It's not you, Brett, it's us

Rant

July 05, 2008|By CHILDS WALKER

Please stay home, Brett Favre.

It's not that I would mind watching you play a little longer. Heck, I recently called you the fifth-greatest quarterback of all time. And you showed last season that you can still play at an elite level.

No, I'm not asking because you did anything wrong. I'm asking because we, the sports media, need to be protected from ourselves. You see, for the past three NFL offseasons, we tried to sell newspapers and drive television ratings by speculating madly about whether you would retire. When you finally did, we produced reams of tributes, some in the form of elegiac coffee table books, in a last scramble to profit from your greatness.

Now, with ESPN reporting that you have doubts, we're girding ourselves for another round. It's as if we've forgotten, Brett, that when Joe Montana, Dan Marino and John Elway retired, we took it in stride. They were just as great as or greater than you, right?

This is more reminiscent of when Michael Jordan walked away in his prime and then came back. That made sense because he was a singular performer who changed the NBA's competitive and marketing landscapes all by himself. Great as you are, you're not on that level.

Look, I hate to ask you not to do what you love. But I can't rightly ask my media colleagues to be more mature. There are too many of them. So please, protect them from themselves. And if you must come back, please, please decide quickly.

Thanks for the memories, and all the best.

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