A Mentor and His Protégé

Evan OlsonContributor IMay 19, 2010

Look at this photograph. Don’t just look at it, look into it. Now, look deeper. Dissect it with everything you’ve got. What do you see? Is it simply two rival teams’ quarterbacks? Or is it a mentor and his protégé? Or could it be as much as two complete strangers, or so they wish? In this picture I see a lot more than two former teammates; I see a legend and a rising star. I see the tension between the two men, the awkwardness that their relationship holds, and the truth behind the scene.

The second the game clock hit zero the crowd rushed the field, waiting to listen to the words exchanged between the two men. Brett Favre is speaking to the man, who stole his job, for the very first time since the incident took place. The camera man had to have been one of the first people on the field to get a shot like this. The short, stocky, little man must have heaved his camera over his head in order to get the camera to eye level with the two giant men.

The lighting of the stadium shows a lot about the two men. The tension can be felt all throughout the stadium and the dark, still atmosphere. Neither player wants to be there; they are just doing it for the good publicity, the good sportsmanship, and a quick “good game” along with a pat on the pads. It is as though the whole world is holding its breath, sucking in all of the light leaving only darkness, waiting for the two men to meet once again. The “like new” shine on Brett’s helmet shows that he was on his feet the whole game and he was never even knocked down; he conquered that game. The sudden beam of light is shining down on Brett Favre as though even God is watching him rule the football world.

The dark shade of purple that Brett Favre is wearing is a color of evil. It is a symbol of rivalry. It is the color of a team that stole not just a quarterback, but a legend. The Packers were foolish enough to discard such a great legendary quarterback, that the evil, wicked, Vikings saw the opportunity to achieve greatness and seized it. Even though the color purple represents evil, Brett Favre is willing to wear any color for the love of the game. The Vikings have been a nasty cult ever since the dark ages in history, and they forever will be. This color will be cringed upon forever by a Packer fan. However, the color white, worn by Aaron Rodgers, is a color of purity and innocence, which shows just how young and inexperienced he truly is. Even basic colors symbolize the rivalry between these two men and their teams.

Not only is the age visible in Brett’s face, but his wisdom and experience as well. For every wrinkle and gray hair that this man has, he has thrown a touchdown pass. The deep ridges and cuts in his hands show that he is as tough as leather and a very hard worker. Aaron Rodgers does not have a single wrinkle, cut, or ridge.  His lack of scars shows that he has a long, harsh road ahead of him with a lot to learn.

Sometimes when you think too hard, you look past the obvious. One of the most important details in this photograph is jumping right out at you. The simple fact that Brett Favre is still wearing his helmet and that Aaron Rodgers is wearing a hat is a very important detail. It shows that Brett wants to keep playing; he is ready to go back out there and play some ball. Aaron Rodgers is done, he has lost. He is sulking around and wants to get out of there as soon as possible and move on. This is a rookie move. Any NFL veteran would give his respect to the other team and to the game. He would keep his helmet on and learn from his mistakes. A real NFL quarterback would keep his chin up.

They might not be out of spite, but out of the sense of mentorship still hanging in the air. These men respect each other. They may not be teammates. They may not even be friends. But the one simple fact is that they have no choice but to respect each other. To what level of respect? We may never know. Only those two men can tell us that. Brett Favre has taught Aaron Rodgers everything he knows, and Aaron has helped Brett to become a stronger leader. Although Aaron took Brett’s job on the Packers, Brett has to acknowledge the rising star’s skills. This isn’t just a photograph of a mentor and his protégé. It isn’t just two rival quarterbacks, and it for sure isn’t two strangers. This is quite frankly, a photograph of a father and his son.