APPLETON, WIS. -- As far as we can tell Brett Favre is safe and sound inside the Radisson Paper Valley hotel where the Vikings stay during road trips to play the Packers. We were curious as to what type of reception Favre would receive and so Chip and I waited outside the hotel for the team's arrival, which happened shortly after 4 p.m.
Police and hotel security cordoned off a block well before the Vikings buses pulled up and allowed fans to stand on either side to watch but no one could get close to the players. They even created a small media area so photogs and photo journalists could record the event. There were fans on each side of the barriers that were set up and I'd say there were probably 75 or so watching. It was rather windy or cold so perhaps that kept some people away. Or, heck, maybe they just had real things to do today.
A television reporter did tell me that the gathering of fans she saw when the New York Giants arrived before the 2007 NFC Championship Game was much bigger.
There were some Vikings fans included among the Packers faithful. One guy was wearing a jersey that was split into quarters and had a mix of all four teams for which Favre has played. The front had Atlanta and Green Bay and the back had the New York Jets and the Vikings.
The Vikings arrived from the Outagamie County airport in three buses that all pulled up one in front of the other at the hotel. Catching a glimpse of Favre was nearly impossible but a guy who looked like Favre (hey, I feel like I work for TMX right now) exited from the middle bus and ducked down, quickly headed into the hotel. The problem was he was wearing a winter hat and it was hard to see his face from our angle. (So what we're reporting is we think we saw Brett Favre but we wouldn't swear to it if we were on the witness stand.)
Realizing that if Favre had indeed entered the hotel he was now long gone, fans began chanting, "Where is Brett? Where is Brett?"
Those lucky enough to have tickets to Sunday's game won't have to be asking that question much longer.
Also, just saw these quotes on Pro Football Talk from an interview that Steve Mariucci of the NFL Network did with Favre that will air Sunday morning. The two have a friendship that goes back to Mariucci's days as Favre's first quarterbacks coach with the Packers in 1992.
Asked what he expects from Packers fans, Favre said: "I really don't know. I hope ... I understand we're the visitor. And every time we take the field, I don't expect a standing ovation. All I ask for is respect. What I did there goes without saying. I'm proud of it. And you may hate the Vikings or whatever, but just respect what I've done over the years. And one the game starts, play ball."