Once upon a time, there was a legend that played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He was the face of the franchise and was the iconic image for leading the Packers through rain and snow to many great victories.
Then, he was gone. He was so bitter at the organization, so upset that they would treat someone like they were that gave so much to them. He couldn't believe that the Packers thought that they could move on without him.
I'm talking, of course, about Bart Starr. Not long after he was done playing, Starr realized that the Packers were wise to do what they did, and he realized that no one player is bigger than any professional franchise.
Nowadays, Starr is a living legend of Lambeau Field. He is the image of what it means to be a Green Bay Packer. He is loved and welcomed by the Packer fans and organization.
Hopefully, it doesn't take Brett Favre long to realize what Bart did. Last offseason, Favre thought it was a joke that the Packers were going to make him beat out Aaron Rodgers for the starting job. Numerous ESPN reports say that Brett's family obsessed over Rodger's stats while Brett was with the Jets.
If that is true, then his family was certainly disappointed. After a comparable completion percentage and yardage to Brett's 2007 season, Rodgers had 32 touchdowns (four rushing, 28 throwing) while throwing only 13 interceptions, only to be frustrated with him team's 23rd ranked defense, compared to 6th ranked in 2007.
Meanwhile, in New York, Favre stumbled home to the finish tossing two touchdowns and nine interceptions in the last five games, and throwing 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for the season. The last four months of December have been mean to Favre, who has thrown 13 touchdowns but 31 interceptions in that time.
In the last four years, an average December game consisted of one touchdown and two interceptions for Favre.
The Packers were not joking after all about possibly making Favre beat Rodgers for the starting job.
Watching Favre in the final few games, I couldn't help but feel bad. Being a lifelong Packer fan, I really hoped he would retire after his great 2007 season, which is now the aberration, not the norm.
This isn't a knock on Brett, but it is a fact of life—he can't make it through a 16-game season anymore.
But after all that has happened, and after all of the bitterness that he showed and continues to show toward the Packers organization, I still love the guy. I won't remember his last season with the Jets. Even today, when I hear his name, the first thing I think of is the iconic image you see at the top of the screen. And that's probably what I'll think of forever.
But I hope Brett can one day realize that no one player is bigger than any organization. I hope that he can realize that after all that happened, maybe Ted Thompson was trying to protect his legacy.
I hope he can one day return to Lambeau Field with a smile on his face, accepting the honor of the Packers hall of fame, and having his number retired forever on the walls of Lambeau Field.
Lombardi, White, Starr, Nitshcke, Lambeau, Favre. Of course, there are others, but doesn't that just sound right?
Here's to hoping Brett really does hang them up this time. And that all can be forgiven and forgotten in the future.
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