Anti-Favre fans: Are you happy now?

Nothing can compare to 16 seasons of thrills, chills and victories, says Packer Report's Doug Ritchay, who chronicled most of Favre's career.

Now that the Brett Favre saga is over in Green Bay, most are moving on, especially those who grew tired of Favre's retirement waffling over the years.

I for one got tired of it but always wanted him under center, because it's not often you get to watch greatness. He meant the same to Packers fans as did Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls and is the equal to what Tiger Woods means to golf.

When you have the opportunity to watch a living legend play in his arena, soak it in like a sponge, because what comes next has no chance of matching what you came to expect over the careers of greats like this.

The Packers have entered A.F., or After Favre. Nothing against Aaron Rodgers. He might be good. But there's no way you can expect him to copy Favre's career.

That leads me to B.F., or Before Favre. How good a time was that?

There's a generation of people who don't know what they're in store for. All they've known is No. 4 at quarterback for the Packers. No more.

Some are looking forward to change. Not me.

Do the names Blair Kiel, Mike Tomczak, Anthony Dilweg, Rich Campbell — the last QB taken in the first round by the Packers before Rodgers in 2005 (and both are from Cal), Chuck Fusina, Randy Wright and David Whitehurst ring a bell?

That's just a slice of who started at quarterback the previous 16 years for the Packers before Favre arrived via trade from Atlanta. Yeah, Lynn Dickey and Don Majkowski were there, too, but that's as good as it got.

In those 16 seasons before Favre's arrival, the Packers were 98-144-4 with a 1-1 playoff record, and those two games came during the strike season of 1982.

During Favre's career, the Packers were 160-93 (the most wins by a quarterback), forged a 12-10 postseason record, won two NFC titles and a Super Bowl. Yes, the Packers were 3-7 in Favre's final 10 playoff games — some games that Favre made big-time mistakes in — but at least they were in the playoffs.

I'm not suggesting Rodgers is going to lead the Packers back to the basement in the NFL. By all accounts, he's ready. He should be. He's waited three years.

But I was front and center, attending games in Lambeau Field when the Packers were the "Siberia" of the NFL. I was there when there was little hope of winning.

At one point, I believed I never would see the Packers win or play in a Super Bowl. But then came Favre, and he changed Packers and NFL history.

He embarked on a 16-year run that no quarterback can match. The consecutive starts, the touchdowns passes, the crazy plays, the bombs, the enthusiasm. Even the interceptions were memorable, unfortunately.

Every Sunday, No. 4 gave Packers Nation a reason to wake up and think it was going to be a good day.

No. 4 was destined to be a Packer, and those 16 years were awesome. I had LeRoy Butler tell me on several occasions during his career — and even after it — that Packers fans were spoiled.

He based that on Favre and his magical talent. People forgot what the previous 29 years were like, when the Packers and playoffs mixed like oil and water.

Favre, who had one losing season among his 16, made making the playoffs an expectation, not a hope.

Now that Favre is gone and Rodgers is in the saddle, nobody knows what will happen. Rodgers might carve out a respectable career. Nonetheless, nothing can match Favre's legacy. It would be unfair to expect him to.

That's why those Packers fans who are glad Favre is gone had better prepare for what they want because Packers Nation never will experience what Favre gave — the good, the bad, the crazy and even the ugly.

It was a ride nobody expected when he replaced an injured Majkowski on Sept. 20, 1992. It was a ride nobody expected to last 16 seasons.

It was a ride that we got our money's worth, and then some.

But now, Favre is gone to the New York Jets via trade. I know I'll be watching the Jets like they've been my favorite team forever.

For a person who was born and raised in Green Bay, and grew up going to Packers games, that says something.

So, it's time to move on, but beware of what lies ahead. There's no way we'll experience 16 years like we just did.

Doug Ritchay is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. He has covered the Packers since 1993. E-mail him at dritchay@sbcglobal.net


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