Everyone forgets that Brett Favre wanted to play football. He wanted to play football in Green Bay. They did not want him. In life, you go on. I don't think you get mad at the man for still wanting to play football. He was told no on numerous occasions -- 'You are not playing here.'
-- Bus Cook, Brett Favre's agent
The truth on how and why Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers split their 16-year union remains strictly in the eye of the storyteller. Favre and his agent Bus Cook say they were simply kicked aside. The Packers insist that Favre waffled too much about his return that they simply decided to move forward with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and create clarity.
I find this much crystal clear -- from the moment Favre realized he was not going be a Packer, he began angling his way for a return to Lambeau Field.
His last pass in the stadium was not going to be that awful pick by Giants cornerback Corey Webster in overtime that led to the Giants' winning field goal in the 2008 NFC championship game. The pick that induced a fallout and helped turn a longstanding romance into a ruckus.
It was a circuitous route back to Lambeau for Favre, with a pit-stop at the Jets last season before landing with the Minnesota Vikings this season. The Packers traded him to the Jets a year ago with the idea that Favre would never play in Lambeau for a rival NFC North team. They hoped the 40-year-old Favre would be one more NFL season and done. One more NFL shot -- far away -- and please, be done.
There is little accidental about Favre's return to Lambeau on Sunday when the Vikings (6-1) battle the Packers (4-2).
Favre knows it.
He has already beaten Green Bay in Minnesota this season. This is different. Just the chance to return to Lambeau and beat the Packers on that soil, well, Favre has had this itch to scratch since he was spurned.
In one breath, he said earlier this week that he has "no idea how it will unfold." In another he said he is "well aware of all the stuff that goes with it" and he won't let that "affect me or creep into the team."
OK, if not anger, then certainly payback. If not all raw, then certainly personal.
This is a dream game for Brett Favre.
This is real.
"It's a unique situation for him," Cook said. "It's different from anything in sports in America. There is no quarterback who goes and plays for any other team and former fans feel the way it is with Green Bay and Favre. Any quarterback today could go away and come back and not have as much impact as this does in Green Bay. I am sure it will be odd for him. But once the whistle blows, he will be fine."
In Vikings purple.
"He wanted to play," Cook said. "And find a home. No other team called him."
But one in the Packers' division did. The perfect storm.
We have seen Favre in Super Bowls and as a TV pitchman and marveled over his kid-like approach to the complex NFL game. More often than not, this iconic player has pulled the right strings to land in spots he desired over his 19 NFL seasons.
He called a lot of his shots with the Jets and he is doing that with the Vikings. There is only so much coaching that goes on with this player. It is one of his best traits and one of his worst. It is, in part, why the Packers had enough of him.
Here is one thing you always have to give Brett Favre: he understands entertainment.
He has done his part in giving the NFL a storyline, a scenario that is better than fiction.
The Vikings are all in.
"He works, like all great players, I mean really works," a Vikings management source said of their experience with Favre. "He is here watching tape, taking care of his body. Behind the smiles, he knows he's good and gifted. It happens anywhere from two to five times a game where you say, 'OK, now I see why he is what he is.' Not every play. Just those rare instances where he does rare things. He's been a caring person here. He deals with people in the cafeteria and that clean the building in the same way he does the owner. Everyone here notices that."
Favre is ready to make a new, testy Lambeau leap.
He found a way to get back on Lambeau Field after he was booted from it.
For Favre, that alone is victory.
For the fans who have jumped ship on him (just like he eventually jumped ship to the Vikings), Favre asks "What can I do?"
He already knows the answer. Beat the Packers, trounce them all, in the NFL's version of a Homecoming bloodfest. This quarterback will tell you he knows what it is like to get kicked in the stomach. He will also remind you he has not forgotten how to do the kicking.