A Father-Son Bond Created By Brett Favre

Anyone who knows me knows my all time favorite football player is Brett Favre.

I’ve never tried to hide it. You may even say I am obnoxious in letting the world know this.

Favre was, is, and always will be at the top of my list.

What most people do not know is the reason why. With his induction into the Packer Hall of Fame a little more than a day away, now seems like the best time to explain why this is the case.

I was 17 years old when Favre took over for Don Majkowski as the Packers quarterback. After living through the late 70’s and all of the 80’s with little more than Lynn Dickey to cheer about, Majkowski was my guy. The unbelievable 1989 season had brought hope to a fan base that was desperate for anything to cheer about. And Majik Man was the one who was going to deliver us from the depths of the NFL.

Unfortunately for the Packers fans, that 1989 season was followed up with two seasons of what we were accustomed to: at or near the bottom of the standings. It was brutal. Again.

When Mike Holmgren was hired in 1992, I had no idea what was to come. Neither did my father. We were both so tired of watching our beloved Packers suck, we were ready for something to happen. Anything.

That anything happened on September 20, 1992. Favre took over for an injured Majkowski, and never looked back.

As I look back though, it was ironic that this event took place at the time that it did.

Like most 17 year olds, I was difficult. Not a troublemaker, just difficult. I disagreed with my parents-and everyone else-on just about everything. I pissed and moaned when things didn’t go my way. The person that I did this to the most was my dad.

My dad had very low tolerance for bullshit. He didn’t accept it at work, and wasn’t going to take it at home. This is not to suggest that he was a bad father. Far from it. He was just very cut and dry in his ways, much the same that I am today.

Despite our differences, there were two things that bonded us from the time I was a small child: the New York Yankees, and the Green Bay Packers. We loved these teams. No matter what else was going on, if something was happening with our teams, we could forget whatever differences we had and unite in our love of these teams.

We were both immediately struck by Favre. The way he played the game, his energy, his enthusiasm. It was great. The fact he was a damn good quarterback certainly helped things as well.

From that moment in 1992, my dad and I were bonded by Brett Favre.

Winning a Super Bowl, losing a Super Bowl, MVP’s, thrilling OT playoff wins, absolutely horrific playoff losses. We shared all of those memories. All of them.

After every game, we would talk about what happened, how it happened, what should have happened. Inevitably, Favre’s name would be brought into the discussion.

As I got older, and life started to move a little faster, we made it a point to continue this weekly tradition. It was something that nobody could take away from us. The one common theme in every discussion we had was number 4.

I remember how disappointed he was after the 2008 NFC Championship Game. I am not sure if it was the way the Packers lost, or knowing that he may never again get to see his beloved Packers get that close to a Super Bowl again. What I can tell you is my dad was genuinely saddened after that game.

It was the last game he would ever see Brett Favre play in a Green Bay Packers uniform.

My dad died a little more than a month after Favre was traded to the Jets. He didn’t watch Favre with the Jets the final weeks he was alive. Honestly, I don’t know if he watched any football at all. I tried to bring up the subject, and it would be quickly changed. Sometimes I wonder if he knew his time was coming to an end, and didn’t want to continue a tradition he knew was coming to an end.

Now, on Saturday, that tradition can be continued one final time.

When Brett Favre walks out onto Lambeau Field on Saturday night, I know my dad will be there with me. I know he will smile as he watches Favre take his place among the all time Packer greats. We will be able to share that moment, when the greatest player who ever put on a Packers uniform strolls out of the tunnel. And I can’t wait.

The bond that my dad and I have because of Brett Favre is something that I will always treasure. It is something no one can take away. It is something that will last forever.

From my dad and I-welcome home Brett.

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John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.

He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.

You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at johnrehor@yahoo.com.

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  • John – wonderful article. I have similar memories of discussing Packers games with my dad almost every week. I was an adult living in CA at the time, and my dad was much older, and died in 2002. So we did not continue the tradition as long as you did, and he missed the end of the Favre era. But still, this strikes quite close to home. When my dad died, I included this tribute to him in my weekly blog post:

    “This week’s column is dedicated to the man who took me to my very first Packer game, 40 years ago this week. That man was my Dad, who died peacefully last week at age 90, unfortunately a few days before we arrived for a visit. Continuing the generational tradition, my wife, kids and I stayed in town and went to the Packer game on Sunday. Thank goodness the Packers kept up their end of the bargain by winning the game. Oh, by the way, that first Packer game I went to, 40 years ago, was also a Packer-Bear game. Packers 49, Bears 0, September 30, 1962.”

    http://wcoffensive.blogspot.com/2002/10/3-1-underachievers.html

    • John

      Thank you Tom. And thank you for sharing your tribute to your father.

