It was only a few days ago when Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers and Brett Favre were together at the NFL Honors show in New Orleans. Later, the blogs were filled with comments and opinions as to why they were pictured together since many have had a long held belief there was friction between them. Regardless of the circumstances or the truthfulness of that rumor, I believe that both, Rogers and Favre, should be commended for their willingness to come together. It showed the kindness and insight of Rogers and the motivation and readiness of Favre to put the city of Green Bay and the die hard Packer fans first.
That being said, as a huge Packer Backer myself, let me ask Packer fans to think back. Let me remind Cheeseheads across the nation just what Favre has meant to Green Bay. I’m not talking about his personal accomplishments in the way of passing records, consecutive games played, most touchdowns in a game, divisional wins, the Superbowl, or any of his other numerous and admirable undertakings. What I’m talking about is what Brett Favre truly gave us.
You see, he gave the city of Green Bay, and all Packer fans from around the country and overseas, himself. We watched as a young quarterback impressed us all with his brave “gunslinger” type style of play that was only exceeded by his love of the game of football. This young, small-town kid from Kiln, Mississippi, whose name was often pronounced “Favor”, reminded the rest of the NFL that once again Green Bay was a formidable force they’d have to contend with…many times over. He played with excitement and made us believe that anything was possible, even for every day people like us.
Favre most certainly had his personal ups and downs, just like those of us who tuned in every Sunday afternoon or Monday night. We identified with him because he was one of us! Brett willingly humbled himself in front of a barrage of reporters and cameras as he told all of us about his addiction to pain killers, and our hearts broke. Yet, just like on the field, he overcame the obstacle and won.
In 2004, Brett’s 24 year old brother-in-law, Casey Tynes, died suddenly from severe head injuries when his ATV flipped over. Brett and his family endured the tragedy while all of us shared in their pain. Only four days later, his wife, Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer. Brett shaved his head to support her while she received treatment and was hounded by even more media. Yet, even with the weight of her illness and the grief of Casey’s death on his mind, he was at every game and played with the same enthusiasm and eagerness while all of us cheered him on through the tumultuous emotions.
May Packer fans never forget the game Brett played the day after his father, Irvin Favre died. Playing his heart out and holding back the tears through most of the game, Brett passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns to defeat the Oakland Raiders, 41 to 7. It was one of the greatest football performances of all time and certainly the most emotional for Packer fans. Throughout that bittersweet game and with tears in our eyes, we never cheered so loud.
Brett Favre didn’t just give Green Bay and its fans a good football quarterback; he gave them his all for almost two decades. When Favre took the field, we always knew there was hope but it didn’t stop there. Economically, he brought more finances to the Green Bay area than anyone ever had both in merchandise and in business revenues. Who didn’t have a little boy who wanted to be the next Packer quarterback because of Brett Favre? However, when a gifted man achieves greatness, somehow his followers lift him to pinnacle heights, which then appears to make his fall that much greater; but is it really? We forget, after all; he’s just a man.
Did Favre make some mistakes and bad decisions? Yes, he did. Who of us hasn’t? Yet, how many of our mistakes and decisions have been made under the scrutiny of the world? “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.” Its time we leave the past where it belongs; in the past. As in the wise words of Aaron Rogers, “Let’s move forward.”