Favre’s 2006 return nothing to question

first_imgAs I watched the Packers game this past Sunday, I thought to myself, “Why is Brett Favre putting himself through another season of hell?” Favre is struggling with a plethora of problems, including a new coaching staff, an unproven offensive line, a lack of big-play receivers, a running back coming off season-ending surgery and a defense that is just plain bad.But then I remembered whose resolve I was questioning — the toughest player in the National Football League.Favre’s career has always been about the improbable. After high school, Favre received only one scholarship offer. Southern Mississippi recruited Favre to play defensive back, but after demonstrating his skills under center, the Kiln, Miss. native emerged as the starting quarterback just three games into his freshman year.Favre began his professional career ominously with the Atlanta Falcons as the 31st overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft. Favre had repeated clashes with then head coach, Jerry Glanville, and went 0-4 with two interceptions in his first season. Most notably, Favre missed the team photo because he was out drinking the night before.In one of the most lopsided trades in sports history, Favre became a Packer before the 1992 season, replacing injured quarterback Don Majkowski. After Favre’s struggles in the early going of his first game, Packer fans responded with chants of “Put Ty In” — referring to Ty Detmer, who was also on the Packers’ roster at the time. But the unflappable Favre overcame the unruly fans and tossed a game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds remaining. The following week against the Steelers, Favre began the longest consecutive starts streak for a quarterback in NFL history — a number that continues to grow every NFL Sunday.Favre has overcome everything from nagging injuries to his father’s death and somehow gets on the field just to give his team a chance to win. In 2003, Favre had arguably the greatest game of his career just one day after his father Irvin passed away. Knowing his team needed a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, Favre walked into Oakland’s notorious “Black Hole” and passed 399 yards along with four touchdowns in the NFL’s most hostile environment. The next week, Favre attended his father’s funeral and clinched the NFC North title against the Broncos in the same day.The list of Favre’s improbable moments and unlikely comebacks goes on and on, but the point is that no challenge is too great for the three-time MVP to overcome. People look at last year as the worst season of Favre’s illustrious career — and statistically, it is. I’m not going to sit here and say that throwing a league-leading 29 interceptions is something to be proud of, but lasting the whole season with the 2005 Packers definitely is.Despite losing his No. 1 target in Javon Walker and starting running back Ahman Green, Favre still managed to throw for the third-most passing yards, and the 10th-most passing TDs in the NFL. I know 29 picks is bad — it’s really bad — but how many of those came when Favre was playing from behind, trying to will his team back into a game? Green Bay’s defense gave up the 10th most points in the NFL last season, and if the Pack were going to have any shot at winning, Favre had no choice but to let it fly. Every week, Favre was ready to play with the same fire he demonstrated in the late ’90s. Despite fans and analysts calling for Favre to give up on his streak and make way for rookie QB Aaron Rodgers, the former Super Bowl champion refused to bail on his team, insisting he would finish the dismal season. In what most thought would be his final game, Favre tossed the game-winning TD against Seattle in Week 17.Following the season, Favre’s retirement seemed like an afterthought. Statistically, Favre had the worst year of his career, and he was on a team going nowhere. But what everyone seems to forget is that in 2004, Favre threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. A player of Favre’s caliber does not just lose all of his skills in 17 games, including last week’s season opener.Now fast forward to this season. After keeping football fans and the state of Wisconsin glued to ESPN all summer, Favre finally announced he would be back for one more year. Everyone had an opinion on the decision: some said he’s too old, others said he earned the right to play as long as he wants. But more than anything, people said Favre should hang it up because he is hurting his legacy.What does that mean, anyway?Did Willie Mays taint his 660 homeruns after a few bad years with the Mets? Did Jerry Rice have his three Super Bowl rings and 13 Pro Bowl selections taken away because he had a few average years with the Raiders and Seahawks? Is Wayne Gretzky no longer the “Great One” after being just an average one with the Rangers? Will we remember Michael Jordan for his game-winning shot over Bryon Russell in the NBA finals or will people harp on his flat jump while playing for the Wizards?Anyway, you get the point.Statistically, Favre is the second-best quarterback of all time and the only player in NFL history to win back-to-back-to-back MVP awards — a few losing seasons is never going to change any of that.Favre’s stats aren’t going to be jaw-dropping this year, but the only way someone ruins a Hall of Fame legacy is by allegedly stabbing two people before taking a white bronco for a little spin, eh, O.J.?The Packers aren’t winning the Super Bowl this year, and they probably won’t even make the playoffs, but Favre has defied the odds throughout his career.So when Favre straps on his shoulder pads for the 223rd consecutive time Sunday, expect the unexpected — and if not, expect it in his 224th consecutive start.Andrew Kluger is a junior majoring in journalism. For any questions or comments, contact him at akluger@badgerherald.com.last_img

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