If you look at it honestly and objectively, the enduring appeal of Brett Favre really boils down to three rather cliched observations about him.
1. He's loves playing football. This is invariably uttered by sportscasters over video of Brett grinning after a play or horsing around with his teammates. Of course, there are also many infamous moments - too may to count, actually - when Favre would make stupid decisions on the field, heaving a ball into the air or forcing it into double coverage, that would result in an interception. And there would be Favre jogging to the sidelines, shrugging with a little smirk. We'll get them next time, coach. There's confidence and there's recklessness. Yeah, he's not always the most level-headed, consistent player... but he loves to play, by golly. It might have worked out better for the Packers overall if they'd had a guy who maybe hates to play a little, but does so with a smarter attitude.
2. He's a good guy. This stems mostly from his aw-shucks, Southern-fried personality, all laid-back charm and stubbled machismo. He's the kind of guy you'd want to buy a beer for, a perfect complement to the blue-collar town of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Of course, none of us really know Favre, so we'll have to just take at face value the many ESPN interview packages that help reinforce this notion that Favre's a guy's guy who chops wood and drinks Pabst. Albeit a guy's guy who makes millions and millions of dollars. Maybe he should buy the beer.
3. He's one of the most durable players in the NFL. Favre certainly earns this one, having made 253 consecutive starts at quarterback. In a league where every game is the equivalent of a multi-car accident, that is an amazing feat. Then again, consecutive starts don't necessarily equal wins. Why is this such a big deal again?
It's not fun, we know. It's practically an American requirement to love Favre. But look yourself in the mirror. Favre is a great story, but he's always been a very streaky player.
In fact, the time may be drawing nigh when we all have to re-evaluate Number 7. Because the escalating retirement/unretirement soap opera between Favre and the Packers front office is not only exhausting, it's threatening to completely undermine the Favre Myth. He's now seeming so petulant and whiny that you'd think he was an NBA player.
Submitted for your consideration:
* A recent network sports show interviewed a number of NFL quarterbacks, all of whom said something along the lines of "He's Brett Favre - he should do what he wants." So if you're a celebrated athlete, there's no reason to be bound by a contract, much less any sort of common courtesy? Okay, just checking.
* Favre recently claimed that the Packers "forced" him out. You can maybe force out the second-string safety you drafted out of Eastern Nevada State. No way do you force out one of the best-known QB brands in the NFL. The fact that Favre expects anyone to believe that line of crap is beyond belief. In fact, it's insulting.
* The Packers contend that they had arrangements with Favre to un-retire back in March, but he changed his mind. Read that sentence again. They were ready to take him back when he said never mind. And so now he's changing his mind back. Again. This unending vacillation is selfish in the extreme, as if Favre has some sort of twisted psychological need to be the center of attention. You'll surely recall that this kind of farce has played out the last two off-seasons as Favre cruelly left the Packers and its fans wondering for months if the Great Favre would come down form the mountaintop and deign to grace them with his 17 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. It's arrogant behavior that does not match the fuzzy PR image of Favre as the good guy who loves to play football. In fact, if this guy is so unsure what he wants to do, if you're in the huddle with him you have to be wondering if he'll suddenly retire again in the middle of the season.
* Favre recently also had the audacity to suggest he's upset with the Packers because they haven't been very welcoming or warm to him. Unbelievable. Why should they be? Can you imagine what might happen if any of us quit our job and then wandered back in three months later demanding it back... and then complaining about a lack of warmth when the red carpet wasn't rolled out? This isn't the real world, people. It's the Coddled-Star-Athlete-World. It's just sad that we're learning Favre is among its inhabitants, no different than crybabies like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson or Randy Moss.
* Now comes word that the real reason Favre suddenly wants to un-retire might be the Minnesota Vikings, a Packer division rival, want to sign him. Favre surely figured he'd snap his fingers and get the Packers to release him to play wherever he wanted. I mean, come on. He's a good guy who loves to play football.
This sordid mess will have no happy ending, not for Favre, not for the Packers.
One thing is certain: if Favre plays again in the 2008 season, the Cheese Fry will now vigorously root against Brett Favre. You should, too.
UPDATE: An unofficial ombudsman of the Cheese Fry, Taco Salad, correctly pointed out that the original title of this post "Let's 86 number 7" made no sense as Favre's number is, in fact, number 4. The Cheese Fry regrets the error.