Baby steps key to Favre reconciliation

I can't wait to see Robert Brooks streaking down the field for a 99-yard touchdown thisweekend. It's one of those clips that doesn't get old.

As the oldest rivalry in the NFL is revisited this weekend, the history between the to teams will be brought up by the talking heads in the booth no doubt. The Packers and Bears have met 182 times and share 21 championships. Past games will be brought up, like how these teams last met in the playoffs in 1941. Even though he won't be playing, or even be in the stadium, Brett Favre will be brought up. It may not be fair, but it is going to happen.

The timing wasn’t great. In fact it was pretty crappy. When Favre submitted his retirement* papers after the Packers defeated the top-seeded Falcons to advance to the NFC Championship game, he stole a little spotlight from the much deserving team.

While doing this may create a distraction for the Packers, it also gave him a chance to do something he hasn’t done in a while. He gave the Packers credit.

Favre came out in an email and said that he feels the Packers are the best team left, and that he hopes they win the Super Bowl, even calling Aaron Rodgers the “best quarterback.” He went on to talk about being content with his legacy and having no hard feelings towards the Packers.

There have been many reports over the last few years that have created a rift between the quarterback and his former fan-base/team. The reports that he kept to himself in a separate locker room, and reluctance to tutor Rodgers damaged the fun loving team-first image most of us had of old number 4. More reports about a month ago that Favre told Bear defensive end Julius Peppers to go beat the Packers in a few weeks showed a player still holding a grudge.

So what are these new comments supposed to mean? Is Favre yelling a giant "Noonan!" to the Packers before their big game? Maybe with the act of retirement* he is also offering an olive branch.

While it may seem to some that Favre was just waving his arms to take some attention away from his former team, I think it was a hard but necessary step forward in reconciling his relationship with the green and gold.

We as fans don’t have to do anything at the moment, because we’re focused on the task at hand, cheering our team on this weekend in a game that would already be important but is magnified because the Bears are the opponent. Eventually though, we will have to reciprocate Favre’s step, for he will always be a Packer.

We have moved on as fans, but in a football rich state, we always cherish the past. We still tell the stories of Vince Lombardi's speeches, Bart Starr's ice bowl dive and Max McGee's hungover Super Bowl performance. We know what this team has been built upon over the years. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, or next year, but eventually the kid who took over back in 1992 will be back in Titletown and he will receive a standing ovation. It’s good to know he sees that too.

*= if you believe it