This morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, they discussed the issue of whether or not the Packers should keep Favre’s locker in the locker room (as it remains presently). Both were strongly opposed to this. Neither Mike nor Mike seemed to be too hung up on how it would make Rodgers/Brohm or any subsequent Packer QBs feel (which is one of the main arguments against the locker staying there that I’ve heard on other talk shows). Instead, they came at it more from the “it’s just time to move on” perspective. Both were fairly emphatic about this being the wrong move and alluded to the fact that the Dolphins have struggled big-time ever since Marino had his locker permanently encased in the Dolphin locker room. (Not sure that really can account for why the Dolphin’s have struggled, but anyway). They argued that the Packers are a very good team and not moving forward effectively after such a big change could hurt the chances of realizing the potential both Mike and Mike seem to think the team has.
It would be impossible for either of these guys to know exactly how much Favre means to the organization, the team, its fans. Neither played for or supported the Pack as fans and without doing that, there is really no way to understand the depth of gratitude and the pride in Packer nation. (Sorry, so many of the talk show/announcer guys who act like they understand this just don’t – in fact, this is a big part of what makes being a true Packer fan so special…it’s so unique and so powerful). So, it then may be difficult for non-Packer people to understand why the team might go to such lengths to make sure Favre has an extra special place in Packer history. There are plenty of statues, plaques, tributes, etc for other Packer legends within and around Lambeau and I would imagine that the organization wanted to keep Favre’s locker in part because they haven’t done that for any other player and it is a sure way to help set Favre apart from everyone – perhaps because many view him as the organization’s greatest.
But there is a difficult balance to work toward with a situation like this. The organization I’m sure wants present players to be fully aware that they are part of the greatest tradition in sports and Favre has exemplified that perhaps as much as any other Packer. At the same time, Favre just retired and with speculation still swirling around that he may not be totally done, having that locker there may be somewhat of a distraction for the team and for the players who are trying to move forward and grapple with LAF (Life After Favre). In other words, it’s all a bit too fresh. (I’ve heard a couple optimists, or perhaps more accurately a couple of people still in the denial stage of grief, suggest that the organization may believe there is still a decent chance Favre will return and until there is more solid confirmation he won’t, they will leave his locker there. I tend not to believe that).
One person whom I’m sure wants the locker out of there is TT (in fact, Brother Steve has at times put forward a solid argument contending that TT wanted Favre out of the locker room altogether). TT took pride in trying to treat Favre like everyone else (which is a viewpoint I still disagree with, he is not “everyone else”…period). I’m sure keeping this shrine there now that he and the team are trying to move forward is something that irks him.
As for me, this is a tough call. I can see both sides. I guess in the end, I tend to lean toward removing the locker and just making sure he is properly acknowledged in other areas of Lambeau (the Hall of Fame – perhaps even have a special Brett Favre room, with a new statue perhaps, a retired jersey, etc). The team does need to really look ahead now and essentially recreate its identity in the post-Favre era. While the media appears to want to pin the new identity on Rodgers, a defensive identity may emerge (like the Ravens of a few years ago) or a Mike McCarthy brilliant offensive strategy identity may take hold (like a Mike Martz Rams team) or even a special teams dominance identity may come about (like the Bears recent Super Bowl team). From a psychological standpoint, I think not having the locker in there may help a slight bit with the team creating this new identity and moving forward (at least for the next year or two – I’m not sure I’d be opposed to having his locker in there a few years down the road, but for now, it may just be too fresh).
Readers, what do you think?