The Green Bay Packers are my 4th-favorite team in the NFL right now. (Behind, in order, the Vikings, Bills, and Denver Broncos).
But Green Bay Packer fans are my least favorite people in the world. They're stupid and short-sighted and deserve to be even more insulted than that, but it's hard to insult a Packer fan.
Here's a riddle:
Q: How do you insult a Green Bay Packer fan?
A: Slowly, and using small words so they can understand.
All week long -- all year long, but especially this past week, and this coming week, I've listened to Packer fans -- mumbling through their jowls, with mouths full of beer and bratwurst -- badmouth Brett Favre and make stupid jokes about how they're going to "welcome" him back this week when Favre, wearing Minnesota purple, returns to Lambeau Field for the first time since being ignominiously tossed out by soon-to-be-fired Failed Coach Mike "Mike" McCarthy, and shortly-after-to-be-fired failed GM Ted "Mike" Thompson.
By the way, Packer fans, "ignominiously" means "disgracefully" or "dishonorably." I'm sorry I couldn't find any one-syllable words to help define it, but maybe someone smarter than you can help you figure it out. It shouldn't be hard to find someone smarter than you; just look at pretty much anyone not wearing a Packers' jersey.
The anti-Favre fervor is being stirred up because of next week's Vikings-Packers game, a game that is anticlimactic because the Packers and Vikings already played each other, and Favre whooped the Packers, handily. (Which isn't surprising, because almost everyone whoops the Packers, handily.) But it's been around all year, and it was around last year, too, as Packer fans turned on their former favorite son with a viciousness that was surprising not just because of how nasty it was, but because of how stupid it is to hate Brett Favre.
But, as Forrest Gump should have said, "Stupid is as Green Bay Fans does," and the crescendo of idiocy will reach its high point this week -- or, its high point until Favre makes it to the playoffs and wins a Superbowl wearing Vikings purple, at which time Packer fans will have nothing better to do but make derisive comments about him, as the Packers will be sitting at home after battling to a 7-9 record.
So far already, Packer fans have been making suggestions for welcoming Favre back to Lambeau Field, suggestions ranging from "A giant waffle shaped like a number four" to "Boo him," (Clever!) to "Stand up and turn around when he comes onto the field." It's doubtful that Packer fans have the coordination to pull off that last one -- standing up and turning around -- but showing Brett Favre their giant butts would certainly punish him, and remind him why he's better off out of Wisconsin.
He's got the remainder of the comment
shaved into his rear.
As you might guess, I'm not one of them, and I'd be disappointed in Packers fans for treating the greatest player ever to grace their team this way, except that would be giving them too much credit. Instead of disappointment, I've hit on resignation: Packers' fans turning on Brett Favre is about what you'd expect from people stupid enough to continue to root for the Packers even as they labor under a "coach" and "GM" who are rapidly dismantling what had been nearly two decades of excellence, while rooting against one of the all-time greats.
Packer fans in general, when they can muster up enough wit to answer questions, give a couple of reasons why they now hate Brett Favre. Let me debunk them for you, and, Packer fans (if you're still reading this)(and if you can read), print this up and take it to someone to help explain it to you.
1. He plays for the Vikings now. That's Complaint Number One from the muttonheads who hate Brett Favre. He's a turncoat! He plays for our hated rival! He's in purple!
Way to not be colorblind, morons. But you're wrong wrong wrong to hate Favre just because he plays for the Vikings.
In the first place, the Bears are your hated rivals, not the Vikings. The Bears. When Lovie Smith came to coach the Bears, he famously said that job number one was to beat Green Bay. He's 7-3 against the Packers since then, and, not coincidentally, has also gotten 40 wins in four seasons, winning the division in '05 and '06. Bears-Packers is a great rivalry, going back to 1923.
Packers-Vikings? It's a "rivalry" dominated by Randy Moss almost-mooning Green Bay -- a move that sent stupid Packer fans swooning like so many 1930s housewives. He pretended to take down his pants! OMG! Vikings-Packers goes all the way back to... 1961. Herman's Hermits have been around longer than the Vikings-Packers "rivalry."
In that same span, while the Bears have been kicking Green Bay around, the Packers have been 7-3 against the Vikings, even though during that time they've largely been under management that makes the brain trust at AIG look smart. The Vikings in that time span won one division title. Tying the Packers.
