They really do.
"All of the people, they're moving on. They're just excited about No. 12," said Packers offensive guard Daryn Colledge, referring to Aaron Rodgers, now the people's choice in Green Bay at quarterback -- as opposed to Brett Favre, the other guy, who was No. 4 before a nasty ending in 2008 to his 16-year career with the Packers.
That's why, when you mention Favre these days, you get a bunch of contradictory responses from his old locker room.
On the one hand, Packers wide receiver Donald Driver said this about the other guy who was his teammate of nearly a decade: "I mean, he's one of the best ever to play this game. He's a true Hall of Famer." Then on the other, Driver said, "But you're always going to be able to have somebody who can come in and fill your shoes."
Somebody who can fill Favre's shoes?
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While the other guy took the Packers to two Super Bowls and won one of them, Rodgers will play for a world championship for the first time on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, where his Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, yes, Rodgers has splendid numbers during his three seasons as the Packers' starter, but he isn't within several bombs of matching the other guy's three NFL MVP awards, 11 Pro Bowl trips and numerous team and league records.
Rodgers might get there, but he isn't there yet.
Not that many with the Packers care.
For instance: Packers coach Mike McCarthy was among those who thought it would be wise to push Favre into retirement by replacing him with Rodgers after the 2007 season. Which means it isn't surprising that McCarthy now says of Rodgers: "He is everything we thought he would be. Personally, how he handled the transition speaks volumes about him as a person and his family and how he was raised. He took the high road throughout the whole transition."
Yes, Rodgers -- who shrugged without complaining -- did when the usually supportive fans of anything in green and gold booed his every move during his first training camp after replacing the other guy.
Then came Favre's series of comebacks from retirement, and among them was a 2009 signing with the Minnesota Vikings. Just so you know, Packer fans respect the Chicago Bears, but they despise that other team from the old Black-and-Blue Division not named the Detroit Lions. Plus, about the time Favre spit at all things Packers by becoming one with the Vikings, Rodgers began flashing signs of evolving into one of the NFL's premier players. And, suddenly, Rodgers was hugged tightly around Green Bay, and Favre was the other guy -- or worse.
So Packers president Mark Murphy telling the national and international media the other day that he "envisions" Favre with a role in the organization at some point deserves a few yawns.
No matter what Packer executives say, you just know they want all of the quarterback talk involving their present and their future to center on Rodgers, their extraordinary passer with nifty feet.
We're back to Favre versus Rodgers. It's a poor man's version of Joe Montana versus Steve Young, when the former was pushed toward an abrupt exit from the San Francisco 49ers after years of stardom to give his promising backup a chance.
As was the case with Favre in Green Bay, Montana looked Hall of Fame bound forever in San Francisco, and so did Young.
Well, Rodgers remains a work in progress regarding Canton, but he still is preferred over the other guy around Green Bay. For one, it didn't help Favre's image near the end with the Packers that he decided to have his own locker room. "He got dressed (away from his teammates), but who cares?" said Packers offensive tackle Clad Clifton, shrugging and laughing. "What he was able to do on the field is what really mattered. He was a good teammate in the locker room."
No question there, and consider this: Rodgers is single compared to the married Favre, and Rodgers is significantly younger (27 to 41). Which means it isn't surprising that Rodgers has more time to promote team harmony in ways such as his "Dudes Nights," featuring everything from guitar playing to barbecue eating.
Said Packers center Scott Wells of Rodgers, who pretends to strap on a championship belt after touchdowns: "He's a clown. He likes to have a good time. Joke around. I think most of the quarterbacks I've been around are like that. He definitely enjoys being around the guys and having a good time."
Like Favre. Or maybe you never saw him sprinting to jump into the arms of his teammates after they did something wonderful. Or his playful banter with opposing defensive players after sacks. Or his interactions with Packer fans before, during and after games.
Packer executives saw those things, but they also saw Favre as an interception machine near the end with his daring -- OK, silly -- plays. He also stopped winning postseason games. In fact, Rodgers has as many playoff victories this season (three) as Favre had during his last 10 years with the Packers.
It also didn't help Favre's Green Bay cause that he resented Rodgers as his backup for three years, mostly because he sensed Packers executives would do what they eventually did.
They forced Favre to retire ... or else.
This is so Packer Nation-like. They love them, then they hate them, and then they worship them forever, but only after a passage of time.
They did as much with Curly Lambeau, and he founded the franchise while excelling all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player and as a coach for the Packers. The thing is, Lambeau feuded with the Packers board of directors during the early 1950s, and he was ostracized from the franchise until the combination of time, his death and future Green Bay historians led Packers officials to naming the stadium after him in the mid-1960s.
Ever hear of Vince Lombardi? From the late 1950s through most of the 1960s, he WAS the Packers while grabbing five world championships, including victories in the first two Super Bowls.
After Lombardi retired as coach, he became the Packers' general manager for a year, but then he did the unthinkable. He left to take over the Washington Redskins. He was considered a traitor in Wisconsin. He eventually died at 57 in 1970 of cancer, and that's when all was forgiven throughout the Frozen Tundra.
He became a Packer legend again.
Favre will, too, but not for a while.