We all knew ESPN would be ratcheting this game up to the point of ridiculousness. The local media folks are getting into it, too. The Fan belittled ESPN for calling this upcoming Vikings game "Favre vs The Packers", then proceeded to call it that themselves for the remaining time in the show.
Everybody has an opinion, and apparently, expert insight into Favre's psyche, analyzing how he felt, how he will feel, why he is here, and how he will do. Oh, and he might get some help from Adrian Peterson, too. But, that is secondary. Right?
Just talking with fellow fans on the Cheesehead Nation Blogcast, it's pretty evident that all of Packer Mundo is seething with vitriol towards the Vikings, their coach, and their quarterback. Displaced fans will no longer have to try and get torrented feeds over the internet on Monday night in order to see their Packers play live. It will be nationally televised, and the world appears ready for it...or at least preparing.
As I walked out of Wal-Mart last night, I saw no less than four people loading a large flat-screen television into their vehicles. Timing is everything, isn't it?
Like it or not, kids...this game, with Brett Favre swirling in the middle of it all, is good for football. It's good for the Vikings. It's good for the media. It's good for ratings and makes a great story for ESPN.
But, it's good for us, too. Fans who normally watch the game in the privacy of their own home are finding fellow Packer fans to invite over, or to head over to someone's party or to a local bar to watch the game. Favre may have been polarizing for the last ten years or so, but no longer, at least for Packer fans. Love him or hate him, we all want to watch. Together.
You think the Packers organization isn't excited about playing in what may very likely be the highest-rated game of the season besides the Super Bowl (and the highest rated NFL game in which 50% of the audience isn't just tuned in to watch the commercials)? The Packers bottom line and national image took a hit last year between the Favre drama, the recession, and a 6-10 record. With a stumble out of the gate in 2009, the Packers could quickly fall out of the national media's radar as just another middling team that might be in the playoff hunt.
Not now. Now, the Packers are going to be the center of the storm. Young players will get national exposure, like Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings. Giving them the chance to garner respect on future Pro Bowl ballots by showing up on the biggest stage thus far in their careers.
You want to hate the Vikings? Great! You will never forget Brent? Super! You want this win more than any win you've wanted in recent history?
Listening to one of the Minnesota beat writers made me realize something. I know he was blowing some homer smoke, but he had a point: if the Vikings lose this game, some pressure will fall on Favre and Childress, but in his opinion, the team is on such a high right now and looking at winning the division and going deep in the playoffs, it won't be that dramatic for the locker room.
On the other hand, a Packers loss might be debilitating for our locker room. The media, naturally, wouldn't let it relent talking about Favre's Revenge. And, like it or not, there's been more than enough criticism of Ted Thompson's roster moves and Mike McCarthy's accountability lately that it might blow that schism wide open over a long bye week.
Oh, sure, Brad Childress would get some backlash, too, but he's used to that. His head's been on the chopping block for a couple seasons now. That isn't true of TT and MM, though, and through the first three games, I've seen more public criticism of the Packer leadership than I've seen since a guy by the name of Sherman.
I may be wrong, but I think the Packers have more to gain by winning this game, and they have more to lose in allowing the Minnesota Favres to take the W. The Vikings aren't just looking at making the playoffs, they are assuming it. The Packers are still struggling to find their identity, fluctuating between the disappointments of 2008 and the zealous optimism we had this preseason.
All the more reason to get behind the Packers this Monday Night and scream your head off. It's not just another game. Not for the Vikings, not for Favre, not for the media, and not for us.
And certainly, no matter what they might say, not for the Green Bay Packers.