There’s something missing this offseason. Can’t you feel it? No talk of Brett Favre and his potential return to the NFL for one more storybook ending. No pictures of him training with high schoolers in his Mississippi hometown. I thought we were going to get another go round last year when Colts Owner (and Twitterholic) Jim Irsay tweeted for directions in Kiln, Mississippi following Peyton Manning’s last neck surgery. It was a joke. We think. While the talk of Favre’s return is no longer, there is still talk about his retirement. Yes, another one. But this time it’s his iconic No. 4 jersey.
Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy made headlines last week while making the rounds in Wisconsin. During a surprise visit to West Allis Hale High School he was asked by a student if the Packers would eventually retire Brett Favre’s jersey. Talk about a loaded question (and good job kid, you should think about journalism school). Murphy responded, “Yes, he deserves that for what he did as a Packer.” He went on to say, “Probably in a year or two. We want to do it at a time that’s meaningful to him.” The underlying message, at a time when it will also have meaning for fans. That may take more than a year or two.
Few would argue with the fact that Favre deserves to have his No. 4 retired, a sacred part of Green Bay history forever. It probably would have happened by now, but his split from the team was about as unfriendly as it gets. The drama over whether he would return, the Packers decision to move on with Rodgers, then Favre’s unretirement, again. From there it got downright ugly. The Packers refused to release him and ended up trading Favre to the Jets. He played a season there and in 2009 got his wish and came back to challenge his old team as the quarterback of their division arch rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. And then there were the women, the texts, and the pictures. In 2010 we saw parts of Brett Favre that no one wanted to see, not even the women they were intended for.
All of that said, Favre has earned his place in Packers history. He led the team for sixteen seasons, during which they won seven division titles, appeared in four NFC Championship games, and two Superbowls, winning one (XXXI). Favre still holds many NFL records, including most career starts (297), most career touchdowns (508), and less notably, most career interceptions (336).
Maybe not the storybook ending we were hoping for, but in the end everyone is happy. The Packers got Rodgers, the Vikings got a new stadium, and Favre got…retirement. Well, maybe not everyone is happy. But someday Brett Favre will see his No. 4 jersey retired in Green Bay, a lasting tribute to a player who wrote a chapter in Packers history. And maybe in celebrating that chapter, Packers fans can eventually overlook the last one. Until then, we can still talk about Favre’s retirement. Again.