Jun 052012
 

I am not a “Cheese Head”. I grew up in Central Iowa where college football reigns supreme, and college football fans on Sunday watch the Bears, Chiefs, Packers and Vikings. I liked the Packers, but I also liked the other three teams I referenced. Although I respected and appreciated how Brett Favre played the game, I would not have described myself as necessarily a “fan” of his.

I met my wife in 2003. She was both a big time Packer and Brett Favre fan, and maybe not even in that order? Her family has had Packer season tickets for years and I started attending Packer games on a regular basis that year. Consequently, I developed a greater allegiance to both the Packers and Brett Favre. I felt as though I was privileged to have the opportunity to personally witness a true Packer and NFL legend such as Favre lead the Packers, and I especially enjoyed the playoff runs of the ’03, ’04 and ’07 seasons.

I felt the pain of the playoff losses that ended those seasons and the opportunity for Brett Favre to earn another Super Bowl ring. I will particularly always remember yelling “No!” when Favre hurled what would turn out to be his final pass as a Packer in overtime of the NFC Championship. A few months later, I watched him tearfully say what I thought was goodbye to the sport he loved, in addition to the organization that I thought he loved, and I guess that I thought loved him.

Of course that was far from the end of the legend of Brett Favre. What ensued in the aftermath of March 2008 heightened tensions among both Packer and NFL fans alike. I was one of those fans who quickly turned against Favre for what I perceived to be his narcissistic shenanigans. Other Packer fans I knew remained loyal to Favre during the ’08 season when he played as a member of the New York Jets.

These fans believed the Packer organization had done the unthinkable in the aftermath of the NFC Championship in 2008 when the organization demanded that Favre make a decision about his future in short order. After all, Favre was a Packer legend and the rationale of many was that the organization should have afforded Favre the luxury of making the decision on his own time. Of course, this sentiment went out the window when Favre’s overtures with the Minnesota Vikings became more and more public. Just as the Packer organization had done the unthinkable by giving Favre a timetable to make his decision, Favre had done the unthinkable as a result of his willingness to play for a Packer archrival.

I recall listening to Steve Young on the Jim Rome Show back in the summer of 2008. Young was talking about what was then transpiring between Brett Favre and the Packer organization. Young explained that no matter on how good of terms a quarterback may be with his organization there is nothing that can prepare that quarterback for the feelings that will arise internally when that quarterback realizes that his organization is preparing for its future without him as quarterback. This is the cold hard fact of the business side of the NFL. Further, Favre’s situation was likely compounded by the fact that there is potentially no other general manager in the NFL who is colder when it comes to the business operations of the organization than Packer General Manager Ted Thompson.

On the other side of this issue was a fact that Fox NFL color analyst Troy Aikman brought up late in the 2009 Packer/Viking game in Green Bay. Aikman stated that he was not so sure that Favre wanted to stay in Green Bay given that Favre may have felt that his best chance to win another Super Bowl was as the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings? Aikman said that he felt like this was a side of the Favre/Packer saga that was never really explored. I think Aikman was correct with this analysis.

Of course, like so many things in life, the truth of who was at fault probably lies in the middle. Further, now three years removed from this matter it has become clear to me that it was in the best interest of both the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre for Favre to end his career with the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers won Super Bowl XLV, and had it not been for a penalty for having too many players in the huddle Brett Favre likely would have won Super Bowl XLIV. Both the Packers and Favre are probably better off today as a result of that painful split that occurred back in 2008.

Back in 2008 and 2009, I was as critical of Brett Favre as anybody. However, the time has now arrived for the Packer organization to recognize all of the wonderful things that Favre did for the organization, the City of Green Bay, the State of Wisconsin, and the NFL and its fans. Likewise, it is also time for Brett Favre to acknowledge that he would not be where he is today without the Green Bay Packers.

I was in Wisconsin for Easter weekend. I heard on the local news that weekend that Brett and Deanna Favre had reached out to a soldier and his family who were from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I appreciated hearing this story.  About a month later it was reported that the president of the Packer organization, Mark Murphy, stated that the organization will likely retire Favre’s jersey sometime in the next couple of years. Murphy’s statement seemed to leave the decision up to Brett Favre as to when this will occur. No.

