I’ll kick this off by saying that, as a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, this is easily one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to write. But now that it appears his football career is finally headed towards that big Wrangler commercial in the sky, it’s time to come to terms with something I’ve always sort of known but never would have been caught dead admitting—when it comes right down to it, it’s hard to really hate Brett Favre. Excuse me while I go weep for a second.
Alright, that was refreshing. Now let’s get to it. Here are five reasons why it’s okay to like Brett Favre, as told by a man who has considered him the bane of my existence for the better part of two decades now.
More Brett Means Less Brady
For the past decade or so, Brett Favre has been the go to topic of conversation in NFL broadcast booths whenever the action on the field got a little dull. Whether he was actually on the field at the time was irrelevant. It could be a late season snore-fest between two cellar dwelling NFC West teams and, somehow, Brett Favre would come up. If it weren’t for Brett Favre, Jon Gruden would probably sit in complete silence for 90% of most Monday Night Football broadcasts.
As obnoxious as that might be, there’s a way less awesome alternative waiting in the wings. Favre may be the number one topic of conversation for play by play guys, but Tom Brady has been occupying the number two slot for years now. With Favre gone, it’s going to be all Brady all the time. If you think hearing Joe Buck gush about that small town guy from Louisiana has been nauseating, just wait until that focus shifts towards a supermodel banging pretty boy with Justin Bieber hair. You’ll be pining for the days of nonstop Brett Favre talk once that shit breaks out.
The Scandals Aren’t Really That Bad
Favre’s reputation has taken a hit in recent months thanks to the Jenn Sterger sexting fiasco. Add in that pesky painkiller addiction from a few years back and you can safely say that, as far as sure shot Hall of Fame quarterbacks go, Favre has a pretty checkered past. But when you look at the bigger picture, which in this case is the overflowing river of criminality that is the NFL, Favre’s transgressions are pretty damn minor. Texting pictures of your cock to a team employee is unsavory behavior for sure, but at least he didn’t kill anybody (hello, Donte Stallworth).
Hell, the cock shots aren’t even the funniest NFL scandal of all time. That title is firmly in the hands of Plaxico Burress, who you may remember as the guy who accidentally shot himself in the leg with the handgun he had hidden in his sweatpants (sweatpants that he was wearing at a nightclub, mind you). Brett Favre may not be perfect, but he’s far from the biggest fish the NFL ethics committee has to fry these days.
The Packers Kind of Deserved that Stab in the Back
People did a whole lot of howling about Brett Favre betraying his former team by going out of his way to sign with the Packers’ NFC North rival the Minnesota Vikings, but the fact is, they sort of had it coming. All he did in 2007, his final season with the Packers, was put up some of the best numbers of his career while carrying the team to the brink of a return to the Super Bowl. You wouldn’t have known that was the case when Favre changed his mind about retiring and decided to return for another season (or three) though.
Instead of welcoming Brett back with open arms, they threw all sorts of shade in his direction and let it be known in not as many words that they weren’t thrilled about the idea. Yes, I understand they really needed to get Aaron Rodgers off the bench and on the field at some point and they were looking towards the future and all that, but damn, the guy deserved a little more respect than that. Just about every one of us would be looking to hit the road to revenge after that kind of treatment. Brett just managed to pull it off, even if it was only for one season. Can’t fault him for that.
That Consecutive Games Record is Damn Impressive
There’s a reason sports writers can’t stop gushing about Favre’s 297 consecutive starts record…that shit is ridiculously impressive, even more so when you factor in playoff games, which puts the streak at 321 games. Football is a brutal enough sport as it is. The brutality increases exponentially when you’re the one player on the field with a target on your back during every single play. No matter what else is happening on the field at the time, rest assured someone out there is absolutely drooling at the thought of putting a devastating hit on the quarterback.
Talk all you want about the extraordinary measures the league has taken to protect QB’s in recent years, it doesn’t change the fact that they still get fucking demolished by 350 pound defensive ends on a regular basis. Brett Favre has been no different. If anything, the borderline reckless way he plays the position has assured that he’s taken more brutal hits than most quarterbacks ever will. But week in and week out, there he was, fighting through the pain and still playing. If you hate that, you don’t know shit about sports.
He Really Does Play Like a Kid Out There
You might groan when Jon Gruden blabs that Favre “looks like a kid out there” eight times per game, but he’s absolutely correct. Brett Favre plays to win. Always. He’s not afraid to take risks and make mistakes, that’s why they call him a gunslinger (something Jay Cutler also does and gets completely slammed for, but that’s a discussion for another day). It’s that drive to win that’s led to Favre having barely any losing seasons under his belt.
Sure, it’s also led to some heinous interceptions at the most inopportune times imaginable, but what’s to hate about that? If your team has ever been on the receiving end of one of those interceptions (and they probably have been, he’s thrown more INTs than anyone in history after all), you should count yourself as just another of the legions of sports fans who appreciate Brett Favre’s willingness to just throw it up there and hope for the best. He’s literally sent a few opposing teams to the Super Bowl with that shit. What’s not to like about that?
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