In case you didn’t get to check out my Sunday column on the GamePlan page, here’s a look at today’s debate:
Just think about it for a minute — Brett Favre playing for someone other than the Green Bay Packers.
Two things are obvious after the latest twists in the Favre saga: Favre wants to play football again, and the Packers have already decided to move on without him. There are still plenty of plot twists remaining before Favre dons his famous No. 4 jersey for another team this season.
Can you imagine Favre strolling into Lambeau Field on Nov. 16 wearing a Chicago Bears jersey? How huge would the hype be around that game? The Packer faithful may just tear the place down.
(Of course, Favre could only go to Chicago if punter Brad Maynard agreed to give up the No. 4.)
No matter what happens, this isn’t going to end well.
The thought of Favre playing for anyone else but Green Bay just doesn’t seem right. It brings to mind other icons who ended their careers with brief stays with teams other than the ones that they earned their fame.
Here’s a look at my top 5 most surreal endings to a career:
5. Johnny Unitas, San Diego Chargers
The Baltimore Colts icon was traded to the Chargers as a 40-year-old in 1973. He made four starts in five games for the Chargers, throwing three touchdowns against seven interceptions for a team that finished 2-11-1. Unlike Favre, Unitas was at the end of the line when he made the move out west. Still, Unitas was to Colts fans what Favre is to the Packer faithful today.
4. Emmitt Smith, Arizona Cardinals
Thank goodness he broke Walter Payton’s all-time rushing record as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. His two seasons in Arizona were nothing more than stats-padders for Smith. He rushed for 1,193 yards to boost his all-time record to 18,355. He didn’t win anything with the Cardinals, who won all of 10 games during his time there.
3. Joe Namath, Los Angeles Rams
For 12 years, Namath was the toast of the Big Apple. We have Joe Willie to thank for the NFL we see today. Had he not engineered the New York Jets’ upset of the mighty Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, who knows what would have happened to the AFL? His knees shot, he was signed by the Rams in May of 1977. He played all of four games, getting knocked out in the fourth game of the season against the Chicago Bears.
2. Willie Mays, New York Mets
For most people, seeing the “Say Hey Kid” out of a Giants uniform is No. 1. He made his mark with the Giants, first with the team in New York and later when the team made its move to San Francisco. He hit 646 of his 660 home runs in a Giants uniform. But on May 11, 1972, Mays was traded to the Mets for Charlie Williams, a relief pitcher, and $50,000. His return to his New York roots wasn’t very memorable. He hit .238 with 14 homers and 44 RBI over parts of two seasons.
1. Michael Jordan, Washington Wizards
Any true Chicago Bulls fan will deny that Jordan ever played anywhere else but Chicago. To us, Jordan’s final shot was over Byron Russell in the 1998 NBA Finals, a perfect ending for the best player in NBA history. We realize there is some photographic — if not forensic — evidence that Jordan played for Washington, but we deny that it ever happened. The fact there are Jordan replica jerseys in those awful Wizards colors — and the fact people own them — sickens us. And don’t even get us started on those who own “throwback” Jordan Washington Bullets jerseys.
O.J. Simpson, San Francisco 49ers, right; Jim Hart, Washington Redskins; Joe Montana, Kansas City Chiefs; Akeem Olajuwon, Toronto Raptors; Franco Harris; Seattle Seahawks; Joe Morgan, San Francisco Giants; Billy Williams, Oakland A’s; Ron Santo, Chicago White Sox; Babe Ruth, Boston Braves
Have a not-so grand exit of your own that you’d like to share? Post a comment or zip me an e-mail.