SC Remembers: Favre Was Once a Viking
Source: Bill Kelley
As the sports world is on pause right now I was wondering what to write about during the hiatus. Then it hit me. Memorable sports moments, specifically stories that impacted me the most. This one was one of my most crushing one. August 18, 2009, a day I would never forget, a day that quite frankly lives in infamy if you cheer for the Green Bay Packers. This is the day Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
You see growing up Brett Favre was a hero to me. It's funny because how I became a Packers fan was actually because my favourite colour was green. Green, Green Bay, it just made sense. Though as a kid what caught my attention was a player wearing the number 4 jersey dressing in a green jersey. Brett Favre was my favourite player as a kid.
While many kid's first football game was the popular Madden franchise, Quarterback Club was mine because It had Brett Favre on the cover of the game. It’s that deep.
As a kid playing football at recess I'd always tried to be like Brett Favre. Suited up in my Packers jersey, in the snow just like Lambeau, slinging it downfield, I wanted to be like Favre. Despite the gut-wrenching interceptions, seeing him lead the Pack to victories was sweet to watch, and those wins will stick with me forever.
But father time catches up with all of us, selfishly I wanted to watch Brett play into his 50's, but that just isn't realistic, or so I thought. 2006 on New Years Eve Favre decided that after the game he was going to play his last down of football, BUT he came back the next season, and I’m glad he did. An NFC North title, and few of Marino's records in his pocket, Favre was having a renaissance of a season and fending off retirement at the same time.
The Packers would go on to beat the Seahawks in the NFC divisional round but ended up throwing one of the most heartbreaking games Favre threw a dagger interception against the Giants in overtime in the NFC championship game. It was the last game he'd ever play for Green Bay.
Favre flirted with retirement but ultimately chose to come back, but the Pack now had a young gunner in Aaron Rodgers, so the old gunslinger was shipped out to the Jets. Personally, I was sad but not crushed. As long as he didn't end up in Chicago or Minny I was okay with the move. Side note: I traded 2 Xbox games and 50 bucks for his Jets jersey.
At first the move didn't work for either team. The Packers were 6-10 their first with Rodgers under centre all while the Favre and the Jets were their own brand of misery. Doubts once again began to surround Favre's football future, all summer long I kept a close eye on the TV until I got the bad news...Favre was a Viking.
That fateful day was August 18, 2009. Favre signed a two-year deal with the Vikings. My love for Favre turned to hate. I was pissed. I was upset with the Packers for letting Favre go, but I was more upset that he chose to play for the Packs biggest rival. Favre in my eyes was a traitor, a Benedict Arnold, a turncoat, Judas! It made me sick to my core that I'd see Favre in a purple jersey. I wanted to see the Packers beat down the Vikings every chance they got.
Their first meeting was a Monday nighter in early October, I had some friends over that day. I didn't bother wearing my Favre jersey, I couldn't even look at it. Unfortunately, the Packers didn't stand a chance. Favre had his way throwing for 3 touchdowns and completed 24 of 31 passes. Favre beat us.
Weeks later in Green Bay he did one better, proving that Lambeau was still his house. Throwing 4 touchdowns and completing 17 of 28 passes. In two starts against Green Bay, Favre didn't throw one interception and had 7 touchdowns. He beat Green Bay twice in less than a month. It was a nightmare to watch. Amongst the boos Favre put on a clinic.
The gunslinger looked like an MVP at the age of 39. Having 33 touchdowns and over 4000 passing yards, it was like old No.4 had a drink from the fountain of youth.
Favre's season would end against the Saints in the NFC championship while the Packers lost to the Cardinals in the wildcard round. However, the Packers did get retribution the next season beating Favre twice and winning the Superbowl in just Rodgers’ third season under centre.
Favre would retire at the end of the 2010 season, and boy was it a tough one to watch. On one hand he struggled with injuries and had his iron man streak snapped, but on the other he did become the first quarterback to reach 500 td's. The Vikings themselves finished 6-10 after a 3-7 start.
Favre would come back years later and the relationship between him and the organization had been mended. He was honoured by the Packers in 2015, having his number 4 retired by the franchise, and was elected to the Pro football Hall of Fame the very next year. My love for Favre had been restored and sometimes I still find myself watching his highlights just to remind yours truly of how great he was. Just like most of Green Bay I forgave Mr. Favre, but I would never forget.