Do you remember the day Farrah Fawcett died?
Fawcett was a breakout Hollywood star in the 1970’s and rose to international fame with her role on the television series Charlie’s Angels. Her poster sold over twelve million copies and her battle with cancer was featured in an ABC hour long primetime feature narrated by longtime partner Ryan O’Neal.
Thing is, you might not remember her dying on June 25, 2009, because that day she was pushed out of the headlines by another celebrity death, Michael Jackson. Fawcett’s passing gained little attention in the media circus while the world focused on the sudden passing of the King of Pop.
This week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association staged their annual selection show for the up and coming basketball tournament. For three glorious weeks of competition, starting with the release of the brackett, college basketball takes front and center stage. Wagering on the college tournament is the second biggest event of the year for the sports books, second only to the Super Bowl … and every other football week.
On Sunday, while football should have allowed basketball their limelight, Tom Brady jumped in with an announcement that led most sports reports on Sunday. The veteran quarterback, with more Super Bowl wins than any league franchise, and a career that had him play at a level that had him in contention for the league’s Most Valuable Player in his 22nd professional season, an award that for the second straight season was won by Aaron Rodgers, ended his two month trial separation from the game.
His announcement 40 days earlier announcing his retirement was reversed on Sunday.
Really, Tom, why announce this on Sunday? Michael Jackson didn’t purposefully steal the headlines from Fawcett, but you did take the early thunder away from the announcement of the college basketball tournament field. For what?
A little over a year ago, during the victory celebration of you leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl Championship, you tossed the Vince Lombardi Trophy from one boat to another in the water parade. When I observed that, before we all saw you stumble off the boat like a sailor leaving the bar on shore leave, I thought that was the moment your enthusiasm for a past success replaced the challenge of what comes next.
It was one of the reasons why it was so easy before last season for me to dismiss Tampa Bay as a serious Super Bowl contender. You challenged that assumption with another outstanding year, but the water toss still made the choice of the Los Angeles Rams over you and the Bucs in the Divisional Round clear.
Retiring at the end of another successful campaign, although two games short of your aspirations for an 11th Super Bowl appearance and eighth victory, afforded Brady fans to never have to witness their hero end his career with obvious diminished skills.
Everyone was saved from the likes of seeing Willie Mays unable to track down a fly ball in the New York Mets loss to the Oakland A’s in the 1973 World Series. Or Joe Namath limping through a final year in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. Or Johnny Unitas, tarnishing his great years with the Baltimore Colts, in a sorry to see career ending 18th season with the San Diego Chargers.
Nope, we never had to see the GOAT fail on the field because he played beyond what his body allowed.
Or will we?
You now declare you will return for a 23rd season of National Football League combat.
May I be the first to say out loud … bad idea.
Tossing a trophy is one thing, retiring and then pulling a Brett Favre is another. For all those fans that love you, they are likely in for a disappointment. And for all those fans that hate you, they may finally get their time to celebrate your decline.