Hey guys, the Autistic Sports Nerd here,
Over the years we have watched athletes do amazing things whether it’s on the court, on the ice, or in the field. They have been good at what they do for a really long time. Some of these great athletes retire when they are at the top of their game. Players like Michael Strahan of the New York Giants, Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees, and Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions retired when they were at their peak level of greatness. “I wanted to retire when people still want me to be playing,” Strahan said.
While some athletes retire at the right time, some athletes wait too long to hang it up. Brett Favre is a perfect example. Favre has had an incredible career with the Green Bay Packers. He led the Packers to a Super Bowl title in two appearances and holds the record for the most touchdown passes, completions, passing yards, and wins as a starter. He was the face of the Green Bay Packers franchise and he was loved by not only the Green Bay community but throughout the league as well.
In January of 2008, Favre led the Green Bay Packers to the NFC championship game against the New York Giants. The game was played at Lambeau Field and it was the third coldest game played in the history of the NFL. Favre had a gutty performance against a very tough Giants’ defense as he was able to throw two touchdown passes. However, he threw an interception in overtime and as a result, the Giants defeated the Packers in overtime to win the NFC championship and went on to upset the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
In March of 2008, Favre announced that he was going to retire and Aaron Rodgers who had great potential at the time would take his place at the helm for Green Bay. "I know I can still play, but it's like I told my wife, I'm just tired mentally. I'm just tired," Favre, a three-time NFL MVP, told ESPN's Chris Mortensen in a voice mail message. Despite his last pass ending up in an interception, it was a great way for Favre to go out because of his storied career in Green Bay and that epic battle in the NFC championship game that year, despite Favre being on the losing end of it. It was still a great last game to play.
Later that summer, Favre announced that he wanted to return to the NFL and keep playing. In fact, he still wanted to play for Green Bay but the Packers’ organization wanted Rodgers to be their guy going forward. This sparked drama for the remainder of the summer. Eventually Favre signed a contract to play for the New York Jets.
During the 2008 season with the Jets, Favre threw a lot of interceptions down the stretch and caused the Jets to miss the playoffs. During that offseason, he announced his retirement again, then changed his mind, and finally signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, rivals of the Packers in the NFC North.
Favre led the Vikings to the NFC championship game that year and played the Saints at New Orleans. However, the last pass Favre threw that game was an interception and the Saints won in overtime. Once again, Favre took awhile to decide if he was going to play or retire but finally decided to play with Minnesota for another year. On December 21 2010, Favre suffered a head injury against the Bears after his starting streak ended due to injury earlier in the year. Favre missed the rest of the season and he is not playing this year. Favre ruined his legacy. People are now going to remember Favre as someone who went back and forth on whether or not he should retire or keep playing instead of all the great things he has done while in Green Bay.
Michael Jordan was another case. In game six of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the closing second and the Bulls won the NBA championship for the third straight year and the sixth title of the decade. Jordan would retire at the end of the season. It was legendary that Jordan’s last shot attempt would end up winning the NBA Championship for his team. It was the perfect ending to a great career for Jordan.
In 2001, Jordan decided he changed his mind and returned to basketball but not with the same team he has played for his own career. This time he was playing for the Washington Wizards. For two seasons, Jordan played mediocre compared to his great years with the Bulls. The Wizards did not make the playoffs during Jordan’s two year stint with the team. Instead of ending his career on an epic shot, Jordan elected to go out with a whimper.
It turned out that Jordan only returned to playing basketball for the Wizards because he was guaranteed that he would be Washington’s team president once he retired again. However, that did not happen. Wizards’ owner Abe Pollin informed Jordan that the team was going in a different direction. "If that was the case, I obviously wouldn't have gone back to play," Jordan said. "I felt like I played injured, I went through surgery and I did the things that a lot of these young kids did not do."
Wrestlers have been wrestling for way too long. Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), and Sting (Steve Borden) have been praised as among the greatest wrestlers and performers in the history of wrestling. They were big stars in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. However, it’s 2011 and they are still wrestling. Ric Flair is 62 years old while both Sting and Hogan are 58 years old. They can barely move and the match quality suffers because they are too old and injured. They need to retire and let the younger wrestlers move up the ladder and main event the shows.
Athletes love the sport that they play and compete in but they should also have pride in themselves. They need to end their careers when they can’t play at the same level they are used to playing. This will not only benefit them but it will also benefit the younger people who need to be given the opportunity to step up. No one lasts forever.
I'm the Autistic Sports Nerd, have a good day guys!