I say that it is time for one of both of these parties to rise above all of this and do what is right for the Green Bay Packers, for Brett Favre, and for Packer and NFL fans alike. Let’s accomplish this sooner, rather than later. How about this coming season?

Country Preacher

  12 Responses to “Hey Ted, Brett, and Packer Nation, it is time to gather ‘round, grab hands, and sing Kum Ba Yah!”

  1. The wounds are still fresh here in Cheeseland and it is way to soon to even consider honoring # 4. He was put up on a pedestal and given the keys to the city for his accomplishments through the years. We appreciate that he brought this franchise back to promenence but his horrendous actions at the end of his time in Green Bay have made it impossible to ever again embrace the man. Over time these wounds will heal but every time ole’ #4 opens his mouth you can still feel his bitterness at the franchise for choosing to go with Aaron Rodgers. #4 thought he ran this town and could do whatever he pleased, but someone named Ted Thompson finally stood up to the diva QB and said enough is enough.

  2. Country Preacher and I have chatted about this topic over time, and I am inclined to agree with Ben. It is too soon. To honor him this soon suggests that what Favre did was not disrespectful to the organization and to the fan base. I can appreciate the Preacher’s passion about this topic, and I am not even a Packer fan, but my respect of Favre as a player turned to indifference and then to anger as I saw the manner in which he conducted himself at the end in Green Bay, and during his time with both the Jets and Packers. he strikes me as incredibly selfish and not terribly moral. Let him wait a few years.

    • What Favre did was disrespectful?

      You and I have seriously divergent perspectives on how the whole saga played itself out… :)

      • Ohhhh Danny Boy. There is no doubt he was disrespectful. The whole move to the Jets was so that he could eventually go to the Vikes. The key piece of information in this whole saga is that the Packers brain trust traveled to Hattiesberg twice after Favre said he was retired to make sure he didnt want to come back. They told 4 that this was his final chance to change his mind before they went with Rodgers. 4 said he was done and than a month later he causes an total uproar by saying he wants to come back. Had he played his remaining yrs with anyone but the Vikes, Bears or Lions we as Packer fans honor him for what he did on the field. But by coming back with the Vikes we will dishonor him for his actions

        • There is no doubt he was disrespectful

          There is plenty of doubt — thus my comment.

          The whole move to the Jets was so that he could eventually go to the Vikes.

          Citation seriously needed.

          The key piece of information in this whole saga is that the Packers brain trust traveled to Hattiesberg twice after Favre said he was retired to make sure he didnt want to come back

          You assume I didn’t have this key piece of information. I did. I still do not believe Favre was “disrespectful”.

          But by coming back with the Vikes we will dishonor him for his actions

          Regardless of whose “fault” it was, this reaction seems petty and small-minded to me.

          • Football loyalties are emotional thing, even though most of us can recognize that football is a business. I don’t think it is small-minded at all for Packers fans (of which I am not one) to still feel the sting of Favre’s actions. It was widely believed at the time that Favre wanted to go to Minnesota, and this was widely discussed in the media, though most people understood that Favre would not be sent to another NFC North team. Instead, he ended up in New York, but went straight to Minnesota after he quit on the Jets. This was after Packers’ management did everything they could to hold the door open for him. And for him to let those deadlines pass, and then to strike out against the Packers as though it was their fault, was pretty small on his part.

            So yeah, I get why Packers’ fans are still wounded, and I do think Favre was disrespectful of the franchise. It’s an opinion.

          • Ghost-

            You are misrepresenting what I said. I did not accuse anyone of being “small-minded” for feeling stung by Favre’s actions.

            I said that the choice to delay (or forgo) retiring Favre’s jersey because of the way the two sides parted ways is “small-minded”.

            It’s possible to disagree with, even be hurt by, someone’s actions without dishonoring what that person did for you.

