Over the next few days, we’ll examine the top 10 moments of the ‘08 season leading up to the moment that defined the 2008 NFL season.
7. Brett Favre holds the nation hostage…and eventually becomes a New York Jet.
Muhammad Ali didn’t have to fight Larry Holmes in 1980 or Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas in ’81; Michael Jordan clearly didn’t need the Washington Wizards years; and Johnny Unitas should not have ended his career wearing the powder blue and gold of the San Diego Chargers. In 2008, joined the ever growing list of athletes who held on at least one year too long.
We all know the Favre story by now. After the NFC title game loss to the Giants, Favre played the will he, won’t he game with Green Bay and eventually decided to call it quits. Yet, once reality started to set in that he’d never play another down, the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes – and interceptions –, got the itch to play again. After a huge lover’s quarrel not seen on television since the epic Dawson-Joey-Pacey love triangle on Dawson’s Creek, the Packers dealt Favre to the Jets in August.
Upon arriving with the Jets, Favre was worried. Concerned about his relationship with his teammates and ability to learn the offense, Favre trotted out onto the field in Miami for a Week 1 matchup against former Jet signalcaller Chad Pennington and managed to give the Jets quarterback credibility down the field for the first time in years.
After a slow start to the season, the gunslinger came alive to reel off five straight wins including a thrilling overtime win at New England and defeating previously unbeaten Tennessee on the road.
Yet, as the season wore on the wear and tear started to show. Favre’s fastballs lacked the zip they once had and his decision-making, which was always questionable, began to cost the Jets dearly.
In the span of six weeks, the Jets went from Super Bowl contenders to being out of the playoffs thanks to Favre’s fade and an underwhelming defense. New York lost four of its last five games to finish a disappointing 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
With all of the preseason drama and subsequent close to the season, Favre’s popularity took a hit as some fans not wearing a number 4 on their back saw him as solely a self-interested guy. Despite his crash landing to the 2008 season, Favre will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Canton.
Unfortunately though, like a lot of the all-time greats in sports, his ego got the best of him and he ended up hanging on one year too long.