One thing I know after Sunday, November One is: Jared Allen is absolutely correct.
No one turns their back on 16 years of greatness—they use it to tear them apart; use it to fixate on the past while focusing the frustration of its passing into the form of one person.
It is romanticized. While lamenting the agony of its now-intangible reality, it can create a chasm or straddle the divide and hold a dual existence, occupying both the love and hate areas of the brain and heart.
In other words, we do not turn our back on prolonged periods of greatness; we just use it to severely fuck ourselves in the head. It is the kind of fodder that makes therapists rich. It originates from the source that fuels the middle age purchasing of sports cars and allows young girls to fulfill daddy fantasies.
Everyone has his or her own way to deal with the passing of something, and this is only magnified whenever this process comes into existence in a less-than-ideal way.
To see the reality of this theory, one needs to look no further than the Packer faithful, which I am counting, roughly, as the entire state of Wisconsin.
The sight of their one true love donning and sharing the company with their most hated rival tore fans apart. It became apparent before the game started, however, on which side of the spectrum the majority of the Cheeseheads landed.
Favre ran onto a field, that, according to one sign held by a fan, is “the field that Favre built,” during pre-game introductions to a deafening chorus of boos.
The heights of ecstasy leave people vulnerable to the inevitable dropoff. It can be hard to see a former love thriving and embracing the love of a bitter rival. Just read some of the quotes from Packers fans:
"He was," Packer fan Jo Sedar said, "one of us."
"It's like going into church on Sunday and the priest says, 'Everybody go home. Jesus has now sided with the devil,'" said Tom Fields.
On Sunday, T-shirts at Lambeau carrying messages ranging from "Traitor" to "Judas" to "Drama Queen" to “We’ll never forget you BRENT,” were seen throughout the stadium.
While these feelings encapsulated the feelings of the majority in attendance, it certainly wasn’t the only way they felt. Packer fans were on both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between.
"I'm having mixed emotions," said Robert Barranco, while dressed in a green Favre jersey.
His wife, Martha, was wearing the purple edition and was just as torn as Robert. "I'm a die-hard Packers fan, but I also want him to do well."
Also popular were half-Minnesota/half-Green Bay jerseys, while some fans wore Favre's Vikings jersey underneath Packers jackets.
Then there were the fans that were there to profess their love for Brett.
There were signs throughout the stadium ranging from "Thanks 4 the Memories” to “Lambeau is Brett's Field."
It is obvious that whatever it is that some people have, which inspires people to say they have “it,” Favre has in spades. You are hard pressed to find a person who does not have an opinion on him one way or the other.
As Favre has spent his offseasons plucking petals off flowers while saying “retire me—retire me not,” each petal plucked was reported ad nauseam. It got to the point that there were days in the sport’s world where the lead story was the fact that the Brett Favre story was getting too much coverage.
“Is Favre coming back, or isn’t he?” would be the opening refrain of many stories, and they would continue “no one knows, and it is this reporter’s opinion that the thoughts and time spent on a washed-up quarterback waffling about his future are a waste of time. This is the story that won’t die. Stay tuned, as this is the first segment of a 908-installment piece on this worthless obsession with Brett Favre.”
This kind of thought process has followed Favre into the season as, hours before the game, there was a plane flying overhead pulling a sign that read “Retire 4 Good.” Maybe one reading “So I can stop caring” should have followed it.
Of course, ultimately Packer fans should have followed that sign with one that read “Please,” because they seemed to wake the sleeping giant.
Favre got viewings and earfuls of all the varying feelings he inspired. "Cheers, a couple fingers. Some people, not exactly mooning..." Favre said. "That part was a little weird."
Favre let his game show fans why they should never expose their asses to a legend.
After twisting Packers fans' minds toward therapy with his retirement tangos, team-hopping, and rival-embracing existence, Favre gave the entire state of Wisconsin the Kobe treatment )and by Kobe treatment I mean asshole-tearing, and by asshole-tearing I mean what A-Rod does do Derek Jeter every night in his dreams, and by that I mean look at this).
While the game went on, it became apparent that Favre was out for blood. As any ultra-competitive person would, he used his scorn to help fuel his desire. Favre was hugging teammates and raising a finger (the index) after touchdowns.
There were plenty of touchdowns. Four of his 17 completions were for touchdowns, and while the Packers mounted a late comeback to make things semi-interesting, Favre made sure this game stayed on ice with a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass.
Favre was having so much fun carving up the Packers defense I expected him to fake the victory kneel and bomb it to a wide open streaking Viking receiver for a fifth touchdown as time expired. Then run off the field with his middle fingers flying, asking the boo birds and the Packers brass if they brought enough lube.
This did not happen, however, as Favre is a serial flip-flopper. He cannot even decide if he wants to enhance Packers fans' memories of him or distance himself from that legacy.
Ever the politician, Favre encrypted the real meaning in his post-game comments in sports talk. Don’t worry, I have brought the staff translator to decode the hidden messages.
"I had mixed emotions coming in, because I know how special these fans are," Favre said.
Translation: I love the fans, but I hate the fat, stupid decision-makers that wouldn’t know greatness if it slapped them in the face.
"But I also know the Packer fans are what makes this organization so special, unique, and that will never change. How could you not miss that?"
Translation: The fat, stupid decision-makers suck. People that love me are cool.
Asked if he was surprised at the reaction, Favre said, "Sure, I would have loved..." and then paused. "It was about what I expected," he said.
Translation: They’ll forgive me because I made this team. I did more for this team than the fat, stupid decision-makers.
"I want to lead this Vikings team to a Super Bowl; believe me, I do. And I will do everything in my power.”
Translation: I am on a quest to prove that I am “The One” and it was wrong for the fat, stupid decision-makers in Green Bay to not give me whatever I wanted.
"Although I wasn't expecting a standing ovation, I know what I've done, what I stand for," Favre said. "What I've done here speaks for itself. What I was a part of was awesome. That will never change."
Translation: “I created something totally rad in Green Bay and while the whinny fans are a little bitter now they will remember whose right arm delivered them to the gates of Nirvana when it is all said and done.”
"I was part of some pretty good games here as a Packer. This is pretty high up on the list," Favre said of the win. "It was pretty awesome to be a part of."
Translation: Revenge is like cheese—it makes everything better. I just fed the Cheeseheads cheese. I am really great.
"It was loud, and that's what makes Green Bay such a special place," said Favre,
Translation: I just want to reiterate that in no way is it because of the fat decision-makers that the Packers have achieved greatness.
"I've never been one to rub it in anyone's face," Favre said. "The guys I played with as a Packer, I've got a lot of respect for them. As I do for the organization and the fans."
Translation: I am rubbing your faces in it by saying I am not. I won, I won, I won! Sure I’ve got respect for the organization and the fans. They once put cheese on my table.
It became apparent that the results of the, to quote Paul McCartney, “long and winding road” of the Favre drama worked out best for the teams and the players involved. Aaron Rodgers is a fantastic quarterback and was ready to get his career as a starter underway. While Favre still has game left in his body—game that would not be as apparent behind the Packers struggling offensive line.
It also became apparent that the people who have benefited most by this course of events are the practicing therapists in the state of Wisconsin.