Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Brett Favre’ Category

Sunday Inspiration: Schroeder and Favre Have Their Days

with 2 comments

Folks, over the last two days, I saw a couple of inspiring things that I wanted to share with you.

On Friday night, the Milwaukee Brewers honored long-time television announcer Bill Schroeder before the game at Miller Park, as Schroeder was enshrined on the Brewers Wall of Honor. Schroeder started his big league career with the club, and has now been a TV announcer for twenty-one years.

“But why is this inspiring?” you ask.

It’s simple. Schroeder thanked everyone he’d ever worked with in the TV booth, mentioned something specific about his former partners (starting with Jim Paschke, and ending with his current partner Brian Anderson), and said that he’d learned from every last one of them.

You see, Schroeder had a fair-to-middling career as a big-league catcher. He caught the Brewers’ only no-hitter (thrown by Juan Nieves), hit .332 in 1987, and finished up his career in 1990 with the then-California Angels.

He played eight years in the majors. And for some, that would be enough of a legacy.

But Schroeder was still a young man. He wanted to do more. And he became a broadcaster, starting his second career in 1994.

Starting over probably wasn’t easy. As Schroeder has said many times during Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasts, it’s easier to play and stay in the moment than it is to be upstairs and have to critique everything that’s going on.

But Schroeder swallowed his pride, and learned. That was his first step in being a successful broadcaster.

What’s kept him on the air for twenty-one years? Other than the fact that Schroeder knows his stuff cold and always comes prepared (his colleague Anderson more or less pointed this out during Friday night’s broadcast, though I’d understood this long since), it’s the fact that Schroeder continues to learn and grow as a broadcaster.

By this point, Schroeder has become a consummate professional. Yet the players still see him as one of them, because of Schroeder’s eight years in the bigs.

My guess is that when Schroeder started his broadcasting career, he had no idea just where his path would lead him. He stayed within himself and learned — or, to put it perhaps a better way, he stayed humble. And didn’t insist that he knew it all already, so he had no reason to learn.

Schroeder concluded his day at the park by thanking the Brewers fans, an act that felt surprisingly meaningful. Because Schroeder didn’t just say the words; he was moved by them.

Brett Favre’s induction into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame last night was in some ways strikingly similar to Schroeder’s day at Miller Park on Friday. Favre thanked many people, including his former quarterback and strength coaches, people who did security for Lambeau Field, folks in the office…and paid particular attention to the memory of Lee Remmel, long-time Packers historian.

Brett Favre is one of the biggest sports stars the state of Wisconsin has ever had, while Schroeder (as a player) was only fair. Yet like Schroeder, somehow the fans always saw Favre as one of them.

And like Schroeder, Favre went out of his way to thank everyone he possibly could for allowing him to become the best he could possibly be. He especially thanked the Packers fans, and said he knew he had a special relationship with them — this is my best paraphrase, as I don’t have a transcript in front of me — and that considering he’d played elsewhere, he knew full well how to value the people of Green Bay. (The crowd roared.)

Both of these men got standing ovations. (Favre’s lasted longer, but then — who can compete with Brett in the state of Wisconsin?) Both of them admitted they’d had to swallow their pride at various times, stay within themselves, and keep trying — that even though it might’ve looked or seemed easy, it wasn’t.

There was a lot of preparation that went into game days for Brett, despite his good-time guy image.

And there has always been a great deal of preparation that goes into game days for Bill Schroeder, despite his down-home image.

Ultimately, these two men have much more in common than it might seem at first. They’re both hardworking, driven men, who’ve succeeded in difficult fields when perhaps very few gave them much thought at first. (Trust me: Favre fully remembers what it was like to be traded from Atlanta and to be so lightly regarded. The rest of us may see him as an icon, but he definitely doesn’t see himself that way.)

Now, what both of these men’s “days” have taught me is this:

  • Work hard.
  • Stay humble.
  • Learn everything you can. Then learn more.
  • Be gracious. (AKA, “Remember that you’re not the only human being on the planet.”) and, finally,
  • Never stop improving, in one facet or another.

If you can do all of that, you are a success — whether anyone else knows it or not.


Edited to add: My mother came to WordPress and tried to comment, but something glitched and the whole post re-posted again.

Here is her comment in its entirety:

I enjoyed both events as well…Let us not forget the wives of these men as well…They have made many sacrifices for their men’s love of sport..

Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers “Kiss and Make Up”– Retirement of Number 4 Will Happen in 2015

leave a comment »

Well, it’s official: Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the National Football League, and his long-time team the Green Bay Packers have “kissed and made up.” This means his long-delayed retirement ceremony and the retirement of his iconic Number 4 in Green Bay will finally happen in 2015.

