On January 20th 2009, Barack Obama will be inaugarated as our nation’s 44th President. It will be history in the making as 5 million people descend on the mall and watch in rapture for what may be the most inspiring moment in the past 45 years of American history. A moment that will bend the knees of the strongest men and break the hearts of the hardest of humans. It will, in short, be the greatest moment of your life.
Until 12 days later. 12 days later, on February 1 2009, Superbowel 43 will take place in Tampa. On that day, the accomplishments of the junior Senator from Illinois who followed in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln will seem bookish, boring and banal. On that day something truly amazing could occur: Brett Favre could win the Superbowl, again.
The Jets’ win over the as-of-then undefeated Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon brought something closer into focus: The New York Jets could be the best team in the AFC. With Tom Brady still nursing his injury; with Peyton Manning still struggling to rediscover his rhythm, with Baltimore, Buffalo, San Deigo and Pittsburgh still searching for consistency, Favre and the Jets could be the team to beat before February.
When Favre came out of retirement and joined a struggling Jets team, it appeared to most that he had made a big mistake. He would negate all he had accomplished with Green Bay, where he was hailed as an All-American hero, and end his storied career with a reasonable, respectful .500 season in New York. There would be no accolades at the end of the road, only regret for Green Bay’s former own who at the end of 2007 was one play away from meeting the undefeated Patriots in Superbowl 42.
What followed was a sports saga played out on the treadmill TVs and sports pages of the country. First there was a tearful retirement, then there was ambivalence. Then there was a haphazard return and ultimately abdication to New York. But now, now there’s a winning season, now there’s 8-3, now there’s a view from atop the AFC East with victories over the Patriots, Bills and Titans behind them.
What once seemed impossible now seems not. A black man is President of the United States, but more importantly, Brett Favre could end the 2008 season on the field in Tampa with a chance to conclude the greatest story every told. How appropriate that Bruce Springsteen, who played one of Sen. Obama’s final rallies, is slated to perform during the game’s halftime show. It’s almost as if it’s preordained. Come on up for the Rising, indeed.