It all began on a warm summer night. I was lying on my couch falling in and out of sleep. I had worked all day and normal delirium had started to set in. I then opened my eyes to see Brett Favre had been traded to the New York Jets.
As a Jets fan, I was suddenly awake. I loved Chad Pennington but in my heart I knew Favre was the better quarterback. I continued to watch wall-to-wall coverage into the early hours of the morning, and I still couldn't believe it. Brett Favre a Jet? Is this a sick joke?
I always remember what my father (God rest his soul), a lifelong Jets fan, said about Pennington: "Son, Chad's a nice guy, he's got a lot of class, but we're never gonna win with him." Now that he was in Miami and Favre was here, I felt like some prayers had been answered.
Really, who has cared about the Jets quarterback since the days of Joe Namath? Until now, that is. With this trade, The Jets had an identity, a presence, a new swagger.
But as we watched the season tick by, not even Favre could shake the haunting truth that follows the Jets franchise. His presence created seven Pro-Bowlers, but in the end his performance at the end of the season culminated in a giant team collapse.
The Jets started 8-3 and became the darlings of the AFC after beating the Tennessee Titans. Then, things fell apart. The Jets hit rock bottom, losing four of their last five and dropping the game to Miami that could have put them in the playoffs. Now, Jet fans are calling for Favre's head. Unfortunately, the one head that needed to roll already did—former coach Eric Mangini's.
Although Favre had a terrible end to the season, he cannot be blamed for everything. Mangini put Favre in terrible situations with awful play calls.
When you have two running backs that are going to the Pro Bowl, what would you do? Run the ball a lot, right? Mangini didn't want to do that.
When you have Leon Washington, one of the league's biggest playmakers, you want to put him in the game, right? Mangini didn't do that.
When you have a defense that at one time had 29 sacks in its first eight games, you should rush the passer, right? Mangini didn't do that.
Coaching led to this team's demise and that is the reason it collapsed. Not Favre. He is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, