Regular season game seven vs. Minnesota: The bell tolls for Favre « Ol' Bag of Donuts

Regular season game seven vs. Minnesota: The bell tolls for Favre

For a good portion of Monday, I found myself thinking about what Sunday night meant to me.

Namely, I was trying to find the primary emotion I was feeling following the Green Bay Packers’ heart-stopping 28-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Was it jubilation? Relief? Vindication?

In some ways, I could say “yes” to all three. Emphatically, in fact. But that wasn’t the main emotion. No, it was something else.

Peaceful.

See, for almost two-and-a-half years, Brett Favre seemed intent on making every single Packers fan feel stupid. Every action, interview and performance felt like it was aimed right at us for showering a decade-and-a-half’s worth of praise and undying support on him. He may have been targeting Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, Mark Murphy and Aaron Rodgers, but more often than not – far more often than not – we seemed to be the ones who really took the punishment. After all, those four seemed fairly content with how things played out.

And they never loved him like we did.

For us, though, it was never going to be that way. Sure, we could take joy from the small victories – a spat with his new head coach here or a game-losing interception in the NFC Championship Game there. But, really, who were we kidding? We were never going to fully put everything that happened to us – everything he’d done to us – until the team we loved beat him head-to-head.

It took a long time, longer than any of us would’ve wanted, but it finally happened. We beat him.

Winning alone would be enough to cover the first three emotions I discussed. But to achieve peacefulness, there’d have to be more. If he were to have played well despite losing, say, a 38-35 shootout, tranquility might have fallen just a hair short. No, our guys would have to beat him.  

They did just that. A defense that once dropped back into coverage attacked him. A group that, once upon a time, couldn’t get a hand on him, to use a hockey term, finished their checks. Okay, so maybe there weren’t a ton of checks, but the ones that were to be had were had. Cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers – three positions Favre owned just a year ago – got themselves in position to make plays. And, boy, did they make some plays (Nick Collins = holy crap). In every sense, the reverance they’d shown him before was gone.

In 2009, our guys struggled to keep up with him. This time around, he struggled to keep up with them.

He looked old, slow. Sure, he could rear back and let the occasional dart fly, for old time’s sake. But not like he used to. He could still feel the rush as well as anyone, but he couldn’t avoid it like he used to. His footwork – the most underrated part of his game – was still kind of there, but not like before. There was more stumbling, more bumbling.

The shots of Favre in full-on joy were few and far between. He looked bitter. He looked broken. Part of the “broken” is literal, Favre sustaining two separate stress fractures in his left ankle via a hit from Brad Jones in the third quarter. But it’s more than that. His love for the game seems lost, Favre showing the look of a man who knows he’s gone all-in one too many times. To quote Gene: “The house wins – it always does.”

He called the defeat “devastating.” That surely had something to do with the scoreboard, but again, there’s more to it. He could absorb the boos and the hatred from the Lambeau faithful when he was walking off the field a winner. After all, there’d be time to repair the damage done down the road. He couldn’t be bothered with that then. He was lost in his “dream season.”

That dream season is long over now. The end is near. The bell tolls for Favre.

And this time, he felt every ounce of our hatred for him, because, in defeat, he knows now he’ll never be able to go back. The one true love of his career – the love he felt from Packers fans – will never exist again. He always figured we’d come around, but see, we were smarter than he ever gave us credit for. He knows that now. That’s what brought on his tears.

In a matter of weeks, the game that’s always been there for him will be gone. He faces an uncertain future, both publicly and privately.

But the fans he once so viciously spurned? We’re moving on. And we’re going to be just fine.

-Chris Lempesis

10 comments to Regular season game seven vs. Minnesota: The bell tolls for Favre

  • Once again, Chris, you brought it. I can’t tell you how many times today I thought over how calm I felt. And thinking back, how last night I felt Bert finally got how we have felt. It took losing in Lambeau for him to (maybe) understand. And you know what? If it was last year that he “got it” I might have forgiven him sooner than I will now. Too bad, Bert. I have all your stuff tucked in a box. It may come out someday. But not for a long, long time. But at least I don’t hate you anymore.

