The Green Bay Packers are supposed to be different. Unique. Special.
According to news that broke Wednesday night, however, Packers President Mark Murphy, while meeting with Brett Favre's camp on Wednesday in Hattiesburg, Miss., offered Favre $20 million over 10 years to stay retired. If those reports are true, a two-word sentence sums it up.
The Packers amazingly have been winning the public-relations war with the iconic quarterback. While the three-time NFL MVP continues to have a legion of supporters, Packers Nation has stood firmly behind its team.
That's likely to change. Bribery tends to do that in the court of public opinion.
In the matter of Favre vs. the Packers, my vote has resided with the Packers. The Packers were — and are — right to move on without the legend. Favre retired. Plain and simple. And when he wanted to come out of retirement a few weeks later, the Packers were ready to let him back into Lambeau Field. But Favre backed out. Were the Packers supposed to wait until April to move on? May? June? For how many more false alarms?
When Favre retired, he said he was burned out. Sure, he could be rejuvenated by now, but Favre threw six touchdown passes against seven interceptions in his final five regular-season games last season. Is that a sign he was burned out by Week 13, and if so, it's not hard to believe that history would repeat itself.
And if you're the Packers, the road to the Super Bowl likely runs through Lambeau Field. Unless they put a dome over the joint, Favre is going to have to win a cold-weather game or two. Recall how he played at Chicago in Week 16 and against the Giants in the NFC title game. Just a hunch, but I don't think the Packers believe Favre has what it takes to win a big game in the cold.
Finally, Aaron Rodgers is ready. As former Vikings star and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter told me on Wednesday, this isn't about Rodgers vs. Favre, but it's about Rodgers giving the Packers a chance to contend for years — including this year — rather than taking one last shot with Favre.
Those facts and opinions, however, don't hit fans in the gut like a $20 million going-away, er, go-away present.
Come on. After he played 16 seasons in Green Bay, doesn't anyone in the organization or executive committee know the fire that burns within Favre? He already was ticked at the Packers. Did they think paying him off would make that itch and anger go away?
It's unfathomable that it's coming down to begging and bribery. The Packers, this one-of-a-kind, fan-owned franchise, botched this somewhere along the line.
The Packers hoped they could persuade Favre to stay retired, but when that failed, they should have audibled decisively to Plan B. Trade him for a couple of used jock straps if you must. Because at this point, chartering a flight to Minneapolis with a copy of the Packers' offensive and defensive playbooks sounds a lot better than this sordid twist in the saga.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com