Six years ago, Packers fans crowded Lambeau Field for a chance to boo Brett Favre. On Saturday night, they showed up to praise him on the night the franchise put him in the team’s Hall of Fame and retired number 4.
Whatever the over/under on forgetting Favre’s two-year stint with the Vikings may have been, the over won big on Saturday night, with an estimated 67,000 fans arriving at the place Favre called home from 1992 through 2007 to praise the man who helped restore the Packers to long-lost glory.
Via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the fans gave Favre a five-minute ovation when he walked onto the field through the Packers tunnel. Favre said he didn’t expect to become emotional, but emotional he became.
“Playing at Lambeau Field, certainly coming out of that tunnel, there’s nothing like it on this earth,” Favre said. “I’ll say this, ‘I’ve also run out of [the visitors] tunnel and that was scary. I’d much rather go through that tunnel right there.”
Lori Nickel of the Journal-Sentinel has summarized some of the key moments from Favre’s speech to the crowd, including a story about his arrival in town 23 years ago via trade from the Falcons.
The head coach wasn’t there to pick him up, like Brad Childress did in Minnesota 17 years later. Indeed, no one showed up to bring Favre and agent Bus Cook to the team facility.
“This tells you how high on the totem pole I was,” Favre told the crowd. “We had to take a cab to the hotel.”
While in the cab, Cook asked the driver about the Packers trading for a new quarterback.
“He goes, ‘Oh yeah. Big trouble maker,’” Favre said. “Loves to fight. . . . The guys’ name is Trish.”
Cook didn’t tell the driver who was riding in the cab.
“I wonder today if that guy knows, this is Trish,” Favre said.
They’ll gather to honor “Trish” again at halftime of the Thanksgiving Night game against the Bears, at halftime. Next August, thousands will make the trek to Canton for another speech from Favre.
Unless, of course, the guy who thinks he could still play and definitely looks like he could still play gives in to the itch to walk through a tunnel again with something other than street clothes on.