July 16, 2008

The Favre Fiasco

Well, everyone and their mother, sister, cousin and dentist has already commented on this situation, so I figure I'll throw in my two cents for good measure.

As everyone on earth knows (seriously, I asked a kid in Borneo about it and he was better informed than I was), the formerly-happily-retired Brett Favre, master of all that is manly and gunslinger-esque (hyphen-mania!) told the Packers that maybe he'd like to play again (seriously hurting the eBay value of any Kleenex soaked with Favre's tears from his emotional March press conference- I hear they cure cancer!). The Packers prepared for Favre's absence this season by drafting QBs Brian Brohm (Louisville) and Matt Flynn (LSU), and because of this are pretty well-stocked at the gunslinger position. Favre and the Packers front office are at an impasse, and the much-heralded loyalty and passion of the Packers fans/team owners are caught in the middle. I really do feel for the Packers fans here- my next-door neighbor in my dorm last year was a Wisconsin-ite(?) and huge Packers and Favre fan and I can't imagine how this event is making him feel. However, FOX News interviews aside, the reason for this difficult situation is not the "pressuring" of the Packers' front office, but with Peter King's idol himself.

Favre may claim that the Packers pressed him for a decision on his future shortly after the offseason began, and it's easy to understand way. The Packers simply didn't want to repeat the soap-opera drama of whether or not Favre will hang 'em up once and for all or lace 'em up for another season. Beyond that, the big decisions the front office needed to make in the offseason came in the early spring, when big free agent signings and the draft took place, not six weeks before training camp when the annual ritual of Favre coming out of his hole and looking for his shadow takes place. It's not hard to understand why the Packers would like to invest in some young talent and actually give their former 1st-round draft pick (Aaron Rodgers) a chance.

While I don't doubt that Favre could quite ably lead an NFL team this coming season, if it's any team but the Packers, it will destroy the legendary demi-god status he has built around the NFL and greater Milwaukee area for his steadfast commitment to one team for 17 years in an era of free agency and frequent player turnover. While I'm sure the fans of Tampa Bay (which includes me), Minnesota, Carolina, Chicago, or anywhere else would be very excited to have Favre wear their colors and that famed #4, I think even they might feel a bit odd rooting for Mr. Packer every week. The quickness with which Favre turned his back on the franchise that made him who he is (and, I realize he's largely responsible for making them as popular as they are today) and the executives who surrounded him with talent in a quick and fruitful rebuilding period because of his own indecision frankly strikes me as nothing short of shocking. The Packers front office did what any competent front office would by looking out for its future interests, and because of Favre, are under some serious heat for it. With this selfish and disloyal move Favre is certainly going to tarnish the rapport he has built with the fans of the green and gold who so adore and worship him by donning the teal and black of the Panthers, pewter and red of the Bucs, or worse, the uniforms of the hated Bears and Vikings he helped vanquish so many times over the years. I seriously hope Favre reconsiders his position, because this episode has done nothing but harm his good name and reputation and put a damper on the storybook "final season" he enjoyed with the upstart Packers last year.

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