But, aside from that, going to play for the Vikings isn't that bad.
Let's remember that Brett Favre didn't want to leave the Packers. He retired, sure, but then he tried to come back, and he specifically tried to come back to the Packers.
Here's how the Packers responded, in case you Green Bay idiot fans forgot:
First, they had "no reaction." Then they told him he absolutely would not have a chance to compete for the starting job. Absolutely would not. Everyone else in camp that summer would have a chance to start. The 3-time MVP, Superbowl Winning Quarterback would not.
After that, and only after that, Favre asked for his release, and instead got traded to the Jets, where he played magnificently until he hurt his arm -- and even without his throwing arm, still played better than many other quarterbacks in the league. (Favre finished 11th in passsing yards in 2008, 9th in touchdowns, and, despite the many cracks about his interceptions, threw only five more interceptions than Drew Brees, who nobody seems to hate even though Drew Brees, after being driven out of San Diego, went to play for the Saints.)
That landed Favre in retirement again, but he was pursued by the Vikings -- a team that wanted him -- and he decided to come back.
So, Dumb Packer Fans, remember: you drove him away. The Packers got rid of Favre, not the other way around.
As for going to other teams, ask yourself this: If you were let go from your job, right now today, a job that you love, but got offered a chance to work for a competitor in your field, would you do it?
Of course you would, and the fact that you for a moment thought No, I wouldn't, and maybe even said that, shows what a bunch of liars you Green Bay fans are. You lied, for a moment, because you'd sell your soul if it meant selling Brett Favre down the river, just so you could continue to feel loyal to a team that is rapidly declining while still charging you full price for your season tickets. But you know you'd do it, because you would want to keep doing what you love.
But you still do hate Brett Favre, right, because he went to play for the Vikings?
Then you also hate Reggie White, Vince Lombardi, and Curly Lambeau.
Reggie White left the Packers, retiring, only to return for a season with the Carolina Panthers. Do you hate him?
After Vince Lombardi stopped coaching, he spent time as Packers' GM, but then, when he wanted to return to coaching, he went to the Washington Redskins. Do you hate him?
There is an actual Saint Vincent, patron saint of vintners,
brickmakers, and sailors. He also didn't leave the
Packers to go coach the Redskins.
brickmakers, and sailors. He also didn't leave the
Packers to go coach the Redskins.
But, you say, through mouthfulls of cheese, those guys didn't go to our hated rival! (See, you already forgot how I showed you that the Vikings aren't your hated rival. Try to keep up with me, here.)
Fine, though. They didn't go to your "hated rival." But Curly Lambeau did. You know Curly Lambeau, the guy who you named the field after? The revered Lambeau Field? The eponym for the Lambeau Leap?
"Eponym." It's... never mind. I can't keep explaining all this to you.
Curly Lambeau, the man who lent his name to most of Green Bay lore, the man who threw the first pass ever thrown by a Packer, the man who threw the first touchdown pass ever for Green Bay, eventually left off coaching Green Bay (where he'd grown up), and, after he left the Packers, went to coach for Chicago.
So you hate Brett Favre because he wanted to keep doing what he loves, but couldn't do it for the team he wanted to play for? Because he plays for a team that's not your hated rival?
Smart, Green Bay Packer fans. Smart.
I hope we see Curly Lambeau burning in effigy outside of "Soon To Be Renamed Field" next week.
2. He waffles around about what he wants to do. That's another big complaint Packer fans/morons have about Brett Favre: He can't seem to make up his mind about whether or not he wants to keep playing football!
Because, of course, all major career decisions should be easy, and quickly made. That's the way I do everything, certainly: If it's important, I don't spend even a single second pondering it. I just decide and go, and damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
"Not thinking before you act" is how one ends up a Green Bay Packer fan; "not thinking at all" is how one remains a Green Bay Packer fan.
Favre has twice retired, and has twice come out of retirement. For a couple of seasons before that, he flirted with the idea of giving it all up, but didn't.
Let's tackle -- ha!-- that latter one, first. For the last couple years before his first retirement, Favre talked occasionally about retirement. I remember it well, because I never wanted him to retire.
