Timing is everything. We all knew this day would come, but looking at the tension built up during the final seasons of their legendary QB Brett Favre, we did not know when. That day has finally come. On Monday, Aug 3, 2014, the Packers organization; Perry Kidder, President of Packers Hall of fame, inc. and Mark Murphy, President/CEO of the Green Bay Packers, announced that in July 2015, Favre's famous # 4 will be retired. On that same day, Favre will also be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of fame. The Packers HoF currently has 153 members; make way for number 154. The Hall of fame/jersey retirement will take place in the newly renovated Packers Hall of fame Atrium. The exact date has not yet been set.
Favre played 16 NFL seasons with the Packers, before being traded to the NY Jets after 2007 season, and after announcing his retirement in March 2008, and then changing his mind. Despite so many years of Green Bay glory, Favre jeopardized everything, with his antics and indecisiveness late in his career. QB Aaron Rodgers was waiting in the wings, but the aging Favre refused to go quietly. Everything came to a head in that 2007 offseason when he was traded to the New York Jets; it didn't end there.
Brett Favre could not help but wear his emotions on his sleeve. He was vocal in his final seasons ("it is not my job to get Aaron Rodgers ready to play football"). His comments often found there way into print even after he was gone. When Rodgers QB'd the Packers to the first Super Bowl championship, Favre wondered aloud, why it took Rodgers so long to win one. Favre the man (even though Rodgers won it in just his third year as a starter), and Favre the QB were not much different. On the field, his brilliant creative playmaking was tainted by inconceivable throws which resulted in head-scratching interceptions at critical times. For all his glory, Favre did only win one Super Bowl, and lost the other in which he played, despite his team having been a double-digit favorite. There is a reason why Favre holds the record for most career interceptions, and keep in mind, this is a league in which Vinny Testaverde played for 20 seasons. Of course, Favre also threw more TD passes than anyone in history as well.
How Favre is remembered, depends on one's perspective. He does belong in any "best QB of all-time" discussions. He was a significant player, he was a difference-maker, a warrior, and is for sure, a worthy future Hall of Famer. The only trouble was that his overall play was as reckless as it was brilliant. His nickname "The gunslinger" was quite appropriate. He was an 11-time Pro Bowler, and 3-time NFL MVP. Above all, he was a true warrior.
When the jersey retirement takes place, there will surely be more cheers than boos at Lambeau Field. Packers fans loved Brett Favre for so many years, and he did deliver a Super Bowl ring, so they should be willing to forgive his questionable antics. He also delivered them from the Don Majkowski era; that alone is reason to be eternally grateful.
This is quite an honor. The Packers are not a team which gratuitously retires jersey numbers.
In the team's rich history which began in 1919, there had previously been only five numbers retired:
#14 Don Hutson - Jersey retired on Dec 2, 1951
#3 Tony Canadeo - Jersey retired on Nov 23, 1952
#15 Bart Starr - Jersey retired on Nov 11, 1973
#66 Ray Nitschke - Jersey retired on Dec 4, 1983
#92 Reggie White - Jersey retired on Sep 18, 2005
All of the five, are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Favre will be the sixth, and will wind up in the Hall of Fame as well. Thank you for all the memories, Brett. It was quite the roller coaster ride, but ultimately unforgettable, and the good definitely outweighed the bad. His retired number will be on permanent display in the north end zone of Lambeau Field.
There may never be another like him.