Growing up as a sports fan in Wisconsin gave a lot of us some great memories to remember by. Older fans have the Bucks entertaining run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. Or even the 2010 “Fear The Deer” team that took us on a wild ride that eventually fell short in the first round. But who could ever forget the magical performances that C.C. Sabathia put together to lead the Brewers to their first playoff appearance in 27 years. We could never forget the 2011 Brewers club that featured Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder as the muscle with the energetic Nyjer Morgan pumping all of us up. But most of all, Wisconsin sports fans grew up watching the inspiring and emotional player known as Brett Favre. This weekend, Favre will be entering the NFL Hall of Fame as a First Ballot member after playing 20 years in the league. Those 20 years were a historic, incredible run that Packer fans everywhere had the pleasure of following. Favre finished his career as the all-time leader in passing touchdowns, passing yards, pass completions, pass attempts, starts by a player, and wins by a quarterback. Most impressive out of all those accomplishments though, is his NFL record of 297 consecutive starts streak. A record like that is something that can inspire a legion of fans all across the country. That’s exactly what Favre did.
Nobody ever saw it coming, but game 3 of the 1992 Packers season proved to be a landmark point in the historic franchise’s history. Before Favre was traded to the team in 1992, the Packers were at a low point in their history. The team struggled heavily through the years after being one of the dominant teams at the start of the Super Bowl era in 1960. In that game the Packers’ starting quarterback, Don Majkowski went down with an injury. The injury led to the young, and relatively unknown Favre entering the game where he led the Pack to a comeback victory and thus started the legend of number 4. Favre eventually catapulted into superstardom and revitalized Green Bay to the powerhouse we know it as today. Favre won three NFL MVP awards during his 15 year run with the team and went to two Super Bowls with the team where he became a champion at Super Bowl 31. Brett Favre single handedly saved the Green Bay Packers and made Lambeau Field what it is today. He led us on an ever eventful roller coaster where we experienced every emotion you possibly can as a fan. When Brett Favre returned to Green Bay last summer, it was the homecoming that Favre and the Packer fans needed. Coming home to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame was a sign of moving on from all of the drama that ensued near the end of the quarterback’s legendary career. In front of a sold out Lambeau Field, Favre couldn’t hold back his emotions, but neither could the fans. Bringing our hero back home where he belonged brought back all of the great memories everyone cherished. The start of his Packer career, bringing the Lombardi Trophy home, beating up the Bears like no one else could, breaking records, making the game fun, and many many more.
Kids all across the state grew up idolizing the Hall of Fame quarterback. Going out in the yard with their green #4 jerseys and throwing the football around with their friends imitating all of the gunslingers moves. Sure, we are living in the moment of Aaron Rodgers right now, who many call the best QB in the game right now. But the things Rodgers does on the field are unreal. They’re things that no one has ever seen before which makes Rodgers a superhero like presence to fans. Brett Favre, well he was just a regular, blue collar guy like all of us. He went out there every Sunday and gave it his all doing it in a way that only Brett could. People saw themselves in Brett, which made it very easy to relate to him. You could go out and play a game and do the things that Brett was doing every week. The crazy pass attempts, the running around looking for a target, messing around with your buddies and having fun like he was. He meant so much to the state of Wisconsin and they adopted him as one of their own. When he was going through his tough times battling addiction, everyone was there for him and had his back through all of it. Much like all of us, he had a time of struggle and needed help. He was more than just the hero the struggling Green Bay franchise needed. He was one of us, with human issues he had to resolve. When his father passed away in 2003, Favre did what was best for himself. He went out to the “Black Hole” in Oakland and had the game of his life with his father watching from above. We all sat right there with him watching along on Monday Night Football and showed our emotional support for Brett. It was almost as if we lost one of our own. That’s how much we valued Brett, and that’s how close we were to him.
This Saturday when Brett Favre goes into the NFL Hall of Fame, all of us will be right there with him. Like we always have been. We’ll bring out our favorite Favre jersey, think of all of the good times and ride the wave of emotions that only Brett could take us on.