On a lighter note: Earlier I was thinking about how tired I am of hearing various ESPN commentators complain about Brett Favre’s “Hamlet impression” – though I was just using the term “Hamlet impression” for the rant in my head, no one was actually saying it (at least this time). I quickly realized how completely unoriginal my internal dialogue was being, and after scolding myself for a few moments, I resolved to find the identity of the first person to ever make the Favre/Hamlet comparison.
Lo and behold, the earliest such reference in the history of the internet – that is, according to Google – was none other than Gregg Easterbrook, in this TMQ column from August 27th, 2003:
TMQ loves Brett Favre. This guy could wake up from a knee operation and fire a touchdown pass before yanking out the IV line. It’s going to be a sad day when he cuts the tape off his ankles for the final time. And it’s wonderful that Favre has played his entire (meaningful) career in the same place, honoring sports lore and appeasing the football gods, never demanding a trade to a more glamorous media market.
But even as someone who loves Favre, TMQ thinks his Hamlet act on retirement has worn thin. Favre keeps planting, and then denying, rumors that he is about to hang it up. He calls sportswriters saying he might quit, causing them to write stories about how everyone wants him to stay; then he calls more sportswriters denying that he will quit, causing them to write stories repeating how everyone wants him to stay. Maybe Favre needs to join a publicity-addiction recovery group. The retire/unretire stuff got pretty old with Frank Sinatra and Michael Jordan; it’s getting old with Favre.