Some sports heroes seem immortal. Their exploits on the field offer a glimpse of what it is like to at least seem to be larger than life. Of the major profitable sports the most physically demanding is football, and perhaps no player has captured the imagination of the public and the media in the past 20 years more than Brett Favre.
Favre has all of the characteristics of a sports hero. He rose from a humble background. Advertisers and reporters portrayed Favre as a Mississippi country boy who made it on his talent and guts. He played to this image and was not afraid to have fun at his own expense. Favre appeared in a commercial that made fun of his famously fickle nature.
For the majority of his career Favre appeared to be almost bulletproof. He became the favorite son of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory. But like many great athletes, Favre has not been able to handle the end of his career with the grace and decisiveness that he displayed as a competitor. As his career wound down in Green Bay, the Packers grew weary of the questions of whether or not their future Hall of Fame quarterback would continue playing or head off into retirement.
The Packers prepared by drafting another quarterback and stood their ground in preparing for the future during the first of Favre’s “retirements’. While many in the mainstream media stood by their ratings giant, Favre faced a backlash from a previously unthought-of area.
Internet publishers did not have the same restrains as outlets like ESPN in reporting on Favre. Rather than support his wishy-washy decision making, sites like Deadspin openly attacked Favre and brought into question his image. Favre might not have missed starts on the field, but under the microscope of bloggers his football resume appears tarnished by his off the field decision making.