If you were wondering when – or, maybe, if – we would ever see Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre standing side-by-side again, you got your answer Saturday night.
In a rather surprising turn of events, the pair came together as presenters at the NFL Honors awards show in New Orleans. Outside of four post-game meetings, by all accounts the pair hasn’t really spoken since Favre’s time in Green Bay came to an end after the 2007 season.
Wait a second, wait a second – who am I kidding? “Surprising turn of events”? This was mind-blowing. It was utterly shocking. So shocking, in fact, that yours truly had absolutely no idea how to handle the news of them presenting together when I first heard it. Those two guys? Together in the same space? Were their respective families being held hostage and them going up on stage together was the only way to spare their lives? It didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But there they were.
And we studied every aspect of their shared screen time. Rodgers seemed careful not to walk too close to Favre as they headed on stage. They had some awkward banter – mostly jokes about comebacks as they were presenting the Comeback Player of the Year award – that would’ve been funnier if it hadn’t been so clearly scripted. They shook hands and said it was nice to see each other. Favre seemed to want to hug it out, too. Rodgers seemed to be wishing he was in Antarctica – anywhere else but on that stage at that moment. And then, it was over.
(Quick aside: Credit to Peyton Manning, winner of that award, for his quip about him and Andrew Luck being up there doing that same thing someday. Now THAT was funny.)
And fans were left to answer the question of what it all meant.
Some fans thought it meant the beginning of a long-term reconciliation between Favre and the team. After all, Rodgers is the face of the franchise and if he’s willing to go up there with Favre, they reasoned, that must mean old scars are finally healing. Others thought it meant nothing. It was a ploy from the NFL Network, producers of the show, to boost ratings. Rodgers was probably forced into going up there by outside parties – or, at the very least, completely begrudging in his acceptance to do so, they reasoned.
After giving it some serious thought, I’d mostly side with the latter group. Unless it comes out that Favre pushed the idea of presenting with Rodgers or vice versa – highly, highly unlikely either way you slice it – then this was an idea carried out by outside forces. That makes it, for the time being, meaningless.
Now you could counter that by saying both guys agreed to it when they didn’t have to, so that must mean something. Not necessarily. Think of how many former co-workers, friends or romantic interests you’ve had to be in the same place with. You damn sure didn’t want to be, but the level of the event – a wedding, funeral, holiday party or whatever it may be – sort of forced your hand. In the end you didn’t want to do it, but you did because, well, you didn’t wanna be a jerk and upset things. That’s the tendency people have, famous quarterbacks or not.
Keep in mind, I’m saying I’m mostly with that line of thinking. Not completely. If in a year from now or two years from now, a full-on reconciliation has happened, we may very well look back at Saturday night as the beginning of it all. I doubt it, but you never know.
But outside of all that, the real question you have to ask is whether or not you’re even ready for a reconciliation.
Me? Not a chance. Not. A. Chance.
I still see everything he pulled from the moment he first retired in 2008. Remember, he wanted to come back AFTER THAT and the Packers were willing to have him back only to have Favre back out AGAIN. Some people, based on tweets I got Saturday night, still hold on to this fairly tale of Favre being pushed out the door. Call a shrink – you need help.
I see the Family Night ‘08 garbage. I see Deanna smiling next to the “Thanks Ted” Vikings jersey. I still see his glee – his sheer, stinking, “up yours” glee – after winning that first Monday night game at the Dome.
And yes, I realize the Packers beat him twice in 2010 on their way to winning the Super Bowl. You don’t need to remind me – I was there. To use the relationship analogy, you can be thrilled with where you’re at in a new relationship and still harbor anger towards your ex because they were a huge jerk. That’s totally logical.
I’m sorry, but one appearance on an awards show – a freakin’ awards show! – with Rodgers isn’t enough. It’s a start of nothing, personally. Besides, him getting along again with Rodgers, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Mark Murphy really means nothing to me, as I’ve written before on this site. It’s still about what it’s always been about – him apologizing to us. Him getting back in our good graces. And I mean really apologizing. The kind you have to make after you destroy a bond that took over 15 years to build.
Could Favre still do that? Could he give us that closure? Yes, he absolutely could. He’s the only one who can, frankly. And the crazy part is it wouldn’t even be that hard. All he would have to say is something like this:
“Guys, look, I’m sorry about everything that happened after I sat up here and cried and told you all I was done back in ‘08. I was never very good at making up my mind, as you all know. But I had always expected the Packers to bend to my whims no matter what I’d decided, I guess. That was my mistake and it was a big one. At some point they had to hold me to my word and I now get that. But at that time, I still had love for the game and to have the only team I’d ever played for tell me I was no longer wanted by them, man, that hurt so bad. It caused me to completely overreact and want to do things and say things to hurt them. They, of course, moved on just fine and I realized the people I hurt the most were you guys, the fans. We had such a special bond. You guys supported me when my dad died, when my wife got sick, when I struggled with addiction. You always had my back on the field, even when I played like garbage. You went to my restaurant and went to my charity softball games. You treated everyone with the last name Favre like they were royalty. You didn’t have to do any of that and yet you guys did. That means the world to me, even if for awhile there it seemed like I hated you guys, too. I never hated you and now I’d like to begin re-building that bond that we had. So, again, I’m sorry. This is such a special place and we brought each other such great times here. I want to be a Packers lifer, like Bart, Paul and Willie are. I want back in, this time for good. Think you guys would be willing to let me back in?”
That’s just over 300 words. He could say it in less than 90 seconds. And I’m willing to bet that even the most hardened Favre haters – if you want to put me in that group, fine – would be willing to let Favre back in the clubhouse, so to speak. I know I would.
That would be a truly great day. That would be what we deserve. That would be justice. And until that happens, no justice, no peace, awards shows be damned.