By Dan Bernstein–

He turned a loyal fandom against itself, just because he could.

He made a villain out of a new general manager who was only trying to run his team, creating an ugly standoff that forced a trade and put unnecessary, public pressure on the man drafted in the first round to replace him.

Brett Favre kept Aaron Rodgers waiting for three seasons before finally abdicating the throne as Packers’ starting quarterback. Even then, his subsequent unretirement threatened to undermine him when that time came.

The message from Favre to Packer fans, always delivered indirectly during his maudlin, Shakespearian displays, was clear. He had a plan to exploit public feelings with no regard for any interests but his own.

You know you need me. You can’t do it without me.

He needed to be needed. Because he was the one who last led them to a title, it was not possible, then, for anyone else to do so.

GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy disagreed, and the Great Packer Rift began. Off went Favre to New York, where he muddled through the season on the field, and apparently spent the rest of his time propositioning massage therapists and sending lewd cell-phone pictures.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers was busy compiling a 28-touchdown, 4000-yard passing season in Green Bay. His rating of 93.8 was only going to improve from there on.

Another Favre “retirement,” another mess. Injury-report shenanigans surrounding Favre’s torn biceps tendon cost the Jets $125,000 in fines. He is rumored to be signing with the Vikings, but he tells them in July he’s not playing.

He signs with them three weeks later, exacerbating hard feelings by joining a border rival of Green Bay. Tensions run high when the teams meet on a Monday night in October, then the most-watched program in cable TV history. Vikings win.

Favre throws for 4200 yards and 33 TDs, his rating at 107.2. The numbers for Rodgers that season are nearly identical, and both go to the Pro Bowl. Neither’s team reaches the Super Bowl.

The tired act repeats itself the next offseason. Favre has his agent distribute pictures of his injured ankle to the media, and he waits in his Swamp of Solitude to be wanted and needed. A delegation of Vikings pleads with him, he skips the rigors of training camp, and the coach himself drives Favre back to practice – a move that helps diminish the symbolic authority of Brad Childress, foreshadowing his eventual ouster.

Favre emotes his way through the worst season of his career, finally succumbing to injury. His streak of consecutive starts ends, as the Jets scandals come to light and he becomes a national punchline. The Vikings finish 6-10.

Rodgers finishes the regular season with a rating of 101.2. Behind a shaky protection and an offense patched together with spare parts in key spots, he propels them to the title with a three-touchdown, 304-yard performance as he’s named Super Bowl MVP.

If, at any point in this saga, Rodgers complained about his circumstances, I missed it. As he was steadily working toward the pinnacle of his profession, his predecessor was embarrassing himself on the field and off.

Recently, Packers’ President Mark Murphy indicated, surprisingly, that he would welcome Favre back to the family, reconciling all the bad blood. “At the appropriate time, we’ll reach out to him,” he said. “I envision that he’ll come back into the fold. We want to make sure it’s the right time for him and for us.”

Murphy should wait a long while, if he ever follows up at all. Let Rodgers have his time to shine, and keep Favre in the exile he deserves. Favre should be on the outside looking in.

You know you need me. You can’t do it without me.

Wrong, hillbilly.

They just did.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: To Hell With Brett Favre

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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