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Why I Still Love Brett Favre


Mar. 6, 2008: The day that I thought changed my life.

Yes, you’d only know it if you were a Green Bay Packers fan, but Brett Favre has meant that much to me and every other Cheesehead. I’d go out on a limb and say no other player has meant more to an NFL franchise than Favre has. As I watched his press conference on NFL Network, I found myself choked up and literally fighting back tears as the gunslinger from Mississippi announced his retirement.

He spoke of how he felt he had given as much as he could give to the Green Bay Packers and that there was nothing more to give. Seeing him play my whole life, I knew first-hand the joy he gave me and rest of the Packers faithful.

This was THE best quarterback to ever play the game hanging his cleats up for good. Hanging up his smile. Hanging up his touchdowns. Everything was gone and it was time for me to move on with the Green Bay Packers without Brett Favre, something I had never known.

For the next two or so months, I dealt with the mystery that was life without No. 4 and decided that newly installed quarterback Aaron Rodgers could get the job done. With a pin-point accurate arm and the credentials that almost made him the first overall pick in 2005, everything was in place.

Then one day, while watching Sportscenter, breaking news came out that Brett Favre had the itch to play football once again and was considering coming back for another year.

YES! My hero was back to take the Packers to the promised land and realized that the ol’ gunslinger still had something left in that cannon of his. Not so fast.

As more and more reports came to light, it was discovered that general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy had already told Aaron Rodgers he was the quarterback of the future and that, somehow, the Green Bay Packers had moved on from Brett Favre.

What? So you are telling me that you are showing the door to the greatest thing that has ever happened to your franchise and almost led you to the Super Bowl last season? That’s right. The Packers, my pride and joy, did the unthinkable and told Brett Favre “no”.

They told him he could come in and back up Rodgers for the season but could not compete for the starting job whatsoever. Someone once said that if a team has two candidates for starting quarterback, they really have none. In what was more of a bluff than anything, the Packers gave Favre that option which he decided to take.

Favre never took the bait and did not show up to training camp, but did send his official reinstatement to the NFL which was granted a few days later. After a lengthy talk with McCarthy in Green Bay, it was decided that Favre coming to training camp was not going to help anyone’s party.

One that will never be forgotten, not even Photoshop could ruin this image for Packers fans.

One that will never be forgotten, not even Photoshop could ruin this image for Packers fans.

A few days after that, my hero was holding up a New York Jets jersey and smiling, ready for a new start with a new team. How could the Packers do this to my favorite player to ever step on the field to play the greatest game on earth?

I was mad at the Packers for what seemed like the first time since the Ray Rhodes hiring, and knew it would take time to get over.

Nine wins and seven losses later, Favre had again hung the cleats up as he announced his retirement from the New York Jets.

To make a long story short, there were rumors about him wanting to come to Minnesota early in the offseason and it seemed as though a different official from the Vikings was taking a plane to Mississippi every weekend.

Favre asked for his release from the Jets, had surgery on his shoulder, and began working out at the same high school he did the previous offseason. When push came to shove and the Vikings’ head coach Brad Childress put a deadline on Favre, he decided he did not have enough in the tank to come back. Favre was retired once again.

Three weeks after that, the saga took another unbelievable turn as it was rumored Favre was set to sign a contract with the Vikings out of nowhere. The same quarterback, who three weeks ago said he was done for good, was coming back for another season.

Man oh man, was it ever fun to look at message boards and forums that day! I learned who Benedict Arnold was, saw a picture of Judas wearing a Favre jersey, and heard Favre called a lot of different names that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy.

But as I read on and on about how mad everyone was at Favre, Ted Thompson, and the Packers organization, it hit me that this was no one’s fault.

Back in May of 2008, two months after Favre has his initial retirement press conference, Favre supposedly went to the Packers and told him that he once again had the itch to play football.

The Packers told Favre that they would love to have him back and were ready to welcome him in with open arms. A few days later, No. 4 told the Packers the feeling had passed and he would stay retired.

Somewhere in between that conversation and the day I saw the Sportscenter Breaking News, the Packers decided that Aaron Rodgers was their man.

