No one will ever again wear No. 4 in a Green Bay Packers uniform, so for all intents and purposes Brett Favre’s number has been retired. But the Packers aren’t ready to retire Favre’s number formally just yet.
Packers President Mark Murphy told Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Packers want to wait a year or two before they retire Favre’s number.
A ceremony at which a player’s number is retired is supposed to be a feel-good occasion and an opportunity for that player to soak up the cheers from the fans one more time. In the case of Favre in Green Bay, the problem is that there are a whole lot of fans who are in no mood to cheer Favre. The last time he played in Green Bay he was booed off the field, and a ceremony in Green Bay right now probably wouldn’t go well.
It’s a little sad that Favre — who was beloved by the local fans like few other athletes in sports history when he played for the Packers — is now so reviled in Green Bay that he’d hear a healthy dose of boos if the team tried to honor him at Lambeau Field right now. But Favre flip-flopped so many times in retirement that he has no one but himself to blame for that. (It also doesn’t help Favre that Aaron Rodgers has played so well that it’s easy for Packers fans to forget how special a player Favre was.)
Eventually, a time will come when Packers fans are ready to forget the way Favre handled his retirements and un-retirements and instead remember the way Favre won three MVPs and a Super Bowl in Green Bay, while setting every NFL passing record. But that time hasn’t come yet. And it will probably take more than a year or two.