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.

 

Time for Peyton Manning to come home. For good.

Peyton Manning (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning
(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

I love Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning made me a fanatical football fan. One of the most heartbreaking days of my life was the day Peyton Manning left the Indianapolis Colts. And his homecoming as a Bronco was no easier. Peyton Manning is the reason I have football blogs, and Twitter followers, and talk on the radio.

Which is why it hurts me so badly to say this…

But, it’s time for Peyton Manning to retire.

He’s won football games, and playoff games, and a Super Bowl. He’s broken record upon NFL record.

But age and injury and surgery have finally caught up with him. Peyton Manning isn’t the Peyton Manning that I used to know. He may be at times. And his football mind is sharper than ever. But as each season goes on, his laser rocket arm can’t consistently deliver. And there isn’t enough time for his aging body to recover.

Peyton Manning got booed by his own fans in Denver last week. And selfishly, I just can’t stand to see it. I can’t endure a quarterback controversy or listen to screams to bench the future Hall of Famer in favor of someone younger. Not when that quarterback is My Peyton.

He’s got a family now and his health and more money than he can ever spend. And endless opportunities in football. And a fan base back in Indianapolis that aches to welcome him back. And retire his jersey. And build him a statue. And reminisce about the good old days while shedding tears of both joy and sadness…

And end his legendary career right where it began.

I’m coming home

I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming home

Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday

I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes

I’m coming home, I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming…home

Come home, Peyton.

We’re waiting.

XO