The Packers and Favre Defy Logic

By Christopher Gabriel,

Let me see if I have this straight: Last season, Green Bay Packers quarterback – former quarterback – Brett Favre leads the Pack to within one game of the Super Bowl and has a terrific season along the way.  Several months later, he retires.  After he retires, the Packers ask him several times if he’s thinking of coming back. He says no.  Suddenly in mid-summer, Favre thinks to himself “well, yeah, I think I’d love to come back.”  The Packers response?  “Sorry pal, we’ve moved on.  We want nothing to do with you.” 

Is that about right?

You see, the Packers have moved on because The Man Who Will Lead Them to The Promised Land is none other than Aaron Rogers.  Prolific, awe-inspiring, legendary . . . I’m trying to think of just the right words to describe Aaron Rogers.  Wait, here’s two: Untested back-up.

Over the weekend at my in-laws Wisconsin farm, I had a lengthy, often heated, debate with my Packers-fan brother-in-law Scott.  At one point, standing not too far from the kitchen window, it even appeared several cows wanted to weigh in.  In Wisconsin, everyone has an opinon on Brett Favre. 

Scott, like roughly 50% of Packers Nation, is in the camp that says “Mr. Favre, I’ve lost respect for you with the way you’ve handled yourself.  Now, I am done with you.  Please go away.” 

Interestingly, that’s a lot like what Packers brass is saying to him with one additional caveat: Although they no longer want him, or so they say, they don’t want him playing for anyone else, either.  Funny how that works.  The whole scenario defines having one’s cake and eating it, too.

So – if he’s not good enough for the Pack, why not simply cut him loose?  Or why not work out a trade? 

It’s hard to understand what, exactly, the Packers are thinking here.  Or if they’re thinking at all.  Maybe the Packers should call Fox’s Greta Van Susteren and get her thoughts?  She’s level-headed, a Packers fan, and a FOB (Friend of Brett) . . . maybe she could help out.  I think we could all agree she’s done a lot already.

I’ll admit I don’t watch and listen to the Packers on a daily basis.  Then again, being in Minneapolis, a potential destination for Favre, this story is covered more than the economy. 

There are radio talk show hosts here saying if Favre becomes a Viking, they’ll never root for the Vikings again.  Sure they won’t.  That all sounds good in theory unless their beloved purple, the team they emotionally live and die with every fall, were to start out 8-0 and is the biggest story in the NFL.  Then what?  Will they still be burning their tickets outside the Metrodome on Sundays?

It seems that both parties, the Packers and Favre, have stomped off to their respective corners, much the way my four-year-old daughter does, with arms folded and little scowls on their faces. 

The Packers drew a line in the sand and said “GO HOME!  We don’t want you here!”  Then, the reality of being what is seemingly the biggest story on earth set in.  Oops.  You almost get the idea team president Mark Murphy and executive V.P. and general manager Ted Thompson are sitting in the bowels of Lambeau Field whining to each other “NO, NO, NO!  It wasn’t suppose to be this way!  Why won’t he just take the $20 million and go fishing?  Favre, Favre, go away, take our money and stay away!

Meanwhile, Favre is doing his best imitation of a professional boxer.  Retirement is great until you realize your neighbors don’t cheer you on when you take out the garbage or mow the lawn.

Both parties, especially Packers brass, need to take a step back, breathe a little and realize what’s going on here.  The braintrust that is Murphy and Thompson, Inc. should take a peek at the Broncos since Elway retired.  How about a long look at the 49ers since Young left?  The Dolphins without Marino, perhaps?

Favre can still bring it on a football field.  Some, like my brother-in-law and his “Time to move on” Kool-Aid-drinking comrades, believe last season was an aberration.  Their party line is that the Pack would struggle this season with Favre.  Perhaps.  It’s entirely possible their crystal balls are clearer than ours. 

Is Favre what he was during his prime?  Of course not.  But for a team that could forseeably make another run at the Super Bowl, you’d think they’d want to give themselves the best possible shot.  In football, that begins with the quarterback.

There is one more option to consider here.  Favre may well take the Packers offer to stay retired.  And let’s call it what it is: Murphy and Thompson, in what has to be the most mind-boggling “gesture” I’ve ever heard of in all the years I’ve followed sports, want to buy off Favre.  This, they believe, will solve all of their problems.

