Friday, August 8, 2008


Another Sad Story That Might End Disastrously

(August 8, East Rutherford, NJ)  The stench from the chemical refineries, marshes, swamps and pure carbon monoxide is dizzying.  Giants Stadium sits on reclaimed swampland just across the river from the Greatest City on the Planet.  Actually, the city glow from NYC lends this part of New Jersey and eerie refractive luminescence at night, particularly when low level clouds hover atop the Metropolis.

The legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, was born and raised within miles of this location.  He was a Jersey guy no matter where his life, career or circumstances placed him.  There is something about this place, this densely populated sliver of northern New Jersey that constitutes the west bank of the mighty Hudson River.  Perhaps it’s the cliffs, the Palisades; remnants from glacial activity longer ago than the average mind can conceive. 

These river towns like Hoboken, Jersey City, West New York, are gritty, diverse, hard working class towns.  As one ventures further west by several miles, they find themselves in the Meadowlands.  Giants Stadium home of the New York Giants who, just happen to play in New Jersey.  The New York Jets are the foster team of Giants Stadium and they call this arena their home field as do the Giants.  The history of this stadium and how it came to be home for two New York City teams is boring, cumbersome, in some ways related to nefarious activities and, for all intents and purposes in 2008, irrelevant.

Literally everything that makes Giants Stadium what it is, is the polar opposite of Lambeau Field.  Green Bay, Wisconsin exists as far from NYC metro area as the Earth does from Pluto.  Maybe, further.  Now suddenly traversing that vast gulf comes a man who needn’t make the journey.   His legacy is cemented in NFL history, etched in stone over the course of a stellar, Hall of Fame career.

17 years ago a young man came out of Southern Mississippi.  A quarterback, not highly touted or drafted, he would go on from that auspicious point to become to become one of the greatest at his position, one of the most resilient competitors the modern NFL has ever seen.  A son of the South took to the “Frozen Tundra” of Green Bay legend and demonstrated skills, tenacity and strength of character as few before him and certainly, not many after him ever will, could or would.  In some profound ways Brett Favre redefined the game, his team and his position.  No matter what transpires come opening day and beyond, there will always be a lingering sadness seeing Favre in a NY Jets uniform.  He certainly has his work cut out for him.

His un-retirement cannot be about money, notoriety, reputation, statistics or achievement.  Brett earned all of that and more in his years with the Packers.  He earned it the hard way; through good seasons and bad.  Peaks, valleys, shadow and sunlight were as interchangeable in his career as they were in his life.  His spirit and grace was above and beyond what we have come to see in a professional athlete today.

Perhaps he views this sojourn as a challenge; his chance to resurrect a once proud franchise from the dumpster.  Indeed, he has found a challenge.  Also, he will be in and on hostile territory.  More people live in 2 NYPD precincts than in all of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The biggest most aggressive media market on the planet is salivating, waiting anxiously for the great Brett Favre to fizzle, fade or simply not live up to his past.  Cheese is not made in North Jersey or New York City; characters and careers are broken, pounded into slivers of yesterdays that are tossed about by the swirling winds so familiar to this piece of the east coast.

Not since Joe Namath came to this franchise in 1965 and took them to legendary fame in Super Bowl III have the Jets had a truly marquee quarterback. But, that was then, this is now. Welcome to New York Mr. Favre, and, from the immortal Chairman of the Board better known as Frank Sinatra, from our regional anthem, “if you can make it here you’ll make it any where.” It’s up to you Brett. You just better have some real, real thick skin.

Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved

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