Brett Favre was booed robustly when he played at Lambeau Field in 2009.

As he should have been.

No matter how many thrills and victories Favre generated during his 16 memorable seasons with the Green Bay Packers, he was the enemy then. A year removed from his messy divorce with the Packers in the summer of 2008, Favre was quarterbacking the hated Minnesota Vikings. Although some abstained, many Packers fans reacted accordingly, showing their displeasure with one of the true giants in their team’s history.

That fan reaction, while justified in 2009, is no longer appropriate. Favre had only one great year after he left Green Bay and has been retired from the NFL for three full seasons, which should be ample time for a reconciliation involving him, the Packers and the fans.

Even though some fans still mistakenly place 100 percent of the blame for his contentious departure on Favre, even though he was involved in an unseemly texting scandal during his one season with the New York Jets that quietly (and perhaps wrongly) went away, and even though he is considered a traitor by some after finding his way to Minnesota, Favre left a remarkable legacy in Green Bay. He should get a chance to rejoin the Packers family and deserves a warm reception when it happens.

I know Favre is a polarizing figure in Wisconsin and some will never forgive him for one or all of the transgressions described above. That’s fine. It’s your prerogative. My email address is at the bottom of this column, so feel free to tell me you disagree.

But you had better get used to seeing Favre’s unshaven face because, based on his remarks in a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview last week, his number will be retired in a ceremony sometime this fall at Lambeau. Once that happens, he’ll be back in the family and you can hold a grudge or you can celebrate the fact the Packers, doormats from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, have had more than two decades of sustained success due in large part to Favre and his successor, Aaron Rodgers.

Favre hasn’t stepped foot in Green Bay since the Packers beat the Vikings in 2010, his 20th and final NFL season. But the relationship between Favre and the organization has mellowed with time. In the radio interview, Favre confirmed what team president Mark Murphy said in April, that the Packers wanted him to return to Lambeau for a game late last season but the timing didn’t work because he was coaching a high school team that won a state championship in Mississippi.

Still, Favre’s reconciliation with the franchise is now a matter of when, not if. I say the sooner the better.

Favre almost certainly will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016 and he needs to be comfortably in the Packers fold before then. It’s where he belongs anyway, though one can certainly understand why time was needed for everyone involved to find peace with the entire episode.

“Time heals a lot of things, and I think in this case, you’re playing for the rival team, things are going to change,” Favre said of the fan reaction to his two years with the Vikings. “There’s no better history than there is in Green Bay — the tradition, and people love their team there, and they usually hate the other team. So when you join their opponent, that’s going to happen. Again, time heals a lot of things. In fact, I had planned on going up to a game the latter part of the season last year, but my high school team played into December and it just was a conflict.

“But the relationship is much better. It’s going to happen, I’ll be back up there. Again, my career in Green Bay, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was awesome. The people were awesome, and I just think everything’s going to be fine, and in my opinion it is now. It’s just a matter of getting back up there.”

Actually, it’s more a matter of getting the fans on board than anything else. The Packers indicated long ago they wanted Favre back in the fold and Favre, while admitting he held a grudge against the franchise, said those feelings have dissipated over the years.

A year ago, he admitted in an interview with a Buffalo radio station that he was “at fault” for his acrimonious departure and said “both sides had a part in it.” That was a big step for Favre, and it came after he and Rodgers had appeared together on an NFL awards show and patched up their fractured relationship. At the time, Rodgers graciously extended an olive branch, saying it was “time to heal things up” and “move forward” with their relationship.

Packers fans should take their cue from Rodgers and do the same.

In 2008, it was a perfectly legitimate football decision for the Packers to make a change at quarterback. Favre had tired of playing in frigid conditions and Rodgers was more than ready to step in and perform at a high level. Although the split was clumsy and contentious, it was the equivalent of a trade that worked out for both teams. The Packers got the starter they wanted and Favre got to keep playing football.

So when Favre finally does return to Lambeau this fall, Packers fans should let bygones be bygones and embrace their former idol. He’s too important to their past — and their future — not to.

Contact Tom Oates at

toates@madison.com or 608-252-6172.

Sports Columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal

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(58) comments

Arturo
Arturo

Oh, and let's not forget Oates, signer of FireTedThompson.com petition in July of 2008, also has no ...um....agenda. Remember this classic Oates:

"OK, Ted Thompson, you can stop now.

You can let go of that arm you have twisted behind my back because I'm giving up the fight, throwing in the towel, calling it quits.

