The Brett Favre conundrum

How should a Green Bay Packer fan react to Brett Favre now playing for the Jets? Part of me wished he would be a bust with New York so that he would just retire again, and yet part of me was glad he played so well for the Jets in his first game. I was definitely glad Aaron Rodgers did well against Minnesota. And yet some Packer fans are still bitter over Favre not being there.

One’s loyalty should be to the team, right? Rather than to individual players? My wife exemplifies that team-first loyalty. “He is dead to me,” she said of Favre. But I can’t go that far.

I need sports counseling.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.augsburg4.net Greg

    I visited Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon while on a quick vacation.

    They were playing the Jets game on many of the television sets in the Atrium! People were genuinely invested in it. There were a lot of eyes glued to the TV.

    I think the Jets may have become Green Bay’s second favorite team. We won’t be able to gauge the real values of people until the Packers beat the Jets in this year’s Super Bowl.

  • Joe

    Team first is the right approach. I was very upset with the entire situation and I do blame Brett more than Ted Thompson & Co. but there is enough blame for both. I hope Brett does well because the better the Jets do, the higher draft pick the Packers get for the trade. So you can still be for Brett and the Packers!

    Personally, I hope that 5441 people are so upset that they turn in their season tickets. I have been on the waiting list since I was 12.

  • PeteS

    While I won’t be spending $24.86 to get a Favre – Jets jersey at the local Wal-Mart, I will be rooting for him and his team. However, my emotions would have gotten the better of me if he had ended up with certain other teams, particularly in the NFC North.

    Simple rule: As long as your former, sure-fire hall-of-fame quarterback isn’t with one of your hated rivals, you can root for him.

  • Kirk

    I see the potential for a great rivalry between the Jets and Packers. Too bad Favre probably won’t play for long enough for that to come to fruition over the next couple of years.

  • jgernander

    Dr. Veith,

    I can give you sports counseling. I was a sports reporter in San Antonio, Texas, for several years before pursuing the pastoral ministry.

    Just remember: All pro athletes are pampered jerks. This is what sports reporters learn by face-to-face contact with them. They see things the fans don’t see. The players are jerks, to a lesser degree the coaches are jerks, and in many cases the owners are jerks, all self-indulgently squeezing money out of naive fans.

    That said, I am a loyal Spurs, Astros, and Cowboys fan who am known occasionally to lose sleep over their fortunes. So I am not totally cynical. But I know loyalty to the individual athlete is a hopeless endeavor. He will always disappoint in the end.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17639370291865261582 Cindy Ramos

    Loyalty to team first, individual players second (unless you happen to know a player personally). I wish Favre could have had a happy ending in Green Bay and ridden off into the sunset, but I don’t hold a grudge against him, or against the Packers management. Favre made football fun to watch, and I’m much more of a Packers fan now than I was sixteen years ago. But I’m still a Packers fan even now that he’s gone. People around here are genuinely flocking to Aaron Rodgers, and after all he’s been through, we really hope things go well for him. In local stores, the #4 jerseys are on clearance, and #12 jerseys are hot sellers.

    I’ll still follow Favre and hope that he has success with the Jets. I hope he plays long enough to break one more record, the one for consecutive games started. It won’t be hard to follow him around here, as we will get Jets games on local TV and hear about Favre’s personal stats on the news, right after the coverage of the Packers.

    Dr. Veith, I’ve been waiting for a post about either the Packers or classical education so that I could share this tidbit – there are three Packers players with children enrolled at Providence Academy, our classical Christian school here in Green Bay. Cool, huh?

  • Joe

    That is very cool. Would it be inappropriate to say who?

