I haven't mentioned football since the 4th of February, but -- hey! -- training camp has opened, as depressing a thought as that might be....
Two seasons ago, I was at the Vikings-Packers game at the Metrodome, where I had overdone it on the mustard. When I took that first bite of the hot dog, the mustard went squirting out the other end of the hot dog and landed on the back of the woman sitting in front of me... She and her daughter were Packer fans (there are always thousands of Packer fans at the Vikings-Packers game, since Wisconsin is only a half-hour away), and the mustard just hung there right smack in the middle of her #4 Brett Favre jersey. When I pointed this out to her, she, not appreciating the asthetics of how perfectly the yellow of the mustard matched the green-and-yellow Packer jersey, seemed to think this was the intentional work of an overzealous Packer-hater. And Vikings fans are usually so civilized (not like, for instance, Eagles fans!).
I'm, of course, not a Packer-hater. Nor, for that matter, particularly antagonistic to Brett Favre. The Green Bay Packers are an amusing little team. And one thing I've always admired about Brett Favre, besides the fact that he is a highly adequate quarterback, is that he always stuck with the same team, even though Green Bay is the least glamorous of all National Football League cities.
So, back in February, Favre, after umpteen years as a top quarterback, retires. It was a good time to retire. He had just had a good season, except for that last playoff game at Green Bay, where he was obviously freezing to death while Eli Manning was cool as a cucumber.
Then, after four or five months of retirement, he decides to un-retire. The Packers, meanwhile, have moved on and groomed another starting quarterback. They don't want him. So he thinks, Hey, maybe I could play for the Vikings (who desperately need a quarterback) in that nice warm Metrodome (where he has always been booed, but never mind that). Or how about Tampa Bay? Heck no, the Packers say, you miserable ingrate.
This is a guy who grew up in Kiln, Mississippi, a hot muggy place. And Favre is getting old (almost 40!), and you know how old people can't take the cold anymore. The blood doesn't circulate like it used to. Who can blame the man for wanting to be out of Green Bay December/January wind chills?
I do wonder, though, why he wouldn't rather quit while his body is still working reasonably well, before his throwing arm turns to Cool-Whip and before he gets the mind-altering concussion from being thrown down on his head one too many times? Or is it the quarterback mentality, the need to stay in the center of the picture?
And I do feel a little sad for all those people with the #4 Brett Favre jerseys. They're feeling a little betrayed by their hero. He apparently doesn't bleed green and yellow after all.