Better Late Than Never, Brett Favre is a Packer Forever

Growing up a Vikings fan, I had many opportunities to see Brett Favre play. More times than not, it was to victory over my team. When I moved to Indianapolis in 2004, the first Colts game I ever attended was against the Packers. I watched Peyton Manning go play for play against Brett Favre. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was watching two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Then there was the time, it still seems surreal, that Brett Favre actually became a Viking. I admit it was fun to watch. But let’s be honest, it never looked right. It never felt right. It just wasn’t right. You can put Brett Favre in purple and call him a Viking, but I knew what you knew and what he knew as well, that Brett Favre was a Packer. And he always would be.

Even as the enemy, I loved to watch Brett Favre play football. I know all players say they love the game, but none of them showed it on the field quite like Favre. He played with such passion, such enthusiasm, and such unadulterated joy. Every time he strapped on his helmet, he was like the boy back in Kiln, Mississippi, playing for his hometown team. Whether or not the NFL changed him, it never changed the game for him.

When Brett Favre retired (for the fifth time), it never felt real. Probably because he came out of retirement four of those times and most of us were waiting for him to do so again. But also, because he was estranged from the Packers, it never got the attention it deserved. It never felt final.

That is, until now.

On July 18, 2015, Brett Favre returned to Green Bay, Wisconsin. He passed through the tunnel at Lambeau Field one more time. Greeted by 67,000 fans in green and gold, they thanked him with a four-minute-long standing ovation. And Favre thanked them back in his speech.

“If there were any doubts before, there’s not any. I truly thank you.”

-Brett Favre

Still holding NFL records, including consecutive starts, quarterback wins, passing yards, and completions, Brett Favre was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame on Saturday night. His number 4 jersey was officially retired. And at long last, his storybook career got the fairy tale ending it deserved.

Better late than never, Brett Favre is a Packer forever.

And life in Green Bay is just as it should be.

 

Congratulations, Peyton!

Peyton Manning (AAron Ontiveroz/Denver Post)

Peyton Manning
(Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/Denver Post)

Dear Peyton,

Everyone and their mother (including my mother) has asked me if I’m writing about you and your big moment this week. I said yes, but in all honesty…I don’t really know what to say.

Does no one make a card for the guy who breaks an NFL record who used to be your quarterback but isn’t anymore?

The truth of the matter is, I’m happy for you. You’re right where you belong, at the top of your game and at the top of the NFL. As both a former and current fan, I couldn’t be prouder.

Like you, I don’t really get excited about records. Because even though 509 NFL touchdowns is a huge milestone and a big number, all records will eventually be broken. 510? As I was saying…

To me, it was never about the number of touchdowns. It was always about your next touchdown. Because I always knew you had it in you. When others gave up, lost hope, left the game, or went to bed, I knew better. I knew that if you had the ball, my team always had a chance. And a good chance at that.

Numbers will be surpassed, records will be broken, but some things stand the test of time. How you made people feel is one of them. And you always made me feel hopeful. For that, I will always be grateful.

You’re more than a number, Peyton. You’re a legend.

Even if the numbers got you there, it’s the stories that go with them that will keep you here. In my heart. Forever. Long after the numbers (and your number) is retired.

Thanks for the memories.

I didn’t need you to break another record to know you’re the best.

But…

Congratulations anyway!

XO

Dancing with the NFL Stars

Donald Driver finds himself in good company today.  He joins Dallas Cowboys Running Back Emmitt Smith and Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Hines Ward as NFL players who took home both the Lombardi Trophy and the mirror ball trophy.  “It took me 13 years to win the Super Bowl,” the 37 year old receiver for the Green Bay Packers said.  “I’m just glad it took me one season to win the mirrorball.”

And he won it out on the floor just like he does on the field, quietly and persistently.  There’s a lot to love about Donald Driver.  His life choices, his no drama, hard work attitude.  And he did it during what has been hailed the most competitive season ever on the popular dance reality show.

Now that Season 14 is over, who would we like to next represent the NFL on Dancing with the Stars?

Here is our Top 10 List:

10.  Rex Ryan (New York Jets Head Coach)

Pros: A chance to show off and add to his recent 90 pound weight loss.  Good recreational activity for him to share with his wife, who will certainly need some foot massages after all that dancing.

Cons: Ryan would likely crown himself the winner of the competition prior to the start of it, putting undo pressure on himself and his partner to live up to his bold prediction.

9.  Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears Quarterback)

Pros: Cutler’s fiancee and soon-to-be baby mama, Kristin Cavallari was a contestant on the show a few seasons ago.  Although she was cast off too early, she could give him some pointers.

Cons: Cutler is known for being “soft.”  A perceived fake knee injury during the finals could do him in for good.

8.  Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens Linebacker)

Pros: Known as one of the most intense, competitive players in the NFL.  That would surely translate to the ballroom.

Cons: It would be just too damn scary.

7.  Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver)

Pros: Another one of the good guys of the NFL, his work ethic and professionalism would make him an immediate contender on any season of DWTS.

Cons: A lot of potential mishaps with all that hair…jewelry, sequins, etc.  A wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

6.  Brett Favre (Retired Green Bay Packers/Jets/Vikings Quarterback)

Pros: Maybe this is a stretch, but his competitive spirit could carry him.  If he can dance his way back into the hearts of America, maybe the Packers will consider retiring his jersey earlier rather than later.

Cons: No telling how Brett will behave himself amongst all those scantily clad women.

5.  Victor Cruz (New York Giants Wide Receiver)

Pros: The boy can dance!  Cruz’s trademark touchdown salsa dance has already earned him a DWTS offer, which he reportedly turned down.

Cons: Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin is known for his no nonsense style.  May not look fondly on the attention or missed training for purposes of entertainment.

4.  Terrell Owens (Retired Eagles/Cowboys/Bengals Wide Receiver)

Pros: He may not be signed with a team, but this guy is still in playing shape.  Why do I feel like we’ve seen this show before?  Maybe because Chad Ochocinco’s season was like T.O. Light.  Trust me, the drama would be bigger, better, and juicier with Owens.

Cons: The drama.

3.  Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys Quarterback)

Pros: Romo is not afraid to make a fashion statement.  Put him in a newsboy hat, a fedora, seersucker, leather…it’s all good.  Well, maybe not the leather, but he’s still a costume designer’s dream.

Cons: The mirrorball trophy will never replace the Lombardi Trophy in the hearts of Cowboys fans.  If he doesn’t win the Superbowl the following season, Romo’s DWTS appearance will look like just another distraction.

2.  Reggie Bush (Miami Dolphins Running Back)

Pros: Where do I start?  That face looks like it was carved out of milk chocolate.  And his smile?  He would have Bruno and Carrie Ann at hello.  And the obligatory shirtless dance?  We’ll give him a 10 right now!

Cons: The admittedly shy star is known to shun the spotlight and even broke up with Kim Kardashian because he couldn’t handle the media circus that accompanied her.  However, the attention could benefit the many causes he supports, including Make A Wish and the NFL’s Play 60.  Come on Reggie, do it for us.  And by us, I mean the kids.  Of course.

1.  Tim Tebow (New York Jets Quarterback)

Pros: A lamb with a lion’s heart.  And he knows how to win on the field, in life, and certainly would win on the dance floor.  Whether he starts this season for the Jets or not, Tim Tebow has already won America’s heart.

Cons: Please.

XO

Another Favre Retirement?

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.

XO