The winter has been a long, cold, and cruel one since the New York Jets’ 2008 season came to an embarrassing end. But on a surprisingly beautiful February morning, Brett Favre sent word through agent Bus Cook that his one season in a Jets’ uniform will be his final with the NFL.
And so ends the annual Brett Favre saga—sooner than anyone expected, and a lot sooner than Favre-history would have suggested.
While it’s always difficult to bid farewell to a legend, the happiness felt by most Jets’ fans on this glorious day of days will make his retirement a pleasant one. The implications surrounding Favre and what one more season would have meant are no longer a concern.
As relief washes over everyone, it must be understood that the reasons for such jubilation are many.
It wasn’t only a money issue, but the $13 million coming off the Jets’ cap is a satisfying burden to have lifted from the team’s shoulders.
It wasn’t only about the offense and how Brian Schottenheimer had to adjust his game plans to accommodate Favre. However, the Jets did become predictable when the gunslinger voiced his displeasure with pre-snap shifts and motions.
It definitely wasn’t only about his declining play and poor decision-making. But to ignore his 22-interception season as if it wasn’t a significant hindrance to the team’s attempts at a postseason run would be asinine.
While all of that matters, it’s not the only thing Jets’ fans can wash their hands of with his retirement.
As Favre’s shoulder pads rest in his travel bag—never to be worn on an NFL field again—his nation of faithful followers can finally stop feigning interest in the New York Jets.
While Brett has chosen to bow out gracefully, the split between Jets fans and Brett fans won’t be as amicable. The people who hold him in the highest esteem can follow him to the woods of Mississippi, and leave the Jets alone.
With his retirement, true and faithful Jets fans will no longer be subjected to the emotional tirades of irrational Favre followers who cross their hearts and swear to Brett.
When the Jets were 8-3, Favre was heralded as the man solely responsible for New York’s success. But when the Jets finished 1-4, New York’s failures were suddenly a team effort.
While Favre’s nine-interception run to close out the 2008 season is well-documented, his terrible play in October is conspicuously overlooked.
As easily as Favre is credited for the Jets 8-3 start, New York could have been 6-5, or worse, on his arm.
An overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders, struggles against the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, and a game salvaged by an Abram Elam interception in Buffalo could have gone the other way if left to Favre’s arm.
But his blind supporters won’t allow such blasphemy. The New York Jets were blessed to be graced with Lord Favre’s presence, and that’s the only way they’ll have it.
Thank you for the memories, Brett. The effort was appreciated. But there’s no space for icons that transcend the efforts of a team.
With Favre finally hanging up his jersey, hopefully the fans that followed him to the Meadowlands will hang theirs up, too.