Encore, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept Brett Favre Is a Jet

I got back from the Hold Steady concert at the Parish on Sixth with my ears ringing and my back aching in pain. I’m not young anymore. I was confident I could make it through the band's regular set, show some whippersnappers how we used to dance back in the day, and probably pop out early for a slice of pizza. But I pushed myself through two encores, jumping to the riff-heavy classic rock, and killing my lower back. I should have left after encore No. 1.

When I got home from the show at exactly 1:31am, I flopped on the living room rug, and attempted some yoga to save my body. On the ground I asked my fiancée to hit the web and check Brett Favre’s status. “Jet Setter” is the headline. "He’s going to New York [our old home], isn’t that Eli’s team?” she said. I couldn’t believe it. Hours before the show a Favre trade to Tampa Bay was all but a done deal. Now, Brett Favre will do his encore as a New York Jet.

Encores never seem to go well. Perhaps arrogance is to blame, but I think the core of it is pride, and pride always comes just before a fall. Actors have this problem. What has Harrison Ford done to the Indiana Jones legacy this summer? Presidents rarely have solid second terms. Richard Nixon went down in his encore with Watergate, Bill Clinton had his Lewinski problems in the second go-around, and the Iran-Contra affair almost came back to trouble Ronald Reagan in his second term.

Yet, nothing is worse than the sports figure past his prime, trying to stick around for one last cheer. Some of the greatest names in football have ended in odd uniforms, for sad teams. I write of O.J. Simpson (San Francisco), Franco Harris (Seattle), Emmitt Smith (Arizona), Joe Namath (L.A. Rams), Kenny Stabler (New Orleans), Deacon Jones (Washington), Jerry Rice (signed with Denver, but didn’t make it to the regular season), and the greatest player in Baltimore Colts history, Johnny Unitas, played his final season in San Diego teaching a young a kid from the University of Oregon (Dan Fouts) how to throw a football. Now, Brett Favre goes to New York to play his final season(s) and teach a young kid from Oregon – Kellen Clemens.

Will the trade of Brett Favre tarnish his legacy? No. When you think of Namath, do you think of man who ended his career badly, or do think of Super Bowl III? Yet, Favre has made a mistake, based in pride. He goes to a team with few good receivers in the very tough AFC, which already features three teams in Indianapolis, New England, and San Diego better than any in Favre’s old NFC home. His chance of returning to a Super Bowl is bleak with the Jets. I just hope he doesn’t get hurt. One last chance to show some whippersnappers how it’s done clouds a man’s judgment.

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brett favre, o.j. simpson, johnny unitas

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