  • EGK

    Loyalty to team first. We Jayhawks felt the same pain, indeed betrayal, in 2003 when Roy Williams left us to coach the accursed Tarheels. A 2008 national championship and Roy’s class act during the final game, helped heal the wounds.
    Before he died, my wife’s uncle, a strong financial booster and personal friend of virtually every Jayhawk coach in history (only Naismith himself predated him), actually phoned Roy to say he bore no grudge. Maybe that’s the answer. Forgive the one who betrayed you and move on. But in the end, as the Beach Boys sang, “Be true to your school” (or pro team as well).

  • http://www.homesteadblogger.com/gonorthyoungpack Jenn W

    Well, I feel for you all. Back when my Beloved Joe Montana left my Beloved 49ers… it was the same thing. While I’ll always be a 49ers fan for that brief period that he was in St Louis before he retired for real I rooted for him (and his team) anytime they weren’t playing the 49ers (which is most of the time really). It’s not like you’ll see the Packers and the Jets playing each other in the Superbowl so root for both, even if you root quietly for the Jets. :)
    In Christ

  • Don S

    I think Packers fans should be glad that a solution was found that allows Favre to play for a team in the other conference. They can’t possibly play each other until the Super Bowl, so you can root for both Favre and the Pack, or ignore Favre, as you choose, until then. And if that situation actually develops, Packers fans will be thrilled and will be happy to root against Favre during that game!

    The whole situation was unfortunate, because Favre put the Packers in a tough spot with his retire, no retire dithering, but it worked out well for all. It’s not like Favre was disloyal to the Packers either. He still wanted to play for them, but they, understandably, had moved on.

    Most importantly, I’m glad Rodgers had a good first game as he was put in in the worst spot of all. Nothing like following a legendary hall of famer that you shoved out of the position (or at least that is the perception that was left).

  • Mike Blodgett

    Brett Farve was treated as a god in Green Bay. Now that he acts as a god, why wouldn’t one say “thanks be to Farve” and follow on as his disciple?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Cindy Ramos, that is, indeed, cool that three Packers are sending their kids to Providence classical school in Green Bay. That’s the school that first taught me about classical Christian education!

    jgernander, thanks for the counseling. As for everyone in professional sports being a jerk, it should make a difference that the Green Bay Packers have no owner to be a jerk! The team is owned by the community, and I know from experience that not every denizen of Green Bay is a jerk.

  • http://uncouthruminations.blogspot.com Carl Wicklander

    I can’t be too mad at Favre because the whole situation could have been handled better by both Favre and the Packers front office. I also can’t be too mad at Favre because he did not first demand a trade or his release. His first desire was to play for the Packers again. For him to want to leave, the team had to first not want him back.

    I am team first too, so it’s really no trouble cheering for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers. After enduring this situation, you have to cheer for him, even if it’s just for encouragement! But he looks good after one game, and the Packers are 1-0 with him. That’s worth celebrating!

    The trade situation could have been worse. It is much easier to cheer for Favre when he is on the Jets instead of the Bears or Vikings, which would have been a true test!

  • Joel

    I am a fan of the NFL because of Brett Favre. I grew up on the CFL when it was still fun, but after watching Brett play with high school kid fun. He was a joy to watch then, and he still should be a joy to watch this year, though he will have it much rougher to enjoy in NY than in GB.

    Green Bay is still the first love; it would have been great to have #4 under center, but that’s history now. #12 is doing great and that is good news for us.

    My prediction: Green Bay Pittsburgh superbowl… now that will be a great game!

  • Joe

    “I also can’t be too mad at Favre because he did not first demand a trade or his release. His first desire was to play for the Packers again.”

    I am not sure I buy this. It may have been his first choice in that he asked to come back to GB in March, but when he cancelled the meeting (to discuss the logistics of his come back, which the Packers had agreed to) with TT and MM that was supposed to take place in early April and at the same time he and his agent were talking with Brad Childress and Darell Bevel (Vikings Coaches), I think “first” must be viewed as a limited term. More of a function of he wanted to play and was still under contract so it was the predetermined first choice. I think his preference was to play for the Vikings. I think that decision was based on the fact that the Vikings are really a QB away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.


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