    I’m moving on. I have a team to cheer for, not just a quarterback.

  • Anita

    Love it. Right on.

    The cherry on top of Favre’s Shit Sunday? That his final game in the NFL could be a loss to his old team. If these injuries keep him out of Sunday’s game, the streak is done and the Vikings are imploding. Why wouldn’t he just call it quits?

    It would almost be worth putting up with last year’s losses to Judas, knowing that the Packers would be responsible for breaking the streak and knocking him out of the game for good. Yeah, I’m not feelin’ the nostalgia that some Packer fans are feeling today, now that we’ve beaten him. Screw that. The fact that EsPN (I use a small case letter on the “sports” aspect of the Four Letter Network. Entertainment is more important to them than the actual sport) and the NFL Network have been wall to wall Favre today, while virtually ignoring the team (and QB) who actually WON the game, sickens me and fuels my resentment further. Last night, EsPN cut off Rodgers’ PC to show Favre’s. Today, the game highlights being shown were all Favre. Not a single highlight containing a Packer TD, except for the one thrown by Favre (Thank you Des Bishop). No comment about the QB who finally got the monkey off his back (you know, that same QB they trashed all last week)? It was all Brett, all the time. And I’m not stupid enough to think that he doesn’t plan it that way. Drama Queen to the bitter end.

  • bg

    Phenomenally captured the thoughts and spirit that have plagued my Packer fan mind lo these past few years. Absolutely pitch perfect.

    One thing that bugged me a bit…. when he left the field for perhaps/probably that final time, the announcers couldn’t deign to acknowledge the thousands of us who no longer marvel at the man. It wouldn’t have been hard to report the truth – “there is definitely ambivalence, even here at the very end” – but no, that might give credence to the fact that yes, a lot of the die hards, of sound mind and body, really have come to loathe the guy. Though Collinsworthless and All Mic-less couldn’t say it, I felt a lot of pride knowing so many others at Lambeau weren’t afraid to take one last piss on the “legend.”

  • Matt

    Last night on MNF they actually used the Romo injury as an excuse to talk about Favre. It was something like “Romo was a fan of Favre growing up, and Favre got injured last night too! Just like Favre! The old gunslinger really showed some Favre-esque grit and determination last night! Favre Favre Favre!” The folks at ESPN are so obsessed with him it is disgusting.

  • Holly

    I love this. I’d been going with ‘cathartic,’ but this is a perfect distillation of all those post-game feelings. Bravo.

  • Great read-so many emotions surrounded this game, and you summed them up perfectly. Great read!

  • Jeff

    Very well said! I have longed for the day that we would beat him at Lambeau, and it has finally arrived. I can only hope his pain is as great as that which he has inflicted on his fans! I am sure I do not speak for a majority, but when his time comes to go to the HOF, let him go as Viking! They deserve each other to the end!! I know what he did FOR the Packers, but what he did TO the fans is something I find hard to forgive! He continual comments about last year’s team being the best he has ever been associated with continue to echo in my ears! I don’t care about his tears, they come to easy! I don’t care of his legacy, it tarnished beyond repair! I care not about his pain, he has caused much in the hearts who held him dearest! ‘Tis time to fade away!

  • Lynn Dickey 12

    I truly did feel a great sense of peace as I watched my pick 6 premonition play out with Desmond Bishop. I felt like that closed the circle for all of us, making whatever happens at the Metrodome later this year less relevant. (Especially considering the prognosis for Team Schism.)

    Still, by the time the number 4 is retired, a large part of the bitterness will be behind us. We’ll remember the divorce, but we’ll remember the wonderful child we brought home on January 26, 1997. If Lombardi and Lambeau could both leave and be lionized, Favre can as well.

    Please post some tips as to how I can get the podcast downloaded to my iPod. You guys really did a fine job for your first time out of the box.

  • admin

    Lynn,

    We are working dilligently to solve the iTunes quandary. We hope to have that solved shortly. We’ll be doing our third podcast later this week and hopefully we can get all of them up on iTunes within the next week. Thanks for your kind words.

    -Chris Lempesis

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