Will the real Brett Favre, please stand up?

“The secret to success is sincerity, once
you can fake that you’ve got it made”
-Jean Giraudoux

America has a love affair with Brett Favre. But, love affairs are messy. They lure the unsuspecting with the promise of excitement and adventure, and they present a rollercoaster ride that is intoxicating, but is it worth it?

Most love affairs end badly and abruptly, leaving behind fractured lives and uncomfortable situations. So, what’s the end game for Mr. Favre?

When Brett Favre was summoned to meet with NFL security on Tuesday, it was the first time he’d been in the news for something truly nefarious. Even though there are no criminal charges, no civil lawsuits, or any mention of an official sexual harassment claim, Favre’s conversation with VP of Security Milt Ahlerich must’ve been very uncomfortable.

Up until now, every time we’ve heard Favre’s name in the media it involved TD passes, winning football games, retirement talk or Wrangler commercials. His homespun demeanor coupled with his aw-shucks body language seemed to disarm most of us.

Not everybody loves Brett Favre. Some love to hate him. But, the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. There’s emotion invested here, no one is lukewarm. Mention his name and you’ll elicit a response.

Brett Favre is no stranger to adversity.  In the 1990’s, his personal bouts with alcohol and painkillers were well documented. He stared down and defeated those maladies, and when his vulnerability was revealed, it didn’t diminish his image; in fact it was enhanced.  For the record, he dealt with those setbacks by way of great dignity and perseverance.

Not long ago, more of Favre’s life difficulties were played out in the public eye. His father’s death, his wife’s cancer and his family’s losses during Hurricane Katrina were well documented.

Once again Favre stood tall, in the pocket and in the game of life.

For many Americans, Favre is a hero. And America takes its heroes seriously.  Someone of Favre’s stature is supposed to be a 10-ft. tall, larger-than-life fantasy figure that plies his trade on fields-of-dreams.

In truth, Brett Favre is larger than life. In 20 years he’s earned 3 MVP awards, started almost 300 consecutive games, and passed for more yards and touchdowns than any other QB in history. He’s played in two Super Bowls, and won one of them. His longevity alone is amazing.

Soon, Brett Favre will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Now Favre is also the butt of jokes, a punchline of sorts, and a victim of his own success. In the oversaturated, highly commercialized world of sports in this global village, why would a family man play Russian roulette when technology leaves distinct footprints?  Allegedly…

NFL players wear space suits and make their living in high speed collisions for 16 Sundays every year. Because of their cartoonish bodies and freakish athleticism, it’s easy to de-humanize them.

Maybe that’s why America has a love affair with Brett Favre. He’s a top-notch performer, but he’s still a fallible human being.

And Brett Favre has shown us once again, that even a world-class athlete is not that different from you and me.

He’s sometimes blessed, and sometimes cursed…

(c) 2010 BernieFratto.com