The term “gunslinger” is thrown around from time to time to describe quarterbacks. In some instances it is used to praise a player’s moxie and fearlessness in the pocket. Other times it is reserved for when a quarterback rifles a ball into traffic that leads to a bone-headed interception. Both these descriptions match Brett Favre’s NFL career to a tee. The former Green Bay Packers’ quarterback was noted throughout his playing days for making borderline reckless plays all over the field. Many of those risks were rewarded with touchdowns. On the flip side, many wound up in the hands of the defense, a fact that landed him on top of the all-time interceptions list. It was this all-or-nothing attitude that made the Mississippi native a legend in the NFL.
Favre added to that legend yesterday with his comment to Pro Football Talk when he explained how he never learned what a nickel defense was. Even relatively casual football fans know that a nickel package is when the defense subs out a linebacker and brings on an extra defensive back in order to better defend the pass. Apparently in his 20-year career Favre never quite cracked the code on what that meant. He may have been being coy, but it would come as no surprise to hear that Favre never bothered to learn what a nickel defense was.
There is not another quarterback in the history of the game that could get away with saying that and not be ridiculed. Anyone else would hear scalding takes about how his lack of commitment is embarrassing, and he should be ashamed to admit he never learned that, but Favre will hear none of it. That is the magic of Brett Favre, his shoot from the hip attitude made him almost beyond reproach. This story is just one among a myriad of others that portray Favre as an overgrown teenager who just loved to play football. He was far from a perfect player or a perfect man, but it is impossible to say that anyone had more fun playing football than he did. Whether you love or hate Favre, there is only one way to truly describe him: gunslinger.