Now, why is this news, exactly?

Yes, Favre was traded to the New York Jets a few years ago in order to make way for Aaron Rodgers — something that didn’t sit well with many fans at the time (including me), but was probably the best move for the team as Rodgers was ready to play. And after that, Favre played two years with the Minnesota Vikings, a long-time rival of the Packers in the NFC Central division, leading the Vikings to the 2009-10 NFC championship game.

And yes, things were very messy, at the time — even being characterized in Wisconsin as a “nasty public divorce” (most recently by various WTMJ-AM radio commentators, including Doug Russell and Jeff Falconio; WTMJ-AM serves as the “home of the Packers” and is the flagship station for the entire state). Fans took sides, Favre was booed in Green Bay while he wore a purple number 4 jersey, and some fans were so angered with Favre continuing to play in the NFL rather than retiring that they burned Favre’s jerseys and refused to even speak his name.

(No, I’m not kidding. Wish I were. But Wisconsin takes its pro football seriously.)

Even now, there’s discussion as to whether fans will actually boo Favre because Favre wanted to keep playing football after the Packers traded him, rather than retire outright as a Packer legend as many fans felt he should — even though Favre, demonstrably, still was playing at a very high level up until mid-2010.

Fans take things so personally, in fact, they forget how awful they would feel if, in their mid-thirties, they were told they had to stop doing something they loved. That had paid them very well for years. That they knew they could still do. All because a younger person was available to do the same job for a lower amount of money.

In any other profession, this would be called age discrimination. But in sports, because of how most people’s bodies react due to aging and how their physical skills can’t but help decline, it’s called a simple fact and franchises are lauded when they jettison older stars.

Even when, as in this case, that older star is the Iron Man of Professional Football.

At any rate, I don’t understand why anyone would boo Brett Favre at this point. He’s been retired from pro football since the end of the 2010 season, for crying out loud. And he did so many wonderful things for the Packers: He took them to two Super Bowls, winning one; he won three Most Valuable Player Awards; he set numerous records; he broke the consecutive games played streak while in a Packers uniform; and he did many positive things for Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin.

He even was an active supporter of many local charities.

So even though Favre played for two teams in addition to the Packers, it wasn’t like that was Favre’s choice — he was traded. He wanted to be a Packer until his body gave out. Just because that didn’t happen doesn’t mean that all of the onus of Favre and the Packers’ “messy divorce” should fall upon him — some of it should fall on the Packers, most particularly General Manager Ted Thompson.

But some fans just don’t care about that.

Why? Well, Favre is famous for retiring, then un-retiring, in a similar manner to basketball legend Michael Jordan. And all that retiring and un-retiring was difficult for his team in Green Bay to handle, for his coach to handle, and most especially his GM to handle.

So if you’re a fan who was angry at Favre because he had the audacity to keep playing after the Packers clearly indicated they were ready for the Aaron Rodgers regime, please do me a favor: get over it.

That way, the rest of us can enjoy Favre’s well-deserved retirement ceremony in peace.

Packers win; Rodgers being praised to the skies — and I don’t care.

with 2 comments

The Packers won tonight, 48-21, against Atlanta.  Aaron Rodgers had an excellent game, one of his best ever.

So, why don’t I care?  A little background, first.

Folks, I have followed the Packers since I was very small — something like three or four years old.  But I’ve grown tired of the need at every step by both state and national reporters to glorify Aaron Rodgers at the expense of former Packers QB (and sure-to-be Hall of Famer) Brett Favre.

Look at tonight’s story from Yahoo Sports; first, here’s the link:;_ylt=AnZs3MZQTLWirpX6pR06CFk5nYcB?gid=20110115001

Next, a relevant quote:

ATLANTA (AP)—Brett who? Aaron Rodgers(notes) has turned these NFL playoffs into his own showcase.

Moving down a few paragraphs, the article continues:

Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards, more than Brett Favre(notes)—the guy he replaced in Green Bay—ever threw for in a playoff game. After knocking off Michael Vick(notes) and the Eagles in Philadelphia, then dominating Matt Ryan(notes) and the Falcons in Atlanta, Rodgers is creating his own legacy in Titletown USA.

That Rodgers surely is, but comparing him to Favre is unnecessary.  Favre was a great quarterback who is now retired.  Football’s rules have changed in the past few years allowing for more offense, and Rodgers — and the Packers’ offensive schemes — have taken advantage of that.

Either Rodgers is a good quarterback on his own — I believe he is — or he isn’t, but in any event a comparison to Brett Favre is unhelpful unless you want to go back to Favre’s second or third playoff game.  (This is Rodgers’ third playoff game, the second of this year, and before this year he’d played in one and lost in one, the 48-47 shootout in Arizona last year.)

