This past week NFL fans said goodbye to one of the best quarterbacks to ever step on a football field, Brett Favre. Favre's enthusiasm for the game showed us every week that there were still players in the NFL that enjoyed the game and weren't just there for the money. Favre's retirement was a shock to many, but others saw it coming.
Favre's journey started with the Atlanta Falcons. Early in his career, his gunslinger mentality cost him playing time. Favre looked like a quarterback that would be lumped in with the many who were good enough to make it to the big show, but not good enough to stay there. When Favre was traded to Green Bay, his career began to blossom. The same mentality that many thought was reckless became his trademark.
Like many players, Favre also had his demons as well. With the fame and stardom came addictions and roadblocks. Favre's struggles were well documented, but much like his shaky start early in his career, he overcame it and pressed forward.
One of the most memorable moments of Favre's career came after the death of his father. Favre took the stage of Monday Night Football and made gave a tribute to his father that the whole world had front row seats for. He had one of the best statistical games of his career and willed his team to victory.
Another player will forever be linked to Favre and share a chapter of his story. Warren Sapp, one of the best interior defensive lineman to ever play the game, also retired last week. Sapp and Favre had a rivalry that was good for true football fans to see. Whenever they played against each other, you knew there would be fireworks. The two would get in each other's faces and talk trash. When the game was over, they would shake hands and share a smile.
It's only fitting that these two would retire at the same time. There is no doubt that both men will end up in the Hall-of-Fame one-day and they could possibly give their speeches on the same day. What they did for the game, very few players can do. They showed us that the game of football can be fun and should be fun. They also showed us that they are smart enough to know when it's time to hang up the cleats.
So often we see players who are just interested in the money and fame that professional sports have to offer. Players step into the spotlight without earning it and they often fade away because they didn't earn the fame. Favre and Sapp earned the fame and they deserved everything they got. I will always remember what they brought to the game. They brought a toughness and fire to the game that very few can match.
I wonder who will become the next Favre and Sapp? They will be imitated, but their skills and love for the game will never be duplicated.