Editor's Note: Be sure to read today's interview with Dear Jon regarding the release of his book.
I realize that all my millions of fans have been so caught up in the release of my book, that it has completely slipped your minds to ask me my advice on how to cope with one of the great issues of 2008: The announcement by Brett Favre that he wants to return to the NFL.
So I am plugging the gap today, for two reasons: First, the circus that has grown around his antics is still in town, and second, I wanted to have an article to coincide with the big hype for my book on the Partial Observer.
Sports fans in general are following this story out of historical curiosity. It is fun to speculate on what Favre might accomplish if he comes back to football. But my interest in this development only reaches that far. In my opinion, which as you know I value highly, Favre has tainted his legacy and has now diminished the joy of football.
Favre has some astonishing achievements in his hall-of-fame career. However, I doubt that he is worth 12 million dollars to the Green Bay Packers this season, especially when the Packers now must consider life after Favre. I agree with the Packers management. They need to look forward. It was unfair for Favre to officially retire and then waffle. The Packers need to leverage decisions for their future.
The truth is, Brett Favre has not produced a Super Bowl victory since it was played in 1997. The truth is he has not played at All-Pro caliber since the following 1997 season. The truth is, and I know Packers fans globally will flame me for this and might even boycott my book, but I am going to say it anyway--I would rather have seen the pure pocket command and discipline of Troy Aikman or Tom Brady in the Packers huddle, and three or four super bowl championships.
My friends have heard me say such things right along. This is no betrayal of an earlier position or viewpoint.
Because I have not lived in Green Bay's primary television market, I have mostly gotten to watch Green Bay games that were nationally televised. In these games which tended to be against teams of caliber, I have watched a disproportionate share of Brett Favre's defeats, and a disproportionate number of uniquely dumb-headed plays that only Brett Favre was capable of making --such as shovel-passing directly into the chest of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. The years Favre spent handing off to Ahman Green were actually years of relief for me.
Favre is rightfully a legend. As a legend he could have retired at the top of his game after an excellent 2007 season. The time was right. I received as a gift a Brett Favre tribute, a coffee table book published by Sports Illustrated. I loved what he brought to the game, and I loved the idea that he would go out in style.
No one was pressuring him to retire. We would all have loved to have him back another year or maybe even two. But he chose to retire with a great season of memories behind him, and that was also good; it was a decision I felt I could trust Favre to make.
What has happened now is not in good style or in good taste. This is an error in judgment. He is pushing his luck and he is exhausting America's enthusiasm for him. Being a media darling is great. Milking that is fine. Coming back for another bow after the audience has stopped clapping, begging for the spotlight after it has moved on to the next act, is embarrassing. Once the curiosity is over, fans of the NFL will have a bad taste in their mouths, and that is when Favre will begin to feel what is it like to be spit out.
The way to have milked the fame and affection, is to publish an autobiography. As it is, the human interest stories that made Brett Favre a hero and an icon, have become old news. Other men lose their fathers; other wives get sick and many are not so lucky; thousands of anonymous Americans have helped out those who suffered in Hurricane Katrina, including the family of Dear Jon. Those stories will not come into focus anymore. Instead, the story is becoming all about Brett Favre's ego and the shadow he is determined to cast over the Packers franchise, future, and the career of Aaron Rogers.
I've watched Favre's ego in action: for fifteen years I've watched Brett Favre forcing throws into misread coverage. Mr. Favre, in this broken play you should have eaten the ball and taken the loss and punted. I know you hate to do that. As it is, that duck that you hurled instead is fluttering into hostile coverage, and the ones to catch that ball and run with it won't be on your side.
For everyone else in Wisconsin; it's nothing personal. I happen to be a Packers fan more than a Brett Favre fan. I hope that warms you up enough to buy my book.