I just heard that there is still about 1% of the Internet that is not filled with the Brett Favre hullabaloo. So here’s my contribution to fill that last 1%. I’ve avoided thinking and talking about this as much as I could, but now I must speak.
When I heard the first rumblings of Brett wanting to make a comeback I knew it would not be pretty. The Packers had already repeatedly said that they had moved on, and for good reason, Brett had retired. Even though he was retired, Brett’s contractual rights still belonged to the Packers until 2010. So if he came back and the Packers didn’t want him, they would either have to trade him or release him. Now, on the surface it would seem an easy choice for the Pack. Who wouldn’t want Brett Favre back? Especially after the year he had last season. But of course it wasn’t that simple. Aaron Rodgers had been given the starting job soon after Brett announced his retirement and on top of that the Packers drafted two quarterbacks in April’s NFL draft as an insurance policy. Maybe they would have done that anyway if Brett hadn’t retired, at most they would only get two more years out of him, but maybe not. Mentally, as an organization, the Packers had moved on. There may have been changes made to the offense to better compliment Rodgers’ skills, or other organizational changes that would have made Brett coming back difficult or uncomfortable. So, I don’t think Brett handled this in the best way and I can understand the Packers’ displeasure.
The more I thought about this and tried to figure it out the more frustrating it became. I could see both sides’ points. What should be done? Then one day on my way home from work I was listening to KNBR and Ralph Barbieri clinched it for me. He said, “Who give the Packers the best chance to win?” The answer to that question, I think, has to be Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers may very well become a very good quarterback, and I think he will. But the fact is that right now on one knows that for sure. Two or three years ago, when Brett was struggling maybe I couldn’t say the Brett was the best option and completely believe it. But after last season I don’t see how anyone can make the case otherwise. I wanted Brett back because, in the immortal words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game.”
The soap opera has dragged on for weeks now, with every other story on ESPN speculating on what will happen next. He even had his own heading on ESPN’s Bottom Line: AL NL NBA Favre. First he was going to be released, then traded, then released, then traded again, then paid $20 million by the Pack to stay home, then there would be an “open” competition in Packers camp for QB1, until finally today: the Brett Favre in Green Bay era is over. This morning he was traded to the New York Jets.
I heard broadcaster Gus Johnson say last week when asked what his feelings were about this whole mess that, as a fan, he would love to see Brett play again. I think that’s how I’m feeling now. Of course, I would much rather see him in Packer green than Jet green, but watching him play is maybe the most fun thing I’ve every watched in sports. It was always exciting, for better or worse. This drama may taint his legend a little and like my buddy Josh The Rev said to me yesterday, he’ll join a host of great QB’s who ended their careers in strange jerseys; Namath in a Ram’s, Unitas in a Charger’s, Montana in a Chief’s. But time heals wounds and Brett has given too much to the Green Bay Packers and their fans for the sting to last too long. I hold no ill will for Brett or the Packers. That doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed in either of them, but this is how things go sometimes. I wish him the best, mostly because he’s in the AFC. They say that when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way and I know Brett will go all out for his new team. I hope Jets fans appreciate what they have. Brett the Jet. It just sounds weird.