Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy spoke to the media about the upcoming season and the talks that have been swirling about when the team might hold a retirement ceremony for former quarterback Brett Favre’s famous #4.
Just a few months ago, Murphy and Favre both admitted that there had been some dialogue between both sides and that a return to Green Bay was eventually in order.
It was sounding like it was all but a foregone conclusion that Favre would be back at some point during this next season for a ceremony of some sort. The obvious thought was that it would be at one of the home games.
Murphy emphasized the team’s desire to get something done before Favre is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. That means time is running out.
Speculation began about which game was best for the team and Favre to reunite. That both of Favre’s former teams, the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, were scheduled to appear in Green Bay this year only added to the intrigue. The Packers wouldn’t possibly bring Favre in with the Vikings in town, would they?
Well, not to worry about the possibility of choosing the wrong game or time this season. Murphy has backed off of his earlier statements about retiring Favre’s #4 so soon and has seemed to place more emphasis on having further dialogue and simply having Favre attend a game. He now says that a ceremony during the 2014 season is unlikely.
Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig ran a recap of some of Murphy’s comments this week. Murphy says that neither Favre nor the team want a scenario in which he returns and fans are booing him. Murphy makes it sound like a mutual concern and cited the fact that they can’t control 80,000 people.
If that’s what he’s selling, I’m not buying. Kudos to Murphy and the Packers if they’re trying to add some mutuality to this sentiment, but this seems like another attempt by Favre to have more control of a situation than he is entitled to and it has stalled the process.
It was over six years ago that Favre “unretired” and began trying to push his way back onto the Packers and as starting quarterback. We all know what ensued and Favre was not discreet about his feelings of ill-will towards team management.
Even recently and as things have softened a bit, Favre has admitted fault in how things went down during his departure from Green Bay but it has hardly been the mea culpa that many have been waiting and hoping for from the gunslinger. He didn’t exclude the Packers from any blame either. I agree that both sides did err in some way and that neither side is solely responsible, but if I had to bet on it, I’m putting this latest curveball squarely on Favre.
For the record, I appreciate Brett Favre and what he did for the Packers organization and history. When he went to the Jets, I was fine with that. When he then went to the Vikings, I was not fine with that. I no longer own a #4 jersey as a result. I was at the 2010 game at Lambeau Field between the Packers and Vikings and greatly enjoyed watching the Packers punch back. When he took the field during pre-game, I stood silently. Many booed. It’s likely an image and sound that Favre still can’t shake from his memory and is part of the reason why he questions the reception that he would get if he came back this fall.
Many quarterbacks are control freaks (see Peyton Manning) and have or develop this need to be in charge. After playing for nearly 20 years, I’m sure Favre still has that sense inside of him. He probably always has and will. It doesn’t change just because he hung up the cleats and no longer lines up under center on Sundays.
Favre wants to sit in the director’s chair for this eventual production and until he can, it won’t happen. Among the many songs that would be on a soundtrack of Favre’s career in the NFL and his life, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” would be most applicable here.
As Murphy said, controlling 80,000 people is impossible. Even during his prime in Green Bay and when he was sending two straight teams to the Super Bowl, there were likely some in the stands who didn’t care for him, for one reason or another. Now, there are surely more than just a few. Favre is arguably the most divisive figure in Packers history and as a result, there will always be many sides to any discussion.
With that said, Favre needs to look past his ego a bit and, for lack of a better way to say it, get over himself. He will never completely undo the past. There are always going to be a heavy contingent on all sides of this situation. Those who just want him to come back to Green Bay where he belongs and take his rightful place among the past greats in the organization’s history. Those who never want to see him anywhere near Lambeau Field. And those who could care less if he ever steps foot in Green Bay again.
It’s time to get it done and just like he did so many times during his career, Favre has Packer nation excited and brimming with anticipation about what he’ll do, knowing that he holds a lot of magic in his hands. In this case, it’s his reconciling with the team and becoming a Packer once again. But alas, the drive towards that day is stalled by another untimely interception. Only this time, Favre is the interceptor, not the interceptee.
There will eventually be a reuniting between Favre and the Packers. Whether this year, next or in five years, the fan reaction will likely be the same so what is there to fight? To Brett, I simply say, borrowing one of the lines he commonly used during his playing days and one that probably best emulates him as a person, “It is what it is”.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: