[size=18]Angry Packers fans, it's time to let go of Favre[/size]
By Tom Powers
Updated: 09/05/2009 11:39:06 PM CDT
Memo to Packers fans: Brett Favre is no longer your concern. Get over it.
This is getting ridiculous to the point of almost being degrading. All the name-calling and filthy language, all the baiting of Vikings fans, who are quick to swallow the hook. It's like a bunch of 8-year-olds calling each other names. "Oh, yeah? Well, double poo on you!" Except that the lingo would make former coach Jerry Burns blush.
It's normal to yap at fans of other teams. To say, "My guy is better than your guy." To trash talk and to taunt. This is particularly true in football, where it's considered fine form to get drunk and then throw up right after the game, especially if you make it out of the parking lot first. It's all good, not-so-clean fun.
But Favre's leaving clearly has left deep emotional scars on the citizens of Titletown. They are handling it very badly. They've gone over the top and currently lead the league in spewing hate.
Someone sent me a list of Vikings-related messages boards, or whatever you call those places where people get together and squawk online, and suggested I check them out. They're supposed to be for Vikings chat, but they are full of Favre hate, presumably from still-chapped Packer backers. A typical posting thread goes like this:
"Our O-line needs to turn it up a notch."
"Favre is a *^%."
"A.P. is in midseason form."
"Did you see that tackle by Winfield?"
"Favre *^% and the Vikings ^%$ and your momma
Welcome to the Information Age. That stuff eventually degenerates into one big, profane, name-calling mess. At first, I thought it was kind of interesting. But after a while it was just so predictable. However, it is amazing the number of obscenities that can be created by using bad word play to alter "Vikings" and "Packers." If these people had put as much effort into their high school English classes, they might have passed.
There are, of course, thousands of Packers fans in the Twin Cities. I've probably run into or heard from, oh, all of them. Not one can let go of the Favre thing. They are obsessed with his decisions to retire and then not to retire.
Apparently, the Packers brass was, too. Fine, but either you want him or you don't. The problem is that they didn't want him but they didn't want anyone else to have him, either. In my mind, Favre changed his mind only once after leaving the Packers. He admitted he wanted to play right after parting ways with Green Bay and ended up with the Jets.
This summer, he really and truly planned to stay retired until the Vikings talked him out of it. They kept calling and sweetening the pot. Finally, they cajoled him into town. And I don't blame them. Favre is a perfect fit. He knows it, too. It's not that he's playing in Minnesota to spite Green Bay. It's that he's playing in Minnesota because it represents his best chance to win. Strictly business.
But apparently this is what happens when a local icon leaves Green Bay. Being so young at the time, I can't recall if people uttered endless strings of filth when Vince Lombardi came back and coached the Washington Redskins. That was a simpler time, though. There were no such things as Internet connections and idiots with computers.
Besides, we don't see much of this in football because of the labor agreement. Superstars leave town in baseball all the time. Big-time ballplayers leave their teams via free agency and never look back. Granted, Favre was something extra special in Wisconsin. But to a lesser extent, so were Torii Hunter and Johan Santana in Minnesota. One left via free agency and the other was traded before he went to free agency. It hurt, but people got over it. Hunter got a standing ovation when he came back as an opponent. I'm sure Santana would get the same "thanks for your efforts" roar of approval.
Being a football fan means you get to blow off steam, go crazy and have a good time. But do people have to act like, what's the term I want ... disgusting animals? There might be shootings when the teams meet this season. And where does the next generation go from here? After all, every bit of bad language already has been used up.
Tom Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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