Unless you are a Packer Backer, don’t try to tell me that you know how I feel. That’s almost as bad as when Brett Favre told me that I wasn’t a “true fan” if I didn’t support his move to the Minnesota Vikings.
As a minority owner of the Green Bay Packers (they are a publicly-owned franchise), I have been a “Packer Backer” since I was born. Favre was my quarterback, but that ended after a 16-year marriage.
From Sept. 20, 1992 until Jan. 20, 2008, I was with Favre and the Green Bay Packers every single Sunday. From the three straight MVP awards in 1995-1997 to the drug addiction and the 308 interceptions, I was there for the high points (1996) and the low points (2005).
Now, many people say that the Packers had no right to force out Favre the way that they did. My response is simple: NONE of this would have happened had Favre just committed to playing in 2008.
Green Bay has a business to run, and playing the constant seesawing isn’t exactly the best situation to be stuck in. Ted Thompson, Green Bay’s General Manager, did what he had to, and now has an incredibly talented, young franchise quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
Favre going to the New York Jets was bad enough. The Jets’ practice facility is on the outskirts of my town, Madison, NJ, and he lived a town over from me for a year. I had to hear about him all the time; his face was in the paper on a daily basis.
Thankfully, due to a unfamiliar offensive scheme and a bum shoulder, I was feeling "karmatically" pleased as Favre threw away the Jets’ shot at the playoffs in the last week of the season.
I thought I was finally done with it all; the healing process could begin, complete with a tearful Favre-Green Bay reunion and a retiring of his old No.4.
Then, the all-to-familiar scenario started cooking up on ESPN SportsCenter. Having used the Jets simply as a layover to his final destination, he had concocted the perfect situation to get revenge on Green Bay, just to prove he could still play.
He was dead to me.
He was Green Bay’s Benedict Arnold, my Judas.
I wished him nothing but the worst, maybe another bum shoulder, even a torn ACL.
Seeing Favre in purple for the first time was like watching your parents making out, with tongue. I rooted my hardest against him at every turning point.
He ruined my birthday, defeating the Packers at the Metrodome.
He ruined half my November, defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field, his old stomping grounds.
I kept waiting for him to fail, to revert to his old gunslinger ways, only to realize that his shoulder couldn’t keep up with his mindset. He dodged me week in and week out, amassing mind-boggling numbers, even though he had turned 40-years-old.
The playoffs came around, and his Vikings were coming off a few bad weeks. I hoped something was close. All I wanted was for the Packers to get a third shot at the Vikings; I knew that we could beat them if we could just get the matchup.
A defensive letdown and a very untimely fumble in the NFC Wild Card game against the Arizona Cardinals ended the 2009 season for my Packers, a season filled with great promise and hope for the future of the franchise. My attention was now solely on Favre.
I had nightmares after that NFC Divisional Matchup massacre against the Cowboys. He looked perfect, throwing it anywhere he so desired. I began to worry that he would ultimately get his shot at the Lombardi Trophy, that he would ultimately prove to the Packers that it was the wrong choice letting him go.
The New Orleans Saints were my last hope; I wouldn’t have been able to stand a Favre-filled lead up to the Super Bowl.
Never have I ever been so invested in an NFL game that didn’t involve the Packers.
I cheered and shouted every time he was knocked to the turf. I wore my Packers jersey, hoping to send him all the negative energy I could. I even almost bought into his “limp” he developed in the second half; I was unaware that a human being could be so uncomfortable walking, but would then be able to run with no problem.
Nice try, Judas.
With that pick at the end of regulation landing in the hands of New Orleans’ defensive back Tracy Porter, I immediately felt redemption, pure satisfaction. Just like in Week 17 with the Jets the year prior, and with the Packers in the NFC Championship Game in 2008, Favre ended his team’s season with an interception.
It felt all too familiar for me, and I took great satisfaction in Favre’s major letdown.
You may have proved to us you can still play Brett, but was it worth it?
Now, Vikings fans get their very first offseason of waiting, shifting uneasily in their seats, hoping that the Notorious Flip-Flopper won’t string them along or break their hearts. It’ll be stressful, and there will be way too much debate about it on every sports talk radio and ESPN from now until he makes his “final” decision.
My advice is simple. Go home Brett. Please.
Time heals all wounds; I’ll see you at Lambeau in a few years for the retiring ceremony.