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Brett Favre: The Hero Who Lost His Way

Updated on July 10, 2011

Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers

There are three things synonymous with my home state of Wisconsin, cheese, beer and Brett Favre. Brett Favre was an absolute hero to Wisconsinites throughout the course of his 16-year career with the Green Bay Packers, where he won three MVP awards, one Super Bowl and set dozens of NFL records from the quarterback position.

He was a living legend in the state as he almost single-handedly put Green Bay back on the map after a nearly 30-year hiatus from relevance. Brett Favre appeared to have an innocent and fun-loving personality off the field and the fire of a fierce competitor on game day, while providing entertaining and emotional memories that will likely last a lifetime. He was loved by almost everyone in the state, football fan or not, and revered by opposing defenses and coaches.

Brett Favre was different from any other star because Brett Favre was our star. But, all that changed in early 2008 when Brett Favre retired, unretired and then drew a line in the sand between himself and the Green Bay Packers; A line that would mark his downfall and send his reputation in Wisconsin and sports into a spiral.

Brett Favre in Green Bay


Brett Favre "Retires"

In March of 2008, the world watched the Brett Favre press conference where he tearfully announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers and NFL football. It was a sad and somber day in Wisconsin, but most people quickly came to terms and prepared to root for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in 2008.

It wasn’t until late in the summer at the eve of training camp that rumblings started to surface of a potential return to football for the former gunslinger. Green Bay Packer fans were torn. Of course most wanted to see Brett Favre, their hero, return, while many felt that the team had made a commitment to Aaron Rodgers and could no longer be held back by the indecision that plagued Brett Favre for the past four to five off-seasons.

Eventually, the Green Bay Packer front office and coaching staff determined that Brett Favre would be allowed to come back if he were willing to compete for the starting quarterback job. The offer was refused with apparent disgust from Favre. His refusal would lead to the team trading Brett Favre to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick.

Brett Favre Retirement News Conference - 2008

Brett Favre in New York


Brett Favre and the New York Jets

Immediately after the trade, Brett Favre news crowded the pages of the sports section and screens of televisions. A war of words broke out between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers with Favre feeling betrayed and disrespected by the team and General Manager Ted Thompson.

He had asked for a trade to the Minnesota Vikings where he felt he could compete for a Super Bowl, but understandably, the Green Bay Packers did not want him to play in the NFC North. Upon news of hearing Favre’s interest in the Vikings, things got ugly in Wisconsin. Many fans wished that Brett Favre would have just stayed retired, while others began to turn on Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers. Favre did not retire though; he played out 2008 with the New York Jets and had a so-so, unmemorable season, failing to miss the playoffs by throwing a game-deciding interception on the final game of the year, much like he had in 2007.

The Green Bay Packers went 8-8 that season and Aaron Rodgers emerged as a young star in the NFL. Brett Favre would once again retire shortly after the season, meaning that hopefully the saga would come to end, however, things only got worse.

Brett Favre in Minnesota


Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings

Once training camp appeared on the horizon, news of Brett Favre coming out of retirement once again began to appear in the media.

This time, Brett Favre was determined to join the Minnesota Vikings and there was no one holding him back. On the opening day of the 2009 NFL season, Brett Favre was wearing Vikings purple, and it was a sickening sight for all in the state of Wisconsin. In early November, he returned to Lambeau Field to a chorus of boos and shouts from angry Green Bay Packers fans.

However, Brett Favre would come out victorious and sweep the series while leading the Minnesota Vikings to the division championship and NFC Championship game, where once again, he would throw a late-game interception to seal his team’s fate. Of course, at the end of the season, Brett Favre indicated he would retire for a third time.

This time, Brett Favre did not officially retire, but once again waited until late into the preseason schedule to join the Minnesota Vikings due to a bum ankle that required surgery late in the off-season. Around the same time, internet rumors began to swirl around involving sexually inappropriate text messages and voice mails sent by Brett Favre to a Jets sideline reporter, Jen Sterger, during his time with the team. Rumors or not, any Brett Favre news is news in sports today, and these reports showcased Favre in a spotlight the athlete had been able to avoid for nearly two decades.

