Jeff Pearlman has written several books that peel the varnish off and gives us a glimpse at the real lives of sports stars. This book about the life of Brett Favre is no exception. It reveals the great, the good, the not so good, and the bad. It’s all here.
This biography of Favre does a great job of filling in his childhood, high school, and college days which many people are not as aware of. Brett started out as a prankster and living life hard (or to its fullest) and he never really quit. The book details his rise in the National Football League and offers many anecdotes about his behavior, both good and bad, but also about his unbelievable play on the field.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Brett Favre is his almost Jekyll and Hyde nature. He can be unbelievably kind to young fans and those in need, but unbelievably cruel to some family members and teammates. His practical jokes sometimes went a little too far bordering on meanness. He is a good family man but also a philanderer. He basically behaved, even as a superstar, like a juvenile with too many hormones and too little brains. He also became addicted to alcohol and painkillers while in the NFL.
Another interesting aspect of the book is Farve’s father Irv and how he really latched onto Brett’s fame and fortune and started living out his own dreams through his son. He also was a philanderer and spent a lot of time around the team, in bars, and bragging about who his son was. I didn’t know much about Irv until this book.
Finally the book of course talks about Favre’s incredible Hall of Fame football career. Despite the prankster attitude he took football seriously and clearly loved playing the game. He had one of the best arms in NFL history but his biggest downfall, as the title of the book suggests, was he was a gunslinger. He often took chances he shouldn’t have so in addition to the many passing records he holds, he also holds the record for most interceptions in a career. I would argue that Green Bay would have won more than one Super Bowl had Favre not had a tendency to throw interceptions in the playoffs.
The details about his move to the New York Jets and then the Minnesota Vikings after Green Bay Packers got fed up with the uncertainty of whether Brett really would retire or not is well told here. There was a lot of drama in Green Bay around Brett’s departure and he didn’t help matters by playing into the drama with his coy indecisiveness for a few years.
The only fault I have with the book overall is there really isn’t much that is new here except some of the interviews conducted during the book. But a lot of what is chronicled here is mostly already known. The book does a nice job of pulling it all together go and weaving together the narrative of Brett’s life on and off the field.