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Favre's Rise to Stardom and Fall From Grace Something of Mythology


When Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL and the Green Bay Packers on March 6, 2008 in a teary-eyed, heartfelt press conference, his popularity was at its highest.

Never was a player so idolized, so beloved. He held the key to the hearts of millions of Packer and NFL fans around the world. He could have run for governor of the state of Wisconsin and won, in a landslide. The man was nearly immortal, a character straight out of Greek mythology.

He did what he had done best for 16 years as the Packers quarterback-flew by the seat of his pants and left us wanting more. While Packer fans mourned the loss of their hero, many realized that this was the way he had to go out, following a season in which the Packers exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations; cruising to a 13-3 record, winning the NFC North, hosting the NFC Championship Game, and watching every significant NFL passing record fall to 'ol number four.

While a true fairytale would have ended with a Superbowl victory, the 2007 campaign made for a far better ending than the two sub-par seasons that had preceded it.

Favre was walking on water. The city of Green Bay announced plans to name a street after him. His jersey would be retired during the 2008 season. The Packers were set to offer him a lifetime marketing deal that would have kept him tied to the organization forever. Everything with his name or likeness on it was flying off store shelves as if the man had tragically died.

Favre was a legend from the first day he stepped on Lambeau Field, engineering a come-from-behind victory against the Cincinatti Bengals after taking over for the injured Don Majkowski in September of 1992. The rest as they say is history.

Next came the MVP awards, then the Superbowl. And of course no myth is complete without the struggles and tragedies overcome by the hero. Favre overcame an addiction to painkillers-and won the Superbowl a few months later. The legend grew. Then he overcame an addiction to alcohol that nearly destroyed his marriage. It grew further.

Then there was the game he played one day after the unexpected death of his father in 2003. The legend continued to grow as he tossed four touchdown passes and threw for 399 yards in a Monday Night Football game that will never be forgotten. Even the unforgiving Raiders fans sympathized with our hero that night. Like any great hero, Favre was at his best when the adversity was worst.

Fast forward to July 2008 and the myth takes an unexpected turn. When it was revealed that maybe Favre wasn't finished with the game of football, fans knew that what would follow wouldn't be pretty and hardly the stuff of legend.

It was clear that the Packers had made plans to move on without the future hall-of-famer. What ensued was a tragedy of epic proportions for Packer fans. Favre vs. Green Bay. Right arm vs. left arm.

As if the summer-long drama and subsequent trade to the Jets wasn't enough to make fans' stomachs turn, there was the actual season. The Packers struggled to win six games. The Favre-led Jets started the season on fire, then in an epic collapse fell to 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

When Favre announced his re-retirement in February 2009, it seemed the nightmare had finally come to an end. Green Bay's hero could come home, where he belonged and the images of him as a New York Jet could be erased. The plot thickens.

Now it appears Farve is set to become a Minnesota Viking. Our hero, siding with the enemy. No one can be certain what is running through Favre's mind, or why he really has the sudden itch to play again shortly after being released by the Jets, but for fans it is the ultimate betrayal.

The thought of our heroic quarterback trotting into Lambeau Field wearing purple, not only sickens most Packer fans, it angers them. How could the man who we have cheered, loved, and stood by in tragedy suddenly take a knife to our backs? The man who we have idolized, worshipped, put on a pedestal so high he might as well have been sitting next to God, smiting us from Mississippi.

Some fans are angry, some sad, some happy just to see number four lace ‘em up one more time, but one thing is certain- everyone has an opinion.

The man who was walking on water one year ago is now struggling to keep his image from drowning in a pool of bitterness. Never has a player gone from hero to zero so quickly and so tragically.

The final chapter in this epic saga has yet to be written, but the task of repairing a relationship and image this tarnished is a task so monumental that even Favre may not be able to pull it off.




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