The Packers are a religion in Wisconsin. When they play on Sunday, sermons are brief. It's kind of cute until they start losing, something the Pack rarely did with Brett Favre.
To some Packer faithful Brett Favre became a turncoat when he returned from his brief retirement and asked for a trade. Worse yet, the hated Minnesota Vikings were top on his list of acceptable destinations and this only one year removed from his lobbying for the Randy Moss trade. All cardinal sins to the orthodox sect of the Church of Packerland.
Brett Favre isn't the first Packer celebrity. The list is long and includes Hall of Famers like Clarke Hinkle, Johnny "Blood" McNally and Paul Hornung. But Packerland hadn't seen a cult of personality like that surrounding Favre since the days of Lombardi, and even then Vince never inspired the whole family quite like gunslinger Brett.
And there's nothing new about Packer heroes leaving Titletown. Favre merely followed precedent set by Green Bay's two biggest legends: Earl "Curly" Lambeau and Lombardi. Lambeau founded the Packers in 1920 (joining the APFA / NFL the next year), played halfback from 1920-29 and coached them to six NFL titles. He was fired in 1950 and became head coach of the Chicago Cardinals (1950-51) and then the Redskins (1952-3).
Lombardi would leave his GM post in 1969 when the Washington Redskins offered him the head coaching job and 5% ownership. Like Favre would do with the Jets forty years later, Lombardi turned a struggling Redskin team into winners with a 7-5-2 record.
I wouldn't expect a GM to show loyalty to an aging QB. It's not in the job description. But I am a little baffled by Thompson drafting Rodgers when Brett Favre was the face of the NFL. The profits he generated through merchandise and TV must have been enormous. Financially speaking, just having Favre on your team was like winning the Super Bowl.
Maybe Ted and his superiors (the Bishop & Co) just wanted to make their own mark, like the suits at Coca-Cola back in the 1980s. Those clowns had the most recognizable trade-marks in the world and flushed them down the toilet for New Coke and Classic.
But fans are a different ball-game. If there's one guy I'd have thought would get a pass from the faithful for leaving the Bay it's Brett Favre: the ironman; MVPs; Super Bowls.
So relax, Favre haters. Have a beer, have a Diet Coke. Count your blessings and give Brett a break. Packer backers had a great ride with "Mississippi" and you still have the best quarterback in the North, as long as you don't drive the guy insane.