The Green Bay Packers brass must have decided the exile had gone on for long enough and that their fans should be ready to forgive their once adored Quarterback. They announced a retirement ceremony on July 15th, and an unveiling ceremony during the Thanksgiving Game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.
I’m glad that the Packers are finally retiring Brett Favre’s number, only because it means I will never again have to cheer for another play wearing it in Green and Gold.
As a lifelong Packer fan I was actually thrilled when I heard Brett Favre was going to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. I live relatively close to the Minnesota border, and for years have had to listen to their fans say that if they could only have #4 on their team they would be guaranteed a Super Bowl.
I knew it wasn’t true. He had played on my team for years with great players surrounding him and had only brought us back one Lombardi Trophy. The rest of the time was a roller coaster ride.
To be perfectly honest, I wanted them to trade him when his value was at its highest peak right after they won the Title. I was hoping the Packer’s could talk the Vikings or some other team into making a Herschel Walker like trade, and build a dynasty for years to come.
Don’t get me wrong, Favre was probably the most exciting player of his era. You couldn’t help but cheer for him when he ran around like a boy on a playground after throwing a touchdown. Hell, in 2003 when Priest Holmes broke the rushing record for TD’s with 27, they asked him who should win the MVP. His response was something to the effect that Brett Favre deserved the honor every year.
He kept you on the edge of your seat when he was throwing a chop block on an unsuspecting linebacker, completing a shovel pass while being drug to the ground, getting in the face of a DT twice his size, threading the needle between two defenders on a deep pass or going head over tea kettle into the end zone for a rushing TD. In those days when the Pack was actually losing, you hoped somebody would drill Favre in the face mask and bust open the scab on the bridge of his nose, because it seemed like whenever his face was covered in blood it immediately unleashed the beast and we started to win. He was the epitome of NFC football.
Then there were the painkillers, his wife’s battle with breast cancer, and his quote about how his hand fit perfectly between Frank Winter’s legs. All things that brought him down from super-human status long enough for us to picture him just being one of us, and maybe even sitting down and having a beer with us for a few minutes.
The thing that turned me off to him, was that even he though he was spectacular most of the time, he had one fault that just became to hard for me to overlook. Most of the time when the game was on the line, and he made you believe that he was going to drive all the way down the field and win the game. He would get the team into perfect position, and when your hopes were just about as high as they could get, he would make a stupid decision. I can’t even remember how many of my Sunday afternoons were ruined by a last minute interception. Most of the time during a close game I just wanted to shut off the TV and walk away, but he had a way of making you believe in him.
That’s where the story changes, and why it is so fitting that his first ever NFL completion was to himself. He wasn’t ever loyal to anyone including his wife who had battled cancer. He betrayed the team who gave him a chance even when he was launching balls up in the air and right into the waiting arms of some lucky DB. He definitely wasn’t loyal to the fans who had cheered tirelessly for him through the ups and downs, and worst of all he wasn’t even loyal to his own legacy.
Yeah, it makes me wonder if he did it because he thought he was that much better than every other QB, especially that young upstart Aaron Rodgers who the Packers drafted to replace him. Could it have possibly ever crossed his mind that this kid who he refused to mentor would be the very reason why he would be forgotten so easily by the Packer faithful, and that in just a matter of years he would go from being a god who was considered one of the best Quarterbacks of all time, to only the second best player on the team he brought back to greatness.
I tried to explain to Viking fans what they were in for when he finally decided to wear the horns. That the very excitement that was building up in their chest would be ripped out through their groin when they were knocking on the door of the Super Bowl. Of course they didn’t believe me.
Then there was the most beautiful day in NFL history, against the New Orleans Saints, when all he had to do was take a knee, or throw the ball away to send them to the promise land, but he gave me the most amazing gift a hero could give a fan. He wrapped the pass with a pretty ass bow and threw it up for grabs.
Yeah, the Green Bay front office, some of his fans that still cling to his tainted legacy, and Favre himself, want to put this all to rest. I for one don’t see the point. I think we’ve already had the perfect ending.