“Legacy” is a word generally relegated to star athletes and politicians. It’s not a word that often comes up regarding regular folk. You and I aren’t too concerned about our legacies. We have reputations to protect, not legacies so much, because the only mark we’re going to leave on this world is probably an embarrassing stain.
Not even actors and celebrities are victims of the manufactured legacy debate. For instance, there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about Al Pacino’s legacy when he followed a run of successes with “Chinese Coffee,” “People I Know,” “Insomnia,” “S1m0ne” and “Gigli.” His place in movie history is secure.
But as sports debates rage on, fans wonder about Tom Brady’s legacy — and Bill Belichick’s. What mark will they leave on the game? Where will the rank among the greatest of all time? What about Brett Favre?
And it’s more the latter than the former that I’m thinking about these days. Favre’s legacy has taken a huge hit this past season. He followed up one of the best statistical campaigns of his career with one of his worst — not too mention a scandal that was one part private parts and one part tearing him apart. Obviously, the question has been raised about what these past few months have done to his legacy.
The answer is nothing. Brett Favre has become football’s version of Willie Mays. He’ll be remembered by the next generation as a guy who’s all over the record books, putting him among the best to ever play the game, but who stayed around a little bit too long. Mays was still a very good player in 1970, and not so good for the three more years he continued to play. Still, Mays is remembered for his greatness, for his successes that far outweighed his failures.
People who never saw him play hear the stories, see some highlights and note where he ranks in all those statistical categories. And they unanimously say “one of the best.”
Favre will be remembered the same way. ESPN will see to that. We’ll see a lot more of Favre running and jumping down the field after a touchdown pass than we’ll see him ending seasons with interceptions. We’ll see his name at the top of the leaderboard in just about every quarterback category — yes, including interceptions and sacks. And we’ll see his record of 297 straight starts stand for years.
His texting indiscretions are part of his legacy now, but that part of his story will drop from a sidebar to a footnote to a piece of trivia.
—Bob Halloran is a sports anchor and author. Follow him on Twitter @BobHalloran63.
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