Comparing Rodgers, who is a young man with only one significant injury this year (a concussion that kept him out of a game or two), with Favre, who is over 40 and was hobbled by at least five significant injuries (foot, ankle, elbow, throwing shoulder, and a nasty concussion that kept him out of his last two games and shortened a third), is not just an “apples to oranges” comparison — it is kicking a legend, Brett Favre, while he’s down. 

I blame headlines like this on those who are angry because of Favre’s off-the-field issues or his inability to give up playing football on someone else’s timetable other than his own.  I see them as childish, mean-spirited, unnecessary, and extremely rude.

Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback who played a very fine game.  But he is not a certain Hall of Famer just yet, and as far as his personality goes, there’s no comparison between the engaging, “aw shucks, ma’am” persona of Favre and the driven, competitive, smart but rather taciturn Rodgers.

In ten years, perhaps we’ll know if Rodgers is another Steve Young — a legend following in the footsteps of another, greater legend (in Young’s case, he followed Joe Montana in San Francisco, as all football fans know) — or if he’s another guy who’ll have a few, brief years in the sun, then start to fade as injuries take their toll.

Until then, the folks writing stories such as these really should shut the Hell up.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 16, 2011 at 12:32 am

Brett Favre to start tonight for the Vikings — UPDATED

with 2 comments

UPDATE:  Brett Favre took a hard hit on his left shoulder (not his throwing shoulder) from DE Corey Wooten of the Bears, and has sustained a head injury.   It is unlikely he’ll return to this game; as for next week, I guess we’ll all see.

Here’s the most recent story at ESPN:

And here’s another one that amused me from Bleacher Report about how to finally get Brett Favre into retirement (written before this game started):

**** Now back to the original post. ****

Brett Favre started tonight for the Minnesota Vikings in their Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears.

I mention this for three reasons:

1) I really admire Favre as a player.

2) It’s amazing that Favre would try to play with a hand that, at last check-up, was still swollen to twice its normal size and looked like raw hamburger.

3) If the Vikings win tonight, Favre will be indirectly helping his old team, the Green Bay Packers, because the Packers lost last night to the Patriots (in a gutty, inspired performance from Packers backup Matt Flynn), 31-27.  The Packers are now 8-6 and need all the help they can get to make the playoffs; if the Bears lose tonight, that will help the Packers (as the Bears are currently ahead of the Packers in the standings; the Bears’ record currently stands at 9-4, while the Vikings are at 5-8.  The Packers want to stay only one game back in the loss column and have a shot at the NFC North title (the Bears can lock it up tonight if they win, or so the Milwaukee announcers said), so in a probable first, Aaron Rodgers (who sat out last night with a concussion) and the rest of the Packers will most likely be cheering on Favre and the Vikings.

Who said fact is stranger than fiction, huh?

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Brett Favre’s Consecutive Games Streak Ends

with one comment

Brett Favre sat out this past Monday night for the first time in nineteen years, and his consecutive games started/played streak ended at 297.  Favre has been troubled with many injuries this year, including a broken ankle, a knee issue (maybe related to having to run about on the broken ankle), shoulder problems, and now he’s unable to grip the football without feeling numbness, tingling or pain.  (He’s not talking much about the pain, but if for some reason he’s dodged physical pain with this issue — unlikely — assuredly he has mental pain regarding his current inability to use his primary talent.)

A brief comparison with the “Iron Man” of professional baseball, Cal Ripken, is in order.  Favre’s streak started in 1992 and continued until nearly the end of 2010, spanning nineteen years.  (Favre has played twenty years in the National Football League, but in his first year he was a little-used backup QB in Atlanta.)  Whereas Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2632 games played streak in baseball was over sixteen years — both are considered “Iron Men,” incredibly tough, gifted individuals who refused to take days off, who refused to give up on their teams, and who are revered because of everything they were as players, and for everything they’ve given to their sports.

Some have argued that because there are three current QBs with an active streak (Philip Rivers has 78, Eli Manning has 100, and Peyton Manning has 205 games played in a row), plus two more active QBs with long streaks (Tom Brady had 111 straight, I believe, before he got injured and missed most of 2008, while Drew Brees had a streak of 79 games played in a row that ended in December of ’09) that perhaps it doesn’t really mean as much in football to start all these games in a row as it does in baseball.

Au contraire, mon frére — it’s an interesting statisical anomaly, yes, that there are now six QBs in history with 100 or more starts in a row.  But Favre’s streak — which, when added to his playoff games, was actually 321 games in a row — is exceptional for two reasons.

