It has been a very difficult past couple of years for fans of the Green Bay Packers.
Whether you agreed with Favre's decision to keep playing or not, it was his decision. One of the many reason Packers fans fell in love with him was his unwillingness to ever quit or give up, and unfortunately that became the same reason that many of those same fans came to loathe him.
The separation has worked out well for both teams. The Packers found out they had a potential All-Pro quarterback, and Favre was able to continue his dream of playing the game his love.
Fans around the league bemoaned Packer fans for a feeling of betrayal from Favre. Critics said it was just a game and there was no reason for fans to feel such feelings towards an athlete.
That's where the critics were wrong. Yes, it's just a game, but sports are supposed to be a release from reality. Cheering or booing Favre is exactly what sports SHOULD be: something to take one's mind off of earthquakes, unemployment, and a recession. Love him or hate him, Favre gets people to care one way or another.
After the Vikings beat the Packers in the Metrodome earlier this year, I felt devastated. I had felt Favre was the one on the wrong side of things in his feud with Packers' management.
Watching him lead the hated Vikings to a victory over MY Packers was like a kick in the gut. I thought to myself that this is how fans of Muhammad Ali must have felt in his first fight with Joe Frazier. One feels at a loss when one believes in something so much only to see that belief come up on the short end of victory.
The Saints physically punished Brett Favre for four quarters on Sunday night. Even the harshest Favre critic must nod their head in appreciation for what the 40-year-old pulled off against New Orleans. There is no quarterback, past or present, which could have taken the abuse that Favre did and still almost lead his team to victory. He once again defied the odds and showed why he will go down as one of the all-time greats.
Did Favre have a lapse in judgment at the end of regulation? Absolutely. His possible final throw as a Viking turned out the same way as his final throw as a Packer, an interception. Each pass will haunt Favre as he will wonder 'what if' in the future, but neither will change the legacy he left in Green Bay or the fantastic season he led Minnesota to.
There will still be a large number of Packer fans that will have a very difficult time ever forgiving Favre for playing for the Vikings. Although that is each individual's prerogative, it's now time to move on, regardless of Favre's decision to play or retire next season.
Whether you believe Favre's words about the Packer situation or not is irrelevant. The one constant in his career has been his ability to battle through anything and compete like few others ever have.
I have been one of Favre's harshest critics over the past few seasons, but tonight I hurt for him as much as I did two years ago after the Packers lost the NFC Championship game to the New York Giants. He has a magical way of transcending the uniform he wears, and he opens up his emotions in a way that few athletes ever have.
The breakup of Favre and the Packers is one of the most painful in the history of sports.
Time will soften the pain Packer fans have felt over the past few years. Eventually, Favre will be welcomed back at Lambeau Field with arms wide open. For now, Viking fans must now be subjected to the same wait and see game Packer fans were forced to endure for several years.
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