Learning About Football: Why History Matters

 Learning about the legends, about the history of the game, is a big part of learning about football.  And it’s not just so you can talk the talk.  There’s nothing wrong with community theatre.  But to truly understand the craft of acting, it helps to have watched actors like Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. 


Of course, you’re not likely to see Brett Favre on Turner Classic Movies.  But knowing something about history – be it of movies or nations or football – really is necessary to understanding . . . well, whatever it is you’re trying to understand.


For example, if you only understand the present . . . let’s go with nations here, since the example is a pretty clear one: to know that George Bush is what a president is is not to know what George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy or Richard Nixon were as presidents.


That is, to only know about Dubya is not really to know a whole lot about what it means to be President of the United States.


History provides perspective.


What does it mean to be good?  To be great?  To be mediocre?  To be awful?


You need a frame of reference.  Only an understanding of history can give you that.


The same holds true for quarterbacks.


Of course, Brett, to be fair to the old guy, is only recent history.  Still, he’s a legend in his own time.  So he’s made enough history already to be relevant to our discussion.


Okay then.  Getting back to movie icons, Brett Favre, who was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and is of French and Choctaw Indian descent, has the square-jawed, aw shucks good looks of a Gary Cooper.


Which has nothing to do with his being an NFL legend.  Just thought it might give you a little incentive to pay attention to the game.


So what does make Brett Favre an NFL legend?  Well, now: where do we begin?


How about nine trips to the Pro Bowl?  That’s the football version of the All-Star Game.   Which is to say, Pro Bowlers are the best players in the National Football League.  And All-Pro is the best of the best.  Brett was selected for that seven times.  He was also the NFL’s Most Valuable Player three times, which is the most in NFL history.  And he led the Packers to the ultimate championship in the world of NFL football by winning Super Bowl XXXI.


He has so many ‘mosts’ in his career that you’ll think we made this up.  Most career NFL touchdown passes (442), most career NFL passing yards (61,655), most career pass completions (5,377), most career victories as a starting quarterback (160).  And the guy is still playing!!!


No wonder Jets fans are juiced!!!


By the way, since Brett Favre is almost synonymous with the Green Bay Packers, many people (perhaps even your resident expert) think he was a Packer from the start of his NFL career.  Not so.


Consider this a factoid that could put you one-up on the know-it-alls in your living room.  Favre actually began his NFL career in 1991 with the Atlanta Falcons.  It was not until the following year that he was traded to Green Bay, where he became the starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 1992 NFL season.  And he remained Green Bay’s starting quarterback for every game over the course of the next sixteen years.


But besides his status as legend, what makes his trade to the Jets so exciting is that the last (and only) time the Jets made it to the Super Bowl was back in 1969.  Now, that game is an all-time Super Bowl classic for a couple of reasons.  Reasons you really should know about if you’re gonna be able to talk the talk.  So in our next post, we’ll tell you all about it.




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19 Responses to “Learning About Football: Why History Matters”

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    When are people going to get sick of Favre…I sure am…

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