on your heart isn’t it? You looked tired. You looked flaccid. But worst of all–and I know this is what keeps you awake at night–you failed to amaze. You weren’t a magician. You were ultimately a tragic hero whose Achilles heel was the inability to go gently into that good night. In the end, the dragons you felled in the great white north cheese country were different than those you faced when your beard turned gray. The man who could always be counted on for an amazing drive, impossible pass, and heaven-sent victory couldn’t pull it out on that final drive. And that’s what you remember. And that’s what you’re afraid other people will remember, isn’t it?

Because, it can’t be the money, can it? I mean, is it possible you actually need the extra $10-$12 million? If you’re the man I believe you to be–a right thinking, hard working, Mississippi boy–you certainly didn’t squander all you made during your years with the Green Bay Packers. You’re not hurting for cash are you? Because, I guarantee you, with your looks, charm, and ability to talk, you could be on TV making millions before the end of this season. There is no reason to risk debilitating injury–or worse, further humiliation–to go out there again, is there?

No, it must be that niggling memory of how you left the field in 2008. Somewhere deep in that Mississippi heart of yours, you believe that if you don’t salvage your legacy, people will always remember that lifeless duck that came out of your hands in the closing seconds of what should’ve been your final game. You’re afraid for your legacy and you believe you can do it again.

I know I can’t convince you otherwise now. You’re wearing a purple #4 and there isn’t much turning back again. And you know what? I’ll watch, but not because I want to. See, it’s hard for a 35-year-old man to find a hero, but you were mine. You carried yourself with class and everything about you made me proud to be a fan. You inspired me, you inspired my son, and you inspired countless others who knew it was safe to be your fan. You weren’t going to shoot yourself in a club, drive the tractor down Main Street with a dog tied to the back, or start snorting meth off Tom Sizemore’s naked back. No, you were just going to play ball and quit when it was time.

I think we all know the time was when you left the Green Bay Packers. You surprised in New York, but you didn’t amaze, and even you knew it was time to head to the house. Everyone says I shouldn’t be surprised that you decided to come back again, but I am. I can’t find the your motivation. I can’t see why in the world you would do it. If you love the game so much, find a way to remain involved without getting behind the center again. Because, here’s the thing, Brett: the Minnesota Vikings are arguably one of the best teams in the NFL. If the Vikes fail, only one person is going to be blamed and that is the guy who was too proud to call it a day. The only thing left is hospice for a hero.

As a fan, Brett, you should know that nearly all of us will always remember you for what you gave us friom your spot in Green Bay. We won’t forget the hero you were or the hero you are. We won’t forget that you were among the best in the game there ever was.

No, we won’t forget…unless you keep giving us reasons to.