NBC has “Bionic Woman.” The NFL has Brett Favre, the bionic man. Guess which one is having the better season? I don’t know what you’re eating, Mr. Favre, but pass the candy dish.
You’re maybe the last American hero. A postmodern DiMaggio. A Wyatt Earp. You’re about 140 years old, with the smile of an 8-year-old and a gun like Zeus.
You do all the things the other superstars don’t. You play in that city by the bay, an obscure little place with more chipmunks than people, more deer rifles than cellphones. Up there in northern Wisconsin, you don’t ride in limos; they just send over Santa’s sleigh.
You’re us, which isn’t so bad -- at least if you ask us. You’re not some natty dude, a blingy gold-toothed Liberace. No three-pointed kerchief in your suit pocket, like the male mannequins back in the Fox studio. No sir. You wear your hair like the 18th green, short and fast. You could comb it with a golf towel.
Yep, we appreciate your sense of style -- the plain gray T-shirts and the faded jeans. You’ve got that same lovely wife you started with. Your beard’s getting a little frosty, the jowls a little puffy, but she’s stuck by you, that woman. Through your tough times. And you through hers.
Love your loyalty, love your work. The cynics claimed you were done. “Retire, fool,” they said last season. “Put a fork in Favre. His popper has popped.”
Turns out they were the fools. They forgot you were part Choctaw, part ’56 Chevy. You’re having your greatest season yet, playing like a legend. And like a scrub who just appreciates the chance to suit up.
Sure, your wheels don’t work like they used to. People forget that you have the same degenerative hip disease that permanently sidelined Bo Jackson. At 38, you can sprint with the kids for about three half-steps, then . . . look out . . . cruuuuuuunch. Those first steps on a Monday morning must really snap-crackle-pop. Talk about a working stiff. Welcome to the club.
When you’re not at work, you’re at home, just like the rest of us middle-aged saps. I’ll bet she’s already nagging you about all the Christmas junk, huh? Brett, can you bring those boxes up from the basement? Brett, how about hanging the outdoor lights on the birch tree? That sort of stuff. Like the rest of us, you don’t need a holiday to remind you of your blessings.
Yep, you’re us all right, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. You don’t like to miss work under any condition. It’s just the way you were raised. A guy thing. You don’t miss work. In almost 300 games, including two Super Bowls, you haven’t missed a start. It is the sports stat of our time.
And we certainly don’t mind your sense of craft, your safecracker’s cool. One moment, you’re zinging thunderbolts across the middle. The next you’re looping nine-iron shots in the end zone. The laser bomb that beat the Broncos? Boom! Brilliant.
You’re what we all hoped to become in the backyards of our youth. You play as if you’re hanging with your pals, and the sun is setting and the moms are calling everyone home for supper. Come on, Brett, your buddies say. One more. One more series. . . .
Blanda. Nicklaus. Aaron. They all played their respective games a long time, gave us old-timers hope. Now you’re our time machine, our fountain of goof.
Tonight you’ll play the Dallas Cowboys, that little franchise down in Texas that has always given the Packers fits. How great is that, a Cowboys-Packers game that really matters? Lombardi will be watching from his skybox, barking out commands, wondering where the hell Hornung is.
Also cheering will be millions of gimpy guys a little past their prime for whom you’ve become this year’s most compelling sports story. An inspiration. A Perseus in cleats.
So, come on, Brett. One more. One more series. . . .