October 29, 2009
Have you ever been in a stadium of 70,000 people when it's been dead quiet? It's an odd and off-putting feeling. No one is comfortable.
There are only three reasons it ever happens: 1) A moment of silence for a recent tragic event; 2) An injury that looks to be really, really serious; or 3) An unlikely catastrophe at the end of the game that costs the home team the win, and likely something more, like a chance at a championship.
None of the three feel good. The default setting for a packed stadium is noisy, and when it gets quiet, it's weird. No one likes it.
But there is another way to acknowledge Favre, a middle road, if you will. We're talking about a wholly unrealistic, literally in-a-vacuum welcome back for No. 4, yet a response that would be completely appropriate for the occasion.
And that would be dead and utter silence. [...]
In a sophisticated way, a small town that is not exactly viewed as such by the outside world could emphatically say that the game to follow is bigger than one player.
It might also freak him out.
He's expecting to be booed, and maybe hear some cheers, too: basically, nothing he hasn't heard before in his career. Anything that stays within the boundaries of normal stadium behavior will have no effect on Favre. He's a professional.
He's also sort of disrespecting Packers fans by saying that the game is nothing special to him, there's nothing special about playing in Lambeau, and he won't be the least bit sentimental. Doesn't that make you angry, Packers fans? That Favre sees nothing special at all about his return to Lambeau as a Viking?
If you want to get to him, it's going to take the unexpected. I see only two ways to accomplish this. First would be the usual hate, taken to an ugly, extreme, violent level. I'm talking about throwing things, things that might hurt a man if they hit him, threats, the most boorish, personal and hateful of signs, etc. Obviously, we can't have this, as it's illegal, dangerous and wrong.
The dead silence, though, I think would be equally effective. There's no way that wouldn't jar Favre and everyone else. It would be unlike anything he's experienced in his career, and it would produce a chilling effect in the stadium and on television.
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