Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today is the Day Packers Fans' Hearts Get Crushed and Their Souls Die

The NFL is Brett Favre's lap dog. He doesn't need practice. He doesn't need a "playbook". He doesn't need "reps". He will show up in a pick-up truck at the camp of whichever team he wants dressed in Wranglers, and he'll do so when he's good and goddamn ready. He'll take a shotgun snap and drill a 20-yard "In" route from the tail gate into the chest of a receiver who was three years old when Favre first pressed his right hand against the taint of an NFL center.

No "two-a-days", no meetings, no film sessions necessary.

He is Brett Favre.

He has the power to defy physics by stretching parabolas into straight lines with 30 yard bullet-passes. He can break receivers' fingers from 40 yards away and 20 years their senior. He is Brett Favre, and he has the power to crush your heart.

And today, he's going to do just that.

(Favre takes a snap at Vikings practice)

He's going to reach into your chest from the seat of his John Deere - the one with the bucket up front - and he's going to rip your heart out. He's going to crush it in his giant right hand, squeeze out the green blood and watch it turn gold as it mixes with the oxygen. You'll suck in your last breath and exhale as he tosses your heart into the bucket and drives it out to the compost pile.

(His John Deere - the one with the bucket up front)

And then he's going to take a shotgun snap, fake a handoff, look off the safety and arch a spiral 60 yards into the outstretched hands of someone dressed in a purple uniform. Purple, for Lombardi's sake! Your football soul is dead.

(These are the hands that will crush your heart)

This is what Favre is doing today to the hearts and souls of every Packers fan that ever lived. Today, he becomes a Viking. Today he makes our worst fears come true. Not because we're afraid he'll beat the Packers single-handedly. Not because he could be the missing link in the Vikings Super Bowl chain. And not because we're afraid he'll embarrass himself, or worse, get hurt. It's because Brett Favre is ours. Brett Favre belongs to Green Bay, WI and Packers fans around the world.

We may be selfish, be we've earned that right.

We've seen him through the toughest times and he's given us some of the best times of our lives. We've laughed with him and at him, and we've cried for him. We've cursed him and prayed for him. We hiked our hearts between our legs to him and said, "hit whoever it is that's playing receiver this year whenever they're open."

And most of the time, whether he was healthy or coughing up blood; with sprained ankles and broken thumbs; and even the day after his dad died, he did so in a way that made him more exciting to watch than any other football player. So when he missed, or when he threw our hearts to the opposing team, we let it slide because he was still a Packer; he was still our hero. We just patted him on the ass, looked him in the facemask and said, "no more rocket balls, please."

("No more rocket balls, please.")

Then after an eternity in football years, when he felt he couldn't do it anymore, he gave his heart to us Packers fans as he sat crying at a table deep inside Lambeau Field.

"I just can't do it anymore," he said, and we believed him. He had given it his all and no one could begrudge him calling it a day. As Annette Summersett said, "it was the day football died." Or so we thought.

But as we all know too well, by the next fall, football had been revived, and Brett was a Jet. As painful as it was to watch him make that journey we got through it because for 11 games, Favre played lights out football. He proved to everyone that he still had it, and Packers fans could cheer for him and say with pride that nobody could do it like Brett Favre.

But this? This is different. This is too much. This is unthinkable. This is a farce so unreasonable we might die laughing if it weren't true: this is Brett Favre, the Viking. Now all bets are off. Supporting Favre now means supporting the team we hate most in the world. It means going to the Dark Side. It simply can't be done.

All these years we thought we were raising Brett Favre and it turns out that he was our father. The only support we can offer him now is this: May the farce be with you.

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