Why Brett Favre Absolutely Should Have His Number Retired by the Packers

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystJuly 9, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers talks with head coach Mike McCarthy during the NFC championship game against the New York Giants on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There probably isn't a more polarizing sports figure in the state of Wisconsin than former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

To most football fans outside of the state, Favre is one of the all-time greats, an 11-time Pro Bowler and mortal lock first-ballot Hall of Famer who holds so many NFL records that they have their own Wikipedia page.

However, to many fans in America's Dairyland, Favre is the ultimate turncoat, a player to be reviled after deciding to spend the twilight of his career playing for a hated rival.

Both sides of the Favre debate have been riled up recently. As Will Brinson of CBS Sports reported, Packers CEO Mark Murphy recently broached the subject of the team retiring Favre's iconic No. 4 jersey.

According to Murphy, it's something the team would like to accomplish sooner rather than later.

I am often asked questions about Brett Favre, and specifically whether we will retire his number. We do want to bring Brett back into the fold, and plan on retiring his number. He deserves to have his number retired for what he accomplished, and meant to the Packers, during his time here. I thought Aaron Rodgers and Brett jointly presenting the Comeback Player of the Year Award at the NFL Honors program was a great first step. It is really just a question of timing in terms of retiring his jersey.

The timing has to be right for both Brett and the organization. Brett will be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2016, and we would like to retire his number prior to his induction.

Murphy's statements appear to have been well received by the majority of Packers fans.

However, there are still some who will more than gladly list the reasons why the Packers should not retire Favre's jersey...ever.

That second group needs to get over it already.

Those accomplishments only scratch the surface of what Favre accomplished during his career in the National Football League. We're talking, after all, about a player who has passed for more yardage and thrown more touchdown passes than anyone in NFL history.

Favre is also the only player in NFL history to win three consecutive MVP awards, a feat he accomplished from 1995-1997...

As the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

Then there's the tiny matter of the two consecutive Super Bowls that Favre led the Packers to, including a win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.

You know, if things like the Lombardi Trophy are important to you.

Granted, on some level it's understandable for Packers fans to be angry with Favre.

Favre's divorce from the Packers was a messy one. First came Favre's retirement in March of 2008, followed by (in what would become a theme for Favre) his un-retiring, asking for his release so he could play for the New York Jets.

It certainly didn't help matters that, as ESPN reported at the time, Favre started taking potshots at the organization, including general manager Ted Thompson.

And none of those had anything to do with me retiring once again but, you know, it's hard for me to trust, you know, this guy when I -- either I'm told one thing and everyone else is told another, or he's telling the public one thing and telling me another. And so -- and that's part of the reason for [requesting] the release. Not only was I told that playing here was not an option, we're moving on -- it's kind of in their company line, moving on. That's OK. If you move on, you tell me one thing, don't come back and tell the public ... just say it, 'You know, we've moved on and we'll work with Brett on whatever it is.' Don't make up a lot of stuff or give half of the truth.

However, things got really bad when after one bad year in New York, Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay's arch-enemy and NFC North rival.

Frankly, if Favre had been as bad in 2009 as he was in 2008, Green Bay fans wouldn't have been nearly so outraged. In fact, they would have either laughed as Favre faceplanted or just shook their heads while muttering "so sad"...as they laughed on the inside.

Favre wasn't bad though. In fact, he had one of the best seasons of his career. The Vikings won the division, nearly making it to the Super Bowl.

Even worse, Minnesota swept both meetings with the Packers that year, and Favre wasn't shy about saying how much he enjoyed that.

At that point Favre became persona non grata in a city where he once could have run for mayor and won.

Recently, though, it appears that things have thawed a bit between the Packers and Favre. Favre, who once seemed content to sit back and hurl thinly veiled potshots at Rodgers, is now much more effusive in his praise for him.

Just recently Favre told Sirius XM Radio (via Nate Davis of USA Today) that he expects Rodgers to "shatter" his team records, while admitting that he didn't handle his departure from Green Bay well.

The way it went down was not the best of ways, and I think people have learned from it and, again, I'm over it.

Aaron has played extremely well, probably even better than anyone anticipated. But I knew he was capable of that, and that's why they drafted him. Barring any injury, he'll shatter everything I ever did there except for maybe consecutive games (played). But the guy has been tremendous, great move on their part.

The two also appeared together last year, presenting an award at the "NFL Honors" ceremony in February. Sure, it was a little awkward, but it was good to see nonetheless.

Granted, many of Favre's actions may have ulterior motives. He knows just as well as we do that he burned a lot of bridges in Titletown with the way things transpired. Now that his career is over, Favre may well only be rebuilding those bridges so that he can enjoy one last moment in the spotlight.

Here's the thing though...so what?

The way that Favre's playing days in Green Bay ended doesn't erase everything that came before them. Neither does the fact that he has a tendency to pout like a seven-year-old if he doesn't get his way, and has an ego as strong as his right arm.

If nothing else, Packers fans should rise above all the petulance and hard feelings. After all, it's not like the franchise has plummeted into the depths of despair since Favre left town. the Packers have already won one Super Bowl with Rodgers under center, and it's not exactly a huge stretch to say that they'll win at least one more before Rodgers hangs them up.

The Packers' CEO said it best according to Brinson.

I know that many of our fans were upset that Brett played for the Vikings. As time goes by, though, I think wounds are healed and people focus more on the great things he did for the team during his 16 years here. As the recent signings by Greg Jennings and Desmond Bishop show, many players in the League go on to play for rivals later in their careers.

That brings us to the Jennings flap, which is just silly. OK, so Greg Jennings asked Favre about playing in Minnesota, and Favre spoke positively about it according to Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports.

Once again, who cares? People that are angry about that are forgetting one very important thing.

The Packers didn't really want Jennings back, at least not at a salary that was anywhere near what the Vikings were offering.

What was Favre supposed to say? "Greg, you have to walk away from all that money, retire, and make Wrangler jeans commercials with me. It's the only right thing to do."


The Packers are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history. They may have the league's best quarterback right now in Rodgers. Green Bay has returned to the elite in the NFL, after a two-decade stretch in the 1970s and 1980s in which Green Bay made the playoffs all of once.

Who was the quarterback that led the Packers from those dark days and back into the light?

Brett Favre.

Rather than vilifying Favre for two years at the end of his career, celebrate the 16 in which he was the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, whipping the ball around the gridiron with an arm and abandon the likes of which the NFL may well never see again.

Give the man his due.

It's time to get over it.


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