Well, it's been a couple of days.
The shock is starting to fade, and I'm getting to the point where I can accept that Brett Favre has retired and think clearly again.
(I'm not quite there yet, but I'm getting there.)
In the immediate coverage following the announcement, one thing really jumped out at me--a very telling comment from the voice mail Favre left for ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Favre talked about what the expectations for next season would have been, and that anything less than making the Super Bowl would be a disappointment. Then, he paused for a moment, and added: "And if we did that--and lost--that would almost be worse than anything."
Those are the words of experience talking.
Chalk up one last casualty from the Packers' historic choke-job to the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. Clearly, at some level, Favre never recovered from that debacle; and as the years passed by, and he grew older and older--and Green Bay never made it back to the Super Bowl--the scar from that wound grew more and more painful.
In retrospect, it looks like once Green Bay got to the conference championship, that was it, win or lose. If they had won it all, it would have been the perfect way to go out--on top; when they lost, the pain of falling short when they had been so close reopened that old wound...and that's what pushed Favre over the edge.
Given that, count me among those who do not expect a comeback, either with the Packers or with another team. No one could guarantee a Super Bowl win if he did, and the only team that would be a better bet than the Packers for Favre to make such a run is currently led by the second coming of Joe Montana, and would neither need nor want him.
The future has me worried, certainly. I first followed the NFL, and the Green Bay Packers, in 1989--the season of the Cardiac Kids, the season Don Majkowski became the "Majik Man"--and it likely spoiled me more than a little bit. When the Packers went back to being the Packers in '90 and '91, it hurt. It gave me a keen appreciation for what a fluke that '89 season was--and all the more appreciation for what we had when Favre appeared on the scene and put those days behind us for at least 16 years.
Still, the future looks much brighter than it did two years ago. Favre knew what he was talking about when he called the 2006 Packers the most talented team he'd ever played with; he had his best supporting cast at the very end, and if Ron Wolf had drafted the way Ted Thompson has, there's little doubt in my mind that Favre would have had more than just the one ring.
If Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy--and that's a big If, considering that in the last two seasons, AS A BACKUP, he's suffered two season-ending injuries (one of them in practice, for Pete's sake!)--then the Packers can, I think, compete and win.
Maybe not win it all--not without exceptional seasons on several fronts--but that's the condition of most NFL teams, year in and year out.
And that's one more way Favre spoiled us.