By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Aug 03, 2008 at 5:13 AM Photography: Allen Fredrickson

One must wonder if Brett Favre was hugged enough as a child, or if Ted Thompson was ever allowed to pick teams when playing kickball on the playground.

Those would be the only possible explanations for their recent series of actions, which have gone from annoying to ludicrous to downright immature in the past few weeks as Favre tries to weasel his way back into the NFL and Thompson tries to prevent him from rejoining the Packers.

No matter what happens in the next few weeks, though, both men's legacies have been tarnished, perhaps beyond the possibility of redemption.

Favre's reputation as a team-first, "for love of the game" type of player will take a great hit whether or not he decides to stay retired. It's already common knowledge that Favre hasn't dressed in the same locker room as his teammates for some time and his lack of desire to participate in offseason workouts and other team activities has been well-documented.

In short, Favre's image has done a complete 180-degree turn. A player who has many times been used as a poster boy of sorts for what's good in a league bereft with legal and criminal problems in recent years (see, for example: Jones, Pacman; Bengals, Cincinnati and so on) now looks like he is trying to make himself bigger than the team.

And whether true or not, the allegations that he had an interest in playing for the Minnesota Vikings, a team which has become a more bitter rival than the arch nemesis Chicago Bears during the Favre era, has left a sour taste in many fans mouths.

While many fans still worship at the altar of Favre, the iconic quarterback has turned many of his staunchest supports into adamant enemies. They are, understandably, tired of his annual hemming and hawing about retirement and feel that they were lied to when Favre, with tears streaming down his face, said in March that he was tired, emotionally drained and didn't want to make the effort necessary anymore.

Thompson, meanwhile -- who has never exactly enjoyed the popularity of Vince Lombardi or Ron Wolf during his short tenure at the Packers' helm -- has all but destroyed any capital he collected by building a 13-3 team that was within one Favre interception of a surprise Super Bowl berth by this standoff with Favre.

Thompson doesn't need to look deep into the Packers' archives to find evidence of tough times for team management. Phil Bengston was Lombardi's right-hand man, but was doomed to failure because he couldn't match his mentor's success with an aging roster. The same goes for Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg. Neither man could produce a contender, but despite their status as stalwarts of Lombardi's championship teams, both men are remembered more now for their coaching failures than their coaching successes.

Thompson's stoic, no-nonsense attitude has made him a tough sell to Packers fans, spoiled by success during the last 15-plus years. He made few friends by his unwillingness to splurge on the free-agent market, where fans hoped he would find suitable accoutrements that would help Favre earn another ring, as well as his apparent indifference towards his Hall of Fame quarterback.

No matter what he does now, Thompson will look like a Rube. If he deals Favre, he will go down in history as the general manager that traded away what might be the best and most beloved player in franchise history. If he lets Favre back, Thompson looks like a patsy that can't exert authority over his roster - and don't think agents representing players on the roster won't keep note of the situation.

At some point, probably in the next few days, this staring contest will come to an end. Either Favre will accept the Packers' $20 million offer to remain retired and provide personal services to the franchise for the next decade, he'll be traded and suit up in another team's colors next season or he will return for a 17th season under center at Lambeau Field.

Either way, both men will come out of this smelling worse than a dumpster leaving State Fair Park. And that's the worst part of this ongoing saga, even worse than the possibility of seeing Favre take to the turf in the season opener... clad in the Vikings' hideous purple uniforms.