Favre Bowl highlights the power of the Vikings
I don't think we'll ever truly know if Brett Favre was forced into his first retirement by the Green Bay Packers in 2008. But it is clear that when Favre announced he would return to the playing field later that same year he was no longer wanted by the Packers.
General manager Ted Thompson made it clear that Aaron Rodgers was his quarterback and it was time to begin a new era at Lambeau Field after 16 seasons under Favre's control.
Favre went on to play for the New York Jets in 2008 before retiring again this past off-season. Of course, we have since discovered the itch to play in the NFL remained and Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings in August.
On Sunday, the boo-birds were out in force in Green Bay as Favre guided the Vikings to a 38-26 victory by throwing four touchdown passes in another vintage display. I think those fans who once cheered for Favre will appreciate him again down the line when his career is finally over, but he had to expect a rough ride after becoming the poster boy for the Packers' hated rivals.
Like many NFL fans around the world, I grew tired with Favre's 'will he, won't he' approach to retirement over the summer and I think there were times when he was misleading towards the media.
A cynic might suggest he asked for his release from the Jets in order to free up a later move to Minnesota, rather than to retire from the game for a second time.
Aaron Rodgers took over as Green Bay quarterback from Brett Favre in 2008
I also had images of Favre from the back end of the 2008 season - when he was a shadow of his former self while playing hurt for New York - firmly in my mind. I worried that he would damage his legacy by making yet another return to the NFL.
I was wrong.
Favre is relatively healthy for a 40-year-old man - although he has another 11 games to survive if the Vikings are to win the Super Bowl. He can still gun the ball into the tightest of windows with the very best of them and there is nothing he hasn't seen before.
You never get the feeling the game is too big for Favre, and that cannot be said about some of the Packers on Sunday, who often looked like the youngest team in the NFL, particularly in the first half when they let the occasion get to them.
I'm not completely falling for the 'Favre plays for the love of the game' line. Favre loves the attention, Favre loves Favre and Favre loves the dollars that go with being one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
But there is no denying he has a clear passion for this sport and that is one of the reasons why he has found it so difficult to walk away from the gridiron. Having watched him play against the Packers on Sunday night, it is clear the NFL is a much better place with Favre in the league.
And the Vikings are a better team for having Favre under centre. His first touchdown pass against the Packers was his 13th of the 2009 season - given an entire season, no Minnesota quarterback has reached that total in the past four years.
Favre is also blessed with being surrounded by some serious offensive firepower. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the business and he has playmaking targets in the passing game in Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe.
With a fairly strong defence also in place, the Vikings appear capable of making a serious run at the Super Bowl.
While their ambitions might not be quite so lofty, I think Green Bay can still rightly call themselves playoff contenders in the NFC. And despite seeing Favre get the better of them twice this season, they made the right call in going with Rodgers.
Favre would certainly fare no better in Green Bay than Rodgers is right now. In fact, he might do a whole lot worse because the Packers have struggles along the offensive line and the majority of plays being made in the passing game are coming as a result of Rodgers' ability to move out of the pocket and throw on the run.
Until they can shore up their protections, the Packers will remain fairly limited, but they have to like what they have seen from Rodgers up to this point of his career. He is the real deal.
Rodgers has a big-time arm, he is accurate and he is an outstanding leader. The Packers looked dead and buried at half-time on Sunday but Rodgers grabbed his team by the scruff of the neck and dragged them - almost single-handedly - back into the contest.
By the end of the game he was exhausted, bruised and battered - but he should also have been proud. He showed he deserved to be on the same field as Favre and has a bright future ahead of him.
Some Packers fans might cast an envious glance at Minnesota and wish they had number four back. But that would be wrong. The Vikings didn't win on Sunday purely because of Favre - Peterson, Harvin, Shiancoe and Berrian all made huge plays at critical times.
But had the Packers found a way to come all the way back and win the game, Rodgers would have been the key to that victory.
Green Bay have themselves a very good quarterback in Rodgers. And if they can find a way to protect him and surround him with elite talent, he has all the tools to become a great passer.