The League

Paul Bessire
NFL Quantitative Analyst

Paul Bessire

Paul Bessire is the content director for FOX Sports Interactive’s WhatIfSports.com.

Neither Hero nor Villian

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What will Brett Favre mean to the Minnesota Vikings?
Not much - 0.05 additional wins.

But I have already chronicled that elsewhere. Based on my analysis using 10,000 simulations of the NFL season with and without Brett Favre, the Vikings end result is not going to change. The Favre-less Vikings score 25.3 points per game and allow 18.6. They throw for 2,869 yards, 22 TDs and 10 interceptions and rush for 2,665 yards and 22 TDs. With Favre, the Vikings score 26.4 points per game and allow 19.7. Favre throws for 3,460 yards, 26 TDs and 15 interceptions, while the team rushes for 2,355 yards and 20 TDs.

Of greater interest to me, journalistically and introspectively, is what this means for Brett Favre, his legacy and his fans.

Not only am I a spokesperson for a computer, I am a Packer fan - a Packers' shareholder in fact. I don't like talking about this story, which seems to be equal parts bizarre, silly, aimlessly vindictive and petty. It's a story that I personally wish would go away, yet it is more prevalent than any story in sports and has been for a while. For that reason, the Minnesota Vikings mean a lot more to Brett Favre than Favre means to the Minnesota Vikings. Favre gets more attention than any other current athlete. Plus, he gets an opportunity to seek some sort of revenge on an organization that loved him for 16 seasons. And then there is the money - up to $25 million - though he is not likely to see that much and hopefully does not need it.

Is it all really worth it?

While Brett Favre is the only one could answer that, the better questions for us are what is his legacy and how should fans remember him?

That is such a tough question because there have been so many versions of Brett Favre. Rarely has anyone, athlete or not, had his life so publicly visible and so closely followed for so long and by so many. We have seen him grow from a young, happy-go-lucky, 22-year-old kid from Mississippi, to a gray-haired, rugged man, who has both been on top of the world and endured personal struggles and loss. For a man that many may call simple and fun-loving, his life has been complex and flawed. Along the way, he played some football - A LOT of football - and he did so at a high level and with unmatched toughness.

There are several memories that I will always have of Brett Favre. I will remember his first completion - to himself, the two Super Bowl performances, the inspirational game he played after his father passed away, passing Dan Marino on the all-time passing touchdowns list, making it to the 2007 NFC Championship game, his ceremonious retirement from football; his admission of addiction to painkillers, the pass he threw to Corey Webster at the end of the 2007 NFC Championship, his unceremonious unretirement from football, that he played with the Jets and that he seemed eager to the seek revenge on the Packers' front office (and spurn the Packers fans in the process) by playing for the Vikings.

Good and bad, I am probably not going to forget any of that. But his legacy? How will I sum up what Brett Favre means to me in twenty years? I think I will remember him as a good football player who was a little more fun than frustrating to watch. He does not deserve the iconic, hero worship that many of us bestowed upon him in the '90s, but he also does not warrant the disdain and disappointment that he will garner from us now. He is neither hero nor villain.

He is just human - a football player who made us smile most Sundays in the fall.
Now that he is with the Vikings, there is a part of me that is upset and disappointed. Yet there is just as much of me that will remember him as a football player I liked far more often than I didn't.

How will you remember Brett Favre?

By Paul Bessire  |  August 18, 2009; 9:09 PM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Feeling Betrayed | Next: Favre Dupes Us Again!

Comments

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If I remember him at all it will be as a devious little liar. The betrayal of Packer fans and the farce that was the NY Jet is all fine and well. It's the lying to the Vikings that makes me sick. He knew he was coming back but didn't want to go to training camp so the constant lying by him and the coaches to his future teammate was completely uncool.

Posted by: zhane202 | August 19, 2009 3:41 PM

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