Don’t break out the cheesehead yet, but what was as icy cold as a playoff game at Lambeau Field five years ago might finally be showing the first signs of thawing.
The Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre are in a position to reunite and finally let bygones be bygones, according to Favre’s successor, Aaron Rodgers.
Five years ago, the fervent summer fling between the Packers and Favre that lasted 16 years ended before it quickly and viciously turned into a bitter winter of discontent. Now the man who became the Packers’ quarterback when they became embattled with Favre in an ugly public dispute over his unretirement in 2008 has voiced his support to giving the gunslinger his proper place in Packer history.
“As the face of the franchise, I felt like it was important that I took a leadership role in that,” Rodgers said on his radio show last week. “Not that one was needed now, but I thought it was good timing to just let the fans know, let Brett know, let’s move forward. Let’s heal things up and let’s move forward.”
At the NFL Awards Ceremony the Saturday before the Super Bowl, Favre and Rodgers surprised everyone in attendance when they walked on stage to present the “Comeback Player of the Year” award together. They carried out a humorous scripted exchange poking fun at their rocky past, which both said they enjoyed and was meant to show fans there were no hard feelings.
While Favre and Rodgers once fiercely battled for the coveted space under center, both quarterbacks were comfortable sharing the spotlight that night. And there’s even more room on Lambeau’s ring of honor.
The saga that unfolded in the summer of 2008 has been reviewed and dissected to the point that the Warren Commission has said “uncle.” Both sides were ultimately responsible for how things ended up.
I have always contended that the Packers’ front office never treated Favre properly throughout the ordeal, even going so far as to hire public relations consultants to carry out a smear campaign. And there was no doubt that Favre’s yearly indecision was wearing thin on Packer fans.
But it ultimately worked out for both sides.
The Packers won a Super Bowl two years ago and are poised to be a perennial contender with Rodgers at quarterback. Favre played several more seasons before returning home to his family and tractor and is now coaching high school football outside the public eye.
So do they really need each other?
Favre could spend the rest of his life completely dissociated from the franchise in the same way the team’s original coach Curly Lambeau left Green Bay in 1950, when he departed to coach the Chicago Cardinals.
The Packers never patched things up with Lambeau, and when they honored him by naming the stadium after him in 1965, it was too late— Lambeau had died months earlier.
Packers fans, loyal as they are, will support their team regardless.
But in this day and age, how often do we see corporate-driven professional sports team do something solely for the fans?
And make no mistake, this would mean a lot.
Not only would a Packer-Favre reunion in the form of a ceremony at Lambeau Field heal the wounds between the organization and Favre, it would finally set things right again in Titletown.
Now’s the time — let’s get it done.