Yes, you won. You've forced me to say "uncle."


http://journaltimes.com/sports/oates-thompson-s-philosophy-on-how-to-build-a-team/article_9a2fe744-296d-11e0-adf6-001cc4c002e0.html

Arturo
Arturo

The frigid conditions? Come on Oates, you know what happened, why not inform your readers? What's to be afraid of?

March 3rd, 2008 - Randy Moss resigns with the Patriots
March 4th, 2008 - Favre retires. Almost 1 year after his infamous "I can't win with these guys" quote in reference mainly to Greg Jennings, who helped Favre and the Packers get to within an overtime interception of a Super Bowl. Great player, not so great a decision maker and judge of talent.

As far as it working out for both sides, I guess. Favre got his selfish , petty revenge and got to finally play with Randy Moss. That was a hit. The Packers used the 3rd round pick they got from the Jets to trade with NE and move up in the draft to get Clay Matthews and then a World Championship. Priorities Tom, hope you put that snake oil to good use, fool.

gibbyplayer
gibbyplayer

@adamman
I gotta admit, giddyployer is quite a clever jibe. Good effort!

Maybe we'll all be discussing a similar topic ten-twenty years from now about Ryan Braun. Let's hope he has better judgement (allegedly) in cell phone use. Enjoy your day.

gibbyplayer
gibbyplayer

Ok a-man. It's amusing on your part to change my moniker to ployer, but you go too far sir! You change "gibby " to "giddy!" You do realize that you dare to insult a great American business, Gibson guitars! I suppose next you will offer equally disrespectful remarks about another great, though not so great as dear "Gibby", American institution, Fender guitars! Cease man, cease! I hope Orville and Leo are not disturbed in their peaceful, eternal sleep! You, I am certain, are sure to be haunted by nightmares involving poorly tuned Ovations throughout the night! Sleep well...if you can.

adamman
adamman

@gibbyplayer,
LOL!
My most sincere apologies, I was never good at spelling.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@adamman;

"I was never good at spelling."

Anything else you'd like to add to that list now that we have you at the Confessional?

The Gotch

Nav
Nav

@the Gotch,

WHY are you trying to get Adamann to confess to his unusually strong Crush for Mary Burke? That is well known!

Adamann may not be the best speller, or I the best typist, but we both got things to say, some of which you may not like! Get used to it my BFF!

KVP
KVP

Favre was a phenomenal football player. No one can deny that. He stood on top the pyramid in the 90 ' s in Green Bay! I think that professional athletes have an obligation to set an example for our young generation, however; nothing he did affected our children. His texts were a personal matter between him and his wife. Not the public! The media made it a big deal and it shouldn't have been. Just gossip, because in today's world people thrive on that. Is he less of a football player now? After that was made public? I think not. See what the media did to Susie Favor? Is she less of a runner after the media bashed her?
As far as him going to play for Minnesota...none of us were in the room when the conversation took place so we can speculate all we want. Keep throwing stones people, see where it gets you!

KVP
KVP

Might I add, I don't watch half the Packer games I used to without seeing him on the field.

MrBigg
MrBigg

It is not all about his football playing.
Sexual harassment, dick pics and texts is not going to settle with me.

Please just get over it doesn't work with favre's problems. The all american jean commercials, the cheating on his wife after using her in is getting back at the Packers, and how much more was there that the Packer front office knew but never let out?

Just get over it is insulting to people that think sexual harassment is more important that football ability.

usedtobefromhere
usedtobefromhere

Farve was free to play elsewhere, and while most of us would have done the same thing, you do so understanding that manipulating the system to get with your former "enemy" will have consequences. One , in this case, being you drop your icon status with lot of Packer fans. So he doesn't try to help the future of the Packers, he goes to a team that's main goal is t beat the Packers, and he lobbied Jennings o go to the Vikings? And because he coaches a high school team, we should honor him? Na, I'll pass. Thanks for the memories Brent.

gibbyplayer
gibbyplayer

@a-man:
Your earlier post suggested you thought #4 should have taken the 20 mill and not played.

adamman
adamman

@giddyployer,

No, No, No! I was just referencing the Packer's offer to him to retire. If I was Brett, I would have rejected that and kept playing, as he did.

whatever4
whatever4

Favre 4 Ever
Favre isn't the first person to ever leave the team and play some where else, GB or didn't want him any more and he still wanted to play! Grow up for god sake. He played his heart out for GB. Before Favre we were NOTHING! He put us on the map. For everyone out there that still cannot get over it DON'T watch or show up on the day he deserves to be recognized in the Packer Hall of Fame. I'm glad he played and beat GB that year to show all you ninny's out there that he still had it. HA HA. Why are you even reading this article if you hate him and can't get over it!!!!! GROW UP

iponder
iponder

Other than the people that want to revise history, most fans a knowledge that Favre did little to help Rodgers. Favre didn't even bother to congratulate him after the Superbowl. His ego wouldn't allow that. We still owe him a debt of gratitude and a day honoring his contribution seems due.