While he had not accomplished much other than two season-ending injuries in his career, the Packers felt he was good enough to become the franchise quarterback everyone had hoped he would be.

When Favre came calling once again, the Packers welcomed him in, but this time with a clause thrown in. Sure, the Packers knew Favre would not come in as a back-up, but at least they made the offer.

They didn’t kick Favre out, make him retire, or tell him he was no good. They eventually gave him wishes of starting at quarterback by trading him to the Jets and everyone went their way.

It was no longer fair for the Packers to have to keep waiting on Favre going back and forth, and at some point they had to have something in place for training camp. Making Rodgers their go-to guy gave him full confidence and gave the Packers a definite starter at the most important position on the field.

It has always been my thinking that no player or person is ever bigger than the franchise itself. Yes, I believe Favre has meant more to the Packers than any other human being alive, but as close as he is to God in Green Bay, he still is not.

The Packers were here before Favre and have survived after him, and that was something he was going to have to deal with.

A lot has been made about the real reason for Favre coming back. Some believe he genuinely wants to return to try to add another Super Bowl ring to his storied resume, while others believe he is coming back to spite Ted Thompson and the Packers.

Whatever you believe the reason to be, Favre is not at fault for this either. He isn’t Judas and he isn’t Benedict Arnold. There are no daggers in the Green Bay Packers’ back with Favre’s fingerprints on it.

As much as it hurts and as physically sick as it makes my stomach, Favre is not at fault in the situation and I support his playing for the Vikings.

Last week I wrote an article explaining why Michael Vick deserves a second chance in the NFL, despite his past mistakes and the negative feelings that people would show towards him. If we are going to let a convicted felon back in the league, then there’s no reason Favre can’t play again.

Yes, it’s annoying and we wish that he would just make up his mind on whether or not to play, but who cares if he is indecisive? The NFL is better with Brett Favre and there is no disputing that. The first time Favre felt that now-notorious “itch”, he wanted to come back and play for the Packers.

The Packers made it clear that Favre could not come back and start for the Packers but told him there were other options for him. He exercised that option and played for a team that wanted him in the New York Jets and went on his way.

Yes, he reportedly did not respond to any of Aaron Rodgers’ calls and might have slipped in a few knocks on Ted Thompson in some interviews, but anything he did was going to be blown out of proportion based on the situation.

Now let’s talk about the whole situation with the Vikings. When rumors popped up about him wanting to play again, I had no problem with it. The “here we go again” sigh came into play and I knew that ESPN would be drooling all over the place to get information on one more Favre return, but alas he decided to stay retired.

Then he decided that he wanted to play once more. The team that was willing to take him and he also wanted to play for happened to be the Minnesota Vikings. He is good friends with Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Simply put, a guy wanted to play football and one team wanted him.

If you want to believe that Favre is doing this to get back at the Packers, go ahead and believe that. Be mad at Favre and do not cheer for him when he enters Lambeau Field on Nov. 4. Forget the great memories that he left us for 17 years and the Super Bowl he brought us.

As for me, I wish Brett Favre the best. I do not wish the Minnesota Vikings anything good and hope that the Packers embarrass both Favre and the Vikings both times they meet this season. But it’s still Favre and he is still the same guy that I tried to replicate hundreds of times in my backyard as a youngster.

Let him play if he wants to play, regardless of when he makes that decision.

Let him play if he wants to play, regardless of when he makes that decision.

If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the Vikings. The Minnesota faithful won’t want to hear this, but they handled the situation terribly and came out looking pretty bad.

Childress told Favre that there was a strict deadline for him and there would be no going back on his situation. Three weeks later, all credibility Childress had was out the window.

It’s quite obvious that Favre did not want to attend any part of training camp and was going to wait until it was over to make his return, but the fact that Childress lied to his players, the fans, and everyone else makes him look pretty bad.

Last season, it was much easier to cheer for Favre’s team and Favre himself. The Jets had no affiliation with the Packers, and the better the Jets did during the year, the better the draft pick in return would be for Green Bay. This time around, any move Favre makes will directly affect the Packers.

