This may be simultaneously the first and last time you'll ever read me quoting a mainstream rapper, but the shoe fits. As Jay-Z once spat and frat parties the world over played on repeat, "I've got ninety-nine problems but a bitch ain't one."
Unfortunately, the rest of Packers nation and I share one problem in common, and he goes by the name of Brett Favre. And I can't escape the feeling that, no matter how well or how poorly the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets play this season, he's going to be impossible to ignore.
If I may digress for just a moment. I'm well aware of how sad it is that I get worked up about a game and the affairs of the game's players. I was raised a Packerholic, and I made peace a long time ago with the fact that one of my myriad vices would be a near-obsession with the well-being of my team and its turf-warriors.
It was a combination of force of will and a busy schedule that kept me from commenting on the Favre saga as it unfolded in August. Would they reinstate him, would they release him, would they hold him in limbo? These questions kept me up at night, and I became notably agitated by my displeasure with the way Brett Favre himself, but especially, the Packers management handled the situation.
But even though the end was ugly, it was an end...it was over. The Packers traded an unhappy Favre to the Ney York Jets and I put it out of my mind throughout the preseason and moved on with life. Or so I thought.
I was calling around, trying to get some guys together to huck a Frisbee around at James Madison on Sunday, and flipping through the channels on the TV almost without thinking about it, when there he was: Brett Favre, our ex-quarterback after sixteen magical years, playing in another team's uniform. The phone dropped out of my hand and my mouth hung agape.
It was worse than a slap to the face.
Seriously, the most analogous comparison I can draw to my reaction at that precise moment was the whiplash feeling of seeing an ex-girlfriend from across the bar with another guy. Instantly, irrationally, I was overwhelmed with jealousy. I found myself thinking ridiculous thoughts, like what I could do to win Favre back.
I don't think I was alone in this reaction. After all, Madison's Channel 3 went out of its way to pick up all the New York Jets games for the coming season, so there must be a sizeable number of television viewers who are likewise unable to let Favre go.
But the longer I watched that game, the more the ex analogy seemed to stick. I found myself reminiscing back to the times when Favre wore a green-and-gold uniform. Sure, there were some rough patches, but for the most part they were some of the best years the franchise has ever had. I even found myself wondering if the fans in New York would be as passionate about Favre as the fans in Green Bay, or if Favre could ever really be happy there.
It was something of a relief when the game ended, and I DID get as excited as I ever had on opening day Monday. My agitation doubled as I sat through the first half of a Madison School Board meeting I was assigned to cover that ran simultaneous with the first half of the football game, and I literally sprinted out the doors of the Doyle Administration building to turn on the radio and find out the Packers were leading.
When I got back to the office, I snapped on the TV and relished in seeing my Packers, maybe not thriving, but, getting by under the leadership of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They went on to eek out their fierce division rival Minnesota Vikings, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but I couldn't help but notice the Monday Night Football crew making regular comparisons between Rodgers's and Favre's performances all throughout the game.
This bothered a lot of fans. We took some calls at the radio station today from folks who say they tired of it immediately, but I'm fairly certain they're just in extreme denial. Let's face it, any Packers fan worth his or her salt is going to be tallying Rodgers and Favre's touchdown throws versus interceptions all season long, celebrating if Rodgers excels and mourning if Favre turns out to have been the better choice. For the commentators to ignore it would simply be silly.
It's kind of like the process anyone goes through with the first hook-up after a nasty break-up. Each of us finds things we prefer about the new significant other, if we're lucky, but of course there are always things the ex did better.
I've made my peace with it all. I'm excited to see what Rodgers can do with the team, and I'm happy for Favre and the success he's finding in New York.
The problem is, now that I've begun looking at the situation with Favre in the ex-girlfriend light, I'm unable to stop thinking that way. I find it a little alarming, and I hope to be able to shake it in fairly short order...because having Aaron Rodgers as the Packers starting quarterback is scary enough without having to think of him as a "rebound lay."
And it doesn't help matters that Packers fans are going to be seeing this same ex at this same bar for the next seventeen weeks...at least.