Most talking heads will tell you that an extraordinary athlete should go out while he’s on top. Rarely does this happen however. Jerry Rice didn’t retire until he was unable to make the Denver Broncos roster. The great Johnny Unitas ended his career with the San Diego Chargers. It’s still difficult for Redskins fans to envision Art Monk as a New York Jet and Philadelphia Eagle.
I am of the opinion that it is not up to us to decide when an athlete should retire. An athlete’s diminished skills are not relevant. An athlete’s desire to play is all that should matter. Regret can destroy a man inside. Better to be wrong, than to regret.
The difference for Brett Favre however was that he came so close. He was just one play away from a Super Bowl bid and the possibility of going out in the romantic way that makes legends such as John Elway. Instead he is left pondering the “what ifs”, and struggles to justify his decisions.
And now here we are with just six games left in the 2010 regular season. Just six games left in what most likely will be Brett Favre’s last as an NFL quarterback. The internal turmoil caused by player bickering and a head coach unable to garner respect should not have highlighted Favre’s farewell season. However you and I both know, the only thing in life that can be expected, is the unexpected.
Brett Favre has always played his best, when faced with the unexpected. He is no stranger to loss and tragedy. He played quite possibly his best game as a Pro after his father had passed. There is no question that Favre himself expects to overcome all the distractions and all the controversy. He will not transition to the NFL Alumni Association quietly, nor will he lay down in his 300th regular season game against the Washington Redskins.
With Brad Childress out and Leslie Frazier taking the reigns, the Vikings have plenty to play for. For the first time this year, pride matters for the Minnesota Vikings. Pride still matters for Brett Favre as well. Enough so that he yearns to leave the game on a high note and to prove himself once again.