Thursday, August 07, 2008

And So It Ends...

16 years is a long time, even a octogenarian would agree. There's too much to say here without producing an enormously long post, so I'm going to go with bullet points, in the style of Larry King's legendarily awful USA Today columns.

- First, I feel slightly wistful. Brett was a paradigm-shifting player for the Packers, leading what was the NFL's backwater to heights many had thought were unreachable. As all the commentators beat to death, he was everything you loved about sports-- the explosions of utter brilliance, the frightening raw talent, the hilarious improvisation, the passion, determination, and grit, the pure love of competition. But he was also a complex and flawed person, just like everyone else--- mistake prone, addictive, hardheaded, a bit self-centered, ruled by emotions. The last few months showed us this more unflattering side, but I'm confident our collective memories will fade and the bitterness between him and the current management will ease. He'll be back at Lambeau, waving to a standing ovation with tears in his eyes before you know it. He'll always be ours.

- Second, the trade itself. At first blush, a fourth-rounder seems like paltry compensation. Then you realize that unless Favre gets injured, with only Kellen Clemens as his competition, Brett will certainly do enough to trigger the escalator (50% of snaps) to a third-round pick. The esclator to a second round pick seems possible too (70% of the snaps and a playoff berth), as the Jets appear capable of making the playoffs with Fave at the helm. Still it seems oddly low. Maybe what this level of recompense indicates is that the Packers were right about his value. Maybe Favre's time has come and gone.

- But then third, you have to wonder, what the hell were other NFL teams thinking? Why not take a stab at getting Favre? Arizona is more comfortable with a washed up Kurt Warner and an ineffective Matt Leinart? San Fran is psyched about Alex Smith and/or Shaun Hill? KC can't wait for Brodie Croyle? Carolina loves the gimpy Jake Delhomme? Houston feels comfortable with Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub? Bizarre. He may not be a guy who can carry an offense-dominated team to the Super Bowl anymore, but he's got to beat the pants off most of these guys. Plus, you have to feel the media circus that would follow Favre would also be accompanied by an increase in buzz, season ticket subscriptions, and merchandise sales.

- Fourth, I'm concerned about Favre's prospects on the Jets. NYJ added guard Alan Faneca in the offseason, but their high-draft pick LT, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, has struggled pretty badly. I have no idea who their running back/s is/are. And main wideouts Jericho Cotchery and Lavernius Coles are both undersized guys. Favre tends to do better with bigger targets like Sharpe, Walker and Driver. Plus, the Jets don't run a West Coast offense, as far as I know. Can an old dog learn new tricks this quickly? And you have to figure he'll have some problems in the two Pats games this season-- Bellichik is just too tricky. I guess he'll have Bubba as a security blanket? Anyhow, I'm worried he's going to bellyflop and that it could get really ugly really fast in New York. If he does well though, like Montana with the Chiefs, it would cement him as a national icon. His marketing potential would grow to even greater heights. Personally, my hard feelings are aside now. I know I'll be pulling for him.

- Fifth and finally, big sigh of relief. I hope Rodgers, McCarthy and the rest of the Packers can get back to playing football. I hope this colossal distraction won't throw off the team's performance. I hope Ted gets back to scouring other teams' training camps, looking for likely-to-be-cut DTs. I hope the irrational and cruel booing of Rodgers stops. At least until he actually deserves it.


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Papa Sal said...

Don't do it Mr. Man. Don't sell out. Keep it real. Do it for the love.

Scott Tappa said...

Very well put, Man, sums up how a lot of us feel about the situation.

Brooks said...

The situation should of been handled exactly the way the Jets dealt with Chad Pennington. They decided to move in a different direction, thanked Chad for his contribution over the years and RELEASED him so he could pursue other playing options.

It's laughable that you're out there ripping on a conditional draft pick for a player nearly 39 years old who we no longer wanted on our team and tried to pay hush money to. Of course you're the same cat who claimed Favre refused to compete for the starting job in GB, then went on to attack his character and lack of class when it became clear that management didn't want to give Favre the opportunity to compete.

