Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time to let Brett Favre go

Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Jun 25, 2009; Section:Opinion; Page Number:10A

4give Favre for turning purple
Fans need to move on as QB does

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

Not since pro wrestling’s Hulk Hogan turned “heel” and disappointed all the little Hulkamaniacs has a sports-entertainment figure so disappointed his fan base. Green Bay Packers fans are just not accepting the likely event of Brett Favre becoming the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Yes, it’s increasingly likely Brett Favre will be trading in his green No. 4 from last year, which was a different shade of green than the previous year, for the color purple. Who knew he was such a fan of Alice Walker?

Brett Favre will be joining legendary Viking quarterbacks like Fran Tarkenton and ... Fran Tarkenton.

Funny I should mention Tarkenton, because he is not looking forward to Brett Favre becoming a Minnesota Viking, either. On his blog, Tarkenton explained why:

“See, it’s about TEAM in football. It’s not about Brett Favre or Fran Tarkenton or John Elway. It’s about TEAM. Teams win – individuals lose. And so I express the opinion that Brett Favre is wrong, and I believe that right now. I think it is wrong for the Vikings and I think it is wrong for Green Bay. I think it is just wrong. But I kind of want him to go because if he goes there to Minnesota I believe he will burn every bridge he has in Green Bay. The disloyalty! Can you imagine if Ray Nitschke would have retired then gone to play for the Minnesota Vikings? Don’t we feel strongly about our teams?”

The sarcastic among you might wonder if Tarkenton is worried Favre will do something with the Vikings’ Tarkenton could not accomplish: win a Super Bowl. But, ironically, I think former Viking Tarkenton sums up what many Green Bay Packers fans are feeling.

I think they need to let it go.

I know it’s easy for me to say. After all, I’m loyal to a different NFL team, the one with the big star on the helmet and the big egos. I’m used to the drama and the tantrums, and that’s just in the front office.

But Packers fans are living a fantasy if they think that the legends will always remain with one team.

When Deion Sanders became a Dallas Cowboy, one of my friends told me he could not imagine Sanders in a Cowboy uniform after the way he helped crush the Cowboys the year before as a San Francisco 49er. Today, most Cowboys fans remember Deion Sanders as one of the best things about the Barry Switzer era.

Terrell Owens with the 49ers danced on the star in the center of Texas Stadium and was decked by former Packer George Teague. The last two seasons, he’s been a drama queen as a Dallas Cowboy.

Dallas isn’t the only team to go get hired guns. When Marcus Allen left the Raiders, he joined their division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs. That rivalry is probably more intense than the Packers-Vikings rivalry.

Closer to home, Chicago Bears great Jim McMahon finished his career as a Green Bay Packer. How many Bears fans stopped singing the “Super Bowl Shuffle” as a result?

Do you remember tight end Keith Jackson, who held out half the season because he didn’t want to play in Green Bay? Yet, the fans still cheered when he scored touchdowns.

How about Don Beebe? Do you think Buffalo Bills fans were upset that he finally played for a team that won the Super Bowl?

Why were those players brought in? Because they could help the team win. Not because they were nice. Not because they always dreamed of playing in Green Bay. Because they could win.

Why did Packers fans love Brett Favre? Because he could win. He wasn’t a loyal Wisconsinite. He even had a drug problem, and we still don’t know where he got the extra prescription drugs. But Packers fans forgave him because he was a winner.

We will never know if Brett Favre had stayed with the Packers last year how well he would have played, or if the team would have done better. I thought it was a mistake for the team to let him go.

But that was last year. Favre moved on. Time for the fans to move on, too.