Back on June 18, 2009 I wrote an article for B/R entitled, "Et Tu Brett-e," essentially telling Favre to stay retired and not tarnish his Green Bay legacy by becoming the Packers' worst enemy as a Viking.
And then the 2009 season happened. I watched. And watched. I waited for an injury. I waited for him to wear down. I waited for the Vikings to peak early and crash. None of those things happened.
What did happen, in a consensus view of every sports commentator I've heard or read is that at the age of 40, Brett Favre has had the best season of his career.
If he'd listened to me he would have denied us all of the unmitigated pleasure of watching this quatrogenerian performing like someone half his age. We would have missed the decadent pleasure of watching Favre enjoy playing the game he knows best. We would have missed seeing history made as the oldest quarterback to play in a conference title game, and perhaps yet, a Superbowl.
As Mr. Favre has demonstrated the best of maturity in his quest for one more title, I must demonstrate equal maturity in admitting I was wrong. And more, I'm actually delighted to be wrong.
The Brettster's legendary season has been a gift to the NFL, the Vikings, and football fans everywhere.
And... it isn't a slap on Green Bay. There are two reasons for this. First, by leaving Green Bay, Favre gave way to the Aaron Rogers era at Lambeau Field. I doubt that any Packer fans would rather have number four than number 12 at this point in time.
As much as Favre meant to and did for his original team, he needed to be liberated from his legacy at Green Bay in order to be as productive as he has been this year. And the Packers needed to be liberated from him.
Sure, Favre will still enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Packer. His overall career is defined by Green and Yellow, no matter what happens in Minnesota, no matter whether he retires after this season for good, or whether he returns to the Vikes for another year or more.
While Favre's coming is nothing short of messianic to the Vikings and their fans, in the big picture of the league and Favre's career, he is a Packer and the Vikings are simply a footnote.
As an advocate of the underdog I would paint Favre in purple and green. First, he came to the legendary, but long languishing smallest market in the NFL and brought new life. Taking the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one, and making them competitive till the end in every game, every season he was with them, Favre earned a place in the Underdog Hall of Fame.
But now, he is carrying a second underdog on his shoulders toward the mountain top. The Vikings have lost four Superbowls, but have yet to win one. They were expected to have a mediocre year at best this year, until Favre decided to alter their destiny, re-calibrate the team and the twin-town's history as dramatically (if not as sacred) as the coming of Christ to human history.
If the Vikings prevail in the Superdome, with all of the noise and emotion that will pack the New Orleans venue with intensity, with powers unseen, with all the good karma that has followed Drew Brees to Drew Orleans, LaBreesiana, where the war in the arena will not just be the war between Nordics and Creoles but between darkness and light (the forces of Katrina versus the forces of Fat Tuesday and, forty days later, Resurrection), it will be nothing short of miraculous. If that occurs, Brett will be nothing short of a Saint by virtue of defeating a whole team of Saints.
Even then, whether the Jets or the Colts move on, the final victory is not a given by any means. For opposite reasons. If the Colts win, Peyton Manning may be the only quarterback in the NFL who deserves (by sheer ability and field cred) to win more than Mr. Favre.
On the other hand, if the Jets odyssey continues for one more week, their victory may be as inevitable as their original unlikely yet guaranteed victory. In case this piece of trivia is lost on anyone, the Jets entered the Superbowl as a wild card team in 1969.
Rated as the third or fourth best the AFL had to offer, and given the complete domination of the NFL in the first two Superbowls (ironically won, both times, by Green Bay) the Jets were expected to embarrass the AFL even worse than the previous two pretenders.
Instead, Joe Namath guaranteed a victory and the Colts (then in the NFL) weren't in the game as much as the score might have indicated.
As I write, I become increasingly aware of the overlapping layers of irony and symbolism in the current season as things come to a head. The team standing between the Jets and only their second Superbowl in team history (41 years apart) are the Colts.
The team that followed the Colts to the Superbowl the year after the Jet victory, the team everyone just assumed would re-establish the NFL's superiority against the Chiefs was... the Vikings. And instead of winning the honor back for the NFL, their one-sided defeat further sealed the AFL as an equal to the league they were about to be absorbed by.
When one sees the moral and archetypal battle that is suddenly shaping up that is centered on and created by Brett Favre, one can only sigh in awe and be very thankful that the Minnesota Messiah did not take the advice of bystanders like me.
And if the planets continue to align by the Jets beating the Colts, the Vikes beating the Saints (essentially robbing them of their own miracle) and having Moses Favre explode the symmetry of the Jets, look out. History will once again, start over.
John Wingspread Howell, a Buffalo native, is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur, currently living in Chicago. He is available to speak about sports or a variety of topics for your organization or event. He can be contacted here.