I’ve often tried to use the line — in jest, of course, and nothing more — that only Michael Jordan had retired more times than Billy Graham.
The past few years, it’s been easy to insert Brett Favre’s name in there — on either end of the joke.
And so here we are.
Let the jokes run free, because it’s that time of year — August in the autumn of Brett Favre’s career.
The coverage, naturally, of what may turn out in a couple of weeks to be a non-event, has been insufferable. ESPN is having a tough time with its credibility this summer after the way it has handled news surrounding LeBron James’ free agency, George Steinbrenner’s death and now this.
You’d think after being spurned twice before with its genuflecting to Brett Favre, the sports world and the media that surrounds it might have taken a step back this time to at least catch its breath. Alas, that didn’t happen.
Not that Favre doesn’t share a good dose of the blame here. The only way he doesn’t come off as a certified prima donna this time is if he actually stays retired — for the duration of the season, and his life. Should he come back yet again, at any time, the firestorm of criticism sent his way may finally too much. This time, we might have condemnation that may not be fully extinguished by a series of touchdown passes.
It’s still hard to imagine that Favre is actually done. Obviously, we’ve seen this movie before. And for it to end with Favre texting a few teammates and not personally consulting the team’s front office and coaching staff, well, that helps foster the steady flow of skepticism. The handling of the decision is almost LeBronesque.
Yet it’s not hard to imagine Favre sending up a signal to generate attention and the begging of his services. That behavior has become something of a trend in the saga that is Brett Favre.
But if this is indeed Favre’s grand exit, it hardly comes off that way. Sure, ESPN has turned its programming back over to Fawning Over Favre mode, but the quarterback who cried wolf too many times may not get the real respect he deserves until he is on the stage at Canton.
And that’s a shame.
No player should be told when it’s time to retire. And there’s nothing wrong with a legend wanting to keep the fairytale going, especially when the last chapter was so remarkably written. Play as long as you can play.
Just make up your mind. We’re tired.
And, if this is indeed the end, we don’t care nearly as much as we should.