iponder
iponder

Maui Jim, you can now sleep soundly knowing the Packers don't need to sign Favre for a silly one day contract. Players are not enshrined under any specific team. Twenty Yeats from now, few fans will remember that he played with the Vikings or the Jets. Some of us will always remember that the Packers had the last laugh in their last game against him. Give the man his day in the sun. His ego deserves it.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Kiss and make up. A remarkable QB and colorful person. Hardly perfect, no one is,and he played the game tough and well and brought back a dormant franchise. He had a gun for an arm and a flair for the dramatic. He went to other teams because they were offering him more money and he wanted to keep playing. To stay relevant. So what? But now it's time to honor those great years and a great player. Bring him back. Walk him out onto the middle of the field and give him his due as they put his name on the ring of honor. And also, the steak at his restaurant was just great, which is more than you can say for Ditka's.

Maui Jim
Maui Jim

To all those Favre haters.....grow up for God's sake, it's just football. He gave 150% while he was here and when the Packers didn't want him he went elsewhere...so what? That's pro sports. I would love to see the Packers sign him to a one day contract for $1, let him take the first snap of the game and then retire his number and enjoy the fact he'll go into the Hall of Fame as a Packer.

Crocodile
Crocodile

I want to see Favre go into the hall of fame as a Viking. That's where he wanted to be.

uwbadgmad
uwbadgmad

I have had a hard time forgiving the Packer organization in how Brett was treated those last few years and then the PR campaign they put out against him during those times. Anyone that followed the Packers for decades knew what excitement and fun he brought to the game. And it would be an insult to get paid not to play if he really thought he could still play and they didn't want him to play for the Packers anymore. I understand how hurt a lot of the Packer fans are still about this situation but I think it is time for all of us to put those feelings aside.

toby
toby

Give him a new John Deere painted green & gold with the G emblem thank him for the years & send him home. Great player & fun to watch.

gibbyplayer
gibbyplayer

@adamman:
So consider something you love doing, and you excel at. Now consider being offered an obscene amount of money to quit, or an even more obscene amount to continue working for two more years. 20 mill vs 28.5 mill. Tony Bennett never offered Sinatra money to quit singing. Frank, like Brett, also was no angel.

adamman
adamman

@giddyployer:

So what's your point? I would have done the same thing Brett did.

Also anybody who donates his time to coach high school kids, like Farve does, gets points from me.

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds. Two examples I can think of are Terry Bradshaw and Scott Walker. One of them was competent and disliked and the other is incompetent and disliked. The former played football for the Steelers and disrespected his fans and the other is a stealer who plays his fans for suckers.

adamman
adamman

The "Welcome Back Brett Frenzy" is the perfect scenario.

1) Farve fans will be happy

2) Farve haters will be happy because of his concussions,Farve won't even know he's being honored.

Ballblaster
Ballblaster

FAVRE is a Hall of Famer that deserves to have Number 4 retired @ Lambeau at a proper Ceremony.

Stuck In The Middle With You
Stuck In The Middle With You

I'll stick with Brett through the good times and the bad times. It doesn't matter that he donned some other teams jersey after he was released by the Packer organization. Whether he wants to come back to Green Bay or not for whatever reason makes no difference to me. His legacy has already been written in so many football records. Sometimes it's better to keep some distance between the game, the fans, the organization and go back to the real world.

adamman
adamman

Packer fans should realize that we're so miserable without Brett it's just like having him around.

Just like me and my ex wife. I'm so miserable without her that it's exactly the same as having her around.

Comment deleted.
lunker
lunker

We do. We allow you to post your comments.

TRYIN2C
TRYIN2C

It's time to retire the number 4. Favre should be remembered for the excitement that he brought back to Wisconsin football...and as well, the reason why many talented players want to ply for Green Bay....including Rodgers.

Favre has now fully grown up. Time to forgive the transgressions which were small and recall the fun....

