Brett Favre (Andy King/AP)
A Vikings fan took out a full-page, full-color ad in the Hattiesburg American as part of an ongoing grass-roots effort to get Favre to return to the team next year. We’ve got the full impassioned letter he wrote.
Ben Nelms joined a recruiting campaign among Vikings fans to get Brett Favre to come back and play for their team. Letters to the editor and two billboards urging the quarterback to return have popped up near Favre’s home in Hattiesburg over the last month.
Now Nelms, who runs his own business designing cancer therapy products in Wisconsin, has taken out a full-page, full-color ad on the back page of the sports section in the Hattiesburg American newspaper.
Depsite growing up in Wisconsin, Nelms became a Vikings fan when he got a little purple Vikings helmet from a collectibles machine as a boy. Now the 39-year old felt impassioned enough to write an open letter to Favre in the Mississippi newspaper.
"The whole thing came together in five minutes," Nelms told Jason Nunz of the Hattiesburg American. "(I just thought) if I had five minutes with him, this is what I'd say. So I just ended up writing a letter. It seemed like the honest and right thing to do."
The full-page ad in the Hattiesburg American.
Courtesy Hattiesburg American
Nelms recaptured some of Favre’s 2010 highlights from a fan’s perspective and appealed to his emotions.
“Brett Favre, thank you, bro. You made a good team great. You gave a ‘big business’ league some personality,” Nelms wrote. “You made a professional sport emotional. And you helped make, so it appeared to all of us, a group of teammates into a collection of true friends. And that’s fun to cheer for, gosh darn it.”
Vikings coach Brad Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that they don’t know if Favre will return for another year of football or not, and the team is putting no timeline on him for a dedision.
“I’m pretty good with that and I think the thing is this: Our team understands that as well,” Childress said. “The old not knowing, not knowing, not knowing – you can question guys on our team and say, ‘Would it be nice to know sooner than later?’ Yeah, but you have to be able to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in this business, whether you’re a player, whether you’re a coach and deal with it well. I think our players get that, understand that. I think that they’ll be fine.”
Here is the full text of Nelms’ ad:
As a young boy, I had two favorite football teams. One was the Houston Oilers (because once I saw the great Earl Campbell running over people, I was hooked) and the other was the Minnesota Vikings. Why? Because I had this one toy football helmet (you know, those little collectibles sold in the quarter machines at grocery stores); it was purple with the timeless white horn on the side. That was all it took. From a young age, I was imprinted. Well, I lost the Oilers in ’96, but I’ve always had the Vikings. And for 17 long years I had to watch my team play twice a season against one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever known. Some of those years were hard for us Viking fans. (They weren’t all like 1998, after all...)
That’s why late in the summer of 2009, when the rumors were confirmed that #4 was not only going to come back, but he was going to come back and wear purple…well let me just speak for a whole lot of folks and say that we were downright giddy. It was the beginning of what was to be one heckuva year up north. So the rest of these words I write directly to one particular dude hanging out and healin’ up somewhere down there in the warmth of Mississippi…
Brett Favre, thank you, bro. You made a good team great. You gave a “big business” league some personality. You made a professional sport emotional. And you helped make, so it appeared to all of us, a group of teammates into a collection of true friends. And that’s fun to cheer for, gosh darn it. As you surely know, we Vikings fans have had our share of football heartbreaks over the years. But 2009 taught us something – that it’s okay to love a team again. What’s not to love? Man, when you threw for Percy Harvin’s first ever touchdown in the NFL, we watched amazed as a veteran QB tackled his rookie receiver in the end zone in celebration (it took you two tugs to get him down).
When you won your first Viking home game in the waning seconds on that unbelievable catch, we witnessed a true legend doing his thing, but this time for our team. And when you guys beat GB, not once but twice, man-oh-man let me tell you how sweet it was! We all have a heaping portion of great memories from 2009, and so many of them begin with #4. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that our best memory (so far) has yet to happen – the day when #4 says that 2009 was special but 2010 will be better, the day when #4 says he’s coming back for (at least) one more year of playing hard.
Most importantly (and hear these next sincere words from a fellow dude who just happens to root for the purple team): we’re not asking you to guarantee a Super Bowl...you don’t need to promise an NFC championship...and we won't take for granted that you'll deliver another 107.2 passer rating. None of that. It's this simple -- we just want to watch you play again. And you know what? I'm hardly alone. This is a sentiment that transcends team colors, a common feeling shared from the frozen tundra all the way down to the who ‘dat nation. Let’s just say it outright... FOOTBALL IS A LOT MORE FUNWITH #4 ON THE FIELD.
Brett Favre, thanks man.
Rest up…then come on back.
A Vikings fan.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.