Brett Favre, who at his Viking introduction presser displayed a poor understanding of what legacy means, stands to become a sort of reverse John Elway. Over his career, Elway's reputation was that he couldn't win the big one. It wasn't all Elway's fault that his teams lost four Super Bowls, but as the leader of the team, it fell on his shoulders. Late in his career, when Elway's teams began carrying him to a certain extent, he won two Super Bowls and completely rehabilitated his image.
Favre, on the other hand, stands to completely destroy his reputation in just over two short years. Favre, of course, won a Super Bowl in his first attempt. Since that time, Favre's teams were notorious for coming up short in big games. Not all of that was Brett's fault, but some was. Yet he avoided the fate of have a reputation similar to Elway's because he did win that one championship early on and it over shadowed everything else. Had he retired after losing in the NFC Championship game at age 37, his reputation would have remained intact and his one last hurrah would have been celebrated.
He came back, though. He carried the Jets early in that come back year, but it was fully on his shoulders that they slumped and missed the play offs. People began to question his role in the NFC Championship loss the year before. Still, had he stayed retired after the Jets, it all would have faded out of the colelctive memory. He's put himself back in the limelight with another potential contender, though, and perhaps nothing short of a Super Bowl victory will prevent him from being known as the guy who didn't win the games that really mattered.
If the Vikings do not win the Super Bowl and he is viewed as at all culpable, his career will be thoroughly reviewed by football fans. Doubt will be cast upon the 1996 season and whether that team won primarily because of him or because of the extraordinary defense and special teams and the sheer number of offensive weapons on that team. And if his role on that team is revised, it will shed an all new light on the rest of his career. At that moment, Favre will learn that his legacy isn't about what he thinks of his playing days, but what others in the future look back and think of his playing days.