Let's get 'er done.

gobi
gobi

I think most fans have moved on and could care less either way about Brett. He entertained us and he was paid a lot of money to do it. Bring him back/ retire his number and I would guess he would be warmly received. It's only a game folks- there are much bigger issues out there. Peace

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

He was a blast to watch, win or lose. I'm glad we had him, and I'll be thrilled to have him back. My only question involves the Hall of Fame. It's not a matter of if, or even when, it's whether it'll be unanimous. And when he goes in, it'll be as a Packer, as it should be.

idavidn
idavidn

Get ride of Ted Thompson, Faver , is the one that trained Rodgers, ,you don't hearer about that.
Thompson wanted faver out of there so bad, he tried everything to get ride o him. To this day Ted Thompson is the problem.

lunker
lunker

It's a well known fact that Favre did not mentor Rodgers in any way shape or form. That's one of the reasons many Packers fans still hold a grudge. He never made an effort and he most certainly did not "train" Rodgers. McCarthy, Darrell Bevell & Tom Clements trained Rodgers.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

In fact, Brett specifically said "it's not my job", and it's probably a good thing, too, because he did stuff that nobody else should even attempt, and Rodgers is a better QB for having watching Favre for a couple of years and learning what not to do.

BobbyG123
BobbyG123

LOL

Have a nice day!

adamman
adamman

@idavidn:

How far did you get in school?

Thank you, Ted Thompson

witness2012
witness2012

I agree with Tom Oates- reconcile with Brett Favre and remember all that he brought to the Packers. I grew up watching him play and, while he could be erratic, he could also be magic and often seemed to carry the whole team with his passion.

He was definitely fun to watch.

I also remember him shaving his head to support his wife, Dina, when she lost her hair to cancer treatment, and that he played right after his father died and dedicated the game to him and he played his heart out.

I remember the enormous amounts of money he gave to area sports teams and the $10,000 he gave to the UWW wheelchair basketball team to help them fund their travels. I remember the plane he chartered and filled with supplies to send to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

I also remember him being interviewed last year and telling the interviewer that he couldn't remember his daughter playing soccer for an entire summer and that he likely is suffering memory loss because of his multiple concussions. And, he certainly never held back from playing when he was injured- you couldn't keep him off the field when a game was going on.

So, yes, let's get past the acrimonious ending and honor him for all that he did for the Packers and their fans for so many years. I'll always be grateful to number 4.

Belle of Syene 2
Belle of Syene 2

Brett's wife is Deanna, not Dina.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Belle of Syene 2;

Deanna is a babe!

I miss her not being around.

Yes, I am a pig.

However, my condition is exacerbated by eyesight that has neither come up short nor failed me.

I suspect I'm not alone here.

GO PACKERS!!

The Gotch

gibbyplayer
gibbyplayer

To the haters:
Are you ready to state that if a competing company offered you $12 million dollars (Jets) and $16.5 million (Vikings) for a year's work, you would refuse due to loyalty? I'm sure!

adamman
adamman

I thought the Packers were ready to pay Farve 20 million to stay retired. Much better than 16.5 million.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@adamman;

It was $25 million and more adoration, respect, and guaranteed genuflected grovelling than any mortal deserves.

There was talk of him being a sort of Grand Marshall at home games, acclaim reserved for the truly upper crust, like owners of IA County Lemonade stands.

But like Colonel Kurtz (Apocalypse Now) "He could have gone for General, but he went for himself instead."

Few people can handle properly, and remain grounded, while being treated like a certifiable demi-god without it going to their head, something which you've derived vicariously by following me.

My biggest problem? He waited until AFTER the chicago bares (in another of their unbelievable personnel coups) reupped Rex Grossman (02/23/2008) to announce phase 1 of his retirement.

Oh, what might have been; talk about whiffing on a brush with fate!

There's a generation of people that had only seen a Bush or a Clinton in the WH, and # 4 under center for the 13 Time World Champion Green Bay Packers.

The guy has a suitcase full of records that will never be broken, the overwhelming majority of them accomplished while wearing the Green-n-Gold.

You could make the argument that he came up short in more big games than not, but he always gave his all.

What more could you ask?

GO PACKERS!!

The Gotch

adamman
adamman

@Crotch:

"There was talk of him being a sort of Grand Marshall at home games, acclaim reserved for the truly upper crust, like owners of IA County Lemonade stands."

Thanks to your endorsement and perverse promotion, the Brett Farve Memorial lemonade stand in Barneveld is thriving. Soon we will have more cash reserves than Farve and Judy Faulkner combined. My only regret is that the business has impoverished my community, 25 cents at a time. I'll get over it, because there is no "I" in "team", but there is a "me".

