Packers, Favre Stall Number Retirement

Brett Favre
Favre frowns on the idea of returning to retire his number amidst boos from fans

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

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46 thoughts on “Packers, Favre Stall Number Retirement

  1. Whatever the reason for this latest delay in retiring Favre’s number, which is unknown, it is incorrect to speculate that it only the fault of one side or the other. To assume that it’s all Favre’s fault is not fair and to assume that it is all Murphy’s fault is not fair either. Let’s assume that it is mutual at this point. I am in the camp of let’s get it done sooner rather than later. Especially since we know that Favre’s health is declining due to the numerous untreated concussions that he played with during his career. He has admitted to memory lapses and problems recalling events that he has attended with his family. It is not usually discussed but it is possible that at least some of Favre’s decisions and behavior both on and off the field late in his career were the result of his numerous concussions. I am not trying to condone or defend his actions, ultimately he is responsible for his own actions. I am merely trying to establish the possibility that the behavior which upset many Packer fans may not have been entirely his own doing. Remember, the league did not have any protocol for handling concussions when Favre played, as they have since installed. As I have stated in the numerous, previous posts on this topic, he should be recognized for what he accomplished on the field while playing for the Packers. He deserves to have his number retired. The league, which did not have a protocol for concussions while Favre played, will recognize him before Green Bay will, which is pretty sad and petty if you ask me. Retire his number and move on. And to Favre, I say, too bad, accept the boos,(some of which are deserved) and also move on. I also say to Favre, thank you for all the great games, Playing through numerous injuries and giving us everything you had each game and for making us proud of the Packers again. Enjoy your retirement, hopefully in good health. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Its neithers fault really. Its all about the fan reaction to Favre returning. They want to make sure its as positive as possible. Favre doesn’t want to get boo’d and the Packers don’t want him to be boo’d. So in that regard you could say its the fans fault. Placing blame is pointless and juvenile.

      The one thing that would help alleviate any hard feelings is for Favre to come out publicly and apologize to the Packers, Thompson/McCarthy and to the fans for creating and handling it all so poorly. If he did that they could do it almost immediately. That seem unlikely to happen tho.

      1. Stroh – your point is well taken. A public apology from Favre could go a long way to making a ceremony in his honor a lot easier. We’ll see. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. That’s no different than what I said. But I don’t expect it to happen. The last 10 years of his career he showed nothing but textbook narcissism. Why would it change now?

          1. Yep. I don’t want the Packers to waste a moment on him, but I know they will.

    2. True his health maybe slipping. Sad about that. But come on now. Lets set a few dates that should work. Let Farve, agent and all family members know that this is when we will retire #4. They can pick the day and we move from there. If they will not commit to a day then they may be SOL. A few years ago he made a trip to Dubuque Iowa to visit a fan that had cancer and died a few weeks later. They didn’t have a hard time making that visit. So Packers send him the dates, set it up and if he can’t make then the Packers will not look like the bad guy. Set it, have it, move on!

          1. Oh, I understand the turnaround in record after Favre arrived. My question is why that should overshadow the soap opera of the last few years. Recognize what he did, fine. Put him in the same category as the other ‘retirees’, no.

    3. I’m fairly confident there is one party that is far more “at fault” than the other, considering the Packers have publicly commented that they have been interested in bringing #4 back in and retiring his number for many years.

      That makes it seem that one party is indeed more interested in making it happen that the other.

  2. For the fans that cannot move on and let be done what needs be done sooner than later.It seems you are of the kind that still hate and hold yet,a grudge toward the kid in kindergarten,that took your lollipop.Do you honestly believe you’re getting some kind of value in keeping an old wound open.The most you’ll ever get is an infection that makes you more poisonous to yourself than others…do you not see what a little lollipop has done.

    1. Small things can easily be forgiven, big things are less easy to forgive, some are never forgiven. There were a whole heap of things done by Favre, pretty nasty things that alienated Packer fans, not just one thing.

