Ruminations on Brett Favre

I think I have allowed the “Brett Favre Retirement” thing alone long enough to allow all the angles on the story to have had time to surface. I had no interest in trying to be the first to make a type of observation and I figured that loads of other folks would present the landscape of that event for you. Now that they have had their say, allow me to make a couple of points.

First of all, I tend to believe Brett Favre when he says he wants to retire. I also tend to believe that he will go through an athletic version of “withdrawal” as training camp is about to open. I have no direct pipeline of information here, but I suspect that he will stay home and stay retired and become an ambassador of football. Either that, or he will be playing QB for the Packers…

One of the ubiquitous – and highly predictable – “debates” that went on as soon as Favre announced his retirement was whether or not he was the “best of all time” or if he was “in the Top-5” or … Every time a really good player retires in any major sport these days, that kind of kerfuffle ensues. Why can’t we be happy to recognize his many career passing records and the enormity of his 275 consecutive starts (counting playoff games) as a QB in the NFL?

I think that the more interesting question would be put to older Packer fans when they were totally sober, and it would be:

    Brett Favre or Bart Starr?

Thanks to Chris Harry in the Orlando Sentinel, I have a list of names for you. Tell me what the “title” of this list is. The answer is below:

    “Chris Miller, Wade Wilson, Billy Joe Tolliver, Bobby Herbert, Jeff George, Chris Chandler, Tony Graziani, Steve DeBerg, Danny Kanell, Doug Johnson, Michael Vick, Kurt Kittner, Matt Schaub, Joey Harrington, Chris Redman and Byron Leftwich.”

I think a really interesting aspect of Brett Favre’s announced reason for retiring was that the only way for next year to be a success for him would be for the Packers to win the Super Bowl. He said specifically that if the Packers went to the Super Bowl and lost, that would be the worst thing that could happen. That made me stop and think… The Packers were awfully close to making it to the Super Bowl this year, and the team they took to overtime in the playoffs wound up winning it all. Nevertheless, Favre chose to retire. That tells me how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl and how the reality of that difficulty makes itself known to veteran NFL players.

That list above represents the 16 quarterbacks that have started the 256 regular season games for the Atlanta Falcons since the Falcons traded Brett Favre to the Packers in 1992. Remember, Favre started all of the games in Green Bay…

With the NFL Draft next on the schedule as an important annual event in the world of football, many colleges are holding “pro days” where scouts from various teams come to the school to see student-athletes there work out and show their wares. That’s pretty standard stuff but at UCLA, the school had a former student-athlete there for workouts because the former student-athlete has been out of football for a few years and might want to “get back in”. That erstwhile NFLer would be WR, Freddie Mitchell whose career in Philly is notable for two things:

    1. He made the “fourth-and-twenty-six catch” in the playoffs.

    2. After he made some less than flattering remarks about some Pats prior to the Pats/Eagles Super Bowl game, the normally reserved Bill Belichick said of Freddie: “All he does is talk. He’s terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game.”

Another rite of spring for NFL teams is that they cut players to make room to sign free agents and/or their draft picks. It happens all the time. However, those wacky Atlanta Falcons took things to a new dimension this year. They cut QB, Joey Harrington, from the squad and then the next week they signed him again. Did he all of a sudden show a lot more potential over that weekend? Was he at one of those pro days somewhere?

The silliness that builds before the NFL Draft is monumental. Keep an eye out for it and you can amuse yourself as teams jockey for position to draft certain players and agents try to keep their star clients in the news. If you do not take any of that nonsense seriously, you can derive some chuckles from it. Greg Cote rather put all of this draft silliness into perspective in the Miami Herald:

“Dolphins remain undecided on how to use their overall No. 1 pick. Internal debate is whether to select Virginia defensive tackle Chris Long, Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, former Louisiana governor Huey Long, fading actress Shelley Long or Miami Herald sports writer Gary Long.”

According to a story in the LA Times, the chairman of the Motherwell soccer team in Scotland expressed his displeasure with the continued oppression of drunken soccer fans. There aren’t any typos in that last sentence. Alcohol is banned at Scottish soccer matches and has been for almost 30 years after riots broke out during the Scottish Cup matches back then. Motherwell chairman, John Boyle, thinks that’s wrong and that “football fans are being discriminated against.”

In many parts of the world, soccer riots and soccer hooliganism are dangerous to life and limb. I really don’t believe that many of the folks who participate in those riots or beat-downs among fans of opposing sides need alcohol to get them to vent their spleen while they try to extract someone else’s spleen from his abdomen. But keeping booze away from them can’t hurt anything, can it? There does have to be plenty of time to tailgate before and after the game, no?

Finally, in this NFL free agent season, the Philadelphia Eagles signed both Asante Samuels and Chris Clemons. I wonder if they would consider making an offer to Tom Sawyer – who is the head football coach at Division II Winona State University – to join the coaching staff in light of those signings…

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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