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Favre Saga Still Hard To Believe


If you were in a coma for the past year-and-a-half, or living under a rock you might have thought you were still dreaming when you awoke to find legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre throwing game winning touchdown passes-for the Minnesota Vikings.

Though the end result, Favre wearing purple, didn't surprise many on August 19th when he finally signed, if you go back as late as June of 2008 it seemed unfathomable.

Favre was an icon in Green Bay for 16 years. He was a hero, a god, worshiped like no other Packer before him, even Bart Starr or Vince Lombardi. Anything he touched turned to gold, or so it seemed.

When he retired from the Packers on March 4, 2008, it seemed as though life as we knew it was over. We'd never see number four throw another touchdown pass. We'd never see him celebrate a touchdown pass like an over-joyous child, hoisting his receiver over his shoulder. We'd never see him make an impossible throw from an impossible position.

How would the Green Bay Packers continue without the face of their franchise, the most beloved human in all of sports?

Donald Driver said of Favre in 2007:

"He means everything to these people. He's not only our leader, he's the symbol of the franchise, of the whole town. There's a generation of fans in Green Bay who don't know this team ever existed without Brett."

Driver couldn't have said it any better.

When Favre was named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated in December of 2007, magazines were flying off the shelves faster than stores could stock them. Everyone wanted a piece of the quarterback's legacy.

"People here treat us like family and I think they care for us like family," Deanna Favre said in 2007.

Perhaps that's why it was so hard for Packer fans to take when Favre signed with the enemy Vikings, following a long battle with Packers management.

Sports Illustrated writer Jeff MacGregor said of Packer fans' love for Favre in December of 2006:

"They'd all be heartbroken if he left them, of course; he's one of the best there ever was."

In Wisconsin, the Packers are like another religion, and Favre was like a saint, sent straight from God to restore the Packers to glory and bring the Lombardi trophy back where it started. To choose between the two was like choosing which of your children you would want to get rid of.

The Packers had their reasons and Favre had his. It doesn't matter anymore who was right or who was wrong. All that matters is Favre is gone, and with himhe took a chunk of his legacy and respect. He ruined his own happy ending. Instead of being another mystic Lambeau legend, he has become a punchline for late night tv.

Whether it's revenge, or a wholesome love for the game of football fueling his comeback, no one will ever know for sure. But to most fans, signing with the Vikings was an unforgivable act.

"They were in love with Brett Favre and he dumped them and went with another chick. They're a little heartbroken," Nick Barnett said of the situation this week.

Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder shortly after his second retirement in February that when he looked at his Jets uniform and helmet for the first time, "something just doesn't seem right here."

He also told Werder that playing at Giants stadium just wasn't the same as playing at Lambeau Field, comforting words to aching cheeseheads at the time. But now he's playing in the Metrodome, a glorified pile of junk.

We believed him when he poured his heart out in front of America in his (first) retirement press conference. We cried along with him when he said, "I've given everything I can possibly give to this organization and to the game of football, and I don't think I've got anything left to give."

Our hearts broke as we watched him choke back tears while talking about his love for football and the Packers. But after the last year, how can we ever believe he was sincere?

Just over a year after he talked openly about his love and respect for Packer fans, he stabbed us in the back, signed with the enemy, and had the nerve to tell us that if we didn't support him, we weren't "true" Packer fans.

"If you're a true Packer fan, you'd understand" he said.

Either he has an ego the size of Texas or after 16 years he still really doesn't understand Packer fans.

Why would we understand? Maybe Ted Thompson was wrong for not letting him come back. Maybe the Packers treated him unfairly. But he had his chance to go out in a blaze of glory and he ruined it. Twice. Fans didn't make the decision to trade him. Fans rallied for him outside Lambeau Field. Fans flooded the Packers front office with emails and faxes in support of him.

But we should understand his direct sucker punch move to play with the Vikings? Something he was obviously considering for a while.

Favre told Werder in February:

"If I'm not good enough to play here, let me play against you and if I'm not that good, don't worry about it. That's what angered me."

If we as Packer fans have learned anything from this mess, it's that the Packers will go on without Brett Favre, no individual is bigger than the team, and Green Bay will always be historic and proud, no matter what.

In wake of the Vikings last second win Sunday, Packers fans find themselves hurting all over again. Favre made a play that only he could make. It was a true Favre pass from the old gunslinger.

Mike McCarthy said of Favre in 2007, "That's Brett Favre in a nutshell-he'll take the beating, but he'll always make the throw."

That's Brett Favre, but now we're forced to root against him. We have to hope he has one of those four interception games, where nothing seems to go right. It seems backwards and wrong to wish failure upon the man who singlehandedly did so much for the franchise.

But you see Brett, that's who Packer fans are. We root for our team no matter what. When you put on that purple jersey, you became the enemy. On Monday night, the past won't matter anymore. Winning is the only thing we know and expect in Green Bay, no matter who the quarterback is.

If you're just waking from your coma, I'll sum up the saga for you. In the end the Packers got what they wanted, to move on with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback. Favre got what he wanted, to play for the Packers most hated rival and "stick it to Ted". But as for the fans, we got a swift kick to the gut, stabbed in the back.

And now our worst nightmare will be played out on national tv on Monday.


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