Rick Reilly Interviews Bretty Favre (Not Really)
So I’ve been happily rolling along for a few months. Just doin what I do. You know how it is. Hadn’t read a Rick Reilly column since April. It was refreshing. But still it was kinda like in Alias when Sidney Bristow and the gang had to let Arvin Sloan alone for a while because he had swung a deal with the government and was ostensibly doing charity work, but in reality he was still viciously collecting Rambaldi artifacts. Yep. It’s pretty much been like that.
Anyway, so I was going about my business obsessively tweeting about the Pirates and whatnot when I saw a tweet by Drew Magary. Against my better judgment, I clicked on it…and now I’m back.
For one post at least. Excuse me if I’m a bit rusty.
Brett Favre and I are standing in his long dirt driveway in Hattiesburg, Miss.
It’s fitting that the most insufferable sportswriter would interview the most insufferable football player. Way to play to your strengths, Rick.
The sun is roasting my forehead like a rotisserie chicken.
Mmm…that sounds good….I hope this ends with Favre imagining Reilly’s head as a rotisserie chicken, like in the cartoons and chasing him around on his tractor.
“Yep, they’ll be comin’ purdy soon,” Favre says.
Oh…so this isn’t a real interview? Okay.
The hot winds whip up the grit. It paints the back of my throat.
This isn’t descriptive writing, it’s gross writing. Close your mouth, dude, it’ll keep the girt out!
“How much longer, do you think?” I ask.
“Soon,” Favre says, his neck craning down the long empty rural road that runs in front of his house. “They always come and get me ’bout this time of the year.”
A tumbleweed stumbles by. Birds are so exhausted by the heat that they’re walking.
Okay, for real? Did Reilly just read a Larry McMurtry novel? It’s life half shitty Western (like the overblown, stereotyped kind they use for weed-killer commercials), half Reilly interviewing a fake Brett Favre with an exaggerated accent. It’s already atrocious, and we’re seven lines in.
By the way, tumbleweed tumbles; it doesn’t stumble.
But we’ll press on.
“You think maybe they thought you meant it this time?” I say. “I mean — about retiring?”
What the hell is this? Rick Reilly, contemplative cowpoke interviews Brett Favre? What’s happening?
This seriously reads like the world’s most terrible novel.
“Aw, hell, no,” he says, spitting tobacco. “I say somethin’ like that every year. I been sayin’ that crap since ’03. Nobody ever really believes it. Hell, one year I even held a press conference. Cried and everythin’. But my boys know the truth. My boys’ll be along. They need me.”
Oh good, I’ve always wondered what a caricaturized version of Brett Favre would say to Rick Reilly if Reilly imagined said caricaturized version of Favre standing in Brett Favre’s driveway.
This, apparently, is award winning journalism at its finest.
A single drop of sweat falls off my nose. I try to catch it on my tongue.
But Brett turns to me, deep green eyes hidden beneath his strong brow, and quickly, with the speed of a gunslinger, catches it before it can reach my mouth. Our eyes meet….
Sorry, I’ll stop.
“Who, exactly, are we talking about?”
“My boys! My Viking teammates! Jared and Hutch and Longs! They’ll probably do somethin’ hilarious. Like come in a Hooters bus or somethin’. They’ll beg me to come back and I’ll finally laugh and give in. Then we’ll chug a few brewskis on the way to the jet. It just waits there for us. Zygi don’t mind. He wants me back.”
I have no idea what the point of this is. There’s like real news going on. And free agents signing. And Reilly’s writing crappy, sports-related, pop fiction about Brett Favre. And getting paid $10 million for it.
I look back at the house. His dog is under the porch. His wife, Deanna, stands at the upstairs window. I look at her. She just shrugs.
As if to say, “I can’t come between you two no more.” It’s the shrug Brett and I’ve been waiting for…
“Um, Brett? Zygi just traded for Donovan McNabb.”
“Sure, as my backup.”
“Well, uh, actually, I don’t think so, Brett. It’s just that you’re 41 now. I mean, you’re a legend, for sure, but last season you looked a little slow. And you had eight more picks than touchdowns.”
First of all, there’s no reason to write about Brett Favre right now. There just isn’t. And if one must write about Favre, this is like the worst possible way to do it.
Favre looks at me for the first time since sunrise.
It’s just writing itself at this point.
“Hey, I got every dang quarterbackin’ record in NFL history. Most touchdowns, most completions, most straight starts–”
“Most interceptions, most sacks, most fumbles…” I add under my breath.
“–most yards, most wins. Nah, they’ll be along.”
I didn’t get none a these here sportswritin’ medals by not capturin’ the doggone accent of famous quarterbackin’ legends as I pictur’em in my head.