The Packers and Favre should realize they’re stronger together than they are apart before this situation becomes no-win, permanently.

Aaron Rogers may be the future, but with the team the Packers have, would I be willing to roll the dice with Favre for one more season?  Absolutely.

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Filed Under: NFLPro FootballSportsWisconsin


About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of the cleverly named Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. You can hear him weekdays from 9 to Noon. As a writer and humorist, his work has been been published online by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and publications within the Sun-Times News Group.

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  1. mindingmyowncrease says:

    Are you implying that Favre is the innocent one? Maybe the reason the Packers and roughly 50% of Packer nation have moved on was because of the unclear messages from Brett.

    On June 20, it is reported Favre mentions to the media he hopes the Packers grant his release yet on the same day he is telling coach McCarthy he wants to play for Green Bay. You can read it on ESPN’s John Clayton’s article, “Packers-Favre divorce is tough to watch”

    Less than two weeks later, Favre is calling his return to football a rumor. But he contacted coach McCarthy about his potential desire to play as reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen’s article, “Source: Favre has ‘itch’ to return; player calls it ‘rumor’.”

    Your comment on “why not work out a trade?” That is a really good idea and I agree with you. There have been two teams that have made solid trade offers. Unfortunately, Brett has been unwilling to consider these options according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. So, now it has to be the right team for him to play. If he truly wants to play why wouldn’t he accept the trade? Also, these teams could work out a trade to where he wants to play, right?

    If he really, really wants to play. Why would he even consider the latest offer from the Packers? You don’t have to answer. I think ESPN’s Kevin Siefert’s quote says it all, “But his propensity for waffling is as legendary as his right arm.”

    If I have been drinking the Kool-Aid, what is in your cup?


  2. CGabriel says:

    mindingmyowncrease: Thanks for stopping by. Several thoughts for you…

    First, if you read my title, you saw that it said “The Packers and Favre Defy Logic.” The operative word in the title is “and.” No where have I implied, inferred or stated I believe Favre is innocent. This isn’t about who’s guilty and/or who’s innocent. It’s about what makes the most sense for all involved.

    The articles you mentioned – I’ve read all of them. The Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams insisted…insisted…to the media the Sox weren’t making any deals before the trading deadline. Hello, Ken Griffey, Jr., meet Chicago. I don’t care what was printed that Favre or anybody else said, or didn’t say. It’s like gymnastics judging: Throw out the highs and lows, somewhere in the middle you’ll find the truth.

    Kevin Siefert’s quote holds no more water than the plethora of sportswriters who insisted Michael Jordan, on his comeback after a hiatus with baseball, would not be the same. Three championships later, they were all singing a different tune. I’m not suggesting Favre would come back and win championships, but Siefert is doing little more than highlighting the obvious.

    As for what’s in my cup – the Kool-Aid from the other 50%. Mine’s grape…and yours?


  3. pavler21 says:

    The only explanation I have for what we’re seeing is a terrible case of hubris on the part of all parties involved:

    * On the part of Favre, for not thinking through his decision making process properly when he bid farewell to the NFL, for going public with Greta Van Sustern (of all people), and for not actively engaging team management about his intentions in a timely, private, and respectful manner. But hey – the guy’s a Libra (like me), so how can we expect him to be good at making tough decisions?

    * And on the part of Packers management and coaches, for essentially disowning their most famous, important, and accomplished player in franchise history. They have repeatedly expressed their intention on moving forward as an organization and putting their plan for the future into place.

    Granted, it’s important for a team to want to move foward and a team must think about the future, but winning in the future on the shoulders of a fourth-year untested rookie shouldn’t come at the expense of winning now.

    Speaking of Brett being a Libra, here’s something interesting I pulled from Brett’s horoscope for the month of July:

    “The real fear you’re struggling with is that of isolation. It’s as though you feel removed from yourself as well as from the world…you are starting to feel angry about being isolated. The problem is that it’s not entirely true. There are key facets of your life where you are visible, participating in the world and the focus of true admiration…You are finally involved with something that expresses your true values, your commitment to caring for the world, and which meets the most important criteria of all, contacts people personally. Therefore, you can feel good about responding to the call for leadership. If you’re feeling isolated, let that stand as a reminder of the condition of 99 percent of the population, and is a key part of why you must do the work you are being called up on to do.”

