I can already smell the turpentine waifing over the Minnesota/Wisconsin border from those die hard Packers fans sitting in Lambeau's parking lot in anticipation of their golden boy's homecoming. Many thought the Monday Night Football game played a few weeks ago between these two teams was the bigger of the two battles of Favre vs. the team he held his shoulders for so many years because of the "prestige" of playing in front of Tirico, Gruden, and Jaws in the ESPN booth.
They would be wrong.
When Garnett left the Minnesota Timberwolves it was the last reason waning professional basketball fans had to drop some money on a jaunt down to the Target Center to watch this sport. Only die-hard fans and those who found some ridiculously under priced tickets (I heard some go for five bucks) will pile into downtown Minneapolis to enjoy a pint at Rosen's before watching Kurt Rambis coach Al Jefferson and some other people play basketball for a few hours. There's no hype, little-to-no hope, much like the LA Clippers who seem to curse everything they touch.
But it wasn't Garnett's first game at Boston Gardens that had all the local media a-buzz with excitement of seeing Big Ticket in something other than blue and white with silver trim. No, it didn't hit home that the player who breathed life into this market and sustained it for so many years came out of the visitor's locket room to take the floor against the cache of players the Timberwolves received in trade. Sure some people had JR Rider and newly minted Jefferson jerseys, but as a betting man most fans that night looked upon their departed star with Garnett's number on the back, some even in the green and white hoping he'd finally get that NBA title.
This will be somewhat true on Sunday, fans in Green Bay will see some Purple number fours in the stands but unlike Garnett, Favre didn't leave under the best of terms, nor is he without a couple of world championships. Most likely the stadium will erupt in a mix of jeers and cheers loud enough to rock the houses in Green Bay, there will be several to question his sexuality and every play from the first hand off to Purple Jesus to the last sideline pattern to Rice or Harvin will be scrutinized and justly so. Their hero walked across the picket line into enemy territory where Vikings fans still (non-bandwagon ones at least) still sit uncomfortably at every game watching their nemesis for the past decade and a half pull their team closer to the Super Bowl win they've cheered for.
Defining "game of the season"?
I'd think so.
Call it a "must win" for the Packers if you will since a loss would put them at 4-3 and with their easy part of the schedule done (with the exception of the Bucs the following week and Lions on Turkey Day), they would be two games out with two losses against the Vikes (oohh that sounds sooooooo mom's fresh chocolate chip cookies gooooooood).