Friday, December 24, 2010

Short memories in the NFL

In the 2007 season, Brett Favre led the Green Bay Packers within a game of the Super Bowl and was selected for the pro-bowl. After the season he announced his retirement and seemed to be going out in glory. (Only a possible trip to the super bowl could bring him back.)

Michael Vick on the other hand was in a legal and financial mess. He was suspended indefinitely without pay. He lost his endorsements, and he was facing charges of dogfighting. His football days seemed over.

My how things have changed since then. While Vick made a fool of himself before going to prison, he has shaped up his public persona since incarceration. He eased back in to the NFL with a relatively small contract. He accepted the backup role and gradually eased himself back to the NFL. He seemed contrite. When the starter was injured this season, Vick had a chance to shine. Since then he has been on fire, and mentioned as one of the top MVP candidates.

Favre on the other hand seemed to retire after every season. He came across as a snooty and vindictive in public, hurting his reputation among Packer fans. His performance had its positives, but also plenty of negatives. His reputation suffered a hit with allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Vick has used his performance to help rehabilitate his image, while Favre has gradually tarnished his. Vick has shown that one can actually recover from the "death penalty" of a prison sentence. (Though it seems ironic that while there have been plenty of personal crimes and even deaths linked to NFL players the strongest conviction is for dog fighting...) Will his positive image remain, or will he return to his crass behavior once it is overshadowed by his performance?

We'll see how short the memories really are in the NFL.

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