But why was Favre talking about retirement? Did he call a press conference to say "I wonder if I should maybe pack it in?" No. He was asked, by reporters, whether he was going to retire, and he tried to answer the questions that were asked of him.
Reporters, game after game after game, would find Favre and say "Are you going to retire now? How about now? Now? Now? What about now, Favre?" I don't recall a single instance of Favre raising the issue first, and I bet you can't, either.
So now it's Favre's fault that people asked him a question? I'll keep that in mind when I run into you, Packer fans: I'll say "Are you going to cheat on your wife?" and wait for her to leave you because you talked about whether or not you'd cheat on her.
It's true, then, that Favre retired, and then unretired, twice. But retiring, and then unretiring, is an American tradition, going back at least as far as Grover Cleveland, who retired from being president and then came back after a four-year layoff to preside over whatever it was that happened during the Grover Cleveland era. Teddy Roosevelt tried that, too, retiring from politics to go shoot wild animals, only to return and start his own political party in 1912.
When Lance Armstrong unretired, he was heralded in the press and followed avidly by both people in the world who care about cycling. Garth Brooks recently announced he's coming out of retirement, and he got booked on Jay Leno. Junior Seau just came out of retirement, for the second time, and nobody's "sick" of him. Rapper Jay-Z, singer Tina Turner, writer Stephen King, all have retired and been welcomed back -- returning because they loved what they were doing (and wanted money.)
Want to talk waffles? Michael Jordan unretired three times. Nobody's turning their back on number 23.
Brett Favre was undecided, at the end of the 2007 season, whether he wanted to return for a full year. That's not surprising, given that he'd just had a long, tough season, and that he was facing the prospect of coming back to play for a team whose management had made very clear that they did not like him.
Then, at the end of the 2008 season, Favre again was uncertain about whether he wanted to come back and play, an uncertainty that was compounded by the fact that returning to play would mean surgery on his arm, and more and more pounding and banging on a body that had been getting hit for decades.
But you go ahead and blame him for not being sure. Blame Favre for not being sure that he wanted to come play for a GM who would toss him out the door soon, and blame Favre for not being sure, at nearly forty, whether he wanted to have surgery to try to play some more.
3. He's selfish. That's the newest one. Packers fans, in their brainlessness, accuse Favre of being selfish, or lazy, and claim he didn't help mentor his teammates, and that he didn't want to be in training camp.
If -- if-- Favre didn't want to be in training camp, then (a) I don't blame him, and (b) Packer fans, can you even walk downstairs without wheezing? Don't accuse someone else of being lazy until you see how your next angioplasty turns out.
This Packer fan is not reacting to the game;
he's reacting to seeing himself on the Jumbotron,
which, ironically, was not large enough to
picture his entire belly.
"Sweet! Look at how many chins I've got!"
So is Favre selfish? I think not. Since the first time he retired, we've heard stories now about how Favre was standoffish in he locker room, how he never really helped Aaron Rodgers much as a backup, how he didn't pal around with the guys.
Packer fans, listen up: It's not his job to mentor Aaron Rodgers. How would you like to train your replacement? How would you like to train your replacement when you're working for a boss who has made clear he doesn't like you? Since Ted "Mike" Thompson arrived in Green Bay, he and Mike "Mike" McCarthy have overwhelmingly decided that Favre was not their guy, drafting Rodgers and doing what they could to hasten Favre's departure.
And in the face of that, you want him to help make Rodgers better? You expect Favre to groom his own replacement? Who does that? Why would you expect someone to do something that goes so completely against human nature.
"But," half-witted Packer fans protest, "He's supposed to think of the team!"
Exactly: He's thinking of the team by focusing on making himself play better. Favre was, and is, a better quarterback than Rodgers. That's no knock on Rodgers; it's not an insult to say that Rodgers is not the equal of the Greatest Quarterback Ever To Play The Game. It was Favre's job to make sure the Packers -- and now the Vikings -- are the best team they can be. That meant playing him, not playing a quarterback who wasn't as good, and who needed Favre's help to be better.
As for palling around with teammates, those teammates are half his age! Back in the 1990s, when Favre was playing with guys his own age, he did hang around them -- and that was something that caused no small amount of trouble for him. Since then, Favre has grown older while his teammates have stayed the same age. The Packers, under Ted "I'm packing my bags" Thompson have fielded among the youngest teams in the NFL. Favre, though, was a near-forty married man with teenage daughters. He's supposed to go play Playstation 3 with a bunch of twenty-somethings? I think not. He's supposed to do what nearly-forty-year-old married men do, which is go home and try to help their daughters with their homework.
