Minutes Before New York Jets Preseason Game Against Cleveland, Quartback Bret Favre is Introduced to Media Addresses Green Bay Fall Out; Talks Team, Team, Team in New Roll as Jet
A green jersey, the number 4, and name Favre are perhaps the only similarites between the old and new World of legendary Quarterback, Brett Favre. Brett Favre is now a New York Jet. He has a great media-friendly personality and if he still has some gas left in the tank, he could drive the Jets to their best finish in years. The Jets sure didn't buy a bid for the Super Bowl, but let's be real, even a playoff spot despite big investments on both sides of the ball and now the Favre aquisition. Favre will surely make New York Jets football more entertaining than it has been in years. Jersey's junior pigskin players will certainly be the strongest squad in years, but even if they were to gain six games over 4-12 in 2007, that would put them at 10-6 in the same division as the New England Patriots. The AFC north has Pittsburgh with the upstart, Browns, in contention. The south puts Indy in their new stadium, might I be the first to call it the "oil can," contending with Jacksonville for postseason honors. The west looks like San Diego's prize all the way. Of these six teams, which ones do the Jets surpass? I
Odd man out is hard luck quarterback, Chad Pennington. This fellow has more question marks than the Riddler in Batman! At times, Pennington looked like a rising star. The young man plays with intensity and enthusiasm. There's also a steady archive of Pennington knocked down on the turf, busted play after busted play. How much of that is the function of a young QB from whom way too much was expected and perhaps was really not that good to begin with (hello Kyle Boller fans!)? or was it playing for a crappy team with little support upfront and a constant parade of new coaches and other big shots? Still, it looked like Chad Pennington was positioned to compete for the top field general versus Kellen Clemens until Brett Favre showed up.
The sports yappers conjecture puts Pennington in Bill Parcell's fish tank in Miami. Who are the sharks and who are the minnows in that QB audition?
Now for the parting shots for Green Bay. They blew it! Yes, Brett Favre DID announce his retirement. Apparently, on one other occasion he indicated to coach, Mike McCarthy, he intended to stay retired. For the last several years, the cheese head chit chat has been "will he or won't he?" at season's end whether Brett Favre would return. Has Brett Favre acted like a pampered prince, a spoiled brat? OF COURSE HE HAS!!! He's a super star in a major sport. That goes with the territory. How many Cal Ripken's have there been in any major sport. The Packers organization were offered the chance to retain a top quarterback who led their team to within just one field goal of a trip to Arizona for the Super Bowl.
The closest episode in recent sports history that resembles the Favre Fiasco would probably be the Dale Earnhardt Jr. soap opera on staying with the family business, Dale Earnhardt Enterprises or seeking his fortune elsewhere. Favre and Little E are both enormously popular figures, good old boys savvy in the gameboy/X-box era (both hawked Wrangler jeans too), whose struggle with their current teams turned into grand media spectles. The key difference between the two "down home' stars is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a superstar just beginning the heart of the prime of his career never having won a championship; Brett Favre, of course, was facing retirement, the end of his career. Dale Earnhardt Jr. left a second tier team for the most successful operation in sports. Brett Favre, on the other hand, left a team with almost all the pieces in place to repeat last years's performance. The New York Jets are at best unproven.
Green Bay's management blew it. While trying to rebuild an offense around Erin Rogers, an unexpected gift came knocking at their door. What purpose did playing hardball with Brett Favre's desire to return serve them. Was there supposed to be some message they were trying to send his teammates a message? What would the message be? If you're one of the best players in the history of the game and want to come back to play for your own team, shame on you? In the absolute worst light, Brett Favre might have been seen as a selfish, sulky, spoiled little brat? Wait, is this the same fellow who was always reported to be one of the guys, a practical joker, a skilled leader? Through out Brett Favre's career he was presented as a real team guy who did have his personal problems, granted, but he always rose above them and never dragged others down with him.
The fans will never know what happened behind closed doors. What could have Brett Favre said that would have put him beyond the point of no return? When Chris Mortenson first started leaking Favre's plans to sack his retirement, the sports media was all eyes. What better time for the sports reporters as July is the quietest sports month of the year. Aside from baseball, NASCAR, and an occasional big PGA event, what else is there?
So what's the new world order with Brett Favre beginning his new life as Bret the Jet? With Aaron Rodgers under center for the Packers what could be a pretty sure tight lock on the NFC north with #4 running the offense, no one knows how Rodgers, whose NFL experience so far has been toting clipboard will handle fire-snorting bone-crunching opposition linebackers intruding his personal zone. The Favre era in New York will be yet another Big Apple specticle, the latest in a long series of megastar heroes from out of town to lead one of their several hometown team's offensive attacks. Surely, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Jackson have some "do's" and "don'ts" for the latest boffo sensation. He might do well to query a lowly amoeba to see what life under a microscope is like too. Under ideal circumstances, Brett Favre's tenure as Bret the Jet could resemble Joe Montana's accomplishments for Kansas City, lots of wins, great football, but no Super Bowl. New York is a city of sky high buildings and even higher expectations, a very different world for a fellow who left the Louisiana swamp for the land of cheese.
Here's to the colorful small town loyal Green Bay Packer fans. They deserved none of this epic saga. How wonderful it is that a major sport can support a small town venture like the Wisconsin NFL franchise. Sure, a more typical major market, Milwaukee, lies 110 miles to the south, but football is the game, a huge industry, a big part of the life-blood of the city where the team is owned by local shareholders not some billionaire fat cat like most of the other NFL teams. To live in Green Bay is to be a "Cheese Head." The chill of the "frozen tundra" is offset by the warmth of the Green Bay fans, but the atmosphere will be a little colder this fall. Pro football's "Iron Man" in the twilight years of his career potentially makes history every game as he takes the top spot in the record book for one career accomplishment after another. Cheese Head country will welcome Aaron Rodgers into their family as their favorite son. It will be a couple years longer now before they join together for a huge family reunion in Canton, Ohio where Brett Favre will be enshired as Packer for all eternity.