That being said, I am a Packers fan before I am a Brett Favre fan. I trusted that Thompson and McCarthy had it right when they decided on Rodgers, and a year later they look right. Argue what Favre has or doesn’t have left in the tank to play for the Vikings, but the Packers are better off with Rodgers.

I hope he enjoys playing football and shows it in his emotions because, regardless of helmet color or uniform, nothing makes me happier. He is still my hero and favorite player to ever play the game and I am happy to see him back.

Whether he misses the playoffs or gets the Vikings their first Super Bowl, nothing will replace what he did for the Packers and their fans. We thank you Brett, and wish you the best of luck in the future.

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August 20, 2009 - Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL | ,

11 Comments »

  1. “THE best quarterback to play the game”

    hardly my friend

    Comment by Fire_Lou | August 21, 2009 | Reply

    • So the only three-time MVP, Super Bowl winning quarterback that holds every major passing record out there is hardly the best QB of all-time? Sure, throw out the interceptions stat to make your point valid. Let me remind you Favre is 6th all-time in TD-INT ratio, and for a guy that plays as long as he has, the INT’s will rack up naturally. Cy Young has the most losses of any pitcher all-time, but also has the most wins. Why? He pitched forever. Your Chicago homerism is leaking through that fantastic analysis.

      Comment by strotty | August 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. [...] « Previous | [...]

    Pingback by Five New Things To Look For When Packers Play Bills « Strotty's Blog | August 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. [...] changed since the Packers shut out the Cleveland Browns last week in Lambeau Field. Brett Favre is now a Viking, the Packers have new personnel on their roster, and players have jumped up the depth [...]

    Pingback by American Football NFL » Green Bay Packers vs Buffalo Bills: Five New Things To Look For | August 21, 2009 | Reply

  4. You can throw out individual stats all you want, it does not take away from the fact that the second half of favre’s career has been less than spectacular not to mention his dreadful playoff record in the last 10 years (thank you for insulting my intelligence by assuming I would throw out the INT argument like a naive fan). Try this on for size: in January of 2008, Eli Manning had as many postseason wins as Favre had since winning the Super Bowl. You want stats, how about the fact that Favre has a passer rating of 77.8 in his last 12 playoff games? In my opinion, the greatest quarterbacks of all time are measured most of all by their postseason success. Go ahead, I’ll let you argue that Favre had no supporting cast and carried those teams…but then please tell me who exactly contributed to Elway’s success in the 80s besides the man himself.

    But aside from this, the greatest quarterbacks of all time have that moment(s) that simply defines their career. Montana had the drive against Cincinnati, the Catch (not to mention 3 other Super Bowls), Elway had the Drive…parts I and II, Broadway Joe had the guaranteed victory, Unitas led his team to a victory in what’s widely considered the greatest football game ever played, the list goes on. What may I ask is Favre’s defining moment that puts him up there with the other greats? And please do not say his performance, however touching it may be, the day after his dad died against the RAIDERS. I will go even further to say that some of Favre’s lasting impressions have been that of the negative variety. I.E. his performance against Atlanta, his pick against Phily in ’04, and the dreadful pass against the Giants in ’08. But thats okay, while Elway went out on top, Favre’s final years will have consisted of that pass against New York, the collapse of the Jets, and his prima donna saga in Minnesota.

    Comment by Fire_Lou | August 22, 2009 | Reply

    • You want a defining moment in Favre’s career??? How about the second play of Super Bowl XXXI, when he audibled to a deep post that resulted in a touchdown to Andre Rison? Him running around the field with his helmet off is one of the most famous images in football history.

      You hear about the negative things because you are a Bears fan that seeks out the negative and that’s what you remember. Outside of Chicago and Minnesota, no one remembers Favre for that stuff. Have we forgotten that John Elway demanded re trade from the Colts to start his career? The second half of his career was not all that great, but he had a couple of huge years in there. But his first half was THAT good to put him in consideration for best of all time.

      Comment by strotty | August 22, 2009 | Reply

  5. Fine, I guess I’ll give you the TD pass against New England I mean if you honestly believe that that football moment is up there with the ones I mentioned, more power to you. However, this “Chicago homerism” argument needs to end especially when the opposite can clearly be said about yourself. Ask the average football fan in any of the 49 states besides Wisconsin, and Favre cracks their top 10 of all-time quarterbacks. Ask a Packers fan and he’s in the top 1.