            If you have a reference to someone who, at the time, had a credible theory that Favre was angling to play for Minnesota, I’d love to read about it. (Preacher’s article refers to Aikman saying that it was an angle of the saga that was never really explored…)

        • This is real easy to explain. Favre felt wronged by the Packers drafting Rodgers. He started to threaten retirement before Rodgers was being drafted. He hangs it up with the Packers and they move to Rodgers after consulting multiple times. Favre asks for his unconditional release. He didnt come out and say the Vikings because he wanted to pit Packer fans against the organization (which he did). If he comes out and says he wants to go to the Vikings, the fan support of his case dwindles. The Packers trade him to the Jets with a stipulation that he cant be traded back to the NFC North. So, Favre retires again, the Jets draft Sanchez. Favre comes out of retirement AGAIN and the Jets have to cut him because they have a huge rookie deal with the next Broadway Joe. Favre get his way and goes to the Vikes. Addtionally comments like these
          http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/blogs/112295994.html

          http://www.nesn.com/2011/10/brett-favre-surprised-it-took-so-long-for-aaron-rodgers-to-win-super-bowl-with-packers.html

          make it easy to be “small minded” and deny the need to retire the number

          Im not sure what you do for a living but think of it like this. You have a succesful career at Company A. You retire. They promote the hot shot kid that you were pissed they hired in the first place. You go back to the company and say you wanna work again. Company A says no because they have moved on, but you can stay in retirment and they will give you a $50 Million dollar deal to endorse their company. If you choose not to do that you can go back to work but your non compete clause means you cant work for 3 specific companies. So you go work for a random company,wait until your non compete expires and transfer to Company A’s biggest competitor. Now after that is all done you make some stupid comments about Company A out of bitterness. Than on top of it all you want Company A to honor you with an award that has only been given out to 5 people in almost 100 years of operation.

      • Let me be clear: Favre is a tool. His actions in re: Jenn Sterger proved that.

        But the “divorce” from the Packers was poorly handled by all sides. I don’t see Favre’s actions leading up to his “retirement” and subsequent trade to New York as disrespectful — or at least, any more disrespectful than the actions of the team.

        Favre says, “I don’t want to play any more.” He says it’s because he can’t play to the level he’s accustomed to. No one (to my knowledge) makes any serious accusation at this time that it’s all a ploy to jump ship to the Vikings.

        The Packers’ response? “That’s cool — we’ve got this Aaron Rodgers kid.”

        Time passes…

        Favre decides, “Hey, maybe I can play.”

        The Packers, having committed to Rodgers — and having told Favre he couldn’t come back to Green Bay — should, at this point, have given Favre his unconditional release. They did not. Any ugliness after this point is on both parties’ heads.

        If John Elway had decided to come out of retirement and play his last seasons in Oakland, I would have hated it. I would have rooted against him with all my heart. I would even have felt a bit betrayed.

        But I think I also would have grudgingly accepted that he had earned the right to do what he wanted. And once he retired for good, I would hope that the Broncos would not have used that as a reason to delay his induction into the Ring of Honor.

        • LOL… we agree that Favre is a tool.

          I get your reasoning and it is logical. But as I said to Country Preacher this morning, this is not an issue of logic, but one of emotion. Feelings are still strong. Yes, there was shared responsibility for the breakup, but I disagree that the Packers owed him his release… they knew he could still play, which is why they held the door open, and they didn’t want him playing for a rival… nothing wrong with that.

          I am glad you used the Elway example, because that question occurred to me. And I know you might want to have felt a certain way if those events had taken place, but would you have? I can say the same in the case of Tom Brady… how would I feel if he wanted to play for the Jets and put the Patriots through similar retirement bs? But then again, I’m still pissed at Adam Vinatieri. :-)

          • Okay… “I HOPE I also would have grudgingly accepted that he had earned the right to do what he wanted.”

            Better? :)

  3. There may have been no greater Favre fan than me. It began with a virtual shrine to Favre in my dorm room at UW-Madison back in 1992 when he took over the reins from the Majik man (or not-so Majik) and the passion and allegiance to #4 continued on throughout his playing career in GB. That’s nice that he and Deanna reached out to a WI soldier recently but guess what? Why do we know that? Once again, Favre is in it for himself, doing a little P.R. work. Ben is right. It is too soon. Maybe one day. But the way I look at it, when Randy Moss feigned pulling his pants down to moon the Packer fans, Favre finished the job by crapping all over them.

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