1) He holds the consecutive games played streak for ALL NFL PLAYERS, not just quarterbacks **


2) Over the years he continued to play despite a busted thumb on his throwing hand, a broken ankle, a number of concussions (he was always taken promptly out of games as soon as someone knew there was a problem, fortunately for him), and more than a few injuries to his throwing shoulder and elbow.  Any of these injuries, even the least of them, could easily have kept him out of action for a week or more, ending his streak far sooner . . . yet somehow, Favre always found a way to recover in time for next week’s game.

It is extremely unusual that Favre has been able to overcome all that just to keep playing; that for the most part he’s played brilliantly, exceptionally, and has been one of the top quarterbacks in football for at least the last 15 years (save this year) just goes to show how special a player Favre has been over time.  He’s combined longevity, toughness, intelligence and heart in a unique way and has exemplified the best aspects of his sport over a long period of time.  We definitely will not see his like again even if, by some remote chance, Peyton Manning or someone else equals or surpasses Favre’s streak down the line.

The guy who’s second in the NFL behind Favre in consecutive games played/started is former Viking defensive end Jim Marshall — Marshall had 270 games played with an additional nineteen playoff games, bringing his consecutive games streak total to 289 overall.  Marshall had the overall NFL record for over thirty years before handing it off to Favre, and it was thought for many years that Marshall’s streak would never be broken, or tied, or equalled.  (And it hasn’t been, by a defensive end.)

Granted, quarterbacks have an offensive line that’s paid to protect them, but they also are the most vulnerable player on the field for many reasons, far too many to list here.  It’s almost miraculous that Favre was able to play for so long and overcome so many injuries; it’s fitting, in a way, that it took a triple-pronged attack of injuries — a broken foot, shoulder problems, and an aching hand with numbness and tingling — in order to end Favre’s streak.

So please, do not let the “argument” that there are six quarterbacks who’ve played 100 games straight or more, two of them with active streaks (the Manning brothers), stop you for appreciating Brett Favre’s historic accomplishment.

A very good Time magazine article asks the question, “Why did we take Brett Favre’s streak for granted?”  A relevant quote follows, with the link following that (as is apparently Time magazine’s preference):

Cal Ripken played 2,632 straight games for the Baltimore Orioles. That streak is revered; the night Ripken passed Gehrig back in 1995 became a national celebration – even the President showed up. But wasn’t Favre’s streak much more difficult to pull off? What’s harder: standing on a baseball field for an hour or two, everyday, playing shortstop, or lining up under center once a week in football, where very large men are paid very large sums of money to knock you out of the game? Favre’s body got buried in the turf every game, but he kept bouncing back up. He played with broken bones. He took a mental pounding too: Favre played one of the best games of his career, back in 2003, the day after learning that his father had died.

No disrespect to Ripken: in a daily endeavor like baseball, there’s certainly more opportunities for a freak accident that could stall such a streak. But baseball has always been a sport that overvalues its numbers. Since it is played at a slower pace than other games, there’s more time to ruminate on individual feats. So let’s give Favre his due; he’s the ultimate Iron Man in pro sports history.

Read more:

*** End quote ***

When at his best, Brett Favre could elevate an entire team and carry them on his back, willing them to play better — we saw it for seventeen seasons in Green Bay, we saw it in New York when he was with the Jets (until he had arm issues later in the season), and we’ve seen it now for two years in Minnesota.

So now, Favre’s streak is over; his team, the Vikings, will not make the playoffs this year.  He may not be able to play again with his injuries, as they are extensive and painful, which is a real shame.  This will undoubtedly be his last year as a professional football player — he’s just too injured now, and he knows it.

What’s really sad is that the Vikings backup QB, Tarvaris Jackson, was placed on the injured reserve list (meaning he can’t play again this season) earlier today.  Favre most likely will not play this week, either; right now he’s helping the coaches with the third-string QB Joe Webb and getting NFL veteran QB Patrick Ramsay (signed earlier this week for depth purposes) up to speed on the offense.  That’s a good thing — Favre, according to retired QBs Trent Dilfer and Steve Young (the latter a Hall of Famer), has, in their parlance, “forgotten more football than other people know.”  Favre has already said that he’ll be glad to help Webb, Ramsay or anyone else who gets in there while he’s unable to play, which is a classy move, one that goes strongly against his image as a “prima donna” or “diva.”  (I’ve always wondered how much of that was overblown, especially as most of the teammates he’s ever been around have had nothing but good things to say about him as a player.)

