I started watching football in the early 2000’s when I was about 9 or 10. Even though everyone around me was a Buffalo Bills fan, including my dad and brother, I never really got into them. They never did well and I was independent even as a kid. I wanted to do things different and better. One team I started to follow was the Green Bay Packers. I liked them more and more over the years. They had a cool organization, great fan base, rich history, and were almost always playoff contenders. The main reason I like them was because of their quarterback: Brett Favre.
Brett Favre was known as the ‘Iron Man’ of football, way before the Marvel movie hype started. He had the NFL record for most pass yards and still holds the record for most starts with 298 games. Brett Favre was known for being tough. He got those records by playing through pain and never giving up. He took a lot of big hits throughout his career, faced a lot of adversary, and kept playing into his 40’s. He was a great player too. Brett Favre won a Superbowl, 3 MVP awards, and got inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was a big reason why the Packers were respected and feared from the mid-1990’s to mid-2000’s.
Brett Favre just loved playing football. It was never about the money or the fame, that was another great thing about him. He was like a kid out there, just having fun and giving 110% effort on every play. His love of the game was another reason why he wouldn’t give up. Part of his legacy became how he kept coming out of retirement to play 1 more year. A lot of people laughed about it or criticized him, but I think it just shows his dedication to football. He was out there grinding.
Something about Brett Favre that a lot of people don’t realize is that he struggled with addiction. He was addicted to painkillers during part of his NFL career. Brett Favre took Vicodin to help with the pain he got from the physical damage and hits he took as a quarterback. He mentioned in interviews later that he built up a tolerance and would take progressively more and more pills. When he realized it was a serious problem, Brett quit and went through hell over the next month on his road to recovery. This shows that Brett Favre, like any hero, has his fair share of problems. He is flawed but battles through these flaws to come out on top.
I remember watching his Hall of Fame induction ceremony on TV and tearing up a little bit. Every seat in Lambeau Field was filled to honor the legacy of Brett Favre. As soon as he walked out onto the field he received a standing ovation from over 80,000 fans that lasted several minutes. I visited the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016, the same year he got inducted. He made me so happy to see his bust along with the hundreds of other legends throughout the rich history of the NFL. In 2015, my girlfriend at the time got me an autographed Brett Favre card and it will always be one of my prized possessions.
So, what makes Brett Favre such an inspiration to me and thousand of people across the country? He never gave up. He kept moving forward regardless of what was weighing him down. Brett was skilled, strong, and resilient. He had a passion for what he did. He worked hard every day and had fun while doing it. Brett was the Hero of Green Bay Wisconsin. He had flaws but overcame them. He faced adversary and backlash but just kept grinding. Brett Favre is living proof that with enough willpower and hard work that you can achieve great things and become a legend.