Of all the throwaway lines used to praise Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre during the endless preamble to Thursday's number retirement ceremony, one managed to perfectly encapsulate one of the NFL's most complicated players.
He was addicted to touchdowns.
Favre, who made amends with the Lambeau faithful at halftime of Thursday night's ceremony which placed him among some of the most storied names in football history, was the ultimate gamer. He came to define the now-popular moniker gunslinger, and, toward the end of his career, helped usher in the five-wide air attack that now populates almost every NFL playbook.
But it was his desire to win, and to score, that ended up delaying this moment for so long. Favre always wanted to go down as a member of the Green Bay Packers, but when they made the decision to anoint Aaron Rodgers, he was more than willing to make them pay for it in another uniform.
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy, riding a wave of Favre good will which started earlier in the year, fittingly welcomed Favre "home" during an introduction. Rodgers and Favre met and shared a quick hug after the broadcast cut to commercial, just before second half kickoff.
"We have so much to be thankful for and as I think back to our time in Green Bay, I certainly thank God for the opportunity to play and for so long, and to play in the best place to play football in the world," Favre said in a brief statement.
Favre's circuitous route back to Green Bay took him through stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. It took him through a painful divorce with a city that embraced everything the playmaker stood for, both good and bad. It showed how easily someone could be replaced, but also how hard it was to be forgotten.
At 46 years old, Favre looks far less than five years out of football despite all the grey under his wool cap. This became increasingly clear as he met with many of his former teammates at midfield, most of whom looked every bit like retired football players. He came out to resounding applause despite an absolute downpour -- no one was leaving to get a beer -- and the stadium rocked even louder when Green Bay legend Bart Starr made his way to the field. Starr -- despite his failing health and "limited strength" -- met Favre for a quick hug, and just like that Lambeau Field went back into game mode.
Thankfully, the field will never be the same. Favre made his mark, and Starr was there to see him come home.