The Brett Favre love is fading fast.
Pretty much everyone is on this bandwagon. Bears fans have been there for decades. Unbiased fans have been on it for about two years. The media is slowly coming around. Even Sports Illustrated's Peter King, practically the president of the Brett Favre-looks-great-with-scruff fan club, has turned on the man. Everyone hates Brett Favre now, and with good reason.
There has been one holdout, though. ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Brett Favre, spent all offseason breathlessly reporting any tiny Favre detail. If Favre changed his mind, Chris Mortensen was there. Perhaps the goodwill is finally ending.
First, ESPN's newly hired Adam Schefter broke a story about Favre's apparently cracked rib. In the past, that might not have been a big deal, and we can't imagine Favre has been to too many on-the-record ESPN production meetings in the past. This one was.
Then, after Favre threw a vicious, low-blow crack block on the Texans' Eugene Wilson, who immediately clutched his knee and writhed around in pain, ESPN allowed their NFC North blogger to attack Favre, and then put the criticism on their front page.
This is notable because it's almost never happened before. Even when Favre returned, analysts like Mark Schlereth were head over heels for the charming quarterback. There was little mention of Favre's hypocrisy, not to mention the laziness involved with lying about coming back so as to avoid three weeks of training camp in the Minnesota summer. Now, though, ESPN is being openly critical of Favre's "otherwise admirable" performance. This feels like a sea change.
If so, ESPN is slightly late to the table. (And this isn't exactly uniform among all ESPN employees; some have been griping about Favre under their breath in highlights for weeks.) But it does show just how much ill will Favre has generated in the past two years. He used to be sports networks' golden goose. Those days are officially over.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.