GO GREEN BAY BADGERS!

nlhaas
nlhaas

Lest we forget how horrible the Pack was prior to Favre, seems we are a bit spoiled by our expectations. Remember we've had 6 years with Rodgers at QB, with one Superbowl win in 1 appearance. Favre led the team to two Superbowls with one win over that same period. Remember why our team was loaded way back then - Reggie came to Green Bay, partly because he wanted to play with Brett Favre at QB. After his arrival the floodgates opened with free agents. Rodgers is no longer young, and is definitely vulnerable to injury, and has trouble beating the big teams in recent years (an athletic but overall poor quarterback in Colin Kapernick can testify to this). Lets see how many more years of non-Superbowl appearing (much less winning) seasons these Favre-bashers give Rodgers before they turncoat again. Welcome back Brett!

BadgerFan12345
BadgerFan12345

If anyone has a grudge against Favre, you're sad. Get over it. He was so fun to watch and brought so many great memories. Who cares who else he played for. Who cares if he strung YOU along waiting to retire. Get over YOURSELVES. He's an all time great and we were more than lucky to watch him for years. Ask Ron Wolf who he thinks the real reason is that Favre only won 1 champ. It wasn't Favre.

bdholmes
bdholmes

As a Jets fan I've learned to get over it...ha

TopOfCenter
TopOfCenter

I hold a grudge for the 6 INT game against the Rams in the 2002 playoffs. I hold a grudge for the pick in OT against the Giants in the NFC title game. I hold a grudge for all of those NFL record INTs he tossed and, yes, all of those games he lost because of them.

He was a fine quarterback at times. He was also an awful quarterback at times.

Favre won one title. One. Just like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. And look at that 1996 Packer team. 'Twas stacked.

The Packers won despite Favre, not because of him. It's all the more evident now with Rodgers, whose consistent and methodical mastery of the position can carry an otherwise mediocre team in ways Brett Favre never could.

adamman
adamman

Geez, get a real life. Farve is a 1st ballot hall of famer. Let's get over it and welcome him back to Lambeau and retire his number. Farve has his "short" comings, but he was one heck of a football player. Get over it Wisconsin, everybody was a fan until the final years.
Farve was "Brett Football" way before Johnny.

TedsSmarterBrother
TedsSmarterBrother

So the guy who played at a high level with lots of passion should be still held in high esteem? He is also the guy we found out was a very selfish lying fool who thought he was far bigger and more important that the Packer organization. A man who sent inappropriate pictures to woman. A man who's goal was to stick it to the Packers after he retired. Calling teams to advise them on beating the Packers. Joining the Vikings to 'stick it to TT'. Telling the Bears players he is rooting for them to beat the Packers.

We are supposed to forget that he turned out to be a selfish egotistical pervert who turned on the Packers and welcome him back? We are supposed to accept him again knowing now exactly what kind of person he is? What type of people would that make us?

DaBigE
DaBigE

I'll forgive Favre when he asks to be forgiven; when he apologizes to Packer nation for how he strung us along for season after season. It was all about himself, not the good of the team. Did the Packer organization handle the issue as well as they could have? No, but they also have a business to run. If you can't count on a key component being there, you have to go to plan B.

Until Favre mans-up and takes ownership of his mistakes, he can stay down south. Yes, we won a Super Bowl while he was here, but last I checked, Favre didn't do it all by himself.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

Mr. Oates;

Embracing Favre is not a "need," nor should it be.

Needs are air, food, water, shelter, a sense of love & belonging, regular prostate exams (for the Y-Chromosomal), colonoscopies, and a Navy Blazer

If you need something, it controls you.

Embracing Favre should be a "want."

You control wants.

It's going to happen and I think I'm ready.

GO PACKERS!!

The Gotch

adamman
adamman

What a ridiculous argument. It's only a sport and Farve was one of the most entertaining and enthusiastic players ever. Not to mention his tremendous ability as a quarterback.

I'm a die hard Packer fan, but I agree 100& with Tom Oates. Bring Farve back and have a big celebration of his career.

River
River

Sure it does. Holding onto grudges shortens your lifespan (I read it somewhere). This guy brought joy and a championship back to GB - making them consistently legit through Rodgers and beyond - after many long, heartbreaking years. Champion, through and through. We were lucky to have him. Go Pack!

NotBeingPaid
NotBeingPaid

No we don't. Forgiveness doesn't come automatically simply because a few years have passed.

River
River

Favre4ever!

kmanmadison
kmanmadison

He is dead to me.

He stole his own legacy from me and I'm sure some others by seeking out and joining our hated division rival after causing a rift with the retire/unretire fiasco.

A "me guy" that put his ego in front of the team and more importantly the fans.

It will always be a sore spot for me.

Sorry but I can't ever get over it.

Time will not heal in my case.

Rodgers is a much better leader and all around person.

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