NFL won't be the same
Franklin County Times
My boss tipped me off yesterday afternoon that Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre had officially announced his retirement.
I've been a Packers fan ever since I was a kid and my sister's boyfriend let me borrow a paperback about Hall of Famer Bart Starr, who played quarterback for Green Bay under Vince Lombardi and for Bear Bryant at Alabama. After the Packers won the NFL's first Super Bowls in the early 1960s, there wasn't much to cheer for in Green Bay until No. 4 was traded from Atlanta in 1992.
I should probably root for the Falcons or Tennessee Titans since they're in this region, but I've always liked the history and small-town appeal of the Packers franchise, which is the only one in American pro sports that's owned by its fans.
I think the basis of Favre's appeal is that the average fan can relate to him. A winning quarterback has to be a good leader, and his personality, competitiveness, toughness and attitude made him one of the all-time best.
It's amazing to me how someone could have play 273 straight football games without missing a start – I admire the way he has shown up to work and played at an elite level despite the well-documented off-the-field problems throughout his career.
I'm not the kind of sports fan who would spend hundreds of dollars for a jersey or an autograph, but I hope one day I have the opportunity to meet Favre and shake his hand. A few years ago as I was driving home from New Orleans, I somehow ended up in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town called Kiln, Miss. That's probably the only time I've ever been happy to be lost because it felt special to be driving through Favre's hometown, as silly as that sounds.
There are already columnists who are second-guessing his decision to retire but I'm glad he's leaving on his terms. I'll miss watching Favre sling touchdown passes and run around like a kid on a playground in NFL stadiums but he deserves to leave on his own terms.
He once said, "Sometimes you get caught up in what's going on around you. The reality is that you are just a regular person. At some point, the career will be over, the bright lights turn off. That can come back to haunt you if you're not just a regular guy."
Regular guys don't have a huge fan base, a Super Bowl ring and dozens of passing records, but I'm sure Favre will handle retirement the same way he has dealt with everything else in his life – like a winner.
Kim West is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 332-1881, ext. 30.