Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Favre Remix

I was sitting in Graham's room last night watching some kind of sports programming (switching between Mets-Marlins and Yanks-Orioles) when yet another Brett Favre update rolled across the screen, informing the masses that the legendary quarterback had officially written to the NFL for his reinstatement into the league.

Now I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in saying enough with this constant Favre coverage, but it was then that Graham asked me what I thought about it. Clearly, he didn't remember my post from a few weeks ago concerning Favre, where I outlined exactly what I thought of the situation. But to be honest, I don't blame Graham for forgetting my stance, because I think we've all lost sight of what's important amidst the daily (and sometimes thrice daily) Brett Favre news that comes out. Seriously, poor Chris Mortensen's phone bill is probably through the roof with calls to Mississippi.

I feel even worse for Mort after seeing this picture.

Through it all, though, I'm sticking to the point I made earlier this month. The Packers can feign anger at Favre all they want for flip flopping, but ultimately the public is going to realize that the team is essentially pushing one of its greatest players out the door when he desperately wants back in. And for me, it just doesn't make much sense. Here's what I wrote a few weeks ago:

I just don't get Green Bay's dilemma. Say you were the GM of an NFL team, if given the choice, who would you rather have quarterbacking your team : Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. To me, no circumstance exists where Rodgers would be the answer.

Yes, it's unfair for Favre to just un (or de-) retire like this, but he's still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. How is this a bad thing?

This morning I was thinking about how another NFL team would treat a similar circumstance: one of their legendary players flip flopping about playing. The Giants had a similar scenario last season with Michael Strahan, when he feigned retirement because he didn't really want to participate in two-a-days. Favre's conundrum was he didn't want to participate in the non-training camp aspect of preseason football, things like OTAs and mini-camp. But instead of taking a hard line stance on Strahan, the Giants did the smart thing and took a wait-and-see approach since they understood they weren't going to just replace Strahan.

Packers GM should be using this same strategy as it relates to Favre. I realize you want Aaron Rodgers to get his chance at starting after using a first-round pick on him. But like Strahan helped the Giants win the Super Bowl a year ago, I think Brett Favre also has a shot at winning a Super Bowl with this Packer squad. Also remember, we found in January's Super Bowl that not only did the Giants take a wait-and-see approach while Strahan considered calling it quits, they did so knowing full well they had a player named Justin Tuck waiting in the wings.

Yeah, some of your decisions have me scratching my head too, Teddy.

I think the media has also played a role in the Favre saga becoming a melodrama. I don't quite understand why we're all jumping on the guy just because he wants to keep playing football. He's admitted he jumped the gun in calling it quits and still thinks the fire exists to compete. And coming off the season he had a year ago, I don't get the problem. Michael Wilbon has an interesting take on the issue in today's Washington Post, where he laments the power the Packers have over Favre:

If you don't want Favre, if you think he's washed up and ready to be bronzed, then why would you care if he winds up with the Vikings or Bears? If you don't want Favre, why would you care who he plays for in the limited time he has left?

Because the Packers want it both ways, like every NFL team in history. Thompson thinks being an NFL team executive gives him the inalienable right to be able to tell players what to do for the rest of their natural lives. "I don't want you to play for me, but I'll do my best to prevent you from playing for anybody else." That's the NFL way.

And because the NFL is the unchallenged sports/entertainment leader in America, most of the general public -- even in Wisconsin -- most folks in the media and most fans nationally think the poor Packers are somehow being put upon. This is yet another case of the NFL flexing its unequalled sense of entitlement and arrogance.

See, I don't think it's the NFL or the Packers flexing their muscles. This is squarely on the shoulders of GM Ted Thompson, who has backed himself into a corner by taking this definitive "he retired so we moved on and there's no turning back from here" approach. It illuminates an even bigger issue, which is why this man can't just flip flop, just like Favre did concerning his retirement. It's not the end of the world to have Brett Favre quarterbacking a team that was a play away from the Super Bowl. If Favre had never made his March retirement announcement, none of this media bruhaha would be going on. Someone needs to put Mr. Thompson in his place because no matter what he does in this situation, he isn't getting a statue in front of Lambeau Field like Favre will.

In simpler terms, enough with this Favre stuff. Let the man play football.

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