Like many great athletes, Brett Favre was never too far from the spotlight.
Whether he threw a game winning touchdown pass or broke off into one of his legendary scrambles, Favre was always making awe-inspiring moves.
On Tuesday, Favre made another: to retire. He announced his retirement after completing his 16th year in the league.
Number four spent all of those years in Green Bay. He walks away from the game as the NFL all-time leader in passing yards with nearly 61,700.
Last season, Favre lead the Green Bay Packers to a 13-3 regular season and the NFC North Division title en route to the NFC Championship Game.
The former three-time NFL MVP also had a great individual season. He threw for 28 touchdowns and 4,155 yards plus he made the Pro Bowl.
For many the immediate question is why should he retire now? Why leave when he still can dominate the game?
It’s easy to see why those concerns would be raised. The 38-year-old came off one of his most disappointing seasons in 2006. Yet he rebounded last year to seriously contend for MVP honours.
Also, Favre was able to take a young, inexperienced team to the NFC title game. With Favre in the mix, it would be hard to overlook the Packers as a favourite to make next year’s Super Bowl, especially after having a full season together to gel.
Nevertheless, I don’t think it should seem as if Favre made a blunder in calling it quits now.
As one of the top quarterbacks in the league, he can do what’s best for him with no regrets. It’s no secret he was the heart of the Green Bay Packers and the biggest reason for their recent success.
With a Super Bowl title to his name, Favre leaves the game already a champion. Furthermore, the man who always spoke his mind left the way he envisioned: on his own terms.
It’s worth noting that many elite athletes dream of leaving the sports world after a great year. Few, like John Elway and Barry Sanders, get to do it.
In practical terms, Favre is simply looking after his health. Age-wise, the man is past his prime. It is rare nowadays to see professional athletes stay competitive into their late thirties.
Furthermore, Favre has had a significant amount of injuries. He’s had numerous trouble areas including his ankles and fingers. It’s truly a remarkable feat that the Mississippi native could start every game for 16 straight years with all those knocks against him.
With all of that in mind, I can’t help but ponder about the legacy Favre will leave behind.
For me, it won’t matter whether Favre was considered the best of all time at his position. I’m not bothered if whether breaking Dan Marino’s many records can make Favre better than ‘Dan the Man’.
Nor will my opinion of him rest on how many Super Bowls he has won. He didn’t have to win as many as Tom Brady or Joe Montana to prove he was elite.
In fact, I feel he’ll best be remembered for the memories he created on the field.
I will always remember Brett Favre as the mad scrambler who could make something out of nothing. The man who teams could not afford to give up an inch to because they knew he’d go a mile.
I will remember him for the incredible touchdown passes he has thrown and the amazing fourth quarter drives he’s produced. Favre was down many a time but he proved that no game or any milestone was far out of reach.
Ultimately, Favre was the kind of on-field presence you could never overlook. Somehow he always seemed to have something special to pull out of his back pocket. And for that, he will go down in my book as one of the best to have ever played the game.