Brett Favre, the celebrated quarterback of the Green Bay Packers announced his retirement from professional football on Monday after 17 seasons. The 38-year-old Favre broke a host of NFL records with his on the field accomplishments. He was the NFL’s only three-time MVP, and led the league with 442 touchdown passes, 61,655 yards passing and 160 career victories. He started 253 consecutive regular-season games, more than any other quarterback in history. Favre also threw 288 interceptions — an indication of the wild streak that only made him more human to the fans who adored him. His accomplishments are many but perhaps he will be most remembered as a tenacious, hard-nosed competitor who played with the passion and abandonment of a little boy.
Any sports writer worth his salt will rank Brett Favre among the ten best quarterbacks of all time – some will rank him among the top five. What made him great? It was more than his accomplishments on the field. It was his leadership – his ability to inspire his teammates to play hard and give their best, like he did. His record for consecutive starts means he played hurt on occasion. It also means he played through adversity, like the Monday night after his Dad died when he led his team to a decisive victory, and the stretch when his beloved wife, Deanna, fought with cancer. He knew the meaning of perseverance and dedication. He broke records for his passing, but he also threw a lot of interceptions, which means that he played with a passion bordering on reckless abandon. A man’s man, Favre shed tears of emotion at his press conference on Thursday, as he walked away from the game he loved. Whoever said real men don’t cry? Brett Favre was the real deal. He will be missed by football fans across the country. He leaves us with a legacy of leadership.
My question is: What inspired Brett Favre to become the great leader he was? Apparently, he had always liked to play football since his dad, Irvin Favre, was a football coach for high school. Growing up Irvin taught Brett to always aim your dreams high and go for them no matter the height. But in Favre’s Senior year of college, he got into a near fatal car accident and the first thing he asked the doctors was “Will I still be able to play football?” His inspiration is that he did what his dad said and aimed high and followed through and that made him the player he became.
Great leaders are inspired by other great leaders. Each of us has an arena in which to lead – opportunities to influence others to become all that they can be. As Christians our highest calling is to glorify God in all we do. As we make that our aim, let’s be aware of our opportunities along the way to influence others to do the same. The result will be that we will leave behind our own legacy of leadership in the most important game of all – the game of life. – MAJ