Brett Favre is retiring from football.
Brett Favre is also stepping down, out of the limelight. He is relinquishing his role as one of the few people left to look up to in sports. It was something he took seriously.
There are more than few people we can think of, off the top of our heads I’m sure, who weren’t worth looking up to, no matter how high up they climbed.
Brett Favre isn’t perfect. But he has some qualities worth admiring. He was loyal to one of the loyalest, most lovingly true-blue fans in football. He showed up and he played. Not just to every game (though he did that… starting every game for 17 seasons), but to every play, mentally holding on even when the game was bound to pull the team down.
He used his team, the rookies, receiver, the defense, the line: he got them all involved. He was a leader, and for that reason, his team followed him. He started that way–coming up in 1989 from 7th string quarterback at Southern Miss to topple 6th ranked Florida State–and he showed how well he could manage his resources, competing hard to the end of a challenging final season.
So to Brett, I say this:
Greatness isn’t measured in long yardage: it is measured in inches, in the accumulation of small strides of goodness and of overcoming odds. A career in Green Bay, a happy family, and all the years of life’s adventure stretching out ahead of you. Sure it’s terrifying, for you, for football, for Green Bay fans, to let you go. But you were so good! Who would trade that? Not me! Not you, I’m sure.
You may have reason to argue, but for now I’m saying Brett Favre lands in at the top of the Honor roll. Not just of football, but of American life, of the dream of living your passion, and of being a good sport at the end.