It isn't a mystery that people view Brett Favre in different ways. You have the ones that fawn over him like he invented Duct tape, others that enjoyed him as a Packer but don't really have an opinion of him now, and those, like myself, who think he was an incredible football player at times but maybe didn't always come through in the "good person" category.
I just know that, as opposed to what my colleague Jay Mariotti pointed out on Friday, I don't think Favre's legacy is in danger of becoming tarnished; to me, it already is tarnished.
Let me begin by telling you this. Truth: I have never met Favre. Truth: I have never chatted with Favre. Truth: I couldn't tell you his favorite song or if he really wears Wranglers when playing pick-up ball with his buddies or if he drinks Natural Light when plowing his acres and acres of land. I just know how myself, and a lot of people my age, feel about the Gunslinger.
And that is as follows: Yes, at times, Favre has been super-human. The guy has played a lot of football, he hardly sits out a play, and he enjoys the game more than I will probably ever enjoy anything in my life. But that isn't the point. The point is that Favre decided at one point in his career that he was bigger than the game, and put himself on a pedestal reserved for, I don't know, the Pope Mobile and Barack Obama.
Favre would two-step his way into retirement before twirling back into the spotlight of the NFL. His retirement would be "the" headline on ESPN from January until September for a few years in a row, and while most remembered him for what he did, my age group remembered him for what he didn't do, which is retire in good standing.
The way Favre treated Green Bay is shameful. He retired, only to crawl back to the team after everyone had put their trust in a patient, young quarterback. As I've said many times, the Packers should be extremely thankful that Aaron Rodgers was their backup, because any other talented young quarterback probably couldn't have dealt with this so humbly.
Favre went to a team that struggled in 2007, and made them relevant again in 2008 only to crush their hopes (and Patriots fans) in the waning hours of the season. You can't fault him for that. He's 39, and he has been hit more than a side mirror in Manhattan, yet he still wants to be out there. The thing is, this song and dance has been played out and everyone, including faithful columnists like Mariotti who stood by his side even when they knew he was wrong, has to be getting a little sick of it.
While I agree that he needs to retire, I think that the "tarnished legacy" thing happened a year ago, when his un-retirement became the lead story in the NFL.
A lot of people probably still love Brett, and if you scroll through the comments in an hour or so, you'll find that out. I will never fault a person for sticking by his side. I just know that his Super Bowl win was back when I was in fifth grade, and for most of my adult life all I've been hearing about is "What will Favre do next?"
Hopefully, in 2009, that answer is simple. He will finally just say goodbye.