NFL: Rodgers enjoys his first Lambeau Leap
By Patrick Reusse
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The homeowners west of Lambeau Field were offering the usual bargain parking rates for Monday night’s opener between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. You could get within three blocks and receive a choice spot on a lawn for $15.
A three-block walk down a residential street to the stadium property revealed a large number of Brett Favre’s No. 4 Packers jerseys in both white and green. There was also a handful of Favre jerseys of the New York Jets, a team for which he now has a 1-0 career record.
The walk to Ridge Road, the west barrier to the Lambeau parking lot, was almost complete before a Minnesota visitor spotted a Packers fan wearing the No. 12 jersey of Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback who was three hours from making his first NFL start.
Garland Green from Menomonie, Wis., was the gentleman honoring Rodgers’ standing as the Packers quarterback.
“This jersey isn’t about a player’s contribution to the team,” Green said. “Wearing this jersey is a statement.”
Green continued: “It’s a reminder to people that Aaron Rodgers is a young man who doesn’t want anything more than a chance to play football …
“He waited for three years behind Brett, and then he got caught in the middle of an unbelievably chaotic situation that was none of his making. He’s our quarterback, and I’m going to cheer for him, and I wish the whiners would grow up and do the same.”
The Favre crowd that Green described as whiners definitely had things going its way in the first quarter.
As Rodgers left for the sideline on the second possession, there was a muffled chant from far back in an end zone: “We want Favre.”
On the next series, the home crowd received a Favre flashback. The Packers were at their 38-yard line. Jennings took off on a sprint, and Gordon went with him. Rodgers waited, then reached back and threw with all he could muster.
The jump ball reached Jennings and Gordon, and Jennings ó the outstanding third-year receiver ó came down with the football at the 6.
Rodgers finally heard an earnest cheer from the Lambeau loyalists.
The Packers had to huff and puff to get in the end zone in the fourth quarter, with Rodgers going in on a sneak from inside the 1. He spiked the ball and then headed for the stands behind the end zone ó the same end zone where “We want Favre” had been heard earlier ó and his first Lambeau Leap.
“I’ve been dreaming about that for four years,” he said. “I was hoping my first Leap would be something a little more flashy, but at that point in the game, I just said, ‘What the heck … I’m going for it.’ “
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