America mourns its greatest hero today after the tragic events at Soldier Field. How did it come to this? Let’s rewind to only a few months ago…
There were those who said it would never happen – Favre asking to be released from the Packers so he could play another season or two with some, any, other team. They said it was impossible.
And yet the impossible came to pass. Brett’s childlike enthusiasm for the game, his innocent love of sport, his infantile hard-on for pitchin’ the ol’ pigskin – that was what drove him to it. If Green Bay wouldn’t let him tearfully retire, then spontaneously unretire and yoink the starting position from a fragile yet talented 1st round pick who’d been carrying his clipboard for three long years, then Favre would just take his rocket-powered arm and his blue-eyed childishness elsewhere. The Pack bid adieu to America’s hero, and Favre blew them a moist kiss on his way out the door.
But to the Bears? The hated Chicago Bears? Who could have predicted it? Who would have thought it possible? This writer was stunned. Not just stunned – indifferent. I shrugged and said, “Yeah, whatever.” But later, I became more fully stunned and significantly less indifferent as I realized the momentous magnitude of this twist in the threads of destiny. I couldn’t have been more surprised if Mike Vick had busted out of prison and shown up on national TV in a studded collar and dog mask begging America for forgiveness with a series of pathetic barks. At least that was what I thought. When Vick actually did do this, I was extremely surprised and forgot all about the Favre thing. “That’s fucked up,” I said, pointing at Vick on TV as he was tased and hauled away in a straitjacket. The national mood was so somber that we all nearly choked on whatever beverages we were drinking at the time.
But then pre-season began, and it occurred to us all once again that yes, Favre was a Chicago Bear! The media was there to serve us steaming bowls of the hearty emissions from Favre’s junk, and we lapped it up. Favre in the navy and orange. Favre hilariously trying to leg-tackle Devin Hester in scrimmage. Favre with his arm around a Jim McMahon cutout, while pretending to anally rape a Rex Grossman cutout. Thousands of cheeseheads floating facedown in the Wisconsin River in green #4 jerseys. We all smiled and laughed our way through September, and I think we all felt the same thing: that Favre had, against all laws of nature and conscience, found himself a new home. And that somehow, everything was going to be OK.
But as it so often does in our happiest moments, tragedy struck. Few will ever forget where they were when they first heard the news yesterday. Favre’s old man hips gave out just as he chucked his tenth interception in two games, and he was trampled to death by his own offensive line.
Later, one of the linemen was heard to remark, “It was like trampling on a grizzled, sexy Jesus.” That about sums it up, America. Our grizzled, sexy Jesus is gone. We’ll never feel the warm scrape of his whiskers again as he tells us a bedtime story. We’ll never inhale his manly musk again and think of sausages, sawdust, and Wrangler jeans. There will never be another like him.
The ceremony to retire Favre’s #6 Bears jersey will be next week on Monday Night Football; John Madden will MC, if he’s sober.