    Now that all goes out the window if Brett takes the blood money and re-retires, but me, I’m rooting for him to suit up in purple for the Monday Night debut.

    What’s odd are the expectations we have for public figures like Favre. We all expect him to be cordial, thoughtful, sensitive to poor Aaron Rodgers, and to display sound judgment in areas completely unrelated to the “simple” task of leading a football team. If Brett Favre were media savvy and polished in the ways of negotiation like a management consultant, he probably wouldn’t be a professional football player.

    Brett is a quarterback in the NFL. He’s pretty good at winning, he’s proven himself to be a risk-taker, and he’s never been afraid to lay everything on the line to achieve the goal in sight. Brett is simply acting like Brett and everybody’s expectation for him to handle this whole thing like a diplomat negotiating peace in the Middle East is frankly out of touch with reality.


  4. What a bizarre situation. I understand that the Packers are sick of Favre and don’t want him back, but why don’t they want him to play elsewhere?
    And, why does Favre not want to play elsewhere? Explain, O trusted football source!


  5. CGabriel says:

    pavler21: Spot-on. Hubris, indeed. Saying, “Brett is simply acting like Brett…” is the nail meeting the head. I love when sports begins resembling a Shakespearean production at the Guthrie Theater. And though I’m a Bears fan, to see Favre in a white jersey with a purple #4 running out onto Lambeau Field would be tantamount to sitting in the Royal Shakespeare Company waiting for Olivier to make his first entrance as Richard III.

    Fancy Pancakes: The not wanting Favre to play anywhere else is tricky. They either don’t want him in the league because coming back means they (Packers brass) have to deal with The Brett Factor in Green Bay…we’ve already seen the drama that’s produced. Or, if he goes to another team, how do they get him there? Trade, release him? And then, what if he has an amazing season while Aaron Rogers…does not.

    Favre would play elsewhere but he’d like to have a strong hand in where that is. And THAT’S where team/athlete battles go public and get ugly.


  6. Scott A says:

    In the end, the biggest loser of this whole thing will be Favre. Last season was fantastic, with Brett coming back from retirement and having a great season with a great team. He broke every record during his career and created some new records so he could break them too. He was even an ironman. He played for the Packers, a team buoyed entirely by history and tradition. He was the face of the league and a legend.

    But now, from my perspective, he has fallen from grace. The Packers are definitely making their fair share of mistakes, but Favre created this situation by retiring and then unretiring. The myth of loyalty to his team is dead. The myth of giving it all for the team is dead-he has definitely put his own interests above those of the Packer franchise. I scoffed at the tearful retirement, but this is ridiculous and almost childish. The legend has devolved into another talented, self-involved, superstar.


  7. pavler21 says:

    Scott A:

    I don’t think there will be a problem with the “myth of loyalty” in terms of Brett’s legacy. Does anybody question the legacy of Joe Montana, who went on to have a successful second life in Kansas City, or even some of the players who were pretty “unsuccessful,” in their second chapters with different teams, like Jerry Rice or Emmitt Smith. I honestly don’t think anyone will even remember that Emmitt suited up for Cardinals.

    Loyalty works both ways. The organization is proving its priorities by being more loyal to untested fourth-year rookie than they are to the man that literally created their modern day franchise. Nobody but Brett Favre is more responsible for increasing the equity of the Packers brand and shareholder’s value over the last 16 seasons. Without Favre, they would be NFL afterthoughts – only successful FOUR DECADES ago, but now no longer relevant.

    And how is Brett disloyal by simply wanting to do what he does best “one more time?” As long as he doesn’t accept the $20 million “blood money” Brett will have been loyal to the most important thing: his passions and his principles.


  8. TennesseeTuxedo says:

    What Brett Favre is doing is WRONG. This was nothing but an overt attempt to get out of his contract with the Packers and handpick the team he wanted to finish out his career with.

    Hopefully NFL Commish, Roger Goodell, will hold the Packers’ arms behind their back and let Brett Favre sully his own image anymore than he has in the eyes of Packers fans.


