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As a Packer fan and shareholder, I don't like talking about this story. It seems to be equal parts bizarre, aimlessly vindictive and petty. I wish it would go away, but it will be here all season. As a spokesperson for a computer, I am going to have to write about it every week – even if it's much ado about very little. As our WhatIfSports.com simulators have illustrated, he only means an additional 0.06 expected wins to his new team. And yet...
Oh wait. I wrote that in an article a month ago about Brett Favre - when if looked far more like when - before much ado about very little turned into much ado about absolutely nothing. Now, Favre is staying retired. He is not going to play for the Minnesota Vikings. That's what we Packer fans wanted, right?
Let's make the assumption, as bold as it may be, that Favre never plays another down in the NFL, that he doesn't even flirt with coming back to the Minnesota Vikings or any other team. What is his legacy? How should Packer fans remember him?
That is a tough question because there have been so many versions of Brett Favre. Rarely has anyone, athlete or not, had his life so publicly visible and so closely followed for so long and by so many. We have seen him grow from a young, happy-go-lucky, 22-year-old kid from Mississippi, to a gray-haired, rugged man, who has both been on top of the world and endured personal struggles and loss. For a man that many may call simple and fun-loving, his life has been complex and flawed. Along the way, he played some football - A LOT of football - and he did so at a high level and with unmatched toughness.
There are several memories that I will always have of Brett Favre. I will remember his first completion - to himself, the two Super Bowl performances, the inspirational game he played after his father passed away, passing Dan Marino on the all-time passing touchdowns list, making it to the 2007 NFC Championship game, his ceremonious retirement from football; his admission of addiction to painkillers, the pass he threw to Corey Webster at the end of the 2007 NFC Championship, his unceremonious unretirement from football, that he played with the Jets and that he seemed eager to the seek revenge on the Packers' front office (and spurn the Packers fans in the process) by playing for the Vikings.
Good and bad, I am probably not going to forget any of that. But his legacy? How will I sum up what Brett Favre means to me in twenty years? I think I will remember him as a good football player who was a little more fun than frustrating to watch. He does not deserve the iconic, hero worship that many of us bestowed upon him in the '90s, but he also does not warrant the disdain and disappointment that he garnered from us recently. He is neither hero nor villain.
He is just human - a football player who made us smile most Sundays in the fall.
He may flirt with unretiring again. He may go to the Vikings. If so, there is probably a part of me that will revert to the sentiment from my opening paragraph. I hope that more of me doesn't really care either way, that I have moved on and that I keep the perspective that I will remember him as a football player I liked far more often than I didn't.
How will you remember Brett Favre?
Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in fantasy football simulation analysis and football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!