17

May

Note to Vic Carucci: Retiring Favre’s Jersey Not a Priority

As I was snooping around NFL.com this weekend in an attempt to find something that didn’t involve the lockout, I came across an article from Vic Carucci entitled “Favre deserves Packers number retired sooner than later.”

My eyes widened at the title.

Was he really suggesting what I thought he was? Did he believe that good ol’ Number Four deserved an expedited reconciliation from the Green Bay Packers?

Apparently he did.

After reading Carucci’s thoughts on the matter, my regard for him dropped significantly. Though, to be completely up front about it, I never really cared for his writing to begin with. It’s not like his stock had very far to fall anyways.

But this was just ridiculous.

Carucci personally finds it “unsettling” that CEO Mark Murphy attached the timetable of “a few years” to the retirement of Favre’s number. He does admit that this “speaks to what remains an overwhelmingly wide gap in the relationship between Favre and the Packers.” He even acknowledges the fact that the Packers need some time to let the “old wounds” heal.

For some reason I cannot explain, however, Carucci puts the entire burden of reconciliation on the Green Bay Packers organization.

Now, I’ve done my best to remain silent on this issue, because it’s one that divides the Packers fan base. And I respect all of the differing opinions out there. Each person has a legitimate reason for siding one way or the other, and without all the facts of the messy divorce, we only have speculation on which to base our claims.

My personal feeling is that Favre turned his back on the Green Bay Packers, even though both sides could have handled things better when going their separate ways. The vitriol that fans feel didn’t start when he went to the New York Jets. People seemed to support him, and a lot of Packers fans were understandably skeptical about Aaron Rodgers’ ability to lead the team.

No, the jersey-burning level of anger didn’t escalate until he put on that purple uniform. That’s when Favre crossed the line.

And perhaps Carucci, being the sports “journalist” that he is, doesn’t quite get that.

“Murphy should have been able to gather by the applause he received after mentioning the organization’s intentions to retire Favre’s number,” writes Carucci, “that a sizable number of Green Bay fans still have a special place for him in their collective heart.”

Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps a lot of fans still hold Favre with admiration and respect.

This one doesn’t.

This fan has a hole in his heart where that “special place” used to be. Watching Brett Favre and the Vikings sweep the Packers in 2009 destroyed whatever esteem I still held for him. And when he claimed that his Vikings team was the best he had ever played with, my mind was made up that he held no love for the Packers or their fans. He had finally turned his back on Green Bay completely.

Despite all this, Carucci is right that fans will forgive Favre, “even if they won’t forget.” When the old gunslinger returns to Lambeau field after saying that magic word, most of us will welcome him back.

Because deep, deep down in our hearts, that’s how we want to remember him.

We want to remember Brett Favre as the face of the Packers’ rebirth. We want to remember all of the good times, the frustrations, and the wild emotions of watching him play for the green and gold. We want to remember Favre standing alongside Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, and Reggie White as the group who reclaimed Titletown.

We don’t want to lose that part of our history to bitterness and regret.

That’s why Mark Murphy was given the applause he received on the Tailgate Tour. He gave the fans hope and reassurance that this mess would be cleaned up in due time.

“Eventually, he’ll come back into the fold,” Murphy said. “He deserves that for what he did as a Packer.”

The last thing Murphy was doing, however, was setting a timeline.

Carucci doesn’t seem to understand this. He seems to think the Packers should extend to Favre “an honor he deserves as soon as possible.” He even writes that “Packers fans are waiting.”

Well, you’re almost right, Vic. Packers fans are waiting. But they’re not waiting for Mark Murphy or Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy. They are waiting for Brett Favre. They are waiting for him to admit what he has done wrong, for him to apologize to the loyal fans he shunned when he donned the enemy’s colors.

Then, and only then, will we begin to forgive.

“[Having your number retired is] a very, very meaningful honor,” remarked Murphy on the Tailgate Tour, “and we want to do it at a time when it’s meaningful for both [Favre] and the organization.”

To put it simply, a chasm of hard feelings this wide and this deep cannot be crossed quickly. You are not going to be buying your ex-wife a birthday present a year after she stops sleeping with the man who used to be your best friend.

No, this level of reconciliation takes time.

Brett Favre deserves to have his number retired. Yet he doesn’t deserve expediency simply for being a football legend or a diva. Packers fans will formally recognize what he did for the team, but only when Favre recognizes what he did to them.

——————

Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

——————

32 Responses to “Note to Vic Carucci: Retiring Favre’s Jersey Not a Priority”

  1. CWood21 says:

    I would retire his number………when he is dead. Until then, do you think Masthay wants to change numbers? I think #4 would look great on a punter.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      I don’t think I’d want to taint Masthay’s career with that number…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • ray says:

      Totally agree with you and a very well written article.
      Having said that, and in that I have most Packer victories from 88 on on video, and even a few of the defeats, I cannot forget how great a player he was for us, almost the perfect Packer, like he came out of a computer right down to the name. And I still feel there is alot more to like about his character than dislike. And this from someone who had to leave his fan page over severe disagreements back in 08 for coming very strongly to the defense of Ted Thompson, and, scratching my own back, at a time when that certainly was not a popular opinion.
      66 waited about 6 years, while probably being at every Packer game, home and away in that period, and I would call it about a draw as to each one’s place in the legacy, which is one hell of an endorsement of Favre.
      But your points on seeing him in that purple in Lambeau is well taken.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox says:

    Chad, you hit the nail on the head on multiple points: Favre not caring about the Packers organization OR fans, and that it’s Favre who needs to come back towards the team/fans with an attitude adjustment.

