Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Former Packer Sums Up Favre-Vikings Marriage Perfectly

Earlier this year, Brett Favre talked too much. He was giddy over a Minnesota win, and he talked about how this group of Vikings was the best team he'd ever played on.

Well, the 1996 Green Bay Packers, who actually won a Super Bowl, beg to differ. Not only that, but a few of them relayed some disgust at Favre's decision to sign with Minnesota.

Favre can expect lots of boos Sunday when his Vikings wander into Lambeau Field. It's a situation many NFL fans can't comprehend, as they seem to believe Packer fans should see beyond the colors of the jerseys on the field and blindly cheer for Favre, no matter what he is trying to do to their favorite team.

While many of the arguments about how the Packers didn't want Favre back would make sense if they were true, most of them are not.

This wasn't as black-and-white as "The Packers got rid of him," and it never will be that simple. The problem wasn't that the Packers didn't want Favre, it was that they didn't want Favre on Favre's terms anymore. They wanted a quarterback that could be relied on for offseason attendance, and they wanted a quarterback who would be willing to continue playing for them without being begged. Most importantly, they wanted a quarterback who wouldn't be perceived as being above the rest of the team. Favre couldn't provide that anymore, and this was perfectly evidenced by his magical "Wait Until The Day After OTAs and Announce Intent to Play Again" trick he played in the summer of 2008.

So the Packers moved on.

In the article linked above, former Packers discussed Favre's contention that this Vikings team was superior. Shockingly, they find it to be absolutely crazy, in large part because the Vikings haven't won anything yet. Of course, if the Vikings do win something, Favre looks like a genius. Again.

If they don't, he just looks like another selfish guy who couldn't stand not being in the spotlight. Then again, we all think Favre is like this anyway.

At the end of the day, former defensive tackle Santana Dotson summed up the situation perfectly.

"Seeing Brett in purple, when I first saw it I kind of threw up in my mouth. Once he finally retires and he flips up that helmet for good, we all know the records and that Brett Favre will be known as one of the greatest Packers ever to play the game.

"But I do understand the fans and how their anger has heightened with him in a purple jersey. The fans should feel free to boo, yell and go crazy on Sunday. When that jersey comes off and he decides to retire, we'll bring him back home."

More than anything, these words should sum up the attitudes of Packer fans regarding what has happened here.

Seeing Favre in purple should make them throw up in their mouths. They should boo him mercilessly on Sunday, from the second he walks out on the turf to the moment he ducks into the tunnel for the last time after the Packers have clinched victory (too optimistic?). No matter the outcome of Minnesota's season, the mere mention of Favre's name in Wisconsin should be met with instant negativity.

But the day Favre has his number retired at Lambeau Field, all will be forgiven. Yes, that day will happen. It's not like Favre assaulted anyone, nor has he ever said anything bad about Green Bay in public. Outside of his decision to play for the Vikings -- and the reaction of Packer fans to this is totally justified -- there just isn't anything to hold a grudge with the guy over.

Brett Favre Pass is still standing in Green Bay, as is Brett Favre's Steakhouse. Someday, No. 4 will adorn the Ring of Honor inside Lambeau Field, and millions of Packer fans will take that jersey out of storage and put it on again.

(By the way, if any Ryan Longwell fans are reading this, the same is true for him. He had a lot of good years in Green Bay, and while he may never get his number retired, there's no reason he can't come back one day and serve as the honorary captain.)

As for the comments about the 1996 team, let's face it. There is no comparison that can be fairly made until the Vikings season is over. From there, the only fair comparison that can be made between the two is if the Vikings actually win it all. The 1996 Packers were easily the league's most dominant team that season. They had an MVP quarterback, two dual-threat running backs, an emerging All-Pro receiver, two great tight ends, one of the strongest offensive lines of its time, and the league's top-ranked defense and special teams.

(Green Bay had four return touchdowns in 1996, but did not permit a single kickoff or punt return touchdown.)

It can be argued that it's tougher to win it all today than it's ever been, but it can also be argued that truly dominant teams tend to not exist in football anymore (exception: 2007 Patriots, who didn't win it all, oddly).

What's your take? Is it fair to compare the two teams before we know how the Vikings will finish up?


David said...

It's absolutely ridiculous to compare the two before the season is over. If, God forbid, the Vikings win the SB, then we'll talk.

That team was dominant even though it dealt with some serious injury issues during the year. The Vikes have two injuries now, lets see how it goes.

I'll be at Lambeau this weekend and I can't wait to boo him...and this comes from someone with a son named Brett!

Go Pack Go. In Ted, Mike, and Aaron we trust.


Anonymous said...

And that GREAT packer team lost to the vikings that year!