Thursday, August 07, 2008

Goodbye Part 2

What a roller coaster the last month and a half has been. It all started in early March. Three time NFL MVP and face of the Packers franchise for 16 years, Brett Favre, retired from the game of football. Then came small grumblings of Favre considering a comeback. Then came an interview with his former QB coach Steve Mariucci in which said he would consider a comeback if Aaron Rodgers were injured. Then came the bombshell. Early July Chris Mortenson of ESPN reported that Brett Favre contacted Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy to let him know he was seriously considering ending the retirement that began only months ago.

I personally first heard the news on the radio while driving in my car . A smile immediately formed on my face. Brett Favre is all I've really known as quarterback for the green and gold. I love watching him play and find it hard to imagine another player ever topping him as my favorite player of all time. I was excited for the possibility of another deep playoff run lead by number four. Then came the drama.

Turns out that the front office of the Green Bay Packers didn't share my enthusiasm. What followed was hard for me to watch. The team I will cheer for till the day I die was at odds with a player that I, for the lack of a better word, love. Release demands, bribes, long conversations, and more rumors then I can count have filled the last month plus. Then came the trade.

Late last night this sideshow was put to an end. Possibly the greatest Packer to ever play the game was traded to the New York Jets. So the question that remains is who's at fault?

This could be potentially debated for years and years to come. I'll take the easy way out and say its both Brett and the organization's fault. One thing that I feel can't be denied is that Favre handled this about as poorly as possible. He retired when he shouldn't have. He revealed his intentions to play in a way that caused a huge distraction for his teammates. He strung this out for weeks and weeks and weeks because he was unable to fully commit. He refused to put bad feelings behind him and rejoin the Packers. He refused to talk to other teams interested in trading for his services until just a couple days ago.

The front office lead by general manager Ted Thompson is certainly not without fault. They probably made Brett feel rushed to make a decision. They communicated poorly with Brett. They handled public relations about as badly as they could have. They were too dogmatic in their stance on Aaron Rodgers as starter. They miscalculated Brett's desire to return.

One thing needs to be kept in mind. Both parties were put into a difficult and unique situation. Swiss clock precision by either side was an unrealistic goal.

The final question which should be answered fairly quickly is was this the right move by the Packers? I think you'd be hard pressed to find a Packer fan (though there are a few) that wouldn't want Brett back this year. The divide in the fan base is between those who want Brett back and don't understand why Ted Thompson forced him out and those that want Brett back but understand why management did what it did. Consider this.

Unlike the previous couple years, Brett didn't work out with a personal trainer in the offseason. Throwing the ball around with the local high school team is all well and good, but at Favre's age he should be doing more focused workouts under the supervision of an expert not less.

In Brett's retirement press conference, he questioned his desire to do the things necessary to be successful come game time--meetings, offseason workouts, game film, practice, training camp etc. He also questioned whether he ever wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line again.

The potential for a divided locker room could be realized. Even if the Packers did an open competition, it could end up being close and half the locker room could think one QB won and the other half the other QB won. Also the team is full of mostly younger players who haven't played with Favre all that long. They might think it unfair to take the job away from Aaron Rodgers since, unlike Brett, he has been committed to the Packers the entire offseason.

I hate this situation and wish it never happened this way. However, I will support the Packers and Ted Thompson. He has built a young and talented team and we as a fans should be grateful. Despite all the mistakes he has made this offseason, I still think highly of Brett Favre and will always be an apologist and fan of number four. He would have to pull an OJ to undo the 16 years of excitement, entertainment, and joy he has brought me watching him play the position of quarterback like no other.

Don't give into your need to find someone to blame. Sometimes things just happen.

Go Pack, Go Jets.