      The almost unprecedented level of bitterness held by Favre and what that hate spawned as a consequence, needs a considerable length of time to soften how many people feel.

      Even the bible has a Purgatory, a halfway house between death and heaven. I believe a fair period for Favre is a year in purgatory for each year he played for the Packers (16). Have a ceremony at about year 2024.

      Just because some people do not forgive in the casual way Tarynfort12 manages, does not make them bitter and twisted. Many (like me) want a lengthy purgatory period, one which is in keeping with all that was done.

      Favre has moved a little way along the path of redemption, but in my opinion he still has a long way to go. I am not in the camp of never forgiving, I am also not in the camp doing it too quickly.

  3. I said this at CHTV, and I’d like to bring it up for discussion here too. What do you think fellow fans?

    This is said from a diehard Packer Backer: I will not be a Favre fan again until he publicly apologizes for his poor attitude and actions from 2005-2010. It is understandable that he wanted to continue playing. He played great (except in the playoffs – shock) until 2010. He truly was an amazing athlete.

    It is true that winning the 2010 Super Bowl with ARod getting the MVP while the Vikings season (and their stadium) imploded was some serious comeuppance, but the fact is that on his way out of town Favre intentionally hurt the team who gave him the only real shot he got when he was trying to break into the league in 1991-1992 by going to their 2nd biggest rival! It could have been handled with so much class, but it wasn’t – because Favre let his ego get bruised. For “Exhibit A” in class despite a difficult situation, look at the way Peyton did things with the Colts. There is no animosity from either side because Peyton didn’t let his pride get in the way of what he knew was a tough situation for everyone involved.

    It takes a real man to say “I was wrong.” Until then I am left hoping that there is nothing but absolute silence from the fans- when his number is retired. Not boos. Just silence. That will speak louder than any outpouring of anger would.

    1. And I’ll post my comment from CHTV…

      would love to get an apology from Favre, but that is just never going to happen. I wouldn’t cheer him or boo him, just a quiet clap for what he accomplished. It would go a LONG way for Favre to actually come out and say what we all know. “I was wrong, I created everything and handled it badly.” No one really believes or expects that will ever happen.

  4. Brett Favre is a HAWG in the Game … for LIFE! What was this article for? SLOW time of year? Favre deserve much more respect than I read here!!!

  5. All I’ll say is that I respect Favre and if you read the entire piece, that is clearly stated. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything he does and instead of just reporting the news, I chose to share my take.

    I obviously understand the divisive nature of the mere mention of his name so I expect reaction on both sides. I can’t tell any of you how to read or interpret this but hope it was at least a good read for a few minutes in early July.

    1. It was a good piece Jason. I’m not sure Brett is just trying to control things – I just think he’s still SO insecure that he can’t face his fears that 80k Wisconsinites won’t be his BFF’s when he comes back.

  6. Brett Farve was one of the best all time – he put on a great show for the adoring audience (inluding me). He deserves, got & will get a very favorable reaction for that. He was also one of the worst at times -he thumbed his nose at the organization and fans in a very public way. He deserves and will get a negative reaction for that. Which does he deserve more? I guess its in the view of each of us. I can’t find fault in either side. Time probably will heal the wounds of the wounded, but also dim the memories & excitement of not too long ago. I say do it asap and have the boos and cheers that much the louder. Have it out right there – it might be fun and fitting. Doesn’t it kind of reflects who he was and how he played. He was kinda one extreme or the other. My only thought for Brett or the pack, if it matters, buy a round of brews for the crowd if you’re worried about it – it might bring some of the naysayers around.

  7. There is one factual error in the piece.

    Favre played during the 2011 season. That means he is not eligible to enter the HOF until **2016** (not 2015).

    He and the Packers have another season to get the reconciliation and jersey retirement done.

    That said, my feeling is the wounds are still too raw for a significant number of Packer fans, and both the team’s corporate leadership and Favre see that. I think the reactions here and to other posts on the topic support that feeling.

