Open Letter to Fans of the Minnesota Vikings,
Because you are grieving, this will sound like the gloating of a Green Bay Packers fans. It really is not. It is now a conversation from a perspective that you will be able to grasp with some degree of empathy.
The last pass that Favre threw as a Green Bay Packer was in an NFC Championship, and it was an interception. That game crowned a superb come-back season in which his play matched his MVP days. But there was a bad read, and after that, the saga began. Does he retire or not. How much can a team continue to invest in him especially when he is sitting on the fence?
The saga is now yours. By the time Dear Jon posts on Tuesday morning, your Monday sports writers with the Pioneer Press will be heaping up the speculation about whether Favre retires or not. Your sports talk radio will be filled with speculation, and the should he or shouldn't he and what does the team owe him. The sage opinion will be expressed that without Favre the team would not have gotten this far. And yet, goes the counter-argument, the team has to think about its future and Favre has to think about himself. After all, he really has nothing left to prove; he would retire at the top of his game. Except that his last throw cost him a trip to the Super Bowl. Can he let himself go? Will he let himself go? Blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah blah.
We Packer Backer fans have been there and we have done that. We were ridiculed nationwide as we processed the grief of our beloved hall-of-famer stringing along our beloved team and then leaving in acrimony. Thousands of cheese-heads were closet cheer-leaders for Favre as a Jet, and even in purple.
But there was something we Packer backers always knew, during this amazing season of his in which 16 games yielded only 7 interceptions. We knew that Favre was capable of losing games all by himself with fumbles and bone-headed throws. For all those years, you see, we watched him reach towards touchdown records and interception records simultaneously.
Do you want to know the secret to his consecutive starts record? He played the 1999 season with a broken thumb. Ray Rhodes was the coach; he did not have the courage to bench him. The Packers finished 8-8. That record of consecutive starts piled on with the Jets, of course, because of a shoulder that needed surgery.
Did you watch Favre limp off the field on Sunday and re-tape his ankle? That was after his first interception, thrown into triple coverage in the middle of the field. Now you, Vikings fans, can share in the angst should Favre suit up again and take the snaps as a 41 year-old. "Will this be an amazing play, a bone-headed play, or the play that ends his career on a stretcher?"
Did you see his wife on Sunday? Do you realize that the expression on her face is the reason millions of cheese-heads wonder what in the sam-hill Favre is still doing out there? It is not because we hate him; it is because we love him. And now, and now, maybe some of you Vikings fans get it.
We nation-wide Packer Backers want you to know: We have felt your pain. Although you mocked us for our whimpers about his legacy in the green and gold, I think we are big enough as cheese-heads to let by-gones be by-gones. We empathize. We have felt your pain, and now you are welcome to it.
Let "The Vikings Saga of Brett Favre's Retirement" begin.