I miss Brett Favre. During the past three summers I've come to expect and embrace the minute by minute updates about whether he was going to come back and play in the NFL for one more season. These filled my summer days and nights with intrigue and wonder and made me sleep more soundly. I miss all those July video shots of old number 4, in a T-shirt and shorts, stepping back to pass to some high school kids at some Louisiana High School near his Louisiana Superdome of a home. I miss those shots of him getting in his white Bronco with reporters' microphones poking into his car window and them asking: "Brett, are you coming back for another season?"
I miss the summer saga of Brett Favre that has become as ritualistic in recent years as a trip to the shore with my family, as my town swimming meets, and outdoor barbecues. I miss the wall-to-wall ESPN reports about the Vikings sending players down to his Superdome home to beg him to come back for one more season. I miss all the speculation about what those players were having to do to convince Brett they needed him desperately. I miss wondering whether instead of begging him to come back, those Viking players and Brett were not begging at all but rather out for a wild night of fellas frolicking on the Bayou, giddy that they were skipping a few days of summer practice at the Vikings camp. I wondered if they were out on some fishing boat with Forrest Gump watching all the ESPN Brett updates, reeling in trout, doing back flips in the Mississippi, laughing about the whole thing while chugging beers and heckling Rachel Nichols while doing her ESPN reports for chasing the story so doggedly like it was Watergate or something.
I miss Brett's press interviews, especially the ones when he would finally announce that he was coming back. I miss those cryptic and non-linear explanations he would offer to a press room salivating over his every word, so thrilled at having a big story to tell-yet again-during the slow summer news days. I miss the post game interviews Brett would give. He liked to say "it is what it is" a lot. I never understand what he meant by that. He was so fascinating that way. What was what it was with Brett? What was his deal these past few years? Why did he keep coming back for three years after announcing his retirement after each one? What gives with Brett? I'm wondering if about now Brett is considering another comeback. Seems like him to pull the stunt again, doesn't it? None of us would really be surprised, would we?
With the ongoing NFL lock-out story dominating the news, I guess he's figured to this point in the year he wouldn't get as much publicity if he started gabbing about maybe-maybe, possibly--playing another season. Wouldn't want to share the limelight. Wouldn't be Brett, lovable "ah shucks" Southern Boy Brett. All the world's a stage, as the great William Shakespeare once wrote. And Brett's stage has to be with him alone on it.
I miss the Wrangler Jeans TV ads in which he plays touch football with some guys on a muddyfield while wearing a T-shirt untucked. I miss his T-shirts maybe most of all. They remind me to stay relaxed and easy-going like Brett. The T-shirts were Brett's message to the world that "I'm just a down to Earth guy who doesn't need to wear polo or button down shirts, who doesn't like that much formality, who likes to be comfortable." I miss Brett being comfortable in what he wore, in being the Wrangler Man. He made me comfortable in what I wore. I miss his calm, his simple views of how to live, his lack of pretention and country-boy innocence.
On a related front, I miss Jenn Sterger. I saw her the other day on a radio interview. Man is she a babe. I miss seeing Jenn more than Brett, to be honest. I have to give it to old Brett. If you're going to send pictures of yourself to someone with whom you work, Jenn's the one.
I miss Brett's evasive answers such as those about whatever he sent or didn't send Joyous Jenn. "That situation will play itself out," he said, or something vague and clever word ("play") like this when asked by the press. Brett had unforgettable answers to all sorts of questions. I miss hearing him utter them. Most didn't make much sense. But that didn't matter. As long as Brett kept us wondering if he would come back again, what he said was immaterial and indelible.
The press: "Why did you come back for a third season after telling the world you were retiring after each one?
Brett: "Well, ah shucks, uh, it is what it is, I guess, uh, I still feel the game needs me, my teammates obviously need me. I mean, the Vikings stink without me. Their second string quarterback has no chance of leading this team to a Super Bowl and I've already won one. I have a cannon for an arm. And I'm a good old country boy, as you know, and people like my type. I dunno. It is what it is, I guess. Some things I can't explain, aren't explainable. You may not understand why I keep doing this. I don't even know what I keep doing this. It is what it is, I guess."
What it is, actually, is your time again, Brett. Now is your time to take us on another Mid-Summer Night's Dream of whether you're coming back or not. The NFL lock out is almost over. The summer is getting on. You've got the high school players in Louisiana ready, as they always will be, to run some down and outs and fly patterns at the local field near your Superdome home so you can tune up your cannon. They're ready. I'm ready. ESPN is ready. America is ready. American needs you. Ours summers are feeling empty. Our routines are being thrown out of whack. Please come back for one more season. You are what's missing in our lives. You are a summer ritual we can't live without.