    However the number of fans who are not willing to be ‘big hearted’ and accept Brett back in GB (if somewhat grudgingly) is smaller now than it has been since 2009, and Brett will continue to find ways to ‘almost, sort of, kinda’ apologize, which he has been doing for a couple of years now.

    I will be surprised if Brett ever manages to apologize in a way that can be accepted by, say, 90%+ of the fans. It’s just not in his personality, and I personally believe that somewhere in there is a hurt little boy who doesn’t want to ever admit he was wrong in any way, but has figured out (or done been told) that he needs to behave in public. The way he is going, he might make it to grudging re-acceptance by 70%+ of the fans, and that will be enough. 2015, here we come.

    1. I think what really drove home the point that Favre would get Boo’d is when Longwell returned. He went to Minn as a FA w/ no real acrimony whatsoever and he still got Boo’d. When that happened both Favre and the Packers took a step back and reevaluated.

      I expect Favre back in GB this season at some point for some community events and they may even announce and introduce him at a game. That would allow alot of people to get their hard feelings out, but it wouldn’t affect his “homecoming party” when he actually gets his #4 retired.

      1. That’s right, he got hurt and finally missed games in 2010. But remember that because of playoffs and the super bowl an NFL league year goes from (about) March to (about) March of the subsequent year — the last *season* year Favre played was the 2010-2011 league year

        That’s why his first year of Favre’s HOF eligibility is 2016. Its not when he finally said he retired and stuck to it, it’s the last *league year* that he played a down, which was 2010-2011.

        Anyway, there is another season (2015-2016) for Favre and the Packers to get a reconciliation done. Favre made a few moves to ‘sort of’ apologize over the last season and this offseason. A lot of fans want it to be done, but I can see where its reasonable to feel that Favre needs to do a bit more in the way of apologizing, and the team needs to maybe do less (for a suggestion, retire *the jersey*, not the number, so its more like what they do with Lambeau’s #1 and Hornung’s #5).

        I think an important piece may be Favre getting involved supporting some Packer charity or community events. Let’s see the guy show he wants to be a Packer again, in more ways than just taking a ‘victory lap.’

        1. I checked again just to make sure I haven’t gone totally crazy and I’m only responding so you can all entrust that we do our best to check facts and be accurate. Not meant to be argumentative.

          It’s 5 full years of retirement and as far as the Hall is concerned, a player’s last season is based on the calendar year in which that season began. In Favre’s case, 2010.

          The league year does extend into the following calendar year but not all regular seasons extend into January (see last year). The Hall only sees each season as a single year. My mistake was in that he needed to be out 5 full seasons before he can be inducted.

          1. OK, thanks for making the effort to get the exact information. It is much appreciated

  8. I DO believe that Favre’s decision not to yet come to Lambeau is his accurate perception that he’d get a fair amount of ‘Boos’ and feel embarrassed and humiliated. Who in their right mind – be honest and answer this for yourself – would want to put themself in a public event where they’d get criticized, boo’ed and humiliated?

    Favre doesn’t need it; he’d like to be honored at GB, but I’d guess be more likely to take a ‘pass’ than be boo’ed.

    The real tragedy would be if 15 years passed and if Favre never came back to GB to be honored and have his number retired…tragedy for the organization and Favre’s place in it’s history.

    How do parents educate their children about not holding grudges when…

    1. When the other person has shown little to no remorse? Forgiveness is real and it is powerful. It can be done by just one party But reconciliation? That takes both parties to be willing to admit fault.

      Assuming that even any of us have a claim on Favre in the first place is a real stretch. He was a person – we (unless you are a stockholder, and even then…) didn’t employ him. BUT he also KNEW his power in the state and USED that power to tear apart the team we all know and love over the course of 5 full years.

