So, it is time to finally write the blog that we were not expecting to write at this time.
The word started to leak out at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, March 4: "Brett Lorenzo Favre is what?"
I happened to be watching Lance Allen report the story on local television that morning: Brett Lorenzo Favre is retiring from the Green Bay Packers.
The first thought I had, was "O.K. ... why?" He had just come off one of his more productive seasons in his illustrious 17-year NFL career. Yeah, it did not end like a storybook; he threw a bad pass, that cost him the NFC Championship, but all the ingredients are there for the ultimate feast -- a Super Bowl championship seemed within his reach. Once again, I looked at the TV screen: Brett Lorenzo Favre is retiring, the report coming from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.com.
O.K., once again I ask myself the same question, "Why?"
My first call is to the radio station and my man, Big Perm.
"Perm, have you guys seen the news on Favre?"
"No, what's up?"
"According to Jay Glazer, Favre is retiring check the TV, now! I'll get back at you."
As the story gets legs, my mindset goes from "Why?" to "What do we do?" From this point forward, it's all about execution: get out your phone book, start calling anyone tied to Favre, call the radio station ... what's the game plan and how can I help?
That day was one of the proudest moments I've had in my profession, not just the way we handled the story but the way the story was handled. So we devise our game plan, a special two-hour show hosted by me and Scotty "The Polish Rifle."
We get every guest we can possibly get with a tie to Favre. I have the pleasure of informing Jim Brown, arguably the greatest football player to ever suit up, about Favre's decision. Jim tells me that it's different circumstances than his, but the right thing to do if you cannot commit to it anymore.
The day moves forward, we have great shows all day on the radio, everybody from Mark Chmura to Jim Brown and the all expressed their respect and admiration for his love of the game. It indeed was a good day.
Fast-forward to Thursday mid-morning; Scotty and I sit in Lambeau Field, appropriately in Legends Pub, where Favre will walk in and say from his own lips what we have reported for the last 48 hours.
I sit in the second row, shirt and tie, here to pay my respects, and also see with my own eyes, and hear with my own ears, once again "Why?" Then we're told one minute giving the media outlets a heads up so they can prepare to go live, and sure enough Brett Lorenzo Favre walks up to the stage, and has a seat. No more than 30 seconds into the press conference, the faucet comes on and the tears start flowing, and as I sit there watching this less than 10 feet away, I realize the answer to my question: "Why?"
When you truly love something, and have a passion for it, you never ask yourself "Why?" You just ask "What" and "How?" I looked in that man's eyes and saw something that I could relate to, a love for what he did. And knowing it was time to leave it alone, I asked my question, listened to others and watched him respond for more than an hour.
After all that time, and all that emotion, it was time to bring things to a close. Brett Lorenzo Favre got up, put his arm around his wife, and exited stage left. At that point there were no longer any "whys" to be answered. Instead of "whys" it was what we saw for 16 years, every Sunday afternoon the Green Bay Packers took the field. For 275 consecutive starts, the Swamp-Billy from Hancock County, Miss., was a part of our lives, good or bad, win or lose.
Why we will miss him is up to you, what we will miss we will find out soon enough.
Steve Haywood is the host of That Being Said, which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. on Milwaukees ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Steve has been working on the radio since 1996 and also is executive producer of Sports Perspectives on MATA Community Media.
After graduating from Milwaukee Tech High School in 1985, Haywood attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he graduated in 1991.
He has covered a number of major events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2002 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2003.
Haywood, 39, is married with two kids, a dumb cat and a dog described as a real curmudgeon.