July 15, 2008

Happiness Doesn't Last Forever

When I was a child, I remember watching "The Majik Hour", a local Wisconsin TV show featuring Don Majkowski, the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers at the time. I was a bit sad, as Don Majkowski had been injured in a game, and the show was going off the air. Some young quarterback, named Brett Favre, was going to take over as the starter. Seventeen years later, I'm the biggest Brett Favre fan most people will ever meet.

Brett Favre has given the Packers and their fans sixteen great years. Last year, against most predictions, the Packers came within inches of the Super Bowl. So, it was a big surprise that Favre called it quits and retired. However, I don't think many believed that he was actually retiring. The Packers needed an answer from him, and Brett gave them the one that fit the moment: retirement.

The Packers are in a transition period and moves have been made for years to ensure the club could stay a float when Favre did retire. Those moves came to fruition after Favre announced retirement. Up until that point, the Packers team belonged to Brett Favre. Sadly, it is clear that is no longer the case. Favre didn't just retire from the Packers, he retired any claim to leadership within the organization that he had gained over the past two decades.

In the entirety of the Favre retirement saga, Favre NEVER lost the fans. However, as more revelations come to light and Brett fleshes out more of the troubles he has had with the Ted Thompson Packers, Brett is losing ground. Favre is going to be gone at some point no matter what, so it is natural for fans to stick with the team. Too many fans are Packers' fans first, Favre fans second.

Favre has handled his career with grace and tact. He has been a role model, not just for NFL quarterbacks, but for sports stars of all games. But not being happy, and facing the possibility of not playing the game he loves, Brett's hand has been forced. He is going to throw his weight around and try to get what he wants. I don't blame him, but it is not going to look good in the eyes of those that have supported him for so long. They want Favre's legacy to end as honorably as possible, and the current saga is anything but.

I caution Brett Favre. The fans booed you on the way in, they can and will boo you on the way out.

Without the Packers organization and fans, he is going to find the landscape far colder to him than last year's NFC championship game at Lambeau Field. History is a great teacher, and it has taught us that Favre's comeback is going to fail. However, if there is one guy that can make history, it is Favre.