Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brett Favre and the Mockery of Retirement

The act of retirement in professional sports is starting to become one of the biggest mockeries in the modern era of athletics. All the evidence you need for this can be found by logging into and reading the headline "Brett Favre Sends Text Message to Packers GM." Are you kidding me? There's absolutely no chance that i read that article because not only am I sick of professional icons un-retiring, but I'm tired of the speculation and undue media attention over it. To tell you the truth if had put up the headline "Brett Favre Takes a Shit on Lambeau Field" I guarantee I would have read the article in full and clicked on every youtube link I could find. Come to think of it that might have been the exact headline last year after the Favre INT that cost the Packers their season. But did everyone really think that Brett was going to let our lasting memory be of packer's fan yelling spagNOOOOuolo at the TV screen while Corey Webster handpicked a new multi-year extension for Lawrence Tynes?

Brett wants to make us forget about his miserable lasting memory and knows he has the talent to do so. He surprisingly had an excellent year this past season and many critics claimed it to be one of his best ever. With this recent sports trend of players extending their careers (see: Jamie Moyer, Vinny Tesetaverde, Dikembe Mutombo), combined with the Packers young talent, it would seem to be a no-brainer for Brett to come back for another season. But after the long leash that Packers' management had extened in the past, they needed an answer from Brett ASAP so they could plan their future. Brett then held his press conference, officially retired from the game of football and opened up the door for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, drafted 24th overall in 2005, has been able to learn the offense from a legend without any of the pressure that is now commonly placed on first and second year quarterbacks. During the season Rodgers would spend hours watching tape on each of the Packers' Opponents' quarterbacks in order to learn their style. He would then mimic the quarterback's actions during the practice for the Packers D so that they would have a better idea of what to expect come gamtime. What more could you ask for out of a backup? he showed courage and talent while stepping in against Dallas and was willing to take on extra responsibilities on top of it. I believe A-Rod will lead the pack to another 10+ win season and apparently Packers management agrees with me because they did not quite jump at the chance to get Brett back. It may also be because they're just as fed up as the rest of us at these great athletes who retire and un-retire at the drop of a hat.

Over the years many great players in professional sports have attempted comebacks and there have been mixed results. Michael Jordan part II led to three additional titles for the Bulls, but part III ended with MJ scoring 10 ppg lower than his career average, leading the lowly Wizards to a sub-.500 record and one moment of all-star game brilliance before the West rallied to win. Magic Johnson came back to the tune of 14.6 ppg in 32 games played. Mario Lemieux returned to lead the NHL is ppg, but could not bring the Pens back to the Stanley Cup. The heart of the retirement issue is not that these great icons don't know when to say when, but that pro sports analysts, coaches and management massage the egos of these athletes. Without any firm policies handed down from these leagues, the images of these legends have, and will, continue to become tarnished. I propose that there be two rules about retirement that be extended throughout all major sports. The first rule should state that if Player X retires, he must sit out at least one year. I don't think this one is too much to ask. Player X just retired. He had a farewell tour so each visiting ballpark, stadium and arena could say their goodbyes. He made a heartfelt speech to the home crowd at his last regular season game. An announcer said, "This could be his last snap/shot/at-bat" at least 25 times. The least Player X can do is sit on his couch playing Wii baseball with his own 3-D character for a year instead of making a joke out of it all by coming back the next season. The second rule should be that a player can only un-retire once. This rule would have allowed the greatness of Jordan part II without the geriatric disaster of Jordan part III. It would have stopped these asinine boxing pro's from making five separate comebacks (shout out to Tyson and Holyfield) and it just makes practical sense. If a player retires, comes back and retires again then this player presumably realizes that he is too old to be playing professionally and his body is worn out. Then a few years later the player comes back AGAIN. Just kill me now and get David Stern an adult diaper for Jordan part IV. If a player retires for a second time then there is no way he should be allowed back, Take the money and run. Leave us with out childhood memories of greatness. Think twice about text messaging the post-game hoes, leave the Kobe rape allegations and go home to screw your wife for a while.

So here i am begging and pleading our beloved sports entities to enact these rules for the good of the game. I am also asking Brett Favre to stand behind his decision and call it quits AT LEAST FOR ONE SEASON. Let Green Bay move on, tell the media to back off, stop them from sifting through your garbage for old love letters to Mike Holmgren and take the Lambeau Leap off a cliff and out of the public eye.


Alon said...

awesome post, couldn't agree more.

Shpeor said...

Great post. This trend is akin to entertainers who un-retire just to make bank on a promotional tour. A last hoorah of sorts.

I'd like to see an article about how the Packers front office absolutely rapped Brett Farve in his little PR chess match. Management handled the situation delicately and was able to severe ties with Farve amicably and without much backlash from fans.

Anonymous said...

wait. alon, do you still agree?

Alon said...

Actually as people like Walsh and Gir have been hating on Favre more and more I've been going in the opposite direction. I really blame the media for blowing every little word, action, or consideration way out of proportion. It's not like Favre has any say as to what is being broadcasted 24/7.

Either way, the post and Anonymous (pussy) comment have nothing to do with if Favre can still play, which he can, and if he is a great fit for the Jets, which he is.

The retiring and un-retiring is quite silly but if there was one article 3 weeks ago and none since yesterday that said Favre wants to come back but he doesn't want to play in Green Bay then everyone, including me, would be intrigued.

I completely blame the media for causing all of the commotion surrounding the "indecision" process.

Go Jets.