What's been interesting to watch is how many Wisconsinites, including yourself, have completely backed management throughout this process. I think there's something about our midwestern psyche that makes us want to tear our heros down as soon as they aren't "with" us anymore.

Look Favre isn't a saint--none of us are. He has been a hell of a football player and done a lot of good for the Packers organization and fans. Some of us (moi) would of loved to see him quarterback our team for one more year and others wanted to see the new guy get his chance (you), but no one needs try and tear down Favre and his legacy with the Packers because he changed his mind about retiring. Doing so reeks of insecurity, jealousy and pettiness. Then again, what are sports fans if not insecure, jealous and petty.

Papa Sal said...

Wow, Brooks. Thems sounds like fightin' words. I'm pretty sure that I disagree with your opinion on several fronts.

1. Mr. Man did not make any attacks on Favre's character other than to try to theorize what may have motivated his decision making during this process. Nobody had, nor has, all of the information surrounding this debacle, so we are left to guess as to why people did things. Favre's behavior certainly seemed pretty selfish, so one needs to find an explanation for his behavior. If you read this post, the word used to describe Favre's departure is wistful. We all love Favre, but his behavior in this situation has been un-Favrelike. So we all look for reasons to explain it.

2. Nobody who has been blogging on this site has been a TT apologist. Nor is anybody on this site a Favre apologist. What I have seen is disappointment with both sides. I like to think of myself as a Packer fan first, loyal to the team over a player or management. Perhaps I should let Mr. Man speak for himself, but I think he falls into the same category. I also do have trust in the personel decision making in TT, if not his PR decisions. I respect his decision to move on, and if he thinks AR needs a shot it is his place to make that call. He also should have acted a lot differently with Favre and deserves criticism for that. He would have been crazy to release him though, as the Packers held ALL of the cards in this scenario.

3. If you can point out things that have been written that you believe are petty, jealous, or insecure please elucidate.

4. The phrase "would of" does not mean anything. Perhaps you should try "would've" or "would have". As Mr. Man and I both were English teachers, there will be no tolerance for gramatical incorrectness on this blog.

Mr.Man said...

I have definitely been critical of and frustrated with Favre, I admit. My earliest position was that he should recognize his unretirement put the team in a weird spot, be apologetic, and accept having to compete for his spot. He actively scoffed at that possibility in the Fox interview. I thought that was disgraceful and arrogant.

I did assume, however, that management would have welcomed him back had they been sure he was committed, and would have been okay with him competing for the job. That assumption appears to have been wrong. Based on reporting from people like Bob McGinn, it seems that the Packers' personnel department didn't believe Favre could be a championship QB anymore, and really wanted to move on. On the other hand, it seems like McCarthy would have been willing to take Favre back on the team had he been committed. So it still seems unclear to me.

As far as being a TT apologist, I think he has a very good eye for talent, and there's no one I'd rather have on the second day of the draft. However, I don't know if he's drafted any difference-maker "red" type-players, which is worrying. But he is overly secretive, which is especially annoying when fans are the team's owners, and he is clearly a poor communicator. His inability to effectively communicate with Favre this offseason was perhaps the root of this whole debacle.

Brooks, as for your contention that Favre should have been released, I think that's overly sentimental. This is a business. Favre was valuable. If they had released him, he would have signed with the Vikings, seriously hurting the Packers chances in the division. By being traded, he'll likely earn the Packers at least a third round pick. Releasing him out of sentiment would have harmed the team in many ways.

And your comparison to Pennington fails. He was released instead of traded because the Jets needed to immediately create cap room to take on Favre's $12 million salary. (Pennington counted for $6 million against the cap.) If the Jets had had more cap room, they would have held onto him and waited for offers.

brooks said...

I'm not sure I'd call it fighting words. I'm pushing back--part of the fun of blogs is the commentary.

