He did it to us again. Brett Farve dragged the Vikings, the media, and the world through the emotional ringer as the “will he or won’t he” retirement drama unfolded once more. Just when we were all sure that number four had finally hung up his cleats… for good… he unretired… again. While some people grow tired of Brett’s ability to unretire with the frequency of a professional wrestler, I love it.
Knowing that Favre will be back in Minnesota again means football fans will be treated to one more ”final” season of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. It means we’ll get to see another season of Favre making big throws, leading fourth quarter comebacks, and playing with the joy and passion of a kid. But it also means something special. Favre’s return means NFL fans will bear witness one of the greatest of all time playing with true purpose against his former team in Week 11 when the Green Bay Packers travel to Minneapolis.
Favre has something to prove to the Packers, to the Vikings, and to himself. He knows that he is one of the best of all time, but his departure from Green Bay must cause him to believe there is doubt about that fact. The fact that he did not get to leave Lambeau Fields on his own terms still motivates him to show the Packers exactly what they let slip away. So when the Packers come to his new home in Minnesota, he’s going to put on a performance for the ages.
Sure, we saw it last season. The Vikings bested the Packers both at home and on the road, but 2010 is different. Aside from the fact that this may be Favre’s swan song (seriously, this has got to be it… right?), the Packers have motivation to march into Mall of America Field and show they won’t be pushed around again. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were dealt two tough losses at the hands of Favre’s Vikings last season, and that has got to be motivation for them to show they won’t roll over for Favre and company again in 2010.
Although Rodgers is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league he has been – and remains – in Brett’s shadow. No matter how well he plays, until he beats Favre there will be doubts about both his ability and his legacy. Even if his stats are better. If he can’t beat the guy he was promoted to replace, he will always carry the stigma of being a downgrade from Favre. The Packers went through quite an ordeal to put the young quarterback under center and he wants everyone to know it was the right decision. But each year that Favre comes back and excels, he undermines the achievements of the talented new signal caller in Green Bay. The Packers are Rodgers team and his teammates want to prove it to him. They will get potentially a last chance to do that when they go to Minnesota and try to take one from Favre on his new home turf.
No other matchup in the NFL has this kind of drama. Gone are the days when America hung on the Cowboys and Redskins. Similarly, the Colts-Patriots rivalry is not exactly what it used to be since the Pats have struggled lately. A Super Bowl rematch would easily be one of the most exciting matchups of the season, but NFL schedule makers did not see fit to make it happen. There is no substitute for the rivalry and drama of the Farve versus Packers saga, especially since this should be the final chapter. If old number four is healthy, you know he will give it everything he has… which is all a NFL fan can hope for.