      Then he showed no remorse for his deeds. If there was anything for me to forgive, I did it long ago. I’m thankful for the good he brought GB Nation. But I will not be taken for a sucker again by this man unless he changes. Seeing as that isn’t likely…

  9. I disagree with the line– “this seems like another attempt by Favre to have more control of a situation than he is entitled to”. Huh?! It’s HIS retirement ceremony! Frankly, I think he made the right decision to wait. I look forward to cheering loudly for him, based on the 16 amazing years he gave the Packers. That means more to me than the last 3 years of petty vindictiveness.

    1. That line simply means that Favre either himself wants to or somehow wants the Packers to control how 80,000 people act and react to him. Not possible.

      He has every right to decide when the time is best to come back and do a ceremony but the fan reaction will large be what it already is.

      1. Certainly Brett doesn’t want to be booed at his own retirement ceremony, which is why he declined. If I were him, I’d stay away. He doesn’t need us. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. Maybe one day the Favre-haters will learn to practice forgiveness as much as they love to preach about it. Those 16 years I watched him play will never be forgotten.

    2. Yet everything you’ve said indicates its all his decision when/if it happens. Its not… So not agreeing w/ is seeming like he needs to control everything is contradictory.

      Have to ask yourself why he had ANY petty vindictiveness at all! He had the State of WI in the palm of his hand. Yet he still had to be petty and vindictive? For what?!

        1. Well its pretty clear he is insecure about something. If you want to call that narcissistic thats as good as anything I guess.

          Personally I also think he lost his moral compass when Big Irv died. Since then its been all about Favre all of the time. I think he needed his dad to keep him grounded. I can’t imagine any of this happening if Big Irv was around thru the end of Favre’s career.

  10. Wait a little longer and Brett will forget he even played with the Packers and then the Vikings can retire his number.

  11. I say they set up the date, then change their minds. Repeat 4 or 5 times. You get the point,

  12. For writing bias, find another position. It does not belong on any affiliation to the Green Bay Packers. Being out of the Tradition, you do more finger pointing and false-speculations in this piece than reading a dozen blogs on opponents sites could produce.

    How can you say you are speculating when all you are saying are predetermined judgements against Favre? These boys (Murphy & Favre) are two hardball players and neither one would appreciate your pre-conclusion in a matter you have no known pertinent values on, or know what really transpired?

    In his time, Favre made one mistake, and it was a big one. He backed off his contract to help the team out of a money jam they had, re-writing it and losing money it doing so. What did he get in return? Shoved out, that’s what. If he knew that would happen how many victories, and yards thrown later,on top of near ten years later, do you think he would have gave the team money in essence? A guy like him and you can’t do any better than passing judgement on a story that might be 1000 miles off base.

    Favre did more for that team than any player since Lambeau started it up 95 years ago. They still would be looking for their next title if it hadn’t been for R Wolf and Favre.

    Then you go on to start bad-mouthing Mark Murphy? Are you kidding? The guy is a practically a saint. It was through his doings that team returned to an average winning percentage 2nd only to Lombardi and Lambeau. IF you do not know for sure, DO NOT write it down. AND: Don’t just pop off like a wise-ass
    because you are frustrated.

    You must think you are superior to Brett and Murph? huh? That’s why you cut them down, to justify your own superiority. Except for one thing. I don’t know where in all hell your superiority is, writing such nonsensical defamatory fabrications. I bet you figured out Favre was good after that super-duper bowl win. I bet you were too young to watch it. You talked real large of him back then. So what happened? Did he throw too many pics? You were putting nothing but blame on him for any losses too. These characters who act like they are all football, and know the passing game inside out, just like the quarterback, except he throws an interception on a 45 yard pass, down by 13 with 5 minutes left, and you say he’s an idiot,when all the while your farthest pass was 37 yards? but did you remember He ran the same play 3 weeks before down by 6 with 44 seconds to go, and won the game with it. How great did you say…? They got a word for guys like that. it’s half hippopotamus and half critters, put them both together and what do you get?

