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The temptation to keep playing is a strong one for some athletes, who linger on well past their time. Perhaps it derives from the same drive that propelled them to stardom; sometimes it comes from a need to make money.
If the athlete is lucky, his final years can be overlooked as people remember the glory days. Bobby Orr retired as a Blackhawk. Joe Namath as a Ram. Michael Jordan as a Wizard. They are almost never remembered as playing for these teams, but they are the lucky ones.
For every Jordan-like comeback, there is a shambling Ricky Williams in an Argos jersey or an Ali getting battered by Larry Holmes.
And now, since it looks like Brett Farve will retire as a New York Jet, I find myself wondering what the legacy will look like.
Now that Farve has found a home, replacing Chad Pennington, Farve seems to have jumped from the cheese pan into the fire.
IF he thought the media in Milwaukee was tough, he’s got another thing coming. If he found the Vikings or the Bears tough, he’ll have a hard time on weeks two and 13, when they play the Patriots? Or San Diego on week 3?
It’s not like he’s going to a contender, either. Offensively, the Jets are in the basement: 26th in total yards. 25th in passing yards and points scored. The Jets main back, Thomas Jones, didn’t score a rushing touchdown until week 13 last season. There was even a six game losing streak for the boys in green last year to boot.
Had it not been for the Miami Dolphins, a team that redefined the term “cataclysmically awful”, the Jets would have been the stinkers of the AFC.
Look, I’m not knocking the guy. He wants to play another season, fine, okay, go do it. It’s just that there had to have been a better, less played-out way to do this. There had to have been a better team that wanted him – The Vikings? Tampa Bay?
It just looks more and more like Farve will be heading into a no-win scenario. He’s going from a good team that was a score away from going to the Super Bowl, to a team that lost to Buffalo twice last year. He’s going to a team that needs his leadership, yes, but to a team that needs his publicity even more.
After all, the Giants won the Super Bowl last season. They’re not only riding on top of the NFL, but on the city of New York as well. And by bringing in a legend, the Jets can take back some of the Giants press. But is that all the Farve deal is? A PR move to siphon attention away from the Giants?
Look at what happened in the other comebacks: Jordan, for example, helped put the Wizards in the collective consciousness, something their NBA title couldn't do in the 1970s.
Hopefully, Farve will help the Jets to a decent finish this year.
Hopefully this is more then just a PR move by New York’s second-place football team.
Hopefully our last memory of Farve won’t be him overwhelmed by a bad team.