Terry Bradshaw can relate with Brett Favre.
Not only as Super Bowl winning quarterbacks with southern roots. But also as a great players whose final chapter with the team they thrived with not ending on the best of terms.
Bradshaw-hurt by criticism by Steelers fans (mostly during the early stages of his career) and coach Chuck Noll- retired after an injury ended his career after 14 seasons. He left Pittsburgh with a bitter taste in his mouth that was finally reconciled 19 years later. Bradshaw agreed to return to Pittsburgh in 2002 for a ceremony at Heinz Field at halftime of a Monday Night Football game against the Colts to receive a long overdue celebration of his Hall-of-Fame career. It seems today that Bradshaw no longer has ill will towards Steelers fans and his former coach.
Favre's departure from Green Bay was far different from Bradshaw's but consistent in the end result. After retiring following the 2007 season- his 17th in the NFL and 16th with the Packers- Favre ended his retirement just months later and flew to Green Bay during the team's training camp. But upon arrival, Favre received unexpected news when the Packers brass informed him that Aaron Rodgers would be the team's starting quarterback, not the three-time league MVP.
Angered by the team's decision, Favre played a season with the Jets before retiring again, then signing with the arch rival Vikings in 2009. Behind a resurgent Favre, Minnesota swept Green Bay in both regular season match ups en route to the NFC Championship Game.
Rodgers and the Packers would extract revenge on Favre in 2010, defeating the Vikings in both regular season games as Green Bay won the Super Bowl. Favre endured the worst season of his career as a starter that finally prompted the end of his 19-year career.
While Bradshaw's departure from Pittsburgh hurt him, I can't imagine what would have went through the minds of Steelers fans if Bradshaw had caught on with a different team. Like Favre and Minnesota, can anyone fathom seeing Bradshaw in a Browns or Raiders jersey in the 1980s? Let's just be thankful that never happened. Because if it did, it may have been 40 years before the Blonde Bomber made his return to Pittsburgh for his ceremony.
It finally appears that the wounds left from Favre's bitter divorce have healed. A recent report by ESPN reported that the Packers nearly had their ceremony for Favre last season. It's been nearly seven years since Favre last threw a pass for Green Bay, and-unlike Bradshaw, who got into broadcasting- he has kept a considerably low profile upon his final retirement.
For the sake of Packers fans, I hope that Favre's ceremony happens in the very near future and that all bad feelings between the two can be patched up. As a Steelers fan, I'll always remember how pleasing it was to see Bradshaw gladly welcoming the chorus of cheers inside Heinz Field during that night in 2002. I hope Packers fans can have the same moment with their Hall-of-Fame passer who, like Bradshaw, gave them a multitude of great memories.