You might say we Packers fans took him for granted.
We’d look around the league and see other teams’ superstars getting DUIs, suffering from general incompetence, or training animals to slaughter each other.
Then, we’d turn around to Lambeau, and see Brett Favre launch a missile to win it in overtime in the midst of a blinding ice storm.
He’d scamper down the field, with that Midwestern, boyish grin, pumping his fists in the air, and getting everybody excited about football and winning and all that fun stuff.
Maybe they weren’t always the best seasons, but with Brett in charge, there was always that chance.
He’s the most American All-American boy to ever stumble out of a wheat field. The guy can’t even walk to the mailbox without an impromptu game of touch football in jeans breaking out.
Until, one year, Brett decided he’d been around just about long enough.
"I’m leaving," he said.
And that was fine.
Aaron Rodgers had been waiting in the wings forever, and Brett had made one last, magnificent push for glory, and gotten us most of the way there.
The Cheesehead faithful moved on, knowing full well there were a few seasons of rebuilding ahead.
It all made sense.
Then, one day, there was a knock at the door.
"I’m back, but just to collect my things," Favre suddenly exclaimed. "I’m moving to New York."
This made less sense.
A wave of stunned silence shot through the tundra. Dogs whimpered and involuntarily wet themselves. Birds fell from the sky, dead from shock.
Brett was leaving, but not to retire to a quiet life of family, memories of glory, and petting golden retrievers.
He was leaving...us.
People will tell you that we dropped him first. When a guy is a quarterback for 16-plus years, and a Hall-of-Fame, multi-talented, class act like Brett was, nobody’s anxious to see the guy go.
His name is Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers had been waiting for his big chance for a while now, and with Brett bidding a tearful goodbye, it was time.
Green Bay was seeing a revolution, and the once “All About Brett” franchise was in the middle of a difficult, but necessary, transition.
And then Favre stormed back into the gate and wanted his job back.
Stunned that his job had been filled (I mean, sure, why didn’t we just wait around for a few months without a quarterback, just to see if he’d change his mind? Oh, right. Because that’s stupid), he decided to seek work elsewhere, and tack an addendum onto the end of his career, so it would look something like this:
"Brett Favre was the Super Bowl Champion quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, who played for the team for 16 seasons, and became a religious figure to the area, both through his athletic success and gentlemanly demeanor, fighting through immense personal struggles to play the game he loved so much. AlsoheplayedfortheJets."
There are plenty of people in Green Bay who made excuses for him last year.
“Oh, it’s so honorable that he just wants to keep playing football.”
But now…the Vikings? The Vikings.
Brett…they’re the Vikings.
I don’t own a Brett Favre jersey anymore.
I now wear a Bart Starr jersey between the kickoffs of autumn and the dead silence of winter. The man won the Ice Bowl, a feat most quarterbacks today couldn’t handle without taking a few breaks to shoot a commercial or go to prison. He was the first of five Packers to have his number retired, and he’s the only one still alive, simply because he’s too tough to die.
Also, he’s not coming back to leave cleat-prints on my heart.
Shame on you, Brett.
You’d look terrible in purple.