However, that stomach-turning feeling is the reason I understand the overwhelming booing Green Bay fans welcomed Brett Favre with when he returned to Lambeau for the first time as an opponent of the Packers.
The best way to describe my personal feelings when Brett Favre was signed back into the NFC North—this time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings—would be bittersweet.
Finally, our bitter rival Green Bay fans get to feel the nastiness of having their defense torn apart by the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback. But having to see Brett Favre face Chicago two times during the season once again, well, that’s the bitter part.
Now, I’ve heard most of the arguments coming from the anti-booers, and it’s rare for me to actually side with the Packers supporters, but in this instance, I do.
Sure, Favre led the Packers to some of the best seasons in their franchise’s history, including a Super Bowl and multiple MVP trophies, that’s understandable.
The fact of the matter is, this past Sunday, Brett Favre was an opponent of the Packers and their fans and regardless of the accomplishments of Favre or anyone, you cannot ever expect fans, especially such enthusiastic fans like those in Green Bay, to cheer for an opponent.
I’ve been booing Brett Favre all my life, and will continue to boo him, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect his accomplishments as a football player.
Packer fans everywhere appreciate and respect more than anyone the feats that Favre has met in his career, but as Sunday proved, no accomplishments can make a true fan cheer for an opposing player attempting to beat their team, regardless of who that player is.
Admittedly, many didn’t feel the same way as me about the booing that poured down at Lambeau late Sunday afternoon. One person, who likely knows more about Green Bay fans than anyone else, did.
As Brett Favre said in his post-game press conference, “A Packer fan cheers for the Packers first.”
Well said, Brett.
That’s sports and the competitive nature that surrounds them and makes them the overwhelming sensation they are in our lives.
Brett Favre is a competitor more than he is anything else—which is most likely the reason he has retired and returned to the extent that just about everyone now cringes along with me at the mention of his name—and if he can understand why the Green Bay faithful booed him, I believe we all should.
It shouldn’t be a question in anyone’s mind that when Brett Favre finally does retire (for good), he will again be embraced by the fans who cheered for him for 16 years—yes, even those fans whose Favre memorabilia is now nothing but ashes in the fire pit in their back yard.
Okay, so it’s not entirely ridiculous to be a little confused about fans booing the man who won three MVP awards with them, brought them to two Super Bowls, bringing back a ring in one, and started in every game for 16 straight seasons at quarterback.
But these are Packer fans, fans that equal Favre’s competitiveness when it comes to supporting their team.
Bottom line: Favre was a challenger to Green Bay’s season and to their conference hopes on Sunday and every last fan in that crowd did to him what they did to his opponents when he represented them.
For that, I owe the fans I’ve hated for so long some respect. Also, a little compassion goes their way for the wrath that they now are feeling coming from the hands of Brett Favre this time beating on them; only a little, though.