Today at a press conference in the Lambeau Field Atrium, Donald Driver said goodbye to the fans and thanked them for their support. While everyone talks about what Driver meant to the Packers organization, there is another aspect of his opening statement that I would like to focus on. It was his choice of words that got my attention.
"Even though I feel as if I can still play the game, God has made the answer clear to me; the time is now, to retire as a Green Bay Packer.” (Driver then goes on to talk about the great history of the Packers). Then Driver finishes with this statement."I owe it to the fans and to this fine organization not to tarnish the legacy they have established in me.” Did you hear that Brett?Before you all roll your eyes, hear me out. This is not the typical, over-saturated version of Brett Favre bashing that we have seen for the last half a decade. This is something a little different. For years I have tried to get many non-Packers fans to understand this concept, but since most of those who read this blog are Packers fans, I will assume that you understand what I mean.
The Church Of Green Bay
Non-Packers fans simply do not comprehend what it means to be a Packers fan or a member of the Green Packers organization. It's special, almost as if it's, in a way, and I use this term lightly, a cult. Being a fan of this team or a member of this team is unlike anything else in American professional sports. The relationship between the fans and the players is something that is unlike and unmatched by any other. When a player puts on a uniform, in most cases, it doesn't mean much other than the fact that he has achieved his dream of playing in the NFL. But when a player puts on a Packers uniform, it means he was chosen to be a part of such a special circle. That is why every player who puts on a Packers uniform always talks about what an honor and a privilege it was to wear a Packers uniform after their time with the team was finished.
Yes, many players come and go from this team. Those players have the right to leave and play for another team if they choose to. Professional sports are a business and that is how it works. However, players like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Donald Driver are not like the rest of those who put on a Packers uniform. They are truly special. They are not just members of the Packers organization, they are not just heroes of this team, they are legends. As the old saying goes “immortality has a price”. Being a Packers legend comes with way more responsibility than being a legend of any other team in the NFL and they don't have the choices the rest of those who put on a Packers uniform do. In exchange for their immortality, they have given up the right to have a choice in the matter. Brett Favre decided that even though he had achieved this immortal status with the Packers, it was still his decision to make, so he spat in the face of those who gave him his immortality. So Donald, I commend you for not spitting in the face of those who have made you immortal.