Reporting Dan Bernstein
My only hope on a Bearsless Sunday was that the cart carrying Brett Favre off the field would just keep going.
Out of the stadium it would trundle, puttering all the way down to Mississippi, where the self-obsessed hillbilly would be plopped back into his swamp and forgotten, and his bizarre personal narrative of football torture-porn would end.
In his typically vainglorious postgame comments, Favre proclaimed “I’m shocked that I was able to play and move around the way I was…I don’t know what to say – to be able to come out and play, and give us a chance to win, and play at a high enough level, I mean Monday and Tuesday I couldn’t even walk.”
Not sick to your stomach yet? Try this: “The physical side of it? I really can’t complain. I probably should. I’ve played with a broken foot and I’m getting eight stitches in my chin. The elbow, I’ve been battling tendinitis.”
Never can I remember a pro athlete so actively involved in his own mythmaking, and so comically unaware of how transparently he’s doing it.
Every moment of every game, it’s as if he’s hearing the fawning lapdogs in the booth describe his slow-motion reactions. There is no move too small to be calculated – the wince, the groaning rise from the turf, the weary walk to the sideline, and the “look at me!” run down the field after a TD pass, during which all his ailments of the day disappear miraculously.
We saw it in the split second when he decided to milk the moment yesterday, after the Pats’ Myron Pryor clipped his chin. The riding exit only needed James Brown’s assistant placing a white cape over him as Favre screams “I can’t do no more!” The announcers played their roles, immediately affecting the solemn tones befitting a presidential funeral procession. Turns out it was no big deal.
He once had his agent leak pictures of his injured ankle to the media, so the world could see just how tough he really is.
Actually, he’s the worst kind of weak.
It’s not enough to just play, and let his accomplishments speak for themselves while he deals with the constant pain faced by all veteran players each week. And it’s not enough to allow his legion of de facto PR staffers on various media platforms to sing his praises. He has to lead the band. He’s that needy.
(As an aside, with each day he reminds me more of Mel Gibson. Here are two guys dealing with the public embarrassment of unfortunate voicemails, both of whom love to play characters who overcome torture. Favre is always playing Favre, while Gibson’s characters in “Payback,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Braveheart” endure similarly [not to mention what director-Mel delighted in showing you with Jesus, and with the fun-loving Mayans of “Apocolypto”]. Mel is welcome to join him on the cart to the swamp, and they can revel in their shared taste for commercialized sadomasochism.)
All you need to know about Favre, really, was contained in that one postgame comment.
“I really can’t complain. I probably should.”
On both counts, the opposite is true.