One would think that now that Brett Favre has finally been let go by the Green Bay Packers and traded to the New York Jets that this entire saga is now complete. Done. Over. Fini.
There will be no more scutinized subplot to the 2008 NFL season that the one that relates to all things Favre. So who are the winners on this day, just hours after Favre has been shipped, and who are the losers?
The Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers face more pressure than anybody in this entire situation. They all made it very clear from the moment the “Favre is coming back” rumors began swirling that they had moved on and weren’t interested in his services anymore.
Someday we may all find out in somebody’s tell-all book or biography just how much more has gone on behind the scenes than any of us know today. There had to more of a reason to unceremoniously dump Favre into the unemployment line than just “we’ve moved on.” Something is going on here. Something has been going on here. Did Favre wear out his welcome, and how long ago did he begin to grate on the nerves of the Packers’ brain trust? Is he a diva? It may be awhile before any of these answers come to the surface.
That said, now the Pack is moving on with a quarterback who has never started a game in favor of the most decorated passer ever to play the game. Good luck guys, because all three of your reputations rest on the performance of Rodgers’ mind and right arm. Nothing short of a Super Bowl run can save the Pack from the lingering “what ifs”. 11-5? That’s not going to be good enough.
Chad Pennington The QB of the Jets will likely be released today. Remember when he was roundly cheered after falling to the Jets in the NFL Draft? That was a long time ago.
Then again, leaving the Jets might make him a winner. It’s the Jets, so why not?
ESPN, NFL Network, NBC, CBS, Fox Just kidding. They all fall into the next category.
New York Jets They were 4-12 last year. 4-12. They’ve spent big money in free agency, beefing up an offensive line that will now protect Favre. If they can finish even 9-7 and stay in the playoff hunt until the last week, the deal, for a conditional draft pick, will be worth it.
In a town where the Jets have been an afterthought since the days of Namath and Weeb, the J-E-T-Ses will rule the back page for a while, taking the limelight away from the, ahem, Super Bowl champion Giants. Not a small deal.
Jeff Garcia All he does when he starts is win games, lead teams to the playoffs and make runs at the Pro Bowl. And then teams every year try to figure out a way to edge him out the door. Garcia, who managed the Tampa Bay Bucs to a playoff appearance last season after resurrecting the Philadelphia Eagles off the bench a year before, was the odd-man out as the Bucs were trying to trade for Favre. Now there are no worries, and the Bucs will be better off for it.
Packers fans Let the second-guessing begin. While a lot of Green Bay fans came out in support of the organization during this whole ordeal, don’t think for a second that they won’t turn on Thompson, McCarthy, et. al. should Rodgers and the team slip. Packers fans will wait to see how each team — and each QB — performs before reserving judgment, and then they may change their minds again. And again. A fan likes nothing better than to be proven right — or to complain. Here they have the best of both worlds.
Brett Favre Who is he, really? Is he the guy who had one of his best seasons in his 17th year in leading the Pack to the NFC Championship game? Or is he the guy who stubbornly tossed 29 interceptions two years ago, and 62 picks over the last three years? Will being another year older show itself? Will a new offense, new organization, new everything have a negative impact on him?
As for how his legacy is concerned, don’t waste your breath. Nobody looks at a picture of Johnny Unitas and thinks of his San Diego Chargers years. Nobody looks at Namath and sees him in a Rams uniform. Do you envision Michael Jordan soaring to new heights and slamming it home in a blazing red Bulls jersey, or missing a dunk in the All-Star Game as a Washington Wizard?
If Favre is terrible and is crushed by the New York media, so what? It will be an footnote. The best he can probably hope for is to be Joe Montana reincarnate, who helped the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship game and enjoyed a brilliant fourth-quarter duel with John Elway on Monday Night Football once after leaving the San Francisco 49ers. There wasn’t much else in Montana’s tenure in KC, but time has washed over the mediocrity and left us with the highlights. The same will happen with Favre.
That all said, he will be looked on differently forever for the strange twists and turns of the this saga. We all saw a very different Brett Favre in the last three weeks than the one we thought we knew, and that will never change. We saw and felt the enormity of his ego, and fans don’t like that part of their heroes.
Time will tell.
And it starts right now.