That sound you hear this morning – gentle but insistent, whispering almost as if from a dream on the morning breeze – is the sound of self-satisfaction. (For the hearing-impaired, if you ever had your hearing previously, do you remember those soft drink commercials where someone would take a sip of Coke or whatever and then smile and exhale at the same time? It sounds just like that.)
The satisfaction is exuding from cynical sportswriters everywhere, who as a group had become pretty disillusioned with Brett Favre in recent years. With each passing record-setting consecutive start the man notched, the likes of John Madden came closer and closer to actually fellating him live on Monday Night Football. “Brett’s just a kid at heart…” “Brett plays for the love of football…” “He’s an old-fashioned, rootin’-tootin’ gunslinger…”* “Slobber slobber oh Brett give me your delicious cock!” And so forth until everyone with an ounce of cynicism in them wanted to yak on their remote controls. The sports media establishment seemed to want to turn a blind eye to Favre’s many interceptions (a large number of those in situations where the Packers could ill afford a turnover, like, say, in their own territory near the end of a close game), as well as his on-going hijacking of the Green Bay future by refusing to retire – even as a possibly-capable backup languished on the sidelines, doing clipboard duty. So naturally, the media misfits – the likes of King Kaufman at Salon, and even Page 2’s Bill Simmons** – called Favre out on his bullshit on a regular basis. And then they were criticized roundly by the Green Bay faithful, the NFL and ESPN Kool-Aid drinkers, and anybody wearing a pair of Wrangler jeans.
But today. Oh, sweet today! Self-satisfaction has kicked in. Favre got himself traded+ to the Jets.
So Diane – listen closely. Listen past the wind, past the self-satisfied sigh, all the way to the rolling hills of Wisconsin. It’s hard to hear because of all those hills and all that cheese, but it’s there, however faint: the shrill wail of mourning. The horrible mewling of absolute despair.
‘Cause if you’re a cheesehead today, what do you do? You have a simple choice – simple in that it’s clearly a choice that must be made, and also in that there are only two forks in the road; but also ridiculously hard, nearly impossible, to actually make. The choice is Favre or the Packers. You either remain true to Green Bay, and now hate the Grizzled One, or you keep your loyalty with the man who has been your Superman for what feels like five decades and now hate the Packers. That’s all there is to it. Any true loyalist knows that these are the options, and that he has to pick a side. Anybody this morning who claims to be both a Packers fan and a Favre fan is immediately open to suspicion of never having really liked – or understood – football. Hell, he’s probably a commie. Probably doesn’t even know what apple pie tastes like.
So my most heart-felt condolences go out to the NFL fans of Wisconsin, who have lost either their hero or their team today. And a congratulatory thumbs-up to all those writers who cover the NFL and are as cynical as this field agent – because today, gentlemen, is a very special day.
Today, we all get to say, “I told you so.”
* That might have been said about Yosemite Sam.
** Through sheer popularity, this man will soon no longer be any kind of misfit. I understand you have to hand in your cynicism as soon as you hit a certain number of page-views per day. You probably also don’t get to publish sentences like “oh Brett give me your delicious cock.”
+ This is a gross over-simplification of what really happened. But I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve followed the news and know the sordid details++ already. For the purposes of this and the preceding paragraphs, with their rather anti-Favrian slant, this was the best way to summarize what’s been going on in Green Bay.
++ Why are details always sordid? I need a thesaurus.