Every time I see news story about the Brett Favre 'saga' -- as it's been dramatically dubbed by various media outlets -- my admiration for Barry Sanders only increases.
Here's a guy who really knew how to make an exit, unlike Favre and a certain childhood idol of mine.
I was plagued with a hormone-induced glandular problem that caused me to sweat uncontrollably from the armpits at age 13 when Michael Jordan retired from basketball for the first time. I sat in Ms. Bell's literature classroom on the second floor of Batavia Middle School's 8th grade wing weeping -- well, weeping and sweating -- when I heard the news. Someone wheeled in a TV so we could watch the news conference. It was traumatic.
I'd venture to guess that there's a kid or two in the greater Wisconsin area who shed a couple tears when Favre announced his retirement March 4. Those same kids are probably entirely perplexed right now. "What the hell?" they're probably thinking. "I cried for you. Cried! Tears! And now this?"
But unlike Jordan's return to the Bulls after an awkward stint with the mighty Barons of Birmingham, it doesn't look like Favre will ever don Packers gold and green again. This is a shame.
This is a shame for Bears fans. As much as he dominated against the team throughout his career, it was always such a pleasure to lose to him. And even more of a pleasure the (very few) times we beat him.
This is a shame for those kids -- the ones who undoubtedly cried -- who are now learning what the phrase 'Pro sports are a business' truly means.
Which brings me back to Barry Sanders. He did things on the football field that reflected the very hand of God.
And in a moment, he was gone. It was left to speculation whether his career could -- or should -- have continued. It remains a debatable matter as to whether he's the greatest.
'Seinfeld' could have continued another season as the highest rated show on television. But then maybe its star wouldn't be Jerry f'ing Seinfeld. Just like Barry Sanders might not have been Barry f'ing Sanders.
It's why the greatest Packer of all time may someday be known as f'ing Brett Favre.