“The impossible is possible tonight.” Billy Corgan (performed by The Smashing Pumpkins)
For five years, there has been an icy chill in the air for the Green Bay Packers, their fans, and a former player.
The divorce of Brett Favre and the Packers still weighs heavily on the hearts of many. The former favorite son now a bastard child to many who support the green and gold, hoping to never see him around the shadows of Lambeau again.
His successor, Aaron Rodgers, has said that after the departure of Favre from the Packers, these two former teammates have no relationship, despite spending four seasons on the same roster.
Favre has made comments ranging from his not being surprised about Rodgers’ success to his being surprised it took Rodgers three seasons to win a Super Bowl which left everyone wondering what his true feelings about Rodgers were.
And stuck in the middle were the fans, still hashing it out five years later, about whether mentioning Favre was grounds for banishment in the eyes of some.
That may have changed last night.
Appearing together at the NFL Awards Ceremony, Rodgers and Favre shaking hands may have been the moment that was needed for the ice to finally break in the strenuous relationship between Favre and the Packers.
Their exchange, while scripted, offered at least a glimpse of a life where both quarterbacks could at least have a quasi relationship with each other, not for personal reasons, but for the good of the Packers.
It was a necessary moment of peace during a seemingly never ending civil war.
There is no doubt that at some point, Brett Favre will return to Green Bay in some capacity. It is going to happen. Anyone who thinks otherwise is truly kidding themselves. His actions off the field, in particular that fateful summer, will never take away all the good he did on the field. And that, if for no other reason, is why Favre will be welcomed back by the Packers brass.
And that brass starts with Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers was stuck in the middle of the Summer of Favre. He was asked to play quarterback, and that is what he did. The decisions that preceded this-Favre’s retirement, his unretirement, and subsequent trade-were done by everyone EXCEPT Rodgers, who stayed out of the soap opera, focusing on the playing field rather than the microphones when he every question was about what was going on with Favre.
Perhaps it was important to Favre to let Rodgers know he did not have an issue with him personally, and that is why they agreed to appear together.
And maybe, just maybe, Rodgers knows that for the good of the franchise, it was important that an olive branch be extended to Favre. And if neither Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy were going to make the first move, who better to do it than the man who was stuck in the middle of the soap opera, the face of the franchise?
As a fan, there was no more cathartic moment for me over the past half decade than to see these two players, both of whom hold a special place in my heart, to finally shake hands. This brief interaction let it be known that it was alright. That as a fan base, we were going to be alright.
There may still be some deep seeded feelings toward Thompson and McCarthy on Favre’s part. That ice may take a few more years to crack through. But for one moment, one very brief moment, the chill between number four and number twelve seems to have gone away.
We may not be able to forget some of the actions of that fateful summer, which divided fans and continues to do so to this day. But if Rodgers is willing to move on, perhaps we should all do the same.