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.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

You may also like...

12 Responses

  1. Drizztdj says:

    You’re killing my ability to rant with these well spoken words sir. 🙂

  2. Su says:

    Great post and yes very well spoken. I too am/was a huge Brett Favre fan. I will remember his play in Green Bay, but don’t want to remember anything since.

  3. pdxrogue says:

    It is truly a gift when someone can conjure up the words embedded in so many hearts — thank you!!

  4. Random101 says:

    Brett Favre will now be known as “TheBrett”.

  5. BadBlood says:

    Brett makes me respect John Elway a bit more each year.

  6. Da Goddess says:

    Oh, BadBlood, please don’t say that. Please. There’s nothing respectable about Elway. The man is a jerk. Worse, he’s a cheap ass jerk.

    Brett, well, he’s a gentleman.

  7. BadBlood says:

    Da Goddess, why is he a jerk? Admittedly, I don’t know much about him personally, but professionally, he did know when to step down and walk away.

  8. Bam-Bam says:

    No words more worthy of both his current & previous stature than,

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

  9. ToddCommish says:

    Interesting that there are so many wistful comments about an admitted Vicodin addict, the NFL career leader in interceptions, and basically, depending on who you talk to, a vindictive (just trying to stick it to the Packers), lazy (just trying to avoid two-a-days) attention whore that doesn’t know when to say when.

    He WAS a very good quarterback… He isn’t anymore. Now he’s become Willie Mays in a Mets uniform, Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform, Michael Jordan in a Wizard uniform, a sad caricature of his own youth. People seem to have forgotten that he only won ONE Super Bowl, meaning he isn’t even the most successful Packers quarterback, let alone putting him at the top for the entire NFL.

    I love your writing, Otis, but in this case, you’re spending your talent on a washed-up shell of a Madden-inflated superstar.

  10. StB says:

    Todd, you forgot womanzing drunkard.

  11. marty says:

    I may be standing alone here (judging from the comments) but the only thing I see that Favre did wrong was not hiring a better publicist. Admittedly, he shouldn’t have done the “I’m retiring, no i’m not, yes I am” act in the public eye. He should have recieved better counsel. It can’t be easy to walk away from something you love when you are still capable of doing it. If he thinks he can still compete (and he can) then why walk away just to protect a legacy? The only person he has to answer to in the end is himself (f*ck the bloggers, pundits, and talking heads – sorry) He isn’t as good as he used to be, I’ll grant you that, but he is still better than most and won’t be dead last by a long shot in the NFL this season. Any one of us that had this level of talent and was faced with the retirement decision would have had conflicting thoughts. He should have kept them to himself, but just because he didn’t doesn’t mean we should damn the man.

  1. November 2, 2009

    […] the opportunity to sign on with their rival corporation to show you still had something to give, a friend of mine sent you a letter. This friend grew up watching your every touchdown bunny hop and following it up with cheers as year […]