“Every dang quarterbakin’ record”? Sure, Favre’s a little countrified, but’s he not Gomer Pyle.
And again, what’s the point of all this?
Another hour goes by. The last helpless cloud gives up and vaporizes.
Poor, wistful cloud. What excellent foreshadowing (hint: it’s not excellent foreshadowing).
Finally, in the distance. We see something. It’s a purple-and-gold van. After another couple of minutes, we can see that it’s flying huge Vikings flags.
“I’ll be damned,” I say.
Brett grabs his bags and walks toward the road, but the van just honks as it speeds by, while the passengers flip us off. One hollers, “Thanks for nothin’, Favre!” They leave us in a brown cloud.
Then, over the ridge, bursting out of the darkening twilight, came forth a mighty creature. In the distance I thought I could spy the body of the lion, and yet…and yet it flew! As it came closer, my suspicions were confirmed. It was indeed a gryffin! Oh rare and majestic creature.
That means about as much to as the rest of this column…and it’s far more entertaining.
I wipe my mouth and eyes on my sleeve. Brett is undaunted.
“It’s gonna be great to see the boys,” he says, spitting dirt.
Two more hours. A cow falls over sideways.
You see, because it’s hot and they’ve been standing there for hours. Even the cows are falling over. The cows! Man, what a rollicking good time this column is.
“Brett, I don’t wanna be a buzzkill here, but the Vikings don’t need a quarterback.”
Favre takes his red bandanna out of the back pocket of his Wrangler jeans and dabs at his brow. “Then it’ll be my boys from Green Bay. They’d send the damn Marines to get me back!”
We get it. You think Brett Favre is delusional. So do a lot of people. They don’t write 900-word fantasies about him for no apparent reason.
“Well, actually, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers now. They just won the Super Bowl with him. And you may not be quite as popular in Green Bay as you once were.”
Aw shucks, I had no idear them there Packers won the Super Bowl….is not what Brett Favre would say because he certainly knows that the Packers won the Super Bowl and that Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback.
Seriously, what is the purpose of this column? What is it’s thesis statement? There is none. It’s like all of sudden, Rick woke up and was like, “Hmmm…I feel that Brett Favre is a spoiled, delusional uber-hick.” And then he decided that he wanted to make that sentence into a column. And then he realized it wasn’t much of a column and had no relevancy to anything whatsoever, and so then he wrote this crap, turned it into his editor, who, bless his or her heart, was so confused that they just ran it and tore another ring off their “Number of Columns until Reilly’s Contract is Up Chain.”
“Brett, you can’t go anywhere near the Jets. Remember Jenn Sterger?”
“Cause remember, Brett. You may or may not have sent a text of your little gunslinger to Jenn Sterger.” Because only in Reilly’s warped head does Favre not remember that.
“OK — Philly.”
“Philly’s got Michael Vick!”
Why the Eagles are thrown in here is beyond me….it just totally breaks from the already loose and fraying tether this column had to reality.
Favre gives me a hard stare. “Somebody’s comin’. It just takes ‘em awhile to figure out that even though I say I don’t wanna come back, I really just want people to want me back. I don’t wanna have to ask, you know?”
Gah. Please stop.
We wait another hour. I look back at the upstairs window. The curtains are closed. The dog is gone. I pray for sunstroke. The first crease of doubt crosses Brett’s face.
A crease of doubt…and vulnerability…
“I don’t get this,” Favre says. “I did everything like I do every year. I announced my retirement. I worked out with the local high school team. I told Ed Werder I was done. How many signs do I gotta give?”
Just then, in the distance, we see the wavy images of a car approaching. As it gets closer, we can see it’s black. Finally, we see that it’s a long black limo.
It pulls into the driveway. Brett grabs his bags. The driver hops out and gets the back door. Tiki Barber steps out.
Whoa!! What a twist!
“Mind if I wait around with you guys?” Barber asks.
He stands next to Favre and cranes his neck up that long road.
“When’s L.A. gettin’ a team again?” Favre asks.
“Two years, tops,” Barber says.
I look at my watch.
The minute hand clicks backward.
And that’s it. FIN.
I’m not a fan of Favre…not by a long shot.
But what a pointless, ridiculous, sorry excuse for a column. This might actually be the worst thing I’ve ever read. It can all be summed up as: “Brett Favre is delusional, and no team wants him to play for them this year. Also Tiki Barber.” And it’s not like Reilly even has any insider knowledge that Favre’s open to a return, or expecting to come back, or even wants to come back.
It’s just utter nonsense wrapped up in the world’s worst pseudo-fiction. What the hell? Seriously.
Someone, please, I’m begging you, fire Rick Reilly.