    You might know which way the end zone is in this game of football, but you do not know how the human element works. This story started on a speculation followed by the writers apology yesterday afternoon. The apology was for speculation. By morning today 2 to 4 dozen stories went out on this matter. Half put in their own version, by what they dreamt up on it. I heard that being the clownster Brett Favre has always been, after a good long healthy discussion, Murph and Brett siad,
    “What do we tell the press?”
    Brett says, I got an idea, let’s smooze them, okay? Sure, Murph goes along. Tell them I didn’t want to get booed! ha ha ha, They both laugh. Then Favre says, how will this one go over in the next few days? You’ll have a ton of hits on the story, and it will change so much we both will fall off the toilet reading it! ha ha ha.. Oh Ya, the Prez adds, He wasn’t afraid of Warran Sapp, but he is afaid of those drunken boo-birds. ha ha ha, talk to ya later, bye.

    Murph can be wiped clean of any wrong doing here, right? Yes I think so too. Favre can be wiped clean of any wrongdoing here also. Te Point: You don’t have an effing clue what went on between the two over the past few weeks or days.

    Do you know what the problem is? The human element is one that often times finds a truth, but is full of holes. These holes are then printed by writers. Then other media writers get wind of them, and add in their 2-cents of hypocrisy to the element. The next one adds more and before you know it, you have a story that is no more than BS (blood soup) Do what you like with that, but I wouldn’t let myself get caught up in such nonsensical baloney for nothing in the world.

    I once had a story and headline written about me that was 100% untrue. That is the kind of thing that goes on daily, especially with this generation that leads the world by a margin that is quite wide. If it were a football game, the score would be about 121 to 17. I’m talking about the amount of illegal dope that the US consumes next to the 2nd place consumer country. That difference is why some so called journalists can’t even get a headline pointed in the right direction.
    Guys like you must sit and think, “Oh Favre, look at him another TD, why is he getting talked about, I want them to talk about me too”? It sounds like jealousy. I don’t know what drives them to bad-moth him. He was arguably the 1st, 2nd or 3rd best quarterback EVER in the NFL. You guys think it really matters if he got some kind of complex, texting all the hot whores his stuff? Big deal, that kind of baggage comes with the light & heat of the star. That’s the star the losers get PO’d about. Next up will be Rodgers, when he breaks a few more stats. He’ll have some stoned ho say he grabbed her butt, and zoom, in comes the magnifier. None of the people that rip these guys who are clean cut all-Americans, even if they make some big boners. Yet, all the complainers don’t have a clean slate any better than the mistake Farve was caught up in, squared. If you do not have the facts, and are not sure, shut up and give it a break. Then they say Packer fans are a special group. Sure, of BOG BACKSTABBERS and little dorks with big mouths. The guy does a million great things, and ya’ll remember him for throwing a Boehner at some two-bit ho, looking for a free ride.

    1. we drafted Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck, two very successful NFL QBs. If Favre never plays for GB we keep those guys, and with Wolf and Holmgren around, we would have had a very good chance at the Super Bowl during that time. Your quote: “Favre did more for that team than any player since Lambeau started it up 95 years ago.” You are forgetting about a lot of very good players. Favre won 1 title. There are 12 more in team history.

  13. Any Favre article, on any Packers website, receives the most comments. Many positive, many negative. And I believe many feel about the same as Jason’s article, but don’t post comments. You can’t argue the fact that Favre split the fan base. It is obvious.

    Good article, Jason.

    1. Thanks Russ. I don’t know that even I would go so far as to call it “good” but I did at least want to take a position on the story. Anything that came afterwards, I was prepared for. I expected far worse but am reminded that we have a good stable of readers and regular visitors here. Further proof the Packers fans are some of the best and smartest in the league!

  14. Team (Rodgers) does not need the distraction this year especially . And I gotta think that is why they are widely putting it off. I know I could do without it.

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