Have you talked to someone who's in their 20s? Oldest is 22, and her friends are 22, and I can't talk to them at all. Just hearing about their lives makes me tired. The thought of spending a night at a bar with them, texting and dancing and drinking, makes me want to go watch CNN and doze off while listening to Dylan albums.
I don't blame Favre for not "mentoring" Rodgers. I don't blame him for not hanging around his teammates, with whom the only thing he has in common is where they work. I know you blame him, but you're a dunce.
There's three reasons why Packer fans, in their sluggish simplemindedness, hate Brett Favre -- three reasons proven to be, well, stupid. Let's look at a couple more reasons why it was so dumb to let Favre go.
Football-wise, things aren't working out so well for the Packers, are they? Since leaving, Favre is 15-7 with his two teams. The Packers, meanwhile, are 9-12 -- even though they have the exact same personnel they had on the 13-3 team that was one play away from the Superbowl, the team Favre led to the NFC Championship.
(I note, on that subject, that Favre, in less-than-ideal conditions, was 19 of 35 for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions, against the Superbowl-bound Giants in his last game as a Packer. Tom Brady, playing in the Giants' next game, was 29 of 48 for 266 yards with 1 touchdown, despite playing in perfect conditions.)
Favre had a better completion percentage in 2008 than Rodgers -- 65% to 63% -- and, while he trailed Rodgers in yards and touchdowns (and, to be fair, threw more interceptions) last year, Favre's numbers were respectable, especially considering he was playing on a team that had been 4-12 the year before, while Rodgers was playing on a team that had been 13-3. Rodgers inherited a good team; Favre inherited a bad one.
This year, Favre is ranked third in the NFL, trailing only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees when measuring by QB rating, and he's tied with Brady for third in touchdowns. Rodgers, meanwhile, is 5th in rating, 12th in touchdowns, and 9th in yards.
Again -- not a knock on Rodgers, who is struggling playing for the increasingly-sloppy, ill-coached Packers, a team whose most recent personnel moves were to re-sign two over-the-hill players their GM had previously let go.
Not all of Favre's success can be attributed to playing with Adrian Peterson, either. Peterson leads the NFL in yardage, but he's only 22 yards ahead of number 2 Chris Johnson (who plays for winless Tennessee.) Peterson is second in touchdowns behind Maurice Jones-Drew, who plays for 3-3 Jacksonville. It no doubt helps that Favre has a quality running back, something Packers' "GM" Ted "I'll leave quietly out the back door" Thompson hasn't bothered to get for his own handpicked quarterback Aaron Rodgers: Packers RB Ryan Grant is ranked 18th in the league.
So it's bad enough, Packer fans, that you are obtuse enough to hate Brett Favre, even though he's playing at a high level, instead of hating your team's coach and GM for tossing out a perfectly good quarterback. In doing so, Mike & Ted's Not-So-Excellent Adventure doomed you to mediocrity, if not worse, in football terms.
But, Money-wise, the impact of losing Favre is even more hurtful to Green Bay. This year, the NFL schedulers planned for only five national games for the Packers. Those five national games were against Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas, Baltimore, and Arizona. A sixth national game was added when the Vikings-at-Green Bay game was moved to 3:15 Central Time next week.
What do those national games have in common? They're all teams that people want to see. Chicago and Dallas are big media markets. Arizona was in the Superbowl last year and has media darling Kurt Warner. None of those games were picked as national games because of the Packers, who people no longer want to watch. (The Baltimore-Green Bay game is a toss-up; I don't know why that was picked as a national game, except maybe that Baltimore was a playoff team last year.)
The Packers, at the start of the season, ranked 8th in merchandise sales in the NFL, with no Packer player in the top 25. (Aaron Rodgers, the sole top-25 player from the year before, had dropped out.) The teams ahead of the Packers included not just the big markets, but also the San Francisco 49ers.
You know, the 49ers who were 7-9 last year.
The 49ers who were one game better than your Packers last year.
Why does that matter? I don't expect Packer fans to understand fully, but you have heard of revenue sharing, haven't you?
