At long last, a "truce" has apparently been declared between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers and he’s coming back next year to get into the Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired.
This whole thing is being treated like some kind of armistice, as if the Hatfields and McCoys were suddenly going to Sunday dinner together.
From my perspective, I think everybody who thinks this is some kind of hatchet burial are way off the mark. And my perspective includes my first Packer game in 1960 and the first one I covered in 1976. I’ve been around.
And in all those years I’ve learned a couple of lessons about Green Bay Packers football.
One is that the Packers go about their business pretty much as they want without much regard for media pressure or even fan pressure. The fans hardly ever pressure this team, the love is so deep.
I have always thought this feud was more the progeny of a media circus than it was a real severe split between opposing forces. I don’t think Favre hated Ted Thompson and I don’t think Thompson hated Favre. They may have had a disagreement, but they are, and were, grown men.
The second thing I’ve learned is that, above all else, Packers nation has reverence for the past. Fundamentalist Muslim jihadists have nothing on Packers fans when it comes to frantic and undying devotion.
Let me give you a very clear example.
Bart Starr last played for the Packers in 1972. He was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. After he retired he coached the Packers for 10 years with a dismal 52-76-3 record that was marked by virtually consistent controversy with the media and with some of his players.
Yet in Packer nation, nobody talks about Starr the crappy coach.
All you hear is about Starr the player. When he and his wife Cherry come back to Green Bay it’s as if Moses and his wife (I don’t know if Moses had a wife, but you get what I mean) have come down from the mount for a visit.
Former Packers president Bob Harlan may have been the go-between when it came to engineering this celebration between Favre and the team, but it was the Packers’ deep desire for honoring their past that was the driving force.
And I think that class and honor will be present when they retire that number. I think the boos that everyone expects will be few and far between.
This organization is far too classy for that.
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