Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So it's Wednesday. Hurricane Dolly is apparently roaring ashore down in South Texas, but we'll probably be lucky to even get any rain out it up here in Austin.

And remember when I made a sort of tribute post to Brett Favre? Well, I made that post a while after Favre had announced his retirement, because I really didn't think that the guy was seriously going to leave the game until he either: A) suffered some kind of career-ending injury, or B) pretty much was forced out of the game because he could no longer play at a truly competitive level. Favre had made noise about retiring before, but always backed out. Finally, at the end of last season he said he really was going to retire. I was skeptical, but then he held this weepy, tearful press conference where he seemed to be earnestly saying his goodbyes to his team and to the people of Green Bay. Even after that, I held back a bit, but finally Reed sort of coaxed me into making a post, asking, "Aren't you going to make a post about Favre retiring? He's one of your favorite players."
So I bit the bullet and made the "adios, Brett" post.
But somewhere, deep down I knew that guy wasn't going to be able to bring himself to just sit on the sidelines yet.
And so now we have Favre trying to make a last minute leap back into professional football. The Packers had pretty much come to terms with the idea of life after Brett, and have been sort of working their way through reconstructing the team without Favre as their central figure and leader (a process which is going to be necessary, anyway, given the fact that Favre can't have many seasons left in him). Favre, apparently unhappy with the fact that the Packers haven't immediately reinstated him as their starting quarterback upon his declaration of interest in returning, is now accused of having started conversations with the Minnesota Vikings, the implication being that he might find a starting spot in their lineup (this is problematic because the Packers still have Favre under contract, and therefore the right to play or trade him as they see fit).
I'm not sure what to make of all of this. I would, of course, like to see Brett Favre play some more, but I'm afraid we're working our way into that downward spiral that many great professional athletes face upon retiring. Remember how Michael Jordan did that minor league baseball thing after "retiring", and then returned to the NBA for a fairly lackluster (well, at least in comparison to his earlier career) couple of seasons with the Washington Wizards? Well, I guess I just don't want to see Favre overstay his welcome to the point where people are really glad to see him retire (because of declining performance). Plus, Favre himself said after the conclusion of last season that he wasn't going to try to jump back into professional football if he hadn't been training to play rigorously during the off season (and I haven't heard anything about whether he's been training).
Plus, there's the simple fact that the Packers need to start working on how to build a good, soild team that can function without Favre.
I hate to say it, but if Favre wants to come back into the league at this point, Green Bay might be best off trading Favre for some younger players that they can continue to build their team around in the long term.
Also, admittedly, Aaron Rodgers is no Brett Favre, but the Packers also need to show him a little faith and loyalty. Sounds like he's been working pretty hard with the Green Bay offense, and given Favre's age, there's a pretty high probability that he could get injured during the season. Are the Packers better off using Favre, but then switching to Rodgers if Favre gets hurt, or are they better off getting Rodgers and the offense used to having Rodgers in the quarterback position on a more full time basis right from the get-go, building up the offense from day one with their new quarterback in place?

Well, the only thing certain at this point is that the pressure is going to be intensified for all parties involved in this deal. If Favre comes back, his critics will be watching his performance carefully to see whether his ego exceeded his judgement in his decision to return, and if Favre doesn't return to the Packers, people will be carefully watching the performance of the Packers to see if the team might have faired much better with Favre on it (an analysis which will be further intensified if Favre returns to the NFL, but plays for a different team).
I guess I'm mostly annoyed that Favre "retired" in the first place when I was pretty sure he really wasn't quite done with the game of football.
Oh well, at least we know he must be feeling pretty well and doing alright if he wants to come back and play...


Anonymous said...

As much as I liked Favre before, I'm not a big fan right now. He's selfish and spoiled, and expects to be treated like a rock star. It's the "Me First" attitude that has turned professional athletes into a bunch of prima donnas. He doesn't seem to care how disruptive an influence he has been to that team. I would feel bad for poor Aaron Rodgers, but he's probably making a shitload of cash.

There is no way in hell that the Packers will trade him (And he is still under contract, so he would have to be traded) to a divisional rival like Minnesota or Chicago. The Vikings are already pretty loaded, except their QB Tarvaris Jackson is weak, and throwing Favre in the mix would turn them into a strong contender. (Maybe Reed will agree with me on this one, being the uber-Vike that he is....) That's the last thing the Packers want to do.

J.S. said...

Yeah, sadly, this isn't really the kind behavior that I'd like to see out a guy who's been one of my favorite football players of all time. It's the stupid retirement thing. These guys just have a hard time letting go of the limelight to retire with dignity.

I agree that it would be foolish for the Packers to trade Favre to a divisional rival. Of course, there may be a spot open for him on The Texans.... (although whether or not a team like that would have assets worth trading is another matter).

The League said...

The only thing sadder was Emmitt Smith moving to Arizona for one last year with a terrible, terrible team. So few athletes know that you're going to be remembered so much better if you walk out the door on a high note, and last season was great for the Packers.

BTW, when Jordan came back from playing baseball, he won another 3 championships with the Bulls. Then he retired again. THEN he went over to the Wizards, where he caused all kinds of havoc.

When it comes to prima donna antics, compared to Jordan, he's strictly bush league.