Football’s version of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield

June 19 - requiem-for-a-heavyweight-anthony-quinn-jackie-gleason-mickey-rooney Professional boxers are notorious for not knowing when to say when. The list of once great pugilists fighting way past their primes is endless and includes everyone from Oscar de la Hoya and Mike Tyson to Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Robinson. The definitive movie on the subject is Rod Serling's 'Requiem for a Heavyweight.' I highly recommend renting it from Netflix.

Boxers stick around for a variety of reasons. Many rose from the ranks of poverty and, once flush with the sweet smell of success, squander their winnings on fast cars, loose women and an exorbitant lifestyle. Faced with mounting bills and lightened wallets, the battered boxers step back into the ring against younger, faster and stronger opponents. Some survive. Others, like Ali, pay a heavy price.

Another big reason for fighting past one's prime is the uber rush that comes from performing in front of adoring fans. Adulation is the meth amphetamine of professional athletes. Which has to be the reason why Brett Favre is still bouncing around on the gridiron.

Favre was clearly past his prime in his final season with the Green Bay Packers. One could argue that he single-handedly lost the NFC title game to the Giants that season. And, his performance with the Jets last year should have convinced everyone, including Favre, that he was done.

Besides the physical risks associated with playing past one's prime, these ill-considered moves do significant damage to the athlete's image and reputation.

I'll always remember the 40-something Willie Mays stumbling and falling in a vain attempt to catch a fly ball in the 1973 World Series. Mays' legs were shot, but he couldn't face retirement. So, he embarrassed himself.

Favre needs to hang up his spikes. The longer he sticks around, the more damage he'll do to his image and reputation.

4 thoughts on “Football’s version of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield

  1. Favre’s operation may improve his arm strength. But I doubt it. And no operation can improve his risky go-for-broke mentality that fails far more often than it succeeds.

  2. Do you think extending his career could jeopardize him being a first ballot HOFer?
    What is the operation truly does reverse his arm’s woes? It’s not as if he was ever that mobile.
    Anyway, I wouldn’t mind him showing up in the NFC as it gives the Eagles a better chance.
    I was trying to draw up some football puns but decided to sack that idea.

  3. Spot on re: the owners willing to pay over-the-hill jocks ungodly amounts of money. Re: my arm, I can still complete a deep flag pattern pass, Greg. Thanks for asking.

  4. Too many athletes are playing past their prime RepMan. But with owners willing to dole out millions of dollars, whynot extend your career until the buck stops. Sure, they are risking injury, but that’s the player’s decision. Favre is just another in a long line. He should have packed it in several years ago. Consider these statistics. Last season with the New York Jets, Favre ranked 21st among 32 starting QBs with 22 TDs and 22 interceptions. His QB rating was 81.0 His 22 interceptions were four more than any other starting QB in the league.
    Other than 2007, Favre has not played well since the 2005 season. In 2007, he ranked sixth among QBs with 28 TDs versus 15 INTs and had a QB passer rating of 95.7.
    But in 2006, he ranked 25th with 18 TDs, 18 INTs and a 72.7 rating. And in 2005, he was ranked 31st amoung starting signal-callers with 20 TDS and 29 INTs.
    So, over the past four seasons he has more interceptions than touchdowns and has fumbled the ball 37 times during this period. He may be worth coming off the bench, but he’s certainly not a starting QB material. And to pay him anywhere in the neighborhood of the $12 million the Jets forked over last year is a waste.
    What would Fran Tarkenton think if the Vikings sign him?
    By the way, how’s your throwing arm Steve?