Here's how the NFL shares money: It gets TV money, which is shared equally among all the teams. It gets merchandise money for sales through the NFL, which is shared equally among all the teams, too. So when I watch Brett Favre play as a Viking, the Packers get a little of that money (even though they, and their fans, don't deserve it.)
The teams don't share money from sales at their stadiums -- tickets and concessions -- and don't share money from some licensed products. Particularly, teams keep money they sell from their own Pro Shops, in person and online. When you buy a jersey from the Packers' pro shop, that money goes to the Packers, not the league, helping your team compete.
But the NFL doesn't let teams sell jerseys for players who aren't on their roster, so the Packers can't sell Favre jerseys anymore, which is too bad, since Favre's jersey was (for the second year running) the number one preseason seller... which generates a lot of money for the Vikings, and costs the Packers a lot of money. (Aaron Rodgers came in pre-season at 19, trailing Hines Ward, and just ahead of the 49ers' top draft pick, Michael Crabtree, who didn't even play until this week.)
On the subject of money, let's talk a little bit about charity. You remember what that is, don't you Packer fans? Sure you do -- because you're all about charity.
For example, you're burning perfectly good things for "charity." I'm not sure I see the "charity" in taking things that have value and burning them, but that's what one Eau Claire bar is doing, promising to burn your Favre gear for a $10 charitable donation to an as-yet-unnamed charity. (I'm betting the charity is "Our wallets." But I could be wrong.) Of course, with Favre gear selling at an all-time high, you could sell your Favre stuff and donate the proceeds to charity -- but why do that? Why sell your Brett Favre jersey for $275, and donate the proceeds to charity, when you can burn it and donate just ten bucks to (an as-yet-unnamed) charity?
Another "charity" Packer fans are stupidly supporting is the "Mourn 4" armband, a not-so-funny black armband which claims (falsely) that "100% of proceeds from the sale of every black ‘4’ armband goes directly to support the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition."
That is a false claim because I heard the guy who came up with the concept on the radio, and he said that some of the money is going to pay their start-up costs and that the charity is only now "in the black" (so to speak) -- so, people who have "charitably" bought a black armband, you've raised thousands to cover... start-up costs, and very little to help out breast cancer. You'd have done better to send $5 directly to the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition and get over it. (Click this link if you want to donate to the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition directly, instead of covering "start up costs.")
(To be fair, there is one charitable drive that's actually working well: The Wisconsin Guys on WTDY collected up old Favre jerseys and donated them to a homeless shelter in Minneapolis before the first Packer-Vikings game. Good for them, and they're exempted from this tirade.)
Those idiotic, and wasteful, charitable efforts pale in comparison to Favre's own charities. Favre's "Fourward Foundation" has donated $3 million over 10 years to disadvantaged kids in Wisconsin and Mississippi. Yeah, that's a pittance compared to what he's earned -- but it outshines Packer fans' own uncharitable, dumb efforts. (Favre's wife, Deanna, also runs the "Deanna Favre Hope Foundation," which helps fight breast cancer.)
You get what you deserve, Packer fans, and you get what you asked for. You allowed your team to throw out excellence, and now you've got mediocrity. Your bitterness towards Brett is dumb, and undeserved. The only thing you should give to Brett when he comes back next week is a hearty welcome, if not a plea for him to throw off the Purple and put on the Green and Gold. He won't -- I hope, ever -- but you could at least ask him.
As for me, I'm going to proudly wear my Favre Vikings' jersey, and I'm going to root for Brett and his Vikings against the Packers, and I hope that when he finally does retire, and enter Pro Football's Hall of Fame, that he does it as a Viking.
Because it'll serve you right, you bunch of stupid fairweather fans.
What To Watch & Why: It's obvious, isn't it? Next week Sunday, at 3:15 Central, Favre returns to the formerly-friendly confines of "Did he really coach Chicago/Yes, he did" Field, where moronic Packer fans will do something inane, and where Favre will continue his dominance. If you look closely during long shots of the field, you'll see Ted "I can't read or write" Thompson hanging his weird-shaped head in shame in the luxury boxes. For a fun drinking game, do a shot each time the Packers commit a penalty or give up a sack -- but quit after the first quarter or you'll die of alcohol poisoning.