Two words: Brett Favre.
When Brett Favre left the field last season after his final game as a Green Bay Packer and professional quarterback, millions of women, many happily married wives among them teared up. And, so too, I imagine, did their husbands, worried that the departure of the man who had caused unexpected female fans to tune in on Sundays and Mondays would mean an end to game day counting as a couples activity.
You see, somewhere in the mid to late '90s, the Packers got good, thanks in large part to their talented QB, who also happened to have good looks and Southern charm. Not coincidentally, formerly football-averse females began joining their husbands on the couch on game day. In my parents' household, this included my own mother, who had previously placed watching football in the same category as drinking beer: never in a million years. And yet there she was all of a sudden, yelling at the TV and refusing to answer the phone during fourth downs. My dad was thrilled–and he's a Bears fan.
She was just one of seemingly millions of middle-aged women to trade in their golf visors for green Packers hats and pop-collared polo shirts for Favre's number 4 jersey. That they were hoping to catch a glimpse of Favre's spandex-clad tush as much as monitor the score was just fine with their men, who were happy to have them as cheering buddies.
With today's announcement that Favre is officially out of retirement and back on Green Bay's roster, Packer-fan households across the country are breathing a sigh of relief that though he may not start, this catalyst of marital bonding and his not-so-young-yet-still-arguably-cute behind will be back on the playing field.
And, if there's any truth to the rumors that Favre will be traded to the Vikings, I predict a boatload of happy Minnesotan husbands and wives.