Now that the signing of Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings is official, it is my purpose to give you a more objective history and viewpoint of the Favre-Packers fallout that have left many in Packer Nation incensed to the point of steam blowing out of the holes of their cheeseheads.
Why write yet another article about the Favre? I give you four reasons:
1. For those who shamelessly enjoy these articles (myself included).
2. For those I call “Feed-The-Beasters,” who are supposedly sick of Favre-related articles, yet seem to click on the link anyway, read it, and respond how they’re sick of these articles.
3. TV, radio, blogs, and message boards have been full of incessant anger by Packer fans, many of whom have declared that Ol' No. 4 is dead to them. How could I resist this setup?
4. I had honestly written this article about a month ago and thought my first-ever B/R article was left for the recycle bin when Favre initially said “no” to the Vikings three weeks ago—yes, I'm a sucker. While many might disagree with my “better late than never” rationale, my response to you is that you're probably right. But it’s my party and I’ll post if I want to.
Brett Favre retired. He changed his mind...then he changed his mind again. How many times he flip-flopped between his first retirement and his final decision to return in July 2008 is still up for debate.
The Packers, tired of Favre’s annual indecision-fest, moved on with Aaron Rodgers. Brett wanted back, but the Packers said, “We’ve moved on.” Favre griped to the Packer organization and subsequently to the media that he should be welcomed back as the starter.
The Packers, to prevent possible fan mutiny, stated (at least to the media) that Favre would be able to compete for the position. Calling their bluff, Favre arrives at training camp.
The result? The Packers didn’t budge. A quarterback competition was never a reality. Favre felt angry and betrayed, yet his decision to retire created the mess in the first place, making his feelings unjustifiable. After all, the NFL is a business, not a 16-year museum of sentiment meant to symbolize present reality. See: Jerry Reinsdorf's release of Carlton Fisk in 1993—brutal.
Favre was given the opportunity to play, albeit to what many call the Siberia of the NFL—the New York Jets. Favre showed his magic for two-thirds of the season before a debilitating shoulder injury left the Jets stumbling to a playoff-less 9-7 record. Favre retired.
However, the Jets’ signing of Mark Sanchez, coupled with his second request for release being granted, opened the ever-so-slightly cracked door. A successful surgery on his shoulder made his second un-retirement absolute.
The result? Favre has the ability to do three things with the Minnesota Vikings he did not have with the Jets:
1. Play for a team where he actually knows the offensive system...and the coach as well.
2. Play for a contender.
3. Show Ted Thompson that they should not have let him go.
For many, the problem doesn’t lie with reasons No. 1 and No. 2. The problem lies with reason No. 3 and the theme of revenge. Favre will not just be playing for an archrival, but THE archrival. Now, feeling a certain sense of hurt is reasonable considering the circumstances. For a Packer fan to not question it for a moment and not feel some anger would go against human nature.
Still, though, human nature dictates that it is natural for a scorned individual to feel the need to show his or her worth, as well as the negative repercussions for letting him or her go. It happens in all types of relationships. Football is no exception.
So, is Brett Favre a traitor? Not one iota.
A player doesn't come back to play another season of football at 40 years old exclusively to get revenge on a former organization. There has to be that love for the game, which still clearly burns within Favre’s heart.
While part of that fire contains elements of wanting to seek revenge on a former organization for letting him go, it's completely natural. But it is hardly the sole motivation for his return to the Vikings. After all, save a playoff possibility, Favre will be playing the Packers twice, not 16 times.
Let's say, for conversation's sake, that revenge was his only reason; it still wouldn't constitute a traitor labeling. Many fans upset with Favre seem to miss the simple fact that it is not traitorous to sign with another team when your former team let you go.
Just as the Pack did what it felt it needed to do, Favre did what he felt he needed to do...
After all, the NFL is a business, not a 16-year museum of sentiment meant to symbolize present reality.
At the end of the day, reason reigned supreme for both parties, and each should be content with the results (considering the circumstances) and their respective place in heading into the 2009-2010 NFL season. Each one will stand alone...at least for 14 games, anyway (excluding a possible playoff showdown).
The pro-Favre and pro-Packer bases need to realize that holding a grudge against the other is short-sighted and irrational.
Not everything ends the way we'd like it to end. Life goes on.
And what only seemed like something left for the parallel universe known as “Oh, What Could’ve Been” a year ago, is now the reality many have either lived for or dreaded. Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on—perhaps you’re a straddler—or whether your side wins or loses, take in these moments while they last, and enjoy the drama. Seeing the NFL fan-base come alive to express their opinion of Favre(‘s comeback), proves why football is truly America’s No. 1 sport.