There will be a happy ending after all. Today, the Green Bay Packers and the Packers Hall of Fame announced Brett Favre will be inducted into the hall in July of 2015 and his number 4 will be retired at the induction ceremony with Brett, his wife Deanna and two daughters Brittney and Breleigh coming back later that fall to have his number placed on the legendary ring of retired numbers at Lambeau Field.
The numbers he put up in his 16 year Packers career are staggering. 253 consecutive starts, 442 touchdowns, 5,377 completions, 61,655 yards. He won three MVP awards and of course, restored the long lost glory with the Super Bowl XXXI championship. It was a thrill to cover it all.
The news conference to announce the honors took place in a construction site at Lambeau, where the new hall of fame is being rebuilt inside the atrium. Favre will be the first inductee at it's new home. Media from far and wide poured in to cover it, many, including the NFL Network broadcast it live. That's the star power Favre still holds in this town and around the league.
Hall of Fame President Perry Kidder did the honors:
Audio: Perry Kidder.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy also spoke, announcing the jersey retirement and subsequent ceremony that will take place at a 2015 home game. Former President Bob Harlan, who had a huge role in smoothing over the hurt feelings after his retirement change of heart and trade to the New York Jets in 2008, underscored just what Favre meant to the organization:
Audio: Bob Halan.
It was almost six years to the day that Favre thought he was triumphantly returning to the team after his tearful retirement in March of 2008. The NFL announced it would reinstate Favre and Brett thought that meant he could pick up where he left off. But as we know, the Packers had already decided to move on with Aaron Rodgers, his understudy of three years. There were a couple of intense meetings between the principals and ultimately, General Manager Ted Thompson traded Favre to the New York Jets. It caused a massive uproar just as that training camp began, with many fans booing Rodgers on the practice field. Favre left the Jets after one season and signed with the hated rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. The two games against the Packers in 2009 were incredibly emotional. After the 2010 season, Favre finally called it a career and the speculation began immediately about how and when the divorced couple could ever make up.
Favre almost returned to Green Bay last year but was still coaching his Hancock High School football team to a state championship. With his Packer hall of fame eligibility arriving this year, the timing was natural and now it will happen.
Favre, at home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, joined the news conference via telephone and here's number 4's reaction to the news:
Audio: Brett Favre.
There was a member of the media in attendance who was a member of Mike Holmgren's coaching staff when Favre joined the Pack. Steve Mariucci, now of the NFL Network, was Favre's first position coach.
(Steve Mariucci chats with Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy)
Mooch even asked the first question to open the media Q&A. After it was concluded, I caught up with Steve to talk about Favre's arrival in Green Bay, his emergence as an NFL icon and the honors he so richly deserves from the Packer organization.
Audio: Steve Mariucci.
Mark your calendars, the induction banquet for Favre will be on Saturday, July 18th at Lambeau Field. The ring of honor ceremony will be set once the 2015 schedule comes out.
His first pass as a Packer was completed to himself, for a loss of 7 yards in Tampa Bay. The following week, Don Majkowski rolled his ankle, Favre rolled onto the field and found Kittrick Taylor for a game winning touchdown in the final minute to beat the Bengals. He started the next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was there every week thereafter until the 2007 NFC Championship game where his final pass was picked off by the Giants to set up the game winning overtime field goal. He was a beer drinking, hard partying young star, grew into a mature MVP, Super Bowl champ, he overcame a serious addiction to Vicodin, played with grossly sprained ankles, dislocated thumb, shoulder separations and more. He did it all with a childlike innocence and competitive fire I hadn't seen before or since. 22 years after first setting foot in Green Bay, Brett Favre is finally coming home, for good.