I will miss seeing Brett Favre’s infectious enthusiasm on the field, and will miss seeing Favre’s scrambling plays that most of the time hit their target — something very, very few QBs in the history of the NFL could ever do — even though once in a while it did result in a costly interception (or two).

The NFL will not be the same without Brett Favre as an active player, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.


** Jeff Feagles, a punter, holds the special teams record for consecutive games played and actually has more years of service and more games of service than Brett Favre, but because punters are never in the starting line-up these days, and because punters sometimes are active for the game and get credit for being available for the game if there’s no need for punting (it’s rare, but it happens), he is not considered the “Iron Man” of professional football.  (He is, however, appreciated mightily by folks like me, who recognize excellence and perseverence when we see it whether it’s Feagles, the punter, or Favre, the quarterback or Marshall, the DE.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 17, 2010 at 4:58 am

A Bunch of Stuff — new Publications, Yoplait Yogurt lids, and Brett Favre observation.

with 3 comments

Well, I don’t have enough for a full blog post today, but I do have a lot of little things to discuss.

First, e-Quill Publishing has accepted an original story; for those of you who’ve known me a while, this story started as “Dream/Reality,” then became “Betty goes to the Fair.”  It’s now entitled “The Fair at South Farallon,” I think — Lawrence at e-Quill liked that much better.   I do not know when it will be available, but I am glad that it’s been accepted.

Second, I am writing a collaborative novella with Piotr Mierzejewski for e-Quill Publishing that’s titled “Iron Falls.”  It is near-future military suspense; I’ve never written anything like this before, and have been doing a great deal of research.  It is in Piotr’s world with Piotr’s characters; we’re still hammering out the plot.  Two chapters have been written with a third on the way; estimated time for this story’s completion is late December 2010.  (Lawrence is very confident and has already announced this at the e-Quill Publishing Web site.  I would’ve preferred to wait until at least four chapters were completed.  But now that the cat’s out of the bag . . . . )

Third, anyone who eats Yoplait yogurt knows that around this time of year, they start making all the lids pink for breast cancer awareness.  My Mom is taking part in all that; it’s called “Save Lids to Save Lives.”  So please, save your pink lids and send ’em to Yoplait down the road, OK?

Finally, my Brett Favre observation.  I’m sure most if not all of you know Favre is in trouble due to some allegations made by two massage therapists working for the New York Jets and a “game hostess” also employed by the Jets.  (I don’t know what a “game hostess” does.  Sorry.)  These were all attractive women, and Favre is alleged to have sent racy text messages to them and also to have sent naked “below-the-waist” pics.  He also left voice mail messages for the “hostess.”

Look.  Favre is a married man; his wife is the inestimable Deanna Favre, who has beaten breast cancer once (though it may return).  They’ve known each other all their lives, have two children (one who is grown and has already reproduced, so Favre is the NFL’s only known player that’s also a grandfather), and have been married fourteen years.  Their marriage has been strong, though there have been allegations in the past of Favre cheating on her — I’ve always thought that Favre loves Deanna like no other, but maybe has trouble being faithful to her, even though I could be wrong about all of it.

What I am sorry about is that Favre’s life is played out in public.  These problems are difficult for anyone to deal with; infidelity is not easy for the non-cheating partner to have to deal with.  And women, more than men, have to deal with this — it’s an awful situation even if it’s all happening behind closed doors.  It is a thousand times worse, it seems to me, to have all this happen in the public eye.

Favre is a major, big-time player with many NFL records; he’s still playing at 41 and is still highly competent as a QB (though it seems to me he now has to pick his spots; last night’s game against the Jets, where Favre played a good fourth quarter but the first three weren’t good at all, is a case in point).  He has the consecutive games-played record — not just for quarterbacks, but for all NFL players — and is considered the “iron man” of professional American football.

All that being said, he’s a man like any other.  And his faults seem to be remarkably similar to many other men; he apparently has a wandering eye, and now his marriage may be in major trouble.

I believe the publication, who has reveled in these Favre allegations (even to the point of paying $20,000 for the voice-mails and “corroborating evidence”), is mostly to blame for all this.  They don’t need to be muckrakers.  Yet to get publicity for themselves, has played this for all its worth — and I find that disgusting.

I would prefer that Brett Favre re-commit to his marriage, if indeed any of the allegations against him are true.  Deanna Favre is a remarkable, strong, intelligent lady and she’s stood by him through many difficult times — including Favre’s Vicodin addiction in the ’90s.  She deserves better treatment from her husband.  And Favre really needs to learn that, at 41 years of age, he should appreciate the great woman he has and stop trying to re-live his youth or behave in a crass, classless manner.  He’s not young; he’s a grandfather.  He should set an example for his teammates and clean up his act.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm