But it’s because Favre was so cherished, gave so much to the Packers, that his departure cuts so deeply.
Favre retired after the 2007 season in a tearful news conference, only to announce a few months later that he really did still want to play football. The only problem was, the Packers had already elevated Aaron Rodgers to the starting job. An ugly back-and-forth ensued, and Green Bay eventually traded Favre to the Jets.
He retired again after last season and then unretired — to play for those hated Vikings.
Minnesota was, most fans assume, where Favre wanted to go all along. Though he denies it, most believe he and Thompson didn’t see eye to eye, and that was the real reason for his (first) retirement. By going to a division rival, Favre could exact a measure of revenge on Thompson.
In the process, though, he’s exacting revenge on the very fans who adored him.
“If he’d have come back with any other team, we’d have had a parade for him,” Butler said. “We’d have had hot air balloons, dog shows, everyone in the state would be wearing a No. 4 jersey. But when you come with the Vikings? I mean, that’s bad. I don’t know that there’s anything worse than that.
“It’s almost like divorcing your wife,” Butler added, “and then marrying her sister.”
He’s been called Brent, Judas and Benedict by Packers fans. When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked fans what sign they’d make for Favre’s return, it got more than 1,000 responses — mostly negative. Someone took creative license with the “Brett Favre Pass” sign, covering up the “P.” Green Bay’s mayor is even poking fun at him, proclaiming “Flip Flop Friday” and renaming Minnesota Avenue to Aaron Rodgers Drive — complete with a new street sign.
There’s even a mock funeral planned for Favre.
A local radio station teamed up with Tom, Dick and Harry’s, a bar behind the Packers practice facility, to stage a Favre funeral on Friday afternoon, complete with a casket and hearse. Perfect for Halloween weekend. And the donations go to the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation: maybe a small sign of forgiveness, though it will be a while before the hurt is forgotten.
“I’m a Packers fan, so I’m definitely going to boo,” Kyle Spejcher said when asked how he’ll react Sunday when Favre trots into Lambeau. “Any other division, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Him going to Minnesota, it’s just total revenge. I don’t care what he says.”
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