  9. Patrick M says:

    Sorry I’m late to the game here, but…
    If Favre played in Philadelphia he’d a been booed out of here a long time ago. To wit:

    During their first 81 years the Packers enjoyed a 13-0 home playoff record at (John Facenda voice-over please) Lambeau Field. Since 2002 they are 2-3. Favre played in 22 playoff games throwing 28 interceptions, 18 of which were in the last 9 playoff games. My Eagles benefited greatly from one of the dumbest passes thrown in playoff overtime history.

    If Ronald Reagan was the teflon president, this guy is the teflon quarterback. It absolutely amazes me there is such a fuss over a guy that should have retired years ago.


  10. CGabriel says:

    Patrick M: You speak of January 11, 2004, in overtime, when your Eagles did indeed benefit from a Favre folly. Ill-advised was being nice. But, that said, having watched the Eagles closely since 1974, I’ve yet to see anyone in an “Iggles” jersey playing QB that could hold Favre’s bratwurst. If we started adding up the subpar performances Eagles QB’s have had in their playoff history, I suspect we’ll find a lot more flops than what you laid out with Favre.

    Had Favre played in Philly, he’d have been a hero and we both know it. He’s a working man’s player; a blue-collar guy who, during his career, has been brilliant more often than he hasn’t. He is, quite simply, a competitor on the level of Flyers great Bob Clarke.

    I was in the Spectrum when George McGinnis and Dr. J were booed; Mike Schmidt was booed at the Vet; the Flyers, even in their heyday, were booed. Santa Claus has been booed. Favre would have been booed, too. But . . . during the years Favre has been in the league, give me the name of the Eagles QB you’d prefer over him. Jaworski? Cunningham? Detmer? McNabb?

    I’m neither a fan of the Packers or Favre. But the fact is, Favre has a lot more in common with names like Montana, Elway, Brady and Manning than the aforementioned Eagles QB’s.


  11. Patrick M says:

    Don’t give me the Santa Claus booing crap. That was a skinny drunk guy in a cheap Santa outfit they pulled out of the stands because the “real” Santa go snowed in.

    I would agree that the quarterbacking of the Eagles has been lacking a bit since they traded Sony Jerguson tot he Redskins but I would like to point out that the great number 4 has won a grand total of 1, yes one, Super Bowl. Therefore, I do believe you would be overstating his career accomplishments by compareing Favre to Montana, Elway and Brady. I would compare Brett to Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien and Kurt Warner because you know what he has in common with them? Yup, they each won 1 Super Bowl. Heck, Favre isn’t even the best quarterback in Packers history. So Montana, Elway and Brady…please.

    Would I have liked him to play for the Eagles? Sure, I would have loved to see what he could do with a team whose management refuses to employ a number one receiver (except for the TO Super Bowl year). With Favre’s propensity for the interception and this team’s historic sub-par receiving core I do believe he would have fallen nicely in line with the Eagle quarterbacks you mention. So hero… no, I don’t think so.

    Oh, and by the way, the all-time Packer playoff record against the Philadelphia Eagles is 0-2.



  12. CGabriel says:

    Patrick M: “Overstating his career accomplishments?” My dear Pat, you’ve swallowed way too many bad cheesesteaks. A three-time league MVP, over 61,000 passing yards, 442 regular season TD’s to go with 39 more in the playoffs, 15 winning seasons out of 16…and a Super Bowl win? And your position is that he would have “fallen nicely in line with the Eagle quarterbacks” I mentioned earlier? That was a joke……….right?

    Moreover, you’re comparing him to…Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien and Kurt Warner? Statistically alone, the three of them combined are dwarfed by Favre.

    Comparing him to Montana, Elway and Brady – absolutely. Dr. J had one title with the Sixers but no one questions he’s one of the greatest players of all time.

    Finally, ask anyone here in the Midwest – the good folks right across the St. Croix River in Wisconsin – who the best QB in Packers history is. The answer you’ll receive is the one you don’t want to hear.


  13. […] on August 1, 2008 I wrote a piece about Brett Favre and the Packers.  Namely, that I believed the Packers and Favre were better off together.  The […]

  14. […] on August 1, 2008 I wrote a piece about Brett Favre and the Packers.  Namely, that I believed the Packers and Favre were better off together.  The […]

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