I've been a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and over the years, I have owned many football jerseys. My first was of Jerome Bettis. At the age of eight, I received an Antwaan Randle El jersey. Two years ago, I bought a Hines Ward jersey.
But I have had one jersey from a player not on the Steelers. Around the age of three, one of my relatives bought me a No. 4 Brett Favre Packers jersey. I don't know who got me it, but I loved it.
I loved Favre, too. I always thought he played the game the right way, with abandon.
The game I think signifies what Favre is about is the 2007 Divisional playoff against the Seattle Seahawks. In the game, he threw three touchdowns as the Packers cruised to a 42-20 victory.
But I don't remember the three touchdowns. I remember the fun Favre was having. As was the norm with any January Packers home game, it was snowing hard at Lambeau Field. After Favre threw one of his touchdowns, he started to joke with Donald Driver. He threw snowballs at Driver, and he was having fun.
Money has made games a job. Athletes get paid millions to entertain the common people. Trades, transfers, free agency, and releases has made it extremely hard to stay with one company, er, team.
But Favre has a special tie to Green Bay. Even though he left Green Bay for the Jets after the 2007 season, never to play for them again, his heart always will be tied to eastern Wisconsin.
Do you think Franco Harris' heart lies in Seattle? No, it lies in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers. Do you think Emmitt Smith's heart is in Arizona? No. It's in Dallas.
I don't hold any anger against Favre for leaving the Packers. He loves the game of football, and he was good at it. He still wanted to play, and I don't blame him for continuing his career with the Jets and Vikings. I would have done the same thing.
Favre was like a child playing a Turkey Bowl whenever he played. He always had fun. He didn't let money go to his head, and he always seemed to have a smile on his face.
He is definitely a surefire Hall of Famer. Favre threw the most touchdowns of any quarterback, completed the most passes, passed for the most yards, started the most games consecutively, and won more games than any starting quarterback in the history of the NFL.
The NFL has had its fair share of great quarterbacks. Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, Sonny Jurgensen, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino have all turned their names into synonyms for the word "greatness" with their spectacular performances.
The thing is, Brett Favre was better than every single one of them. Nobody threw for more yards or touchdowns. Nobody completed more passes or won more games. Nobody held the magic and mystique of Favre.
And I'd like to bet everybody on the face of this Earth $20 that nobody in the history of the world had more fun playing a game than Brett Lorenzo Favre.
Now that No. 4 jersey no longer fits me (well it shouldn't if I received it when I was around the age of three), but I don't ever think I threw that jersey away, or gave it to somebody else.
I like to think if I actually tried to look in the bowels of my closet one day, I'd probably find that green jersey with the No. 4 on it.
But the time has come. I think I need to look in my closet, find that jersey, and give it to my cousin Jackson. It's the perfect size for him, who is only three years old. I don't see this as something to do, I see it as a mission.
Jackson needs to be enlightened with stories of Favre, the man who had pure fun playing a sport, before it's too late and he starts to love athletes who approach football or any other sport as a job, as a means to an end.
So goodbye No. 4, and good luck.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!