I am not a Brett Favre fan.
Never have been. Never once cheered for him to win a game. Never celebrated another of his record-breaking moments. Guffawed uncontrollably for 45 minutes when he was smacked down by Denver in Super Bowl XXXII.
I wish I could say I had some gold-plated reason for this disdainful despisal, but that would be untrue. No, it's purely a petty, he-kicked-sand-in-my-face-20-years-ago sort of grudge.
My beloved San Francisco 49ers, still the first and only 5-0 team in Super Bowl history (that will win you some bets), have played Brett Favre and his Green Bay brothers 12 times.
The Packers won 11.
Including three straight years (1995-97) in the playoffs. And again in 2001, a defeat that was the next-to-last Niners playoff berth of the new millennium.
Every time I have seen that No. 4 walk off the field with his arms raised while the proud red and gold slunk into the darkness, I have cursed the day Brett Favre entered the NFL.
Naturally, the re-ignition of the Annual Brett Favre Love-Fest could not pass me without comment. The country's been playing this game for the past five years, holding its collective breath each offseason as Favre took his sweet time deciding if he'd retire or not.
I said it when it happened, on March 6. As Favre wept during his "official" retirement, broadcast by everyone from ESPN to the PBS affiliate in Lando, I said it.
"No way," I said. "He'll stay gone for three months, then say he's thinking about coming back, then he's ready to come back, and he'll be back."
I was wrong.
It took four months.
So now we're back on the carousel, Favre saying he wants to play, the Packers saying they'll keep him as a backup but won't release him, the fans showering Packers management with boos and hate for, in their eyes, callously turning their backs on a franchise player.
You're booing the wrong guys, Pack. The villain in this case is your hero.
Even with my history, I've never said Favre's not a great quarterback. The guy can still play, as proven last year when he led Green Bay to a 14-4 record and within a hastily thrown pass of the Super Bowl.
But come on, Brett. You've left the Packers dangling too many times, mulling over whether you should or should not retire. After 2006 and 2007 were spent preparing backup Aaron Rodgers for the starting role before you again rode in on your white steed, you finally said this was it.
Rodgers has spent three years holding the clipboard, the past two where he took over the team after the season, conditioned and prepped all spring and then had Favre despicably re-snatch the reins during the summer. With the Packers already moving forward this year, designing plays and a system for Rodgers, here comes Favre again.
It's not heroic, and it's not a feel-good story.
And instead of Favre being presented as the bad guy, the Packers are. No matter it was Favre who demanded a release after it was apparent Green Bay didn't want to throw an entire team out of kilter for the sake of one player (what's the world coming to when an organization sticks to its word? Horrors.).
There's no way Rodgers can look good in this argument, because if Favre comes back as the No. 2 guy, all the fans of the Frozen Tundra will be hollering for him to be No. 1. Rodgers could go undefeated and win the Super Bowl and it still wouldn't be good enough (see Coaches After Bear Bryant, University of Alabama).
The Packers are stuck, too. They either keep Favre as the No. 2 guy and face fan wrath, or release him, see him sign somewhere else and possibly lose to him when he comes waltzing back to Lambeau Field.
Meanwhile, Favre sits back, playing the role of trod-upon hero, while his fans and the media re-live his numerous highlights, always conveniently forgetting his admitted addiction to vicodin in the middle of his three-MVP run (before you praise his heroics for boldly coming forward to confront his demons, remember it was NFL-mandated to either go to rehab or potentially lose $900,000). Not that it has anything to do with Favre's current situation, but I find it funny that nobody ever mentions that little tidbit when discussing why Favre is such a terrific person.
Favre will either get back on the field as a Packer or join another team to beat the Packers, all the while being canonized for another season as The Last Great Good Guy Pro Athlete. Then he'll finish 2008, think over retirement, announce it and then re-return in 2009, all so that spotlight keeps shining on him.
Whatever. I'm set no matter what he does.
I've finally expressed my opinion of Brett Favre.
And the Niners don't play the Packers this year.