Now almost half way through the 2010 season, Brett Favre looks like a shell of his former self. The Minnesota Vikings have a dismal 2-4 record and Favre is falling short of his brilliant 2009 performance having already thrown 10 interceptions as compared to 7 throughout all of last season.

The rumors have continued to gain steam indicating possible sexual harassment on the part of Brett Favre that could lead to a suspension from the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. In a

Sunday night loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the first defeat by his former team, he suffered a fractured ankle to complement his already injured shoulder and throwing elbow. As his team walked off the field in defeat, Favre slowly limped through the mob of reporters and former teammates as his less-than triumphant exit from his former home was met with boos and disdain.

Then, on December 13th, 2010, the unthinkable happened. After 297 consecutive games starting at QB, Brett Favre was on the sideline when his team took the field on a Monday Night Game against the New York Giants.

Everything great about Brett Favre was gone.

Brett Favre is no longer a hero in the state of Wisconsin. While the memories of his time with the Green Bay Packers will not be forgotten, it is unlikely that the pedestal on which he took residence during his years with the Packers will ever reach the same heights again.

He is no longer seen as role model, but rather an egotistical drama queen hell bent on pursuing his own selfish needs and desires, despite what it might mean to a team, state or the moral laws of marriage, society and the workplace. How quickly the mighty can fall.

The Future for Brett Favre

We live in a forgiving country, and Wisconsin is no different. Once the dust of the 2010 season and the potential law suit settles, Brett Favre will likely officially retire from NFL football once and for all. Time heals all wounds, even one’s such as this that have hit the heart of so many avid Green Bay Packers fans.

Once Brett Favre is gone from the game, people will be able to reflect on the good times without having to view the sad state of current affairs. Hopefully the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson and the state of Wisconsin will welcome their prodigal son back with open arms and the past three years will be nothing more than a footnote in the story of an otherwise fun and fantastic Hall-of-Fame NFL career. After all, not all stories have heroes, but the good ones have happy endings.


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    • kjrzeek1 profile image


      6 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      I used to love watching Brett Farve, until he went crazy. Not sure what happened but it is a shame. I am really happy for Arron Rodgers! Great Hub!

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest

      Stevennix2001 -

      Great comment. I couldn't agree more. Before 2008 his indecisiveness was just annoying, but not really harmful. In 2008 it jeopardized the team and put the locker room in turmoil, which isn't good for a NFL team just getting started in training camp or a young QB looking to gain the trust/respect of his teammates.

      I do believe that Favre will go to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and I think his # will be retired by the Packers long before then. It just would have been nice to have avoided all of this as I don't think my memories of Favre will ever have quite the same luster they once did.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      7 years ago

      I have to say I agree with your hub 100 percent on Favre, as you sum up my thoughts exactly on this issue. Although another issue to point out was that Favre also requested in 2008 that the Packers outright released him, so he could sign with the Vikings if they didn't agree to trade him. Even more shocking, many nfl analysts agreed with him; saying they owed him that much for years of service.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm all for teams being loyal to players that gave them so many years like what happened to Emmitt Smith with Dallas was downright disrespectful on how they ended up trading him after he broke the rushing record. Or the time when NFL should've made a special exception for Jerry Rice to sign a one day contract with the Niners, as he is considered arguably the best receiver of all time, and it's not like it would've been that big of a deal.

      However, when it came to Favre, I think what ultimately did him in was his indecisiveness about his future. Personally, I was with Favre for taking his sweet time deciding to play or not to play during those various times before the 2008 fiasco. Hell, he earned the right to take his time.

      However, when it got to 2008, and he declared himself retired. Then wanted to come back to play, as Green Bay management did meet him at his house during the off season to get a new deal done for him, he said he changed his mind AGAIN to stay retire, as reported by ESPN. Months later as you said, the team was set up to be built around Rodgers. However, Brett stomped his feet after the Pack worked all off season to prepare with Rodgers, to say that he wanted the starting job back. As I said before, i'm not against teams' loyalty to players, and I know that Green Bay owed him a lot. but come on! seriously, how much do the packers owe him?

      I mean seriously. Brett was a freaking back up qb when he first started in the nfl for another team, and green bay gave him a shot. Doesn't he owe them a bit too? I mean a lot of players that make it to the nfl don't often get to be star players. some sit their entire careers off the bench, so I think Favre owed Green Bay by giving them answer at least sometime before the draft, so they could've built the team around him or Rodgers based on his decision in 2008.

