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On August 8th, Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson traded away the most beloved player in Packers history, Brett Favre. I don't have to explain the divide to Packers fans; we all remember it quite vividly. I remember the anger at Ted Thompson and the desire to have Brett Favre back. Packers fans could take comfort in one thing, that he was in a different conference. Many of us cheered for both the Packers and the Brett Favre led Jets. Neither of "our" teams made the playoffs that year, and it looked like the injured Favre would end his career with the Jets.
Fast forward to August 19th, 2009, the day Brett Favre came out of "retirement" to play for the Minnesota Vikings. Packers fans were outraged. We were betrayed by our former hero, and it was clear he wanted to get back at the Packers for choosing to move on with Aaron Rodgers. However, this was just the start of the torment for Packers fans. Not only did we watch the Packers lose in the Metrodome, we had to suffer the indignity of losing to Brett Favre and the Vikings at Lambeau Field. The Vikings and Brett Favre went on to have a better season than the Packers, adding insult to injury.
I can assure you that every Packers fan watching the game Sunday night knew of this context and desperately wanted a win. The first half of the game offered many flashbacks to the game at Lambeau Field last year. The Vikings marched down the field at will, and it looked like the Packers, with all of their injuries on defense and problems on offense, were going to come up short again. But something different happened in the second half. Last year, we saw the legendary quarterback put up one of his signature games in defeating the Packers. This year, we saw the legendary quarterback put up one of his signature games in losing to the Packers. Last year, he threw four touchdowns and could do no wrong. This year, he threw three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and another that led to a touchdown, in the second half. The other Brett Favre showed up at Lambeau Field Sunday Night, the one that cost the Packers numerous games because of poor decisions and errant throws. And it could not have been any sweeter for Packers fans.
Finally, after a year of agony and defeat, Packers fans have much to celebrate. The game itself was extremely important; it boosted the Packers back into a tie for first place. But it was so much more than just a game for Packers fans. There was justice in the win, and how the Packers won the game. Brett Favre, coming back to Lambeau Field, throwing terrible interceptions, while the Packers were led by the steady hand of Aaron Rodgers. After a year of losing to Brett Favre, finally, finally, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and Aaron Rodgers were vindicated.
The Packers proved, that despite the numerous injuries to starters Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, Mark Tauscher, Al Harris, Atari Bigby, Morgan Burnett, Nick Barnett, and Cullen Jenkings, they were still better than the Vikings. Why? Because Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy made the right decision on August 8th, 2008 when they decided to trade away Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback now, and he will lead the Packers for the next decade. Brett Favre, on the other hand, is one hard hit away from retirement. The Packers and Vikings are heading in different directions, and the Packers and their fans have every reason to feel happy, justified, and righteous.
The game on Sunday was more than a football game, and any game that Brett Favre plays against the Packers will be the same. So Packers fans, for all of you who stood by Aaron Rodgers and your team during the past two years, you have every right to feel proud about your team, because this game proved that you were right, and I hope you continue to enjoy this win as much as I do.