    Yes, I’m a Chicago fan but I will be the first to admit that I believe Albert Pujols will end up being the greatest hitter I ever see, despite my hatred for the Cardinals. Point being, I feel that I can objectively state my case on this…he’s definitely in the top 10 but he’s also definitely in the 2nd tier of the all-time greats.

    If Cy Young’s losses record = Favre’s INT’s, would that make Cy Young the greatest pitcher ever? Not even close.

    Comment by Fire_Lou | August 23, 2009 | Reply

    • I think Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league, whoop-dee-freakin’-doo. Homerism doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it means you see things objectively. Every fan has it.

      And the Cy Young comparison had nothing to do with saying Cy Young is the best pitcher in the game, so that has little reference. It was more a point to show that negative stats come with time. Mark Reynolds is having a damn good year with the Diamondbacks and has struck out more than anyone. I just don’t see how you can say that the quarterback with every major passing record is in the second tier of all-time quarterbacks. He lacks nothing on his resume. The MVP(‘s), the Super Bowl, the face of a franchise, the stats, and anything else you want me to add about him. The last two years have tainted the first 16 and it’s a shame.

      Comment by strotty | August 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. First of all, the fact that he played a long career (long enough to amass his INT total) has also been the main reason he has a lot of the records he has. In other words, if he’s been around (durable?) enough to accumulate the INT record, then someone of his caliber would also accumulate the touchdowns, yards, etc. Records that are achieved through that of a quality, yet lengthy professional sports career does not automatically mean said athlete is the all-time best at whatever these records measure. For instance, Henry Aaron hit 755 home runs and over 2,200 rbis, yet did so mainly because his career was so damn long. He is by no means, the best hitter or power hitter of all time.

    Whatever, this has gotten off topic. My football-watching memory goes back to about the 49ers-Chargers Super Bowl so I undoubtedly, do not vivedly recall some of Favre’s best seasons. The 10 or so that do recall though, have been more unextraordinary and less overly-impressive. I do not see how you can deny that his performance since reaching back-to-back Super Bowls has been largely overrated. I personally don’t think the greatness early in his career is enough to fully offset the mediocrity in the 2nd half of his career to be considered the greatest.

    For the record, I think this blog is pretty solid, I just enjoy arguing sports.

    Comment by Fire_Lou | August 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Here are the per-year averages of the people that are usually in the debate for greatest QB of all-time. The older era quarterbacks is a different story because the stats don’t match up. Simply put, different game. Note* I took out years in the averages where the QB didn’t play at all. Favre’s first year in Atlanta, Montana’s injury, and I believe an Elway year. In those years, I still counted the stats.

      Favre: 336.4 completions, 3831 yards, 61.6 completion % 27.3 TD’s, 18.2 INT, 85.4 QB rating,
      Montana: 252 completions, 3119 yards, 63.2 completion % 21 TD’s, 10.7 INT, 92.3 QB rating
      Elway: 257 completions, 3217 yards, 56.9 completion % 18.75 TD’s, 14.1 INT, 79.9 QB rating
      Marino: 292 completions, 3609 yards, 59.4 completion % 24.7 TD’s, 14.8 INT, 86.4 QB rating

      I really think this shows that the “gunslinger” mentality has worked out for Favre in his career. Yes, the INT’s are there but he far and away has the most yards and TD’s. Also, Elway had a 2000 yard rusher in Terrell Davis, Montana had Roger Craig (and some guy named Rice), and Marino had Mark Clayton. Favre has never had a 2000 yard rusher or anyone close to Craig. Ahman Green was on-and-off injured and that’s all he had in the ground game. Favre’s stats match up.

      Comment by strotty | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  7. Guy Tormented and kicked out Miler Park for wearing a Viking Favre jersey

    http://www.gbpackerbackers.com/2009/09/brett-favre-fan-wearing-viking-jesey.html

    Comment by Johnny | September 8, 2009 | Reply


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