      However, I think it was Favre's indecisiveness that led to his downfall. Fortunately, years from now, I doubt people will remember his down years, as you pointed out. After all, how many people still talk about Michael Jordan's short career with the Wizards? Or Joe Montana's down years with the Chiefs? No, whenever sports casters talk about them, they always talk about their glory days. Therefore, add in the fact of america's amazingly forgiving and/or short attention span, I think it's safe to say that Favre's legacy isn't tarnished though. Barring any kind of steroid scandal, I think it's safe to say that Brett is going to be in the hall of fame when he's nominated. hands down.

      As for Rodgers and the Packers, if they can remain healthy enough, they might be able to do something that Brett's pack never did....form a dynasty. something that hasn't happened in Green Bay for quite a while.

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest

      Hi wsupaul88 -

      Thanks for reading. It was certainly a very unceremonious farewell season for Favre in 2010.

    • wsupaul88 profile image


      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I was thinking of doing a hub like this, but you got it covered! Great Hub!

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest

      Hi Greg1313 -

      I have heard mixed reviews over the years as to how good of a football player Brett Favre really is/was.

      In terms of talent, there probably are quite a few QBs who have been better, but as far as a determination to win and being the biggest competitor on the field, I think very few have ever been better than Brett Favre.

      It is a shame everything went down as it did as it in no way helps his reputation and overshadows a lot of the great things he accomplished.

    • greg1313 profile image


      7 years ago from New Hampshire

      It was interesting to read from the standpoint of a fan- while i certainly respect his career, i never really thought he was as good as everyone thought. I do agree with you though, it is kinda sad how people in general manage to fall so hard from up so high i guess its all about knowing when to quit- good article man

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Midwest

      I do not think Brett Favre will play this weekend against the Chicago Bears, however he may start one of the final two games of the season.

      I don't think Aaron Rodgers will or should start Sunday against the New England Patriots. The Green Bay Packers got themselves into their situation by losing too many close games, not worth risking Rodgers long-term health to try to pull them out of it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Do you think he is out for good? Some say he's not coming back. That would be really sad. I am still hoping he will take this and turn it into another opportunity for an "against all odds" fantastic finish! What about Aaron Rodgers and his concussions? Do you think he will be back?

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Midwest

      Hi rx4u -

      It was a little sad to see something so special come to an end. I was 10 years old when Brett Favre's streak started so it was crazy to not see him playing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub! I was so sad on the 13th when his consecutive game streak stopped. :(

      Thanks for sharing this!

    • article_eric profile image


      8 years ago from Seattle, WA

      There are very few players in the history of sports who have gone out on top. Favre, though many years removed from a Superbowl championship, had a 2009-2010 season for the ages. Nobody expected it, and he actually almost got the Vikes to the big show. Though he fell short, there were many memories last year - and his best bet would have been to quit while he was ahead. Yes, we're a forgiving country, but it's just unfortunate to watch Brett go down the way he has - with personal turmoil, endless injuries and far too many INT's. Hopefully, he'll live with the fact that his last season will be his worst and just hang it up.

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Midwest

      wavegirl22 - Thanks! Things have really gone from bad to worse for Brett Favre's reputation in 2010. I certainly assume he will retire at the end of the season (at least I certainly hope so), but you just never know with this guy.

      Right now Favre definitely looks like an old man in a young man's game.

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Its time Farve retires. 20 NFL seasons and numerous MVP Awards and records later and this once upon a time media darling of the NFL is turning into a laughing stock. Someone needs to tell him it is time to give it up and hit the pasture. I do feel your pain, he could have gone down a hero but the image of his 'junk' is forever ingrained in my memory. And week in and week out having to see himalmost paralyzed at the end of a game . well .. Its just enough!

      On a higher note.. great Hub!

    • bogerk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Midwest

      Nicky Page - Thanks a lot! I grew up a huge Brett Favre fan, so the whole soap opera has been a bummer, but hopefully it all ends well.

    • Nicky Page profile image

      Nicky Page 

      8 years ago from Indiana

      Great hub!


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