"Friggin' Rodgers," I groaned last week as that sumbitch Aaron rolled to his right, tapped the ball twice while looking downfield and fired a missile into my soul, caught by a tight-rope-walking James Jones in the corner of the endzone for a game-killing touchdown against the Vikings.
"You can't kill him," I kept saying. "He's like The Shape!"
Never look away. pic.twitter.com/yLM5lIkryU— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) November 8, 2015
I'd made that reference two weeks prior as wall while watching the implacable Rodgers nearly drag Green Bay's carcass back to life against the upbeaten Panthers. I've made it a lot, in fact, ever since 23 teams passed on Rodgers in the 2005 draft, leading to my arch nemesis Tony the Packers Fan calling and telling me that "We just got our Favre replacement -- enjoy the next 10 years."
Later that season, with the Bears 8-3 and riding a seven-game winning streak, and the Packers a hideous 2-9, I woke up with this voice mail:
Jack…Jaaaaaack. It’s Tony. Hello Jack. The clock just passed midnight. That means it’s December now, Jack. First NFL game of December is coming up. Bears-Packers. Be afraid, Jack. You don’t need to be petrified, but the cold sweats are normal. The Packers are coming, Jack. We’re coming. Brett Favre is on his way. Take care, Jack.
Tonight, the Bears travel to Lambeau Field for a Thanksgiving game, but the holiday on my mind is Halloween. That's partly because of my Aaron Rodgers-Michael Myers flashbacks, but mostly because the Packers are retiring Favre's number tonight, which has me in a reminiscing kind of mood. This occurrence has a freaky kind of synergy. Here's what we're talking about:
1. I think Aaron Rodgers is Michael Myers.
2. The only QB who has ever scared me as much as Rodgers is Favre, whose number is getting retired.
3. The last time a number retirement ceremony occurred during a Bears-Packers game was Halloween 1994 at Soldier Field, one of the great brutalizations in Bears history, as HOFers and legends Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus were honored at halftime while the Bears trailed Green Bay 14-0 en route to a rainy 33-6 loss.
Let's run that back.
Here are Butkus and Sayers, not just two all-time great members of their respective teams but guys who defined their position leaguewide, standing in the friggin' RAIN at their home stadium while the current incarnation of their beloved franchise gets mollywomped by their arch rivals. I described this three years ago as a "horrific suckest," and the reporters of the day weren't much kinder.
Favre didn't do much that day -- his 82 yards passing turned out to be a career low in a win. But he was his usual terrifying self. He was ALWAYS terrifying.
So here's the question: Who was/is scarier -- Favre or Rodgers?
Upon more thought, Favre is more like Michael Myers: an unexplainable terror of nature. Favre was Cutleresque in his recklessness -- or Cutler is Favrian, whatever you want to call it. Current Packers defenders say the same thing about defending Jay as Lovie-era Bears defenders say about defending Brett: "Just make sure you catch it."
Brett and Michael Myers match up well because you seemingly knew HOW to kill him, you just COULDN'T. From 2005 to 2009, Favre was like Myers: we kept killing him yet he kept not dying.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is actually more like the Terminator: the fusing of physicality and programming. Did you read the marvelous profile of Rodgers in S.I. this year? This dude trains like Neo, just hour after hour of data input mixed with an incomparable workout regimen.
You can just picture Rodgers scanning the Bears defense like the Terminator processing the faces in the hillbilly bar, his red-tinted computerized vision hunting for weakness to exploit.
And fine, Terminator was a good guy in the second movie, so maybe Rodgers (for our purposes) is more like the first Terminator, or perhaps T-1000, another mix of science and power, a human-like machine bereft of emotion.
Looking forward to tonight. Time to face the demons.
WHAT ABOUT YOU, BEARS FANS? Who scared you more: Favre or Rodgers?