I am a Packers fan and unabashedly so. I was born and raised in the shadow of Lambeau Field in the Fox Valley, and I was at just about every Green Bay home game during the “glory years”, including the Ice Bowl (and I have the ticket stub to prove it), and will be a Packers fan till I draw my last breath. You cannot imagine how much it hurt to be a Packers fan during all those years in the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s as the Pack floundered - until Mike Holmgren came and turned things around starting in ’92.
Brett Favre provided me – and every other Packers fan – with some of the best memories since the glory years. I’ll never forget watching Super Bowl 31, in January of ’97, in the living room of our home with Toni and the kids, realizing that the Lombardi Trophy was at long last going to come home where it belongs, to the frozen tundra, gently rolling hills, and lush farm fields of Wisconsin.
We loved Brett’s enthusiasm for the game. We loved it that Sports Center would so frequently run the clip of Holmgren schooling Favre on the sidelines saying “no more rocket balls, please”. (It’s almost as much fun to see that clip as it is to see the one of Vince Lombardi yelling to the field “what the hell’s going on out there”?! ) We loved it that when he completed one of those impossible passes for a touchdown, he didn’t do some half-assed dance in the end zone, but ran downfield to embrace his teammates.
He didn’t live in a mansion during the regular season…just a nice ranch home. He didn’t spend the off-season in Palm Springs or Honolulu. He went home to the tiny town of Kiln. He didn’t drive a luxury automobile; he drove a regular pickup. He didn’t wear flashy clothes; in fact, more often than not he looked like a man down on his luck with three days’ growth of beard. He was a regular guy.
When he got hurt, which was frequently, he “rubbed dirt on it” and went back in. When he got into trouble with pain pills, we hurt right along with him. He had a few flings with the ladies, but, like so many ‘sconnies, his lady put him on the straight and narrow.
And when the Packers pushed him out, he pushed back, and a lot of Packers fans lost some love for him. We were heartbroken when he joined the Vikings. It’s one thing to be a Jet; quite another to put on the purple uniform and the horned helmet.
The last couple years, we’ve come to think that Brett has more than just a tough time retiring; he’s pulling crap that a high school coach wouldn’t tolerate, ducking out of training camp, and carrying on a months-long soap opera which culminates in the absurd scenario of his coach and teammates begging him to come back. He said Wednesday “this is my last season”; did you believe him?
They say time heals all wounds, and there is a day coming when all of us Packers fans will shower him with love again. It may be more than a few years down the road, but the crisp fall day will come when Brett will again tread the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field, the day his name goes on the “Ring of Honor” at the stadium, when all will be forgiven, and he will again be ours for the ages.