When Tony Dungy posted on Twitter a photo of the new Hall of Famer standing with his son, Justin, in front of Dungy’s display in Canton, I noticed that: (1) Brett Favre’s display was immediately to the right; (2) it contained an easily-noticeable Vikings jersey; and (3) Packers fans weren’t going to like that very much.
“[Expletive] the Vikings,” a fan wearing Packers gear said upon seeing the display, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Why did they have to put that in there? [Expletive] the Vikings.”
“Who came up with that display?” another Packers fan said. “He must have been a Communist.”
Pete Fierle likely isn’t a Communist. The Hall of Fame’s V.P. of communication nevertheless tried to explain the decision to sprinkle in some purple among the green and gold.
“That is an exhibit for the Class of 2016,” Fierle said, via the Journal Sentinel. “There are eight lockers created, one for each enshrinee. They contain artifacts of each Hall of Famer.”
Favre said he didn’t know the display would include a Vikings jersey.
“[T]here’s no doubt how I will be remembered, and that’s as a Packer, as it should be,” Favre said at a press conference on Friday.
Actually, he’ll be remembered as a guy who spent 16 years with the Packers, made it to the Super Bowl twice and won it once, secured three NFL MVP awards, engaged in public angst pretty much every year from 2002 through 2008 regarding whether he’d retire, prompted the Packers to use a first-round pick on Favre’s eventual replacement in 2005 due to the annual should-I-stay-or-should-I-go? routine, took the bait in February 2008 when the Packers pressed Favre for a decision at a time on the calendar when they knew he’d be more likely to call it quits, decided in July he still wanted to play, clumsily tried to force his way back onto the team, stubbornly tried to engineer a path to Minnesota, eventually accepted a trade to the Jets, failed to parlay an 8-3 start in New York into a playoff berth (thanks to a partially torn biceps tendon that the Jets were later fined for concealing), finally got his chance to stick it to the Packers by joining the Vikings, stuck it to the Packers twice in 2009, had a third Super Bowl appearance in the bag but for an ill-advised, schoolyard, cross-body, “this is not Detroit!” throw with the NFC title game tied late and the Vikings in position for a long field goal try, came back for one year too many, became embroiled in an embarrassing texting controversy that culminated in a $50,000 fine for not being truthful during the NFL’s investigation, had his incredibly impressive ironman streak end before his career did, and then his fourth annual retirement became his last one.
Even though time has healed the wounds in Green Bay, the scar from his two years with the Vikings is still there on his relationship with the Packers and their fans — conspicuous as that purple jersey in a locker that is otherwise green. It’s part of Favre’s overall career, and it shouldn’t be forgotten simply because he’d prefer it to be.