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Packers Fans Grieve as Favre Retires

Sports

Packers Fans Grieve as Favre Retires

Listen to our chat with hardcore Packer Backers Patrick and Bonnie

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/87913550/87913490" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Brett Favre became the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 1992 season and didn't miss a single game after that.

So when Packer fans mourn over the announcement that he's retiring, it's not just because he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and it's not just because he led them to their first Super Bowl title in 29 years in 1996. It's because it's almost impossible for them to remember what it looked like the last time the Packers took the field without Favre, and it's even harder to imagine what it might be like the next time they do.

Patrick Daley owns the Kettle of Fish bar in Manhattan, a popular place for Wisconsin expats to watch Packer games. He usually takes Tuesdays off, but when he got the news of Favre's retirement on Tuesday morning, he knew folks would congregate at the Kettle.

"I know it's only football, but to us it's more than that. And we all feel like we're at a wake," Daley says of the mood among Packer Backers. "I wasn't even surprised by the news, I kind of expected Brett to retire, but when he did, it hit us like a sledgehammer."

Fellow fan and Kettle of Fish regular Bonnie Wasserman tries to explain why Favre is so beloved among Packer fans.

"[He] means a lot to a place, he has a location, which is Wisconsin, which is Packer Nation," she says, "and he really meant a lot to a lot of people and kept people going."

Wasserman had a friend who was very ill, and before she passed away, her family often found solace in watching Brett Favre play.

"They would watch the games when she was very ill," she says. "No matter how hurt he was, he'd go onto the field. No matter how cold it was he just kept on going."

Video: Where Packer fans feel at home in New York.

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