Fouvre Or Fivre Ways To Amaze

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - March 12, 2008
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The single word opening doesn’t make for much of a lead, but does provide a fitting one-word description of the Badger State’s favorite adopted son.

Amazing was the toughness and the arm that could still dominate a game after 17 years of punishment.

Amazing was the creativity and the confidence.

Amazing were the throws he made and the ones he should have never considered.

Most amazing was the joy with which he played the game. Every athlete in every arena, rink, stadium or field swears to the joy of competition, but few show it as readily or convincingly as Brett Favre.

Tiger Woods seems to play 18 angry holes while Payton Manning goes about his job with the apparent excitement of an accountant at tax time. Not Favre. Though slower of foot and topped with a head gone gray, he still refused to act his age on the field or cease pulling pranks on his teammates. Sneaking up on team-mates and pinching them under the arm seems to have been a particular favorite. Just as the shovel passes, last-second comebacks and impossible throws are burned into the collective memory of NFL fans, so are his fist pumping sprints across field, the hugs, the high fives and the snowballs tossed in jest at teammates and officials. Not to mention the live, on-air goosing of Terry Bradshaw following the 1996 NFC title game and the hoisting of Greg Jennings following the pass that broke Dan Marino’s touchdown record. Without knowing the context of the play, one could safely assume it was Jennings who had set a record.

While NFL Films and YouTube will continue to replay his on-field greatness and Halloween pranks on former coach Mike Holmgren, to portray Favre as the perfectly padded, eye-blacked patron saint of boyhood joy would be simply wrong. He’s had his share of demons. His use of painkillers led to a seizure in a Green Bay hospital following ankle surgery in 1996, and he basically drank himself out of his first job in Atlanta. Brett missed a Falcon team photo because he was hung over. Jerry Glanville and June Jones, incorrectly, have been taking hits for trading Favre ever since. In hindsight, it was a horrendous move, but at the time they were getting rid of an overweight drunk whose Hall of Fame career may never have gotten started if not for Tim Krumriel taking out Dan Majkowski in the third game of the 1992 season.

Where exactly Favre fits into the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks is to be debated. His positives are amazing considering some of the targets he’s has to throw to in Green Bay. He leaves the game as the all-time leader in passing yards (61,655), touchdowns (442), wins (160), consecutive games started (275), passes (8,758) and completions (5,377). He has also thrown for more interceptions (288) than anyone in history, sliding the Favre name ahead of such greats as George Blanda (277), John Hadl (268) and Vinney Testaverde (267). Herein lies the rub against Favre taking over the top slot as most of his numbers would suggest is appropriate. It’s hard to be the best when the position’s greatest fault becomes too often a reality.

The huge number of interceptions were the downside of his famed “gunslinger” reputation. Not all those out-thewazoo plays turn out exactly as planned, and it was his refusal to give up such practices that led him to throwing 62 passes to the opposition in his final three years in the league. Also, in the highly critical modern definition of success, his one Super Bowl title also hampers his assault on surpassing Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, John Elway or a still active Tom Brady.

What comes next for Favre is anyone’s guess, likely even to himself. His huge popularity and every-man reputation means he could easily follow in the footsteps of Arnold Palmer and become a gracefully aging corporate ad man for hire. He speaks better than many who have made the transition to the broadcast booth, so that is a viable option even though he has said he has no real interest in such a job.

Then again he could just head to his property near Hattiesburg, Miss., to be rarely heard from again - a future that would surprise no one.

Whatever he does he will always be the joyous man-child who brought high school enthusiasm to the NFL and who forever etched his name into the annals of epic history with his 399-yard, four-touchdown performance the day after his coach, best friend and father passed away in 2003.

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