Favre again… what about transcendence?

Football is entertainment. It is not the military.

NFL management gets confused sometimes and forgets to properly balance organization and transcendence. Is football about efficiency? Yes. Some. Coaches who claim to want fun in camp tend to be out of a job the next season (see Ray Rhodes, Green Bay, “Camp FUN,” 1999). Organization, towing the line, discipline, all of that is important to football. “Doing it the right way,” we often hear.

How many Babe Ruths have there been? How many Michael Jordans? How many Dr. Js? How many players fill the stands, give whole populations entre into an organization’s culture (not just the local yocals), sell their jerseys all over the country and the world in masses? Very few. The Packers had one of THOSE guys.

Football is an entertainment business. Unless you’re a purest, you don’t want to see the BEST team, necessarily (Baltimore Ravens in 2000-2001? Come on! No way!), you want to see the most dynamic team and player. Do I want to watch Tim Duncan or Shaquille O’Neal (even an aged O’Neal)?  Do I want to watch Steve Young or Brett Favre?  Favre.  Hands down.  Transcendence moves fans, people.  It makes love.

How many transcendent players have there been in the NFC North (Central) in the last thirty years? Other than Favre, who has been around for half that time, who? Randy Moss might have been, but was too much of a jerk. Barry Sanders was incredible, but had no off-field personality to speak of. That leaves us with the Bears of the 1980s: Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, and The Fridge… all of them had something special that made people love or hate them (in Payton’s case, just love) (in the Fridge’s case, just for a year or so). Anyone else other than Favre in 30 years? Yes.  One.  Reggie White, Packer (we’ll get to that).

Have you ever seen a cheese head? Didn’t exist before Favre. The upswing in the Packers related to Favre made the cheese head.  Have you noticed players all over the NFL jumping into the stands after scoring touchdowns? The Lambeau Leap? Leroy Butler first did that for the first time back in 1993.  He did it after than transcedent Reggie White recovered a fumble and bumbled and stumbled for ten yards before heaving over to Butler who flew into the endzone and then up into the stands. Why did Reggie White come to Green Bay, a team that had been off the football map (geographically and emotionally) for decades? Transcendence knows transcendence.  Reggie wanted to play with that young Brett Favre kid, because he knew something special when he saw it. Favre is responsible for the Green Bay Packers as the nation knows them.  Favre IS the Packers.

Or, was. Yesterday, the first day they were available for order on NFL.com, the new Favre Jets jersey sold 3,200, a one day record. All summer, when Favre was “retired,” his Packer jersey was the top-seller on NFL.com (above Tom Brady and Tony Romo). Transcendence. Favre is a Jet now.

Ted Thompson? Mike McCarthy? They understand football operations. They’re good at it. But they don’t understand football. Even if Aaron Rodgers turns out to be okay (knowing his history, I believe he’ll be injured most of the year — Favre hasn’t missed a game since 1992), he will not be a Babe Ruth, a Michael Jordan, a Dr. J, or a Brett Favre.

Perhaps I will become a Cowboy now.

I’m pretty irritated!

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I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

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