Today I’m leaving work two hours early to get home in time to watch the Packers’ first game of the season. They open against NFC North Division rival, and my dad’s favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings. The last time I saw the Packers play was in a hospital a few days after my daughter was born, and if it hadn’t been for her wonderful arrival, I probably would’ve taken the game’s result much harder than I did (or should’ve). It was the NFC championship game against the NY Giants and, quite shockingly, they lost, the final blow being Brett Favre’s last pass as a Packer being intercepted. A poetic, if not upsetting, end to Brett’s illustrious Packer career.
Brett is a Jet now, of course, and yesterday I got home from church just in time to watch him take a knee and run out the clock in their victory over the Miami Dolphins. Yes, he was still wearing green, but it was the wrong shade. It was just weird to see him in green and white instead of green and gold. Such is life in the world of modern professional sports and I wish him all the best in New York (well, technically its New Jersey).
Tonight begins the Aaron Rodgers Era in Green Bay. I don’t know if a new quarterback has ever faced a more difficult situation. Brian Griese, perhaps, after John Elway retired, or whoever it was that took over for Dan Marino, but as loved as those two legends were (Elway and Marino, not Griese and what’s-his-name) the bond between Brett Favre and Green Bay, Wisconsin is something different. And those replacements had the luxury of their forebears staying retired. Rodgers not only has to live up to the Favre mystique, but also the comparison to Favre himself. Even if he does reasonably well, and I think he will, if Favre and the Jets do even a little better, there will be grumbling. Its not fair, really, but, hey, its not fair that I’m losing my hair either.
I’m anxious to see Rodgers play and to succeed. I think he will, but when and will it be quick enough remain to be seen. Good luck, kid.