    Fans already got the best possible healing out of this wound we’ve been suffering with since 2008: not only defeating Favre and the Vikings twice this past season, but primarily winning the ultimate prize: the Lombardi Trophy.

    I’m also right with you with the way you feel about the guy. Personally, as a season ticket holder, I will be absent the day they retire his number. I am not, nor will I ever be again, a Brett Favre fan, nor can I respect him. I still believe this whole retire/unretire thing, much less playing for the Vikings, would have ever happened if Irv was still alive…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Thanks. And I agree, fans were able to put a lot behind them after this season, for the reasons you mentioned.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Kathy says:

    Sadly, Vic has no clue about the issue. As a newcomer to Green Bay Packer coverage, he should just stay silent about that which he knows nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      In this instance, silence definitely would have been golden.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Jer says:

      Yeah, Vic is new to the area and the team and simply doesn’t understand the emotions involved.

      There’s no logical reason to rush into this. We’re still basking in the glow of our current World Champions. The time will come to honor the past, but it isn’t now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • keith sager says:

        think you have your “vic’s” mixed up.Vic Ketchman is a new writer to the packers. who care who the other noodle is..

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

        • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

          Haha, thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering what some of the comments about Vic being new to Packers coverage were talkig about…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. FireMMNow says:

    Right now retiring Favre’s jersey will be met with more cheers than boos. In a few years the tensions will die down and maybe even CWood21 will be able to remember Favre more fondly. Retiring Favre’s jersey less then a year after he played for a hated division rival is just too soon. Time heals all wounds, not sure time will actually heal a severed head, but it cannot hurt. I would appreciate the team waiting a few years and this is coming from a converted Favre apologist. Hey guys, we would have never made it to the NFC Championship without Favre…ugh…i actually said that. And then I saw the still photo of the fatal interception and I changed my mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • FireMMNow says:

      i meant “will be met with more boos than cheers.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • CWood21 says:

      I don’t know FireMMNow, I think you might be underestimating just how much I truly hate Favre.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Pete Kliman says:

      I fully agree on all counts .When somebody gives that much effort and heart into something ,I can’t use hate to describe them.I really believe he couldn’t say goodbye to the game until he was totally beaten and when other teams came calling he answered .It’s as simple as that .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. numby says:

    Chad, I go along with your sentiments. I still think this is ESPN’s man-crush on Favre still occurring and they are trying to capitalize on Green Bay’s current success. This wouldn’t even be a story if Green Bay struggled. TT, Murphy, and McCarthy have been nothing but professional through this whole ordeal which is more than can be said about #4.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Very true. I wonder if this conversation would be a strong if the Packers hadn’t won the Super Bowl. Certainly Favre would still be retired, but would the Packers be getting the attention on this issue yet?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. Zinwhit says:

    I, too, have the hole.

    But, I will not forgive and forget.

    I feel not only betrayed as a fan but one who was lied to all these years.

    I would prefer his number NOT be retired. His actions and words – not to mention the harm to the idealism that many Packer fans held that has now been shattered. We used to think we/Favre was different. Seems now that only Peyton Manning is truly different – truly the outstanding man and superstar that WE were hoping we had.

    Good luck, Peyton, at breaking the “iron-man’s” only true claim to fame. YOU deserve it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • CWood21 says:

      I am rooting hard for Manning to break ALL of Favre’s records.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      To be honest, I’m not sure how much I will forgive Favre when the time comes. But as I said, I certainly understand the sentiments of those who will never welcome him back. Your feelings are representative of a lot of fans, I’d say. Though perhaps not as many as those who will be able to forgive.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Personally,I don’t care simply because everyone will re-embrace Favre and his Era to it’s highest level previously recorded.
    I have loved and hated Favre to the extreme on both accounts but,even after the name calling,playing for the enemy,his treatment of Rodgers and whatever else is tossed into the pot,I have accepted that business was dictated and pursued with that situation with as much egotistical,self gratifying maneuvers and classless behavior on both sides and won’t argue who more than the other,and is much the same as the two parties now involved in the LOCKOUT.
    The one true thing about both is they both will end and fade away until the next time or incident.
    We will continue to Love and Hate the game and players equally and often,no matter what either do to us,over and over and over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      A nice, centrist view of the issue, Taryn. Logically, I concur with everything you said. Emotionally, my heart sides with the Packers, but I’m sure that’s more to do with loyalty and bias than with what actually happened.

