Don’t Be Surprised Packers Fans Turned on Favre
It was a match made in football heaven. Scrappy blue-collar small town meets scrappy blue-collar daredevil quarterback.
Sixteen-plus years of ups and downs (mostly ups) and the heroic quarterback with the silly name and the golden arm tearfully rode off into the sunset, his legacy intact, forever in possession of the hearts and minds of the Green Bay Packers faithful. Brett Favre went out on top, just one game away from the Super Bowl, after one of the best seasons of his storied career.
Then he got the itch.
As more and more details emerged, tensions rose and Packers fans were forced to take sides. Packers fans have long been lauded as some of the best sports fans in the world. We’re not stupid. We can connect the dots.
For me, what Favre has done and is doing goes beyond wishy-washy flip-flopping and beyond selfishness. If what I believe is true, Brett’s egomaniacal self-righteousness has enabled him to out-and-out betray the Packers organization and its loyal fan base.
OK, I’m going out on a limb here and I’ll take it all back if I’m proven wrong or if new shit comes to light, but as is stands now on July 18, 2008 I believe there is a chance Brett Favre may have wanted out of Green Bay for a long time. After wielding power and influence over the team for most of his career, he grew increasingly bitter about Ted Thompson’s presence and his reluctance to allow Favre to influence staff and roster moves.
As washed up buddies of Favre (Marco Rivera) were shown the door and others weren’t shown any door at all (Steve Mariucci) Favre’s bitterness only grew, despite the fact that Thompson’s supposedly stupid roster moves began to build a winner around him.
The last straw was Randy Moss. He let it be known he was disappointed the Packers couldn’t pony up another draft pick in order to secure him. I think we all were. Fair enough. Following a record-smashing season with New England, Moss was again briefly available on the open market. Favre again lobbied for the Packers to make a move.
As far as we know, they didn’t and Randy Moss resigned with the Patriots on March 3, 2008.
The last straw.
Brett Favre announced his retirement on March 4, 2008.
Despite the fact the Packers are now undeniably one of the league’s best teams, Brett’s bitterness convinced him he had had enough of Thompson’s mismanagement.
He knew the Packers were committed to a future without him at some point, but as long as Thompson was the man behind the curtain, he just couldn’t bring himself to play there anymore.
He would “retire” and wait for another to install him as the god he used to be in Green Bay. His tears were real, but he wasn’t saying goodbye to football. He was saying goodbye to Green Bay.
Soon after, in April, his agent Bus Cook started making calls.
Gee, I wonder if one of those teams might have been the Minnesota Vikings?
Favre and Cook grossly miscalculated the resolve of Thompson and McCarthy. They assumed the team would switch to panic mode after he retired. They assumed Thompson would allow Favre back – thereby shattering the reputation Thompson built and allowing Favre to dictate more of the day-to-day decisions of the Packers. Favre was shocked they had moved on so easily. Bus Cook also miscalculated the Packers openness to a trade or release. That was their plan B – an unconditional release, with Minnesota waiting in the wings. The more Favre and Cook thought about it, the better that situation looked. Favre could stay on what he perceived to be a strong team and he could stick it to the Packers franchise that didn’t let him play GM.
But Thompson and McCarthy have held there ground. No release. And it is now Brett Favre who has gone into panic mode, sticking his foot in his mouth and burning bridges on an almost daily basis.
The fact that Favre’s shortsighted bitterness clouded his vision to the point he’d lie to the world and then actively maneuver to join the Minnesota Vikings is pathetic and downright treasonous.
I’m not surprised that the perennially inept Minnesota Vikings would stoop to this, but it’s unbelievable Brett Favre would pull this.
It’s hard enough imagining Brett in another uniform and downright sickening to imagine him in purple, but it’s especially hard to wrap my head around the fact that he orchestrated this betrayal just because the Packers didn’t sign Randy Moss or Marco Rivera.
If Brett had just been a man and sucked it up and come back right away, all would be OK. I think Aaron Rodgers could have been coaxed to stick around (remember, Steve Young didn’t really get his shot until age 31) and the Packers would have an even better shot at the championship in 2008. But no, Brett had to be king of the hill, his teammates, fans and legacy be damned.
And so, he began this ugly charade, dragging himself, Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers and everyone else – including us through the muck. No one will get out clean and I don’t think anyone will get what they want.
I think I speak for a lot fellow fans when I say I am a fan of the Green Bay Packers and that will never change. So when an individual attacks the Packers and betrays the team, he’s doing it to you too. Packers fans are right to turn their back on the guy. Enough is enough.
After 16-plus seasons of unwavering support, we didn’t deserve this.
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Steffen grew up in Milwaukee, Bowler and Neenah Wisconsin. He is a UW-Stevens Point grad and currently works as a television producer in Los Angeles.