Packer Nation is a-twitter over news that team president and CEO Mark Murphy put a timeline on the retiring of Brett Favre’s iconic No. 4.
While on annual goodwill Tailgate Tour around the state of Wisconsin, Murphy told students at West Allis Hale High School in response to a question on the subject, “Yes, he deserves that for what he did as a Packer. Probably in a year or two. We want to do it at a time that’s meaningful to him.” Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was there to capture Murphy’s words for posterity.
Some have reacted to the news with trepidation, the wounds still not healed from Favre’s ugly divorce from the franchise. Others think it’s already overdue.
I’m not Mark Murphy, but I personally don’t think Favre deserves the honor of having his number retired for eternity.
To me, that’s a distinction that’s higher than the Hall of Fame, or at least it is as far as the Packers are concerned. Teams with a less glorious history might have less stringent standards, but not in Green Bay.
Personally, I see it as a recognition that should come to people who not only played at an impossibly-high level, but also conducted themselves with dignity and displayed respect for others. And that’s something I don’t think Favre did.
The hemming and hawing, will he or won’t he retirement dance he did seemingly every year didn’t bother me.
But Favre, unfortunately, showed his true colors in his reasons for wanting to part ties with the Packers.
He got angry at general manager Ted Thompson who chose not to trade for Randy Moss and bring other veteran players to Green Bay. Favre’s sense of entitlement reeked of vanity and pomposity for wanting to make decisions reserved for the front office.
The way he took to Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News to voice his displeasure with the Packers in the summer of 2008 was another move that lacked class.
And worst of all are the allegations that Favre sent naked pictures of himself to Jen Sterger and sent lewd messages to a pair of masseuses while with the New York Jets.
Nothing has been proven in a court of law, but I have all the evidence I need to make an opinion on Favre when he was fined $50,000 by the NFL for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into whether the quarterback violated the league’s personal conduct policy in 2010.
These are not actions of somebody who deserves inclusion into a group of which there are only five members, arguably the five best players in team history that also didn’t have such major character flaws: Don Hutson, Tony Canadeo, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and Reggie White.
On the other hand, I don’t mind if Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Packers Hall of Fame. I’ll even advocate for his inclusion into the fraternity of such a prestigious group of players.
My opinion may differ from others, but I view the Hall of Fame as the acknowledgement of how well a player performed between the lines, not outside of them. That being said, it shouldn’t come as not surprise that I think Pete Rose should be in baseball’s Hall of Fame too.
Favre is worthy of that honor. Neither I nor any sane person can deny his ample credentials: his all-time NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns, his streak of consecutive starts, his three MVP awards and his win in Super Bowl XXXI. His unorthodox yet incredibly successful style of play defied convention.
And with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Favre’s name will be included in the team’s “Ring of Honor” along with others on the facade inside Lambeau Field.
That’s enough for Favre, and all he’s deserving of.
I don’t expect others to share my opinion, particularly the decision-makers within the Packers organization who are subject to continuous questioning from the fans and the media.
I fully anticipate Favre’s number to, indeed, be retired. Whether it happens in the year or two timeframe mentioned by Murphy is up for debate, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it does.
But if I made the call, Favre’s number wouldn’t be retired under my watch.
Brian Carriveau is a writer for Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.