      My point, and I think you’d agree, is that both sides need time to let this settle, and neither Favre nor the Packers should be “rushed” into forgiveness simply because the other side “deserves” it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. iccyfan says:

    I feel very strongly that Murphy spoke out of turn when he promised Favre’s jersey would be retired. The original four retired Packer jersey numbers belonged to Tony Canadeo, Don Hutson, Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke. Those four are in the HOF, represented the Packers well (both on and off the field), won multiple championships and continued their involvement with the city and organization after their playing careers were over. At best, Favre will be one of four when judged by these criteria. If not for Jim Brown, Jim Taylor would have been the best RB of his generation. Vince Lombardi called Forrest Gregg the best football player he ever coached. Neither of those guys have their number retired. Favre does not deserve the honor now, two years from now or EVER!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Definitely understand where you are coming from there. But it begs the question, what personal criteria do fans use to determine whether a player’s number should be retired? And within that, does Favre’s off-field and post-Packer behavior cancel out any of what he did in Green Bay?

      I personally believe the number should be retired; however, part of that is due to the simple fact that I couldn’t see anyone else ever wearing it again.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • FireMMNow says:

        Before Favre the Packers were a joke. Without Favre there is a good chance Reggie White never puts on a Packers uniform. He has done about as much as he could possibly do to destroy what he helped build, but the ruins are still there. The only player with their number retired that did more to increase the viability of the franchise is Bart Starr, and that is debatable. Favre was a HUGE part in making the Packers a perennial winner and for the vast majority of his career he was the complete face of the franchise. For the success that the franchise had over his career and the lack of it before his career, he deserves to have his number retired.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    One day it’s a business and the next it’s personal.
    When Favre wanted Moss,many a fan screamed NO NO NO due to the mooning in GB and thought it reprehensible that he wanted that hated S.O.B. on our beloved Packers.Favre put his writing on the wall then and nobody read it.He didn’t care if he was liked by it or not,he just wanted to WIN.That was the dagger in the relationship.

    But,if we signed Moss and as soon as he caught his first TD as a Packer,fans would have been climbing over each other to partake in his first Lambeau Leap and confetti would be showered along with a photo of his ass with glee and joy.Plus,if he were to help us win a SB,molds of his ass would be made and sold and bought by the same fans who screamed NO NO NO,and Favre would be more a God than ever.
    Let the wound heal and stop picking the scab.Move on already,and let be what will be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. great,great article,i totally agree with EVERYTHING u say.favre was the pee-nus all through that mess.his big headed attitude was a total shock to me….wonder how favre-fig-nuttin feels after rodgers pushed the final third of his head up his azz after winning the big one….man, i would of loved to be a fly on the wall in the favre household on super bowl sunday….ps i wonder who he was rooting for…..i say wait 10yrs,he might come out of retirement

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    • Pete Kliman says:

      HMMM,sounds to me like some latent feelings about Favre,with all the references to his anatomy.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Curley2808 says:

    I also disliked Carucci’s article on nfl.com and posted the following comment 4 days ago: “People who slam Packer fans for “forgetting how great Favre was” are forgetting how great he often wasn’t. With him GB was always a contender, but WE knew that if we were behind or it was a close fight in a big game, Favre was likely to get “gunslingerish” and throw more “gambles” in the air. Exciting – yes! Frustrating – yes! He was welcomed back with open arms by the fans every year, even after his annual retirement, because he was a beloved Packer. When he retired the last time in GB it was extremely disappointing as a fan. Rodgers was thought to be good, but “fragile,” and we drafted 2 rookies. The train left the station along with most fans. As a retired Packer, Favre “walked on water” and would’ve been revered as a Packer “God” for the rest of our lives. He would’ve been adulated by adoring fans every time he stepped onto the field to wave at the crowd in his retired years. That legacy was worthy of the “Ring of Honor.” His betrayal and disloyalty to that relationship, by finagling his way to the Vikings in order to “stick it to us,” showed Packer fans that his heart wasn’t really with us, maybe it was always about him. Were the Packers just a uniform he wore? He’s missing that important quality which would otherwise guarantee his name in the ring – loyalty. He didn’t want to “just” play football again, he wanted to hurt the Packers. Retire the number, I don’t even care if he attends the ceremony or not, but don’t sully the ring of honor with his name. Mend some fences first.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

    Very nice job, Chad.

    “Packer fans are waiting?” He’s fairly clueless, isn’t he? As you did a very good job of laying out, while some fans will be quick to forgive, I guarantee it’s a very small percentage. Most will need a good amount of time for the wounds to heal. For some, they will never heal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. BinKee says:

    Like he said Jets were okay, but Vikings were
    like a kick in the jewels. I think a good time
    to retire #4 would when Favre is pushed in on
    a wheelchair, with I’m so sorry tears in his
    eyes and a foot long gob of droll hanging from
    his mouth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Chazman says:

    I think Taryn’s point of Favre’s behavior being a microcosm of our current lockout situation a valid one. As much as we personalize our sports teams and heroes it seems to come back to the reality that its a business for most if not all of them. Although I agree with most everyone here that it will take time, I don’t see that “magic word” coming from Favre any time soon if ever. I also don’t know if I’ll be able to forgive either but like this current lockout I’ll just have to deal with it.
    Good article Chad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0