He was a second round draft pick, but he just couldn't seem to connect with the Falcons. However, he never gave up on his dream to be a number one quarterback in the league. His fan web site notes, "You know the lyrics to the song 'I get knocked down, but I get up again - you're never gonna keep me down!'? Brett might not either, but he sure lives by those words" (Editors). In 1992, the Green Bay Packers traded a number one draft pick to take Favre, a move that many thought was totally crazy. However, in his first game, he went in for the injured first-string quarterback, and ended up leading the team to a nail-biting victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-23. In that same year, he became the youngest quarterback ever to play in the Pro-Bowl (23). He took over the head quarterback position after the Bengals game, a place he holds to this day.
Favre is a leader in many, many ways. His official web site notes, "The former Southern Mississippi leader's success is partially attributed to a commanding knowledge of his offense, astute observation of countless defenses designed to stop him and physical ability - especially renowned arm strength" ("Bio"). He has studied the game of football since he was young, and so he understands it, but he also understands the relationships between team members that can lead to success on and off the field. He has been chosen as "the No. 1 'Toughest Guy in America' on the basis of his 'fearlessness, perseverance, a willingness to take risk, a tolerance for pain and even a dash of modesty'" ("Bio"), and all of those traits are leadership traits, as well.
Brett Favre could have stepped out of the pages of a medieval folk tale like the "Legend of King Arthur" because he is brave, a risk taker, an inspiration, and a person who gives back to his society. He has founded several charities, including the Brett Favre Forward Foundation, which donates money to a variety of charities in Mississippi and Wisconsin, and his wife has founded the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation for women with breast cancer, after she survived her own bout with the disease. Thus, he is a leader on and off the field, and that makes him a true hero and leader in my book.
Finding good information on Brett Favre and his career wasn't hard to do. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find as much about his leadership qualities, but that was fairly easy, too. Because he is such a popular and well-known football player, there is a lot of information available to help anyone who would like to know more about the man and his career.
I think that comparing him and his career to medieval leaders was the most interesting part of the assignment, because it really helped show what qualities of leadership transcend time and space, and how a leader never goes out of style. Favre could step back in time and lead a group of knights storming a castle with ease, because he does it every week of the football season already. I didn't think about those leadership qualities moving through time so easily until I attempted this assignment, and I think it was valuable, because it shows what qualities are essential for good leadership, too.
The knights and leaders of old didn't have leadership manuals that they could fall back on; they simply had to learn what worked and what didn't in their situation. Today, we can study leadership, and learn the qualities it takes to make a good leader. However, I think people like Favre just seem to "know" them, or learn them from experience. Maybe, in a previous life, Brett Favre was a medieval knight, leading his "team" into battle, and that is why he has inherited those qualities today. It wouldn't surprise me, because Favre could be the poster boy for leadership, he just seems to exude the qualities that make a good leader, both on the football field and in the community, as well.
Beowulf. Trans. Charles W. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.