I couldn't have been more nostalgic on the day Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL. The man who had been the quarterback of my team for 2/3rds of my life was hanging up the cleats for the final time, and the Packers as I knew them would never be the same. It was a hard day for any Packer fan, as we were forced to move on after 16 years with Brett Favre at the helm.
But as we moved on, the picture became less clear. There were hints Favre was thinking about coming out of retirement, hints that he may come back and lead the Packers for a 17th season. Ultimately, nothing seemed to happen, and the Packers went ahead with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback.
That's when things got interesting. Favre was now all of a sudden dead set on returning to football, even if it meant doing so in something other than the Green and Gold. The Packer organization, as well as their fans, were conflicted on how to react. Do we move ahead, or do we welcome back one of the greatest players in Packers history?
The Packers decided to move on, and Favre's future was in limbo. It was a little after 11pm Central Time, when I was eating chicken wings at a bar in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I turned my head to face one of the TV's near the bar and saw the following headline:
Breaking News: Brett Favre Traded to Jets.
At first, I admit, I was joyous. Brett Favre was out of the division, out of the NFC, and he was no longer a worry of the 2008 Green Bay Packers. The team could focus on the 80 guys they did have on the roster, not the one guy who was on the roster but would never again play for us. I envisioned his career as a Jet being short-lived, an afterthought to an otherwise great career.
That's when ESPN decided to run the Top 10 moments in the career of Brett Favre, and once again, I became nostalgic. Even though the Packers really haven't won anything in 12 years, and his recent career has been less than stellar, he was still Brett Favre. I grew up watching the guy, living and dying with the results that came after the ball left his arm. Suddenly, it hit me. Brett Favre was no longer a member of the Green Bay Packers.
Sure, he will always be remembered as a Packer, but we're living in the present. For a 4th round pick, that could be eventually be a 1st round pick, Favre is off to New York. Am I glad that the saga is over and that Favre won't face the Packers this season? More than you know. But even still, even with all that has happened this summer, even though I'm in full support of Aaron Rodgers, it's hard to say goodbye.
The cynical part of me says this is perfect for Favre. He's in New York, the media capital of the world, and we all know how much Favre loves attention. But the Favre fan in me is happy he's getting the chance to play, just sorry it will be for a less than spectacular team in the Jets.
Like any Packer fan right now, my emotions are mixed. I have no problem if you root for Favre this season, or even if you root for the Jets. But there are a couple of ground rules we need to establish.
1) No wearing Jets Favre jerseys to Packers games - I have no problem if you buy a Favre Jets jersey, I'm sure it will be a hot seller. I'm even guilty of buying an Antonio Freeman Eagles jersey, so I can understand why you might want the new Favre jersey. But please, don't be one of those fans that wears the jerseys to Packers game. It will only make you look stupid. Wear the Favre Packers jersey all you want, just please wear the Jets jersey in the company of your own home.
2) Don't boo Aaron Rodgers. - It's not his fault he was drafted in 2005 because the Packers were unsure of just how committed Favre was to the Packers. He did not force Favre out of town, and your anger that Favre is gone should not be taken out on him. As Packer fans, we need to rally around our quarterback, even if he's not wearing the number 4.
3) Let's remember, we are PACKERS fans - I wish Brett the best of luck, I really do. But still, in the best interest of the future of this team, this was the move that had to be made. Let's remember the good times, but let's also be ready for an exciting year of Packers football.
It won't be easy seeing Favre step out in a Jets uniform for that first time, just like it wasn't easy seeing Reggie White in a Carolina Panthers jersey (does anyone even remember that?). But Favre wanted to play football, and the Packers wanted to move on without. This was the best solution the two times could come up with, and we should be supportive of both.
Brett Favre may in fact be a New York Jet, but he'll always be a Green Bay Packer.
Best of luck.