Brett Favre's NFL career is overflowing with shining—some may even say legendary—moments. Of course, he led the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, their first since Super Bowl II. His Dec. 2003 Monday Night Football performance may go down as one of the most touching moments in sports history; just one day after the death of his father, Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 Packers win over the Raiders.
But the quarterback's annual, drawn out waffling over whether or not he would retire—and the collective groan that met yesterday's news that he is returning to the Vikings—has undoubtedly tarnished his legacy. Instead of going down as one of the game's greatest athletes, Steven James Snyder at Time wonders, will Brett Favre be remembered as one of its worst sports?
Brett Favre loves the game, is having trouble stepping away, and in the process has lost all control over his ego. He thinks it's all about him, that he's too good a player to treat his teams - or teammates - with respect, that he's too skilled to be forced to practice. In only a few short years, he's taken a public image of a chiseled gunslinger and veered instead towards prima donna. And not only has he been given a pass by his coaches and fans, but Minnesota apparently was willing to take him back at any point, for any reason.
Through all of this, Favre has not only tarnished his public image, but fatally soiled his legacy as a sportsman. The hard-working back-up quarterback who rose to stardom now is the guy who thinks he deserves special treatment. Who thinks he's better than any of his teammates. Who thinks his skills - which are prone to interceptions, might I add - trump any need for practice or refinement. No high school football coach would tolerate such arrogance or insubordination. No high school football team would allow one of their own to get such a big head; the offensive line would find a way of letting through a couple blitzers during the season opener. That ego would get in check real quick.
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