I am so very sick of people talking about Brett Favre's season with the Jets as though it was an insult to professional football.
Actually, for the last 12 or so months, I have been increasingly sick of people talking about Brett Favre at all.
Make that 7 years.
If we're honest, we'll admit that this whole fiasco started on a nation-wide scale after what remains Brett's worst day as a professional football player--the 45-17 walloping (most of which he brought on himself via 6 picks)--7 years ago nearly to the day. The whispers started...Had his gritty, old-school gun-slinging style of play run out of gas? Was it time for the Packers to get the post-Favre era under way? The questions were generally one-sided at this point. They made the playoffs a few more times, and the questions held steady at a whisper.
But in 2005, he led the league in INTs, setting a career-high at 29, while the Packers went 4-12. Obviously, it was time for a change. The change made was the firing of Mike Sherman (who, ironically, had not-too-long before been given the position that Mike Holmgren went to Seattle for). But the whispers became a full-fledged national converstaion: Had Sherman been sacrificed at the altar of Favre? Brett follows this season with the kind of year a lot of people feel is an adequate fare-well: Just shy of 4k yards, and an 8-8 record to go with his even TD/INT ratio. But, although he has admitted considering retirement, Brett still thinks he's got something left in the tank...and now he has something to prove, too. In '07, he had a RB show up out of nowhere; he had young, athletic receivers; and this showed as he had a career-high completion percentage, a passer rating reminiscent of his MVP days, and a berth in the NFC Championship Game, complete with flashes of former miracle-working.
But during this conference title game, one pass that should not have happened caused the whispers that had become conversations to make the jump to pleas and curses. Green Bay doesn't want to waste the pick they used or the money they've spent on their QB-of-the-future--which will almost certainly happen if he's forced to sit for his entire first contract. An emotional Brett Favre concedes, and that, as they say, is...
OK, a few months later, the standard conversation of the past 5 years is still raging, only backwards. It had been, "Should Brett Favre retire?" It had morphed into, "Should Brett Favre have retired?" And, since it was the time of year that he had started working on the upcoming football season for the last quarter-century, Brett starts wondering that himself. Then there was the drama surrounding the Packers' side of the situation. This was just too much drama. The Packers don't really want their pre-eminent icon of the past generation or two to put on another uniform, but they don't really want him to put theirs on, either. Childish, irrational things are said and done by grown men all over the country as a result of a 5-year old shoe being on the other foot. It is generally resolved, and Brett winds up a Jet. After missing camp, and having thrown a grand total of 18 preseason passes, he kicks off the 2008 season.
Beats the Dolphins....big whoop. Loses to the Tom Brady-less Patriots...heads scratched. Loses BIG to the Chargers...commence hair-pulling. Romps over the Cardinals...eh, it's a win. Loses to the Raiders?!? Kellen Clemens could've done that!!! Beats the Chiefs, Bills, Rams, Patriots, and Titans. General sentiment evolves from "Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea," to "What should we pack for Tampa?" The last month of the season, a clearly-not-100% Favre sees his TD-INT go from 20-13 to 22-22, as they drop 4 of the last 5...including the finale to the spurned Chad Pennington.
And it begins again, God help us. 1 1/2 months ago, Brett Favre clearly had 2 good years beyond this one left in the tank. Now, he is a burden to the team, a laughing-stock of the league, and an embarassment to his own career. Howzat?
The reason I have repeated a twice-told tale, albeit with my own editorial comments, is two-fold.
First of all, the breaking news of the last month or so--that Brett Favre is mulling his options for next season--and its incumbent never-ending national conversation are absolutely nothing new. Anyone who acts like this is news is either really bored, completely ignorant of the last half-decade, or in a position where they have to churn out a "story" every week for a paycheck. We are beating the crap out of a dead horse that we killed in the first place.
Secondly, and I'll grant that this is coming from a huge fan of Mr. Favre, I don't think it is at all fair to say he's completely done because of the last month-plus of the season. When you get Brett Favre, you always know what you are getting. The last pass he threw as a Packer should not have been thrown, but we all know that Brett Favre is not the type of QB to avoid seeing some potential in the play he's running. That is why he is tops in career TDs and INTs. You live by the Favre, and sometimes you die by the Favre.
Ultimately, my opinion on this is that he should come back. Have a full camp, a full pre-season, and come back. For one year. The Jets are in enough turmoil, what with firing Mangini--I'll refrain from harping on this one. Leaving wouldn't help much. They should draft one of the studly QBs coming out this year, give him a year at the feet of Favre, and take it from there. If Brett misses an hour of training camp, I'll immediately change my camp to the "HOF Class of '13" side. And as of the end of the 2009 NFL season(s), I'll be purely for his retirement. Til then, this is where I stand.