Pondering 4 in Purple
I thought I had already cleared my slate of Brett Favre, believing I had drained my reservoir on the subject. It turns out that with #4, there is always something more to say.
Until this week, the thought of Favre playing against our beloved Green Bay Packers was just an abstract. But as we are confronted with the prospect of Favre donning the purple of the Minnesota Vikings against the Pack on Monday night, I find myself revisiting my feelings on the matter.
It’s understandable, if not entirely rational, for fans to be emotionally invested (in the case of Packers fans, sometimes overly so) in their teams and the players that compete for them. What surprised me this week is that where Brett Favre is concerned, apparently that sentiment isn’t the exclusive province of the fans. Former Packer players from Willie Davis and Jerry Kramer (in print earlier this week) to William Henderson and LeRoy Butler (late this week on radio) expressed exasperation at the reality of Favre playing for the Packers most hated rival.
Psychologists define the 5 stages of grief as being denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Personally, over the last couple of years I’ve gone from disappointment to disgust, later bemusement and now indifference to the journey that took Favre to Minnesota. As I’ve written previously, for me what set Favre apart as a player was the sense that he was “one of us”. As it happens, he can also be as petty, vindictive and selfish as the rest of us. While that may not make him worthy of contempt, neither does it merit sustained adulation.
What amazes me is the number of people who continue to show fealty to an individual when there is ample evidence to suggest that loyalty isn’t reciprocated. Specifically I refer to those who are compelled to attend Packer games wearing #4 Vikings jerseys. The best explanation I can offer is that most of them didn’t start rooting in earnest for the Packers until Favre came to Green Bay. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that their allegiance is as much or more to Favre as it would be to a franchise that had a long and storied history well before his arrival in Wisconsin. The NFL is no doubt happy to feed into that with the marketing of multi-colored Favre jerseys.
As Butler himself said on Friday’s Jim Rome radio show, “there’s nothing wrong with being a Brett Favre fan. But don’t try to say that you’re a Packer fan and you want Brett to do well.”
As a final word, that about sums it up well as anything.