Nathan Sass

Shame on Packers Nation

In Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Sports on December 22, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Monday night may well have been the final start of a long and storied career for Brett Favre, and many in Packers Nation giggled with glee when Favre was slung to the frozen turf of TCF Bank stadium.  I think this signals that Packer Nation is no longer a “special” fan community, and perhaps never really was in the first place.

The Favre saga in Green Bay goes back many years, and if you ask Packers fans they will tell you tales of woe regarding Favre threatening to retire for years, holding the Packers and their fans hostage in the process, and then being a disloyal traitor to the fans of the Packers and the Packers themselves. 

This is a total misrepresentation of what actually happened, but is a necessary lie to tell yourself if you are a Favre hating Packer fan.  It justifies your selfish and illogical positions today.

Favre never threatened retirement, nor did he hold anyone hostage.  He was asked repeatedly from 2001 through 2007 by local and national media (per their lazy ways) if he planned on retiring.  His answer was always something to the effect of “I really don’t know.” which was likely the honest truth.  Most NFL players after a decade in the game are never certain if they have another grueling season in them.

Following a successful 2007 season ending in a loss in the NFC Championship game, he was given a relatively short deadline by Packers management on his desire to return for another campaign.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy claimed they needed to know quickly so they could plan for 2008, nevermind the fact that such planning in the NFL is out the window after one practice due to the threat of injury during even a non-contact drill.  But, they stuck to their guns and Favre retired from the Packers.

Favre ultimately returned to the NFL and went to a team where he could play for a coach (Darrell Bevell) he had history with and liked personally, ran the same offense he had run for 16+ seasons, had an all-world RB in Adrian Peterson, had his best friend in football on the roster (Ryan Longwell), and was only a QB away from being a serious Super Bowl contender. 

They also happened to be in the same division as Green Bay, which did allow him to show up the franchise that had told him he was no longer wanted and not worthy of starting, but I think that was more incidental than one would believe.  Move all the aforementioned elements to the Oakland Raiders, and I am virtually certain that he would have been in the silver and black  rather than the purple and gold.

Packers fans went hysterical at this point.   They had been upset at Favre prior to this, but Favre joining the Vikings set them off like jealous lovers.  The “girlfriend” they dumped now was dating their biggest enemy!  They claimed he was “disloyal” and a “traitor”.  He became the ultimate villain and is reviled in Green Bay today.

What is striking is that these same people who demand the loyalty of Favre, and any other Packer, are incapable of being loyal in return.  When Favre asked to return to Green Bay, there was little loyalty from the fans.  When the Packers management traded him to New York, there was little outcry about the Packers disloyalty.  Packers fans had a new “girlfriend” named Aaron Rodgers and they loved him now.  (None of this should imply in any way that Rodgers has any responsibility in any of this mess.)

Packers fans apparently operate under the delusion that players on the roster owe them something, even after they are no longer Packers.  Playing anywhere else is considered treason against the fans.  Oddly, when players do not perform, these same fans show ZERO loyalty and demand players be cut and run out of town (see Mandarich, Tony and Buckley, Terrell).

Packers Nation is owed nothing by any Packer player, except 100% dedication to the team while on the roster.  After they are no longer Packers, they owe the fans nothing at all.  Football players are employees, not family.

It disgusts me to no end to hear the same people, who for 16 seasons thought Favre a demigod and would have bore him a child, now indulge in shameful glee at his injury and/or failure.  These “fans” never had the loyalty to Favre that they demanded in return.  They were selfish children in it for only themselves.

Packers Nation has become a reflection of the world in which we now live.  A world where marriages are all about what you personally get out of it, where working for someone is only about a paycheck, the bottom line is all that matters in business,  and where the only consideration is “what’s in it for me”.  Loyalty is demanded but never returned.  “Me, me, me” all the time and in every case.

Favre at least tried to return loyalty to the Packers, and asked and hoped to return there.  The Packers said “no”, and so Favre moved on to the next best place for him to be.  Favre, for all his faults, never has (and probably never will) speak ill of the Packers fans who have treated him so shamefully.   He has ultimately been the bigger man in all this, which is a sad commentary on the state of Packers Nation.

For all this, Favre is the villain and the Packers, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarty are somehow innocent victims of his evil schemes.  The truth is that the only people truly “disloyal” (by their own definition) in the whole affair were and are Packers Nation, and the Packers themselves. 

The minute Favre was of no use to them, they threw him away like an old shoe, and rooted for him to be seriously injured and/or fail spectacularly.  But don’t tell Packers Nation any of this, or they will call you a traitor too.

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