Packers fans now welcoming back Favre

Time has apparently healed the wounds of Packers fans that were outraged at Brett Favre signing with the Vikings. Tickets sold out in eight hours for his jersey retirement.

It would appear that the Packers, their fans and Brett Favre have officially kissed and made up.

Earlier this year, the Packers announced that Favre, who became a pariah with the organization when he signed with the rival Vikings in 2009 and led Minnesota to the brink of the Super Bowl, would have his number 4 retired. Initially, the word was that the ceremony would be low key and not open to the public.

That was when the outcry began that fans had made their peace with Favre, despite the anger they had over his decision to join the enemy to prolong his career. Packers fans wanted to be part of the ceremony, so the front office acquiesced and decided that the private ceremony would be made available to fans who were willing to spend $4 for tickets to watch the ceremony at Lambeau Field on the video boards in the stadium.

On Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time, tickets went on sale for the event. By 6 p.m., all 67,000 available tickets were sold out.

It seemed clear that, despite the early animosity about Favre’s orchestration of coming to the Vikings to stick it to Ted Thompson for running him out of town in favor of a younger QB (Aaron Rodgers), enough time has passed that the bitterness has faded and the love of the fans has returned.

The ceremony will be held July 18 and the Packers wanted to be sure they made their peace with Favre before his inevitable induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible next year.

The Packers went to great pains not to discuss the Favre situation in recent years, with the thought being that some embittered Packers fans might ruin the occasion by booing Favre and tarnishing the event.

If Tuesday’s ticket sales are any indication, Packers fans are willing to forgive and forget and welcome their hero back into the Green Bay family.

Proceeds for the event will be given to Favre’s charitable foundation Favre 4 Hope. The event itself will be conducted inside the stadium as Favre is inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, but, following fan uproar that the event would be closed to the general public, the Packers decided to open the stadium to fans wishing to honor Favre. Now the plan is for Favre to address the crowd inside the stadium following the conclusion of the event that is a reservation-only gathering of 1,600 people.

For those who witnessed the fan reaction to Favre making his return to Lambeau in 2009 wearing the purple and gold of the Vikings, it seemed like it would be a cold day on the frozen tundra before he would be welcomed back into the fold by the Packers faithful. Now, however, time has healed those wounds and, five years after the fact, legends like Favre can go home again and be welcomed back as a conquering hero in the hearts and minds of fans that cheered him on for almost two decades.

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