Purple would enhance legend

Brett Favre on the precipice of being a villain in Titletown: That presumed chapter of the Favre story, as awkward as it sounds, might just be the perfect ending to an imperfect career, according to our Matt Tevsh.

The clock is ticking. Training camps are about a month away and soon the legions of Packers fans will know if hell has indeed frozen over, or in other words, if Brett Favre will play for the Minnesota Vikings this season.

It appears only the health of Favre's right arm has delayed the improbable marriage of No. 4 and a purple jersey. As disgusting as that might sound to Packers fans, Favre crossing the border to play for the enemy will only add to his legend.

Think about it. What makes Favre special is that he is a classic portrait of contradictions, perceived in recent years as more insecure than his "ironman" games played streak would suggest. Or as some have said, a little more "diva" than the aw-shucks persona that everyone came to love.

On the field, he is as capable of throwing four touchdowns as four interceptions in any game at any age. He is known as much for his Super Bowl victory as his late-season failures.

Off the field, he has overcome addictions, tragedies and the bachelor lifestyle to become a straight-up family man and a student of the game. In his own mind, he has probably retired and un-retired more times than he can remember.

And did he really play for the New York Jets last season? How weird and uncomfortable was that? Not just for Favre, but for everyone?

This is Favre. Go ahead, try to figure him out. It is nearly impossible. His latest contradiction is the ultimate — playing for the arch-rival enemy, which no other legendary quarterback before him has done. It might be the only challenge he has left to keep him going, and he certainly appears, at 39 years old, to have a desperate need to keep it going.

Should Favre follow through on his wishes and seal the deal with the Vikings, he instantly will become a tragic hero in Green Bay (if he hasn't already) whether he fails or succeeds with his new team. At any rate, the Nov. 1 tilt this season at Lambeau Field will have perhaps more hype and media around it than any game at the old stadium ever before. It would go deeper even then Mike Holmgren's return in 1999 with the Seahawks and might rival some epic playoff matchups.

Unlike Marino, Montana, Elway or any of the other NFL all-time greats at quarterback, no one has had an association with a team quite like Favre. And no one saw an association end quite like Favre and the Packers.

Over the past two years, therefore, Favre has become a much more polarizing figure, which makes him, in a way, more popular than ever. Even in the offseason, people are talking about him — the good and the bad. He's on ESPN and HBO, on Web sites and in e-mail in-boxes. The best forwarded e-mail has to be the one with a picture of a green T-shirt with Favre's face within the outline of the Wisconsin border. The T-shirt reads, "We'll never forget you, Brent."

None of this would have happened had Favre stuck to his retirement press conference and called it quits after a renaissance 2007 season that had the Packers on the doorstep of the Super Bowl. There had to be a different ending, though, that no one — not even Favre himself — saw finishing in Minnesota.

Is it still for revenge to get back at Ted Thompson and the Packers?

Is he color blind at all costs to competition?

Does he really, truly care about winning another Super Bowl?

Is he just his own worst enemy when it comes to his thoughts?

The storylines are juicy and endless, which is why Favre stays in the news. So here it goes — Favre on the precipice of being a villain in Titletown. That chapter of the Favre story, as awkward as it sounds, might just be the perfect ending to an imperfect career.


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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com


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