07 August 2008

The Brett Favre Lesson

Despite the perseverating babble among the sports punditry, I have not heard one person get to the fundamental issue involved in the Favre situation.

Let's back up. Last year, when Favre called it quits I believed him. He's had a Hall of Fame career, a championship ring, and got to leave the game on his own terms. You can't ask for more than that. And there's only a certain amount of physical punishment a body can take year after year.

But then he gave an interview in which he admitted having no idea what he was going to do from now on. He had no idea how he was going to spend his time. And that's when I figured he'd return to football. I didn't think it would be as a player, but someone who has spent his entire life doing pretty much nothing but football would probably find a way to be around it longer.

So it surprised me that he wants to play but it's no surprise that he needs to keep doing the only thing he knows: football.

And that's the fundamental issue: for most pro athletes, it takes a lifetime of commitment to one thing. When it's over, they have no idea what to do with themselves. It's like going into witness protection: one has to start all over with a new life. Pete Sampras has talked about the problem as well.

It would be great if they could all be like former Bengal Reggie Williams, a Dartmouth grad who served on City Council and is now an exec at Disney. He was prepared for a second life and when the time came, he was ready.

Favre can't play forever. Eventually he'll have to start a second life and the sooner he gets ready for it, the better off he'll be.


LDP said...

I thought the fundamental issue was that Favre is an asshole.

Unknown said...

He's not an asshole. He's just woefully unprepared for his future. I doubt he could make it in the broadcast booth, nor do I think he could turn Terry Bradshaw showtime star (especially since Burt Reynolds isn't making buddy pictures anymore). I've always been a fan of Favre but this recent spate has recently diminished his in my eyes.

WestEnder said...

I feel pity rather than animosity; it's just sad that he doesn't know what to do with himself after football.

Contrast that to the Packers; the entire organization-- the management, the coaches and the players-- got on the same page and moved on without Favre.

In a certain sense it makes sense for them to keep Favre. They won more games under Favre than any other team. But unlike Favre, they moved on and committed themselves to a new direction. The didn't change course because their world no longer revolves around Favre.

But Favre's world still revolves around football. One day the fat lady will sing and he'd better be ready for it.

That said, I think the Jets got a good deal and I expect he'll help them considerably.