Friday, August 13, 2010
Sports Q&A: Favre’s “No-Hurry” Defense
Brett Favre is at it again, contemplating, or threatening, retirement, while stringing fans along on his annual magical, "mystery" tour. Are these the machinations of an attention-starved media hog, or is Favre a crusader against a society that has come to expect things instantly?
Can't the answer be "both?" Favre may cherish the attention, but that doesn't mean the decision to retire or return is made any easier. I think everyone can agree that Favre enjoys the game so much, he finds it hard to leave the game. The situation could be further simplified if someone could define what the "game" is — football, or the merry-go-round that is Favre's yearly obsession with leaving everyone hanging.
To be honest, Favre should be worshipped. Not only for being one of the greatest football players of all-time, but also for his toughness, namely his toughness in refusing to adhere to the demands of a society in which snap decisions are often expected, and rushing to work is a way of life. Favre should be commended for his heroic stance against deciding.
To those astute enough to recognize the lessons in his ways, Favre has taught us to slow down, and enjoy the media frenzy and backlash created by such a relatively frivolous decision. Haven't we all been told to enjoy the "little" things?
Never mind the fact that several of Favre's teammates say he texted them with plans to retire, communications Favre denies making. Credit Favre here with the NFL season's first audible. Sure, Favre communicates almost universally via text messages, and he's likely on the unlimited plan, but that doesn't make these texts legitimate.
What's more likely? Favre retiring, or several of his teammates are liars? Well, Favre is not retiring, yet, according to his latest text message, so that makes his teammates liars. And in that clearly lies the appeal that Favre sees in playing for the Vikings — he sees in his teammates an equitable level of honesty and values to that of his own. That, my friend, is loyalty. And Favre is loyal, despite naysayers in Green Bay who claim they were "loyally" screwed.
Obviously, these bogus texts were the work of a disgruntled fan called the "Green Bay Hacker," who is still apparently stinging from Favre's betrayal of the Lambeau faithful. Can you imagine the time and effort it took this person to undermine the always solid words of Favre? It could be measured in seconds.
Yes, Favre loves his text messages, and often lets his fingers do the walking in lieu of his gimpy left ankle. But Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder, in a mysterious form of communication called "in person," that he'll return "if healthy." If this isn't a clear indication that Favre will be returning, I don't know what is. I'm not sure his ankle is healthy, but the ambiguity of his words are at a Pro Bowl level. That's vintage Favre. What else is vintage Favre? The fact that we don't know whether he's playing or not.
That's what makes this time of year so special for NFL fans, the uncertainty. Can you doubt Favre's greatness? Has the influence of one player ever singlehandedly delayed so many fantasy drafts? Never.
And the longer Favre delays his decision, the tougher it is for Vikings opponents to prepare for the Minnesota offense. This isn't lost on Favre. Don't underestimate Favre's ability to be cold and calculating, analyzing all scenarios before choosing the most desirable option. He's quite cunning in this respect, except on plays with the NFC championship hanging in the balance.
Luckily, Favre has learned that quick decisions often lead to regret. So he should be praised for taking his own sweet time to make a decision. It's impossible to be critical of Favre's decision-making process. Why? Because when he finally does come to a decision, either way, it will be the right one.
As part of his preparations for his upcoming decision, Favre is practicing with the Oak Grove High School football team in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Ever the role model, Favre is donating his time and influence to young men who are, like him, facing huge decisions. When faced with some of life's most important choices, like choosing a college, or a career path, these young men can find comfort in knowing that, like Favre, these decisions are not once in a lifetime, but once a year. That has to take loads of pressure off of these lads. It's the courage of Favre that makes that possible.
In the meantime, while we wait for that monumental announcement, or text, or second-hand communication, there's a "Brett Favre Tribute Album" in the works, and true to form, artists are scrambling to participate, although none have officially committed. Assuming full participation, the tentative track list is as follows:
"Oops! I Did it Again" by Britney Spears
"I'll Wait" by Van Halen
"Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper
"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley
"Would I Lie to You" by The Eurythmics
"Double Talkin' Jive" by Guns 'N Roses
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John
"The Waiting is the Hardest Part" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles
"Déjà Vu" by Dionne Warwick
"I Don't Know" by Ozzy Osborne
"Take Your Time (Do it Right)" by S.O.S. Band
"Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who