In the advent of Brett Favre’s retirement, a sports blog would analyze one or more of the following:
- Why he shouldn’t have retired,
- Why he should’ve retired earlier,
- What the Packers could’ve done to keep him on 1 more year,
- Why Brett Favre isn’t the best quarterback of all time,
- Why Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all time,
- How much it sucks that the last pass he ever made was an interception by the Giants’ Corey WebsterÂ in the NFC Championship Game
But no, this is not a sports blog but a personal blog. In fact, if I were even a sports writer I’d certainlyÂ place better than 7th out of 10 in theÂ fantasy football league I was in last season.Â Instead, I’m going to lament about how a couple of my coworkers, who know my allegiance to the Packers,Â sent me the ESPN link this Tuesday about the announcement. I’m going to tell you about how tears welled up in my eyes as I read the news, how I mouthed “No, no, no…” and then subsequently started bawling in my cubicle.
For ten minutes.
Some co-workers sympathized with me, most other co-workers laughed at me.Â
I don’t expect them to understand.
I’m telling you, panic set in. This is not a sign of my disbelief in Aaron Rodger’s ability, mind you. Nor is it a sign of the worry I carry about the young Packers’ winning ability heretoforth. I don’t care that Favre has the records for touchdown passes, consecutive gameÂ starts, passing yards, career wins, NFL MVPs, or even that he also holds the record forÂ interceptions. The panic was what I felt resulting from imagining the Green Bay Packers without Brett Favre. I just couldn’t see it. And I still can’t, now. There is a knot the size of a softball (to Favre’s basketball)Â in my throat.
For 16 seasons, Brett Favre was the Green Bay Packers – though he would deny it:
I’d like to thank the Packers, for giving me the opportunity as well. I hope that every penny … I hope that every penny that they’ve spent on me, they know was money well-spent. It was never about the money or fame or records, and I hear people talk about your accomplishments and things … It was never my accomplishments, it was our accomplishments, the teammates that I’ve played with, and I can name so many. It was never about me, it was about everybody else. It just so happens the position I played got most of the attention. But the Packers have been, … it’s been a great relationship, and I hope that this organization and the fans appreciate me as much as I appreciate them.
The mere thought of it even now still makes tears well up in my eyes. It’s justÂ hard to imagine another athleteÂ (and there never will be) whom I feel such an intense loyalty to, just like he has shown such intense loyalty to the Packers.Â The likeable guy he is, the teammate he was, and the total humility he has can’t be matched by anybody. (Not to mention the animosity I had for Mike Holmgren for leaving for Seattle!)
When Brett Favre took over for Don Majkowski, I was in middle school, a mere 13 years old. I had just started watching professional football. And there is no place like Wisconsin to be a fan of football. No matter what grade, what school – when you came to school on a winter Monday you could tell if the Packers had won or lost the day before. And for so many years, in the days when the Packers-Bears rivalry was actually a fairly matched-up one , there were so many sad Mondays.
The arrival of Brett Favre changed all that (Or should I say, the injury of Majik Man’s ankle?). Finally, it seems, we could go back to the Vince Lombardi days of winning. We wouldÂ reach an era where we would be repaid for our loyalty.Â Wisconsin fans watch Packers games like we’re a part of the outcome of the game. Like if we were to cheer harder, louder, we could put points on the board. Whenever receivers or running backs jump into the crowd after a touchdown pass or run, they are ultimately imitating the Lambeau Leap because theÂ Packers (LeRoy Butler/Robert Brooks) paid such allegianceÂ back to us, first. That there is no other stadium in the world, in any other sport like Lambeau Field. No other team is publicly-owned literally and in so many otherÂ ways like the Green Bay Packers.Â And we would go as far as to say that every other kind of fan is of the fair-weather type. When I give people a tour of my apartment, I will always point out the Green Bay stock certificate on my wall showing I own a miniscule part.
So Favre or not, winning record or not and playoffs or not, we’ll keep cheering for them, and I’ll keep watching for Packers games on network from hereÂ onÂ the West Coast. Bless Aaron Rodgers – let him come into his own, the way he knows how to play the game. I trust he’llÂ not fill Favre’s shoesÂ but fillÂ his own. There will never be anotherÂ Brett Favre and God knows we wouldn’t ask for one…
So thanks for the memories, Brett. We love you, we miss you … Wisconsin and the Packers will never be the same without you.