Curtain falls on Favre’s annual summer drama|Opinion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

On Tuesday night, as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols breathlessly reported from the gates of Brett Favre’s palatial estate outside Hattiesburg, the news filtered out.

The longest running drama of summer has finally closed its doors. And no, it isn’t “Phantom of the Opera.”

Favre finally ended months of speculation in what has become an annual rite of summer as he spurned the Minnesota Vikings, finally deciding that enough was enough.

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ESPN got a guaranteed event to breathlessly cover for most of the slowest time in sports. They stalked him like TMZ with Britney Spears, reporting his every move. Brett is looking for houses in Minnesota. Brett told so-and-so that he was going to play again. Or not. The Vikings watched him throw. The Vikings watched him sweat, mow some grass on his property and film another Wrangler jeans commercial.

Will he? Won’t he? Ed Werder reports. Sal Palantonio reports. Brett texted Chris Mortensen. The whole sporting world seemed to hang on his every text, his every veiled statement and the testimony of his friends on whether Brett would see his shadow or not before the start of training camp.

The hilarity of ESPN bird-dogging him around Oak Grove High School’s college-like football stadium while he fired tight spirals to high school and college wideouts eager to catch passes from a future Hall of Famer was, at times, too much to bear.

Now that is done, and it is a good thing. Favre finally realized that the game had passed him by at the age of 39, an age when most athletes have been in retirement for several years.

In the end, it wasn’t Brett’s indomitable will to win that gave out on him. It was his body, battered after more than 26 years in football at all levels, that finally told him that it was time to hang it up.

Last season was proof that Favre’s run had finally ended. In the New York Jets’ final five games, he threw eight picks and only two touchdown passes in a 1-4 run that ended the Jets’ hopes of a playoff berth. In his defense, he was playing through a torn tendon in his biceps on his throwing arm, but the ability for an athlete to bounce back from any injury at that advanced age is pretty slim.

Will all of this drama mar his legacy? Will the longest running drama of the summer make people forget what an exciting and dynamic performer he was in his prime? Will Green Bay forgive his trashing of the organization and near-defection to the archrival Minnesota Vikings?

All will be forgiven and forgotten.

When he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in 2014 and receives a bust and a gold jacket, all of the drama of the summers of yore will be forgotten. Same when his No. 4 is retired at Lambeau Field a few years from now. All that will be remembered is a gambling gunslinger with a fighting spirit who put some fun into the No Fun League. He owns nearly all of the NFL’s passing records and was the NFL’s iron man with 269 consecutive starts and most career victories by a starting quarterback with 169.

And that’s all anyone will remember. The kid from tiny Kiln didn’t want the curtain to fall on an amazing run, but in the end, as the theatergoers leave the Favre Show for the final run, it was one heckuva ride.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail