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Opinion

Favre is key component in Monday’s Vikings, Packers game

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October 1, 2009

Christmas has come early this upcoming Monday. Well, that’s how will seem to football fans, especially fans that live in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Vikings will meet for the 106th regular season game, with the Packers leading the alltime series 49-45-1. Also, this will be the seventh time the two teams have met for Monday Night Football with the all-time series tied up at three wins apiece. Last year, the two teams met during the season opener on Monday Night Football with the Packers winning it 24-19.

But, let’s throw out all the numbers and statistics these two teams have compiled up against each other for a minute. This will be arguably the most anticipated Monday Night Football game since 1970, when the fi rst game was aired. The reason? One name: Brett Favre.

That is also the one name this area is sick of hearing, unless you’re a Vikings fan. In that case, the name has brought hope this season for a deep playoff run and possibly a Super Bowl bid. But before we get to this Monday’s monumental game, let me give the background events that have led up to what will be a highly anticipated historical event.

He had become the face of the Green Bay Packers for 16 seasons before he decided to retire on March 4, 2008. By time summer rolled around he wanted to be re-instated back onto the Packer roster. On July 11, 2008, after talks between Favre, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and Packers General Manager Ted Thompson resulted in Favre becoming a back-up to Aaron Rodgers, Favre wanted out. He sent a letter to the Packer’s organization asking for his unconditional release.

The Packers caught wind of the Vikings interest in Favre as the Vikings were in need of a legit quarterback. News broke out on July 16 that the Packers fi led tampering charges against the Vikings alleging improper communication between Favre and the Vikings. Under NFL rules a team cannot contact a player about joining their team while under contract, and since Favre was still a member of the Packers, although retired, it would be against the rules. After an investigation, league commissioner Roger Goodell ruled there had been no violation of tampering rules.

Because the Packers did not want to see Favre in a Vikings uniform, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets on Aug. 7, 2008, in exchange for a conditional fourth round draft pick in the 2009 draft with performance escalation. By week 12, Favre and the N.Y. Jets rushed out to an 8-3 record, including a victory over the Tennessee Titans, who were undefeated at 10-0. In the last fi ve games, however, the Jets went 1-4, fi nished with a 9-7 overall record and missed the playoffs. Favre took the majority of the heat on why the Jets failed the last fi ve weeks of the season in which fans later found out he was playing with an injured shoulder.

Favre told the Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum he would retire after the season and on Feb. 11, 2009, he retired for a second straight year. It did not last, as rumors heated up again this last summer that he wanted to make a comeback for a second straight year. In May 2009, his wish to be released from the Jets was granted. This time he needed to have arthroscopic surgery to complete a tear in his throwing arm and was unsure if he could come back healthy enough to play football. On Aug. 18, 2009, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Former face of the Green Bay Packers franchise, Brett Favre crossing the border refueled the fi re between the Vikings and Packers rivalry. Two teams that love to hate each other, two fan bases that love having the bragging rights, and two teams with high expectations this year. Add it all up and it makes one highly anticipated football game in the national spotlight that could be possibly one of the highest rated Monday Night Football games of all time. The question is, will it live up to the hype?

Derek Johnson is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.