I'm pointing out that you guys want to have it both ways. Of course you rebut this by saying I'm too sentimental and Favre was too valuable. If that's the case the Packers should have come clean and announced their intent to trade Brett a month ago. However they didn't have the guts to be that honest with the fans or Brett and instead decided to stall and then buy their way out of the mess they created.

I believe Favre was actually fairly up front by indicating his desire for an immediate release if the Packers didn't want him back. Did I like all of the leaks and softball interviews? Absolutely not, but that's life when you're dealing with negotiations, leverage and the media. Both sides were playing that way and its something I just don't see as a "character flaw."

Making ad hominem attacks on Favre (arrogant, disgraceful, selfish baby, d-bag) is childish and petty. As to insecurity, I was speaking to our apparent need to tear down our heros. We build them up and then we start to resent them because we've made them larger than life. Its as if we need to prove they're on the same level as us--they're just people after all. Sorry papa sal--it was an attempt at a nuanced discussion of why so many in Wisconsin seem to be on the anti-Favre bandwagon despite the actual facts of the incident (what we know at least).

Maybe you're right and the Jets would of tried to trade Pennington if they didn't have cap issues. The point is the Jets immediately made it clear they were "moving forward" and Chad would no longer be with the team. I don't have a problem with a trade, but own up to it immediately. That announcement would of spared us from the debacle and a lot of bad blood between Favre and the organization. Green Bay is so small that it relies on the connection of the fans to the players (past and present) and you have to give management a gigantic FAIL on how this whole thing went down.

I like this blog. I don't always agree with everything, but I love that there are some folks out their who are geeking out hardcore about the Badgers and Packers. Keep up the good work, but welcome the discussion.

@papa sal - FWIW, calling out grammar errors in blog comments is petty in my book. I'm typing into a text field on a Blogger page, not writing a thesis. Blogging itself is pretty informal and no one except the trolls gets wigged about grammar. In other words, its cool to call yourself out, but generally considered bad netiquette to call out others. :)

brooks said...

shoot...again on the "of" instead of "have."

Papa Sal said...

So you're allowed to talk shit, but I am not? I don't deny your right to disagree with my opinion, I welcome it, for it makes for an interesting discussion. Just expect to be argued back with.

You make good points, most of which I agree with to some extent. I hope you continue to post, and disagree with shit I say. Not enough people argue these days, and it is unfortunate. Ironically, we agree for the most part just looking at it from different angles. We both view both sides as flawed, you take a bigger issue with TT, perhaps I with Brett. They both screwed it up, and we are the ones who suffered.

As for the grammar comment: I don't know much about "blog ettiquete", I was just talking shit. It was a petty thing to pick, bit I was feeling petty and was trying to be funny. I could care less about your grammar, but I could also care less about blog ettiquete, so there you go.

Mr.Man said...

I don't believe I'm making ad hominem attacks on Favre by calling his previous refusal to compete for the position "disgraceful and arrogant." I'm responding to his refusal, not the person. That's the difference. An ad hominem attack would be calling his wife ugly, something off-topic and personal.

The reason the Packers didn't announce their intentions to trade Favre in June, as McCarthy has made clear, was because they thought in the end he would stay retired. McCarthy did not think Favre was serious ("100% committed") about coming back. He must have told that to management, and that squared with what they wanted. TT and McCarthy both indicated that their optimal resolution was for Favre to stay retired.

So their philosophy was to string Favre along, wait him out, and hope circumstances would lead him to stick with his decision from March. This obviously pissed Favre off and probably increased his desire to come back. But that's where they were coming from.

In an ideal world, they would have leveled with him in June, telling him his options were to either stay retired, come back now and compete for the position, or get traded out of the division. But they pussyfooted around with him, trying to avoid a media firestorm which they only ended up stoking.

Bottom line-- everyone screwed up. Favre is on the Jets, the team will likely take a 3rd round pick from it, and a minority of the fan base will be upset with TT, Murphy and McCarthy for years to come, regardless of what happens in the regular season.

Can we talk about Badger football now?

brooks said...

Fair enough - talk Badgers, talk shit or do both at the same time. ;-)