Drama-weary Packers could face Favre-free future
If things keep heading the way they are right now, Sunday's 31-3 dismissal of the division rival Minnesota Vikings could be a milestone for the Green Bay Packers.
It might be the last time they ever have to face former quarterback Brett Favre - or deal with the attention those matchups bring.
When asked about the possibility of being permanently rid of Favre-related drama, a curt answer from Packers coach Mike McCarthy provided some insight into just how stale the story line has become at Lambeau Field.
''I'm rid of it,'' McCarthy said. ''You need to get rid of it.''
The player most directly affected by Favre's ugly divorce from the Packers in 2008 might be the happiest to see the whole mess potentially fading in the rearview mirror.
''I'm proud of the fact that we're on the other side of this,'' quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. ''It's something no one is really talking about as much going forward and I'm proud of the way it played out and was true to my character.''
Despite getting booed by some Packers fans who had made up their minds about him even before he made his first start, Rodgers never got sucked into any sort of feud with Favre.
Rodgers said he is proud of the way he handled the situation.
''I think that was often a lot more difficult than the actual playing, was to practice proper leadership daily,'' Rodgers said. ''That's something you have on some level. You can also work on that as a skill. That's something I knew was going to be very important to how I was viewed as a person, leader and player.''
But when asked whether he felt as though his play has justified the decision by McCarthy and Packers general manager Ted Thompson to move on, Rodgers punted.
''That's not my decision to make,'' Rodgers said. ''I don't really have an opinion about that. I'm just thankful that they stood behind me on that and believed in me and gave me an opportunity. The other stuff, that's not something I worry too much about.''
The public sentiment pendulum certainly has swung in the Packers' favor this season. So have the NFC North standings.
The Vikings are 3-7 and just fired coach Brad Childress after the blowout loss to Green Bay. Meanwhile, the Packers are 7-3 despite a rash of injuries.
Given his track record, Favre's insistence that this will be his last season usually would induce eye rolls. But it's somewhat more believable this time around because Favre doesn't seem to be having much fun.
He's losing, he's hurt and he keeps getting asked about an NFL investigation into allegations that he sent inappropriate text messages and photos to a female former employee of the New York Jets two years ago.
And after beating the Packers twice last year, he now has lost to them twice in the span of a month.
''That always feels good, but that's more us beating the Vikings, it's not about Brett,'' left guard Daryn Colledge said. ''Brett's become a Viking. That's more of a rivalry game than it is us worrying about, 'Do we need to beat up Brett so Aaron feels good?' No, we need to beat the Vikings because they're in the division and that's important for us.''
But to get a sense of just how magnified anything related to Favre and the Packers has become, here's an example: a photo of Rodgers and Favre after Sunday's game, in which Rodgers seems to be smirking at Favre, has been making its way around social media websites as evidence that Rodgers was gloating.
Rodgers said it's a misunderstanding, that he was reacting to a joke Favre made about Packers assistant coach James Campen.
''Brett and I embraced and then he made a funny comment about James Campen as we were separating,'' Rodgers said. ''And I looked back and smirked about his comment about James Campen and they froze it. You can put any tag you want underneath that picture. I can tell you exactly what happened. People are still going to read into that.''
How can we be sure Rodgers is telling the truth?
''Because that's never been my personality,'' he said. ''Agreed?''
Indeed, Rodgers does have a track record of staying above the fray.
''I think he's handled the whole Brett Favre thing with the utmost class and respect,'' Colledge said. ''I think he's found a way to set himself apart. Now he's got to go out and win some more games. That's what he plans on doing, that's what we plan on doing. So we're the Green Bay Packers, he's Brett Favre and until those entities collide again, we're not worried about it.''