What happened to the throwback superstar who absolutely loves the game and plays for all the right reasons? A player who doesn’t follow the book, does it his way and is admired for the way he goes about his business?
Our “SportsCenter” generation star goes to sleep dreaming of being No. 1 on the highlight reel that night. People who haven’t proved anything on the field are compensated like they’re the next Joe Namath. They’re witnessed running around with country singing divas the night before big games.
What happened to that guy who just shows up, brings it and then goes home?
This multibillion-dollar industry known as the NFL produces players whose heads are a lot bigger than their actual talent. The modern-day player is given the rap of playing for all the wrong reasons, money being the main one. It’s a sad truth that becomes truer as dollar signs continue to increase.
But as long as Brett Favre is around, we still have that throwback superstar.
Regardless of your team affiliation, you find yourself rooting for this man. The superstar who your dad points out when you’re young and said, “Son, watch this guy closely. He’s special.”
As I stepped into the elevator to go down to the field for pregame, I knew something special was on the horizon. In the elevator, I was surrounded by Joe Buck, who called the World Series, and Troy Aikman. They were working for Fox that day.
“This isn’t quite the World Series, huh?” I said to Buck.
Before Buck could even respond, Aikman said, “It is when No. 4 is playing.”
Right then, I realized what I was about to witness. Here was a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback telling me to get ready. He understood what was on the field, and soon I would too.
As I sat on the sideline waiting for Favre, everything started to set in. I looked throughout Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs, and saw cheese heads everywhere. This is the home of the most loyal fans in the NFL – 80,000 people wearing red to support their team. But red was not the prevalent color Sunday.
Favre reminded me of Elvis Presley. Driving to the stadium early in the morning, I saw license plates from all 50 states. The No. 4 jersey resided on everyone’s shoulders. Immediately it became obvious people love this guy.
While I waited for Favre to start warming up, I could already feel the crowd’s anticipation begin to grow. Finally, 30 minutes before kickoff, Favre runs out of the tunnel. The entire crowd erupts for one man. The irony was that even the fans wearing Kansas City red began to clap.
He ran more energetically than every other member of the team. He almost glowed. He led the team in warm-ups, then again as they ran through plays. Throwing laser after laser, you could see his arm was that of myth. He forced balls and missed receivers, but kept that smile on his face. This man was not easily rattled.
As he took off his helmet, his gray hair represented a man who had been around the block a few times. That gray hair represented his three MVPs and a Vince Lombardi Trophy.
As he jogged off the field right before the start of the game, I started to understand the magnitude of seeing someone like Favre. Great players, let alone quarterbacks, do not come around very often. Many consider Favre as one of the best of all time, which is pretty tough to argue.
So as I walked onto the elevator, Aikman looked at me and said, “See what I’m talking about, he’s a one of a kind.”
I smiled. I understood exactly what he meant.