A Farewell To Favre
In writing this post, I feel it necessary to state for the record that I am not a great respecter of quarterbacks. As a former defensive lineman, I came from the Howie Long school of quarterback pursuit. Howie once eloquently stated that he'd never seen a quarterback maim anyone, so once he made it past the offensive lineman, Howie usually wouldn't put too much of a hit on the quarterback. In Howie's mind, the chase was far more fun than the actual sack. Howie is a wise man.
Most quarterbacks, regardless of the level at which they play, have enormous egos. The quarterback position is the one most focused on by fans, media, and followers of the game. If the team wins, the quarterback is a god. If the team loses, the quarterback shoulders the blame. Actually, most of the time he blames other players – there are after all 21 other positions on the team. Any good student of football understands the game is won and lost at the point of attack – that being in the trenches with the lineman. If a team doesn't dominate the line of scrimmage, what happens in the backfield won't really matter.
Very few quarterbacks – even at the professional level – understand this fact. Brett Favre is one of the few.
Today he announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers having played there for seventeen seasons. The average NFL career hovers someplace around five to six years, so seventeen years is an eternity – especially for a quarterback. That he managed to play so effectively for so long is a testament to his athletic skill and especially the skill of those massive humans tasked with blocking for him.
My professional football allegiance has and always will lie with the Denver Broncos – good seasons and bad – but I can honestly say I have a lot of respect for Brett Favre. He is one of the few and quite possibly the only professional quarterback I have ever seen throw a block on a massive, ugly, hulking, enormous defensive end so the running back could gain a few more yards. He did that throughout his career and earned the respect of defensive lineman across the league for doing so.
As a general rule, defensive linemen don't hold quarterbacks in high esteem. Favre's relationship with them was more collegial than anything else.
An era in professional football has come to an end. I for one will miss seeing #4 take to the frozen tundra of Titletown's Lambeau Field. It just won't be the same game without him.
Here endeth the lesson.