    • shavager

      I’m with ya’ Tom, NOTHING beat a shared passion with me and my daddy as the Packers excepting maybe hunting season, even then we always tried to get back in time to watch any Packers game on TV. I can remember asking daddy who was his favorite team when I was a kid and Packers were playing on TV–he said “the CHAMPIONS, the Green Bay Packers”. I watched with him as Packers won that day, to this day I can’t remember which game it was but I followed them in the local newspaper to keep up each week and cheered them on when they won that ’62 championship which was Lombardi’s SECOND title in a row and third CONSECUTIVE appearance. I can remember some of those games clearly right now–LA Rams blocking Donny Anderson punt and winning on a Roman Gabriel TD throw in LA Coliseum before Packers dominated them 28-7 two weeks later in the ’67 Western Conference championship in Milwaukee’s County Stadium on the way to championship against the Cowboys in the ICE BOWL. I remember Dave Robinson breaking Dandy Don Meredith’s nose in that ’66 title game in Cotton Bowl before Tom Brown intercepted Meredith in endzone to end the game for ’66 title. The ’65 NFL championship when media down here in south questioned IF Lombardi’s defense could contain Jim Brown of Cleveland even as Packers defense held Brown to only 50 yds rushing while Hornung/Taylor combined for 201 yds. that day in the mud and blood at Lambeau. We never thought Chiefs or Raiders were equals of Lombardi’s Packers in those first two SB’s but were concerned with Raiders until Packers’ defense took over second half. I can still remember daddy sitting up late one Monday night game, Packers playing Redskins in one of highest scoring games ever, a 48-47 win for GB in Bart Starr’s last season as HC (’83) and a battle between Lynn Dickey and Joe Theisman that Dickey won with 3 TD passes and getting Packers into position for Jan Stenerud to kick winning FG just minutes before Redskins Mark Moseley missed on FG at the end that saved win for Packers. But those Lombardi Packers were his passion until Brett Favre/Reggie White and Mike Holmgren years. He thought Favre was the greatest thing for Green Bay since Vince Lombardi.

  • shavager

    John, SHARE YOUR PASSION! I’m a big Yankees fan and dedicated Packers fan since the 1962 Lombardi champions. Like you and your dad, me and my daddy LOVED those Packers–Hornung, Starr, Taylor, Nitschke,etc..–and though he wasn’t much of a baseball fan–he always said Babe was the greatest player ever and he thought Gehrig’s disease only prevented him from equaling the Babe. He did admire Mickey Mantle, especially in ’61 with the M&M boys-Mantle/Maris and loved Yogi Berra. We watched and celebrated those Packers of Lombardi–in the 1965 game vs. Baltimore Colts in the FOG at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, a game that was back and to early, I can still remember my dad cheering on Lombardi and Starr: “Give it to Hornung, they ain’t stopped him all night!” And sure enough Paul Hornung came through–5 TD’s that game to win for Packers–I have a 16×20 color poster on my wall I wish my dad had lived long enough to enjoy–Paul Hornung running down the field in Memorial Stadium, in the fog with Colts defenders chasing him as he scored the final TD on a 65 yd TD pass from Starr. Boy we had some great memories, I remember both of us sitting on our hands watching the broadcast on edge of our seats when Starr came to sideline to confer with Lombardi on that last QB sneak in the ICE BOWL. Still remember daddy remarking, despite it being so cold on the field, he said “Bart Starr’s crying”–and sure enough you could see tears on Starr’s cheeks after he scored that final TD to win that last NFL championship for Lombardi. I can still remember what he said when Lombardi stepped down: “That’s the end of the Packers now, they won’t win another championship. He died in ’95 before Favre and Packers won another championship in ’96 SB but I can tell you he did have the opportunity to watch Brett Favre play, thought he was the greatest thing for Packers since Lombardi!! He did enjoy watching both Lynn Dickey and Don “Majik” Majkowski during those long 25 years of black for GB but until Favre came along, daddy never got as excited as he did then. Great memories, great story John, God Bless!