Close personal friend and devout Green Bay Packer fan Big has advocated that, in lieu of baking bread, I write more.
Brett Favre has retired. While I suspect he will not be retired come August 15th of this year, I will take him at his word for now.
I hated Brett for many years. Now that the Bears have stopped swooning before him, and instead started using him to wipe the field, I have redirected my scorn to the sports media’s swooning, which is only partly Brett’s fault. As for Brett himself, I had a minor revelation this January.
I had been graciously invited to watch the Packers-Giants NFC title game with the members of Big’s “other” fantasy league, whose Imaginary Super Bowl trophy Big had hoisted just a couple of weeks’ previous. I had played a small consulting role in this triumph, which was enough to push my Bear fan status aside and allow me entrance to the conclave. Plus I hadn’t met his second daughter or new TV yet, so off to Sheboygan I went. And I learned something shocking that day:
Packer fans don’t really like Brett Favre.
Brett and his Maddenslurped “gunslinger” style of play drives them bananas. They hate it as much as Chris Berman loves it. Again: Brett terrifies and infuriates the average Packer fan.
The league I was watching with discussed Brett the way Thurston Howell III discusses wines. “I hope we get the ’97 Brett tonight, not the ’94.” “Or God forbid the ’03.” (room shudders) “We agreed not to talk about the ’03 Brett during a playoff game. Try to focus on the ’96.”
But that was not the best part.
After the Giants kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime, following an ill-advised interception — here’s a great trivia question to lay on your favorite Packer fan, by the way, “Who caught the last pass of Brett Favre’s career?” “Corey Webster.” — the room somberly began to mutter unkind things about Brett. (They were, in fairness, calmer than I would have been had Rex Grossman just single-handedly cost the Bears a Super Bowl trip, and it was the second time he did that exact thing in four years.)
But that was not the best part either.
The best part was the eight or ten times that Joe Buck said “Favre drops back…under pressure!…winds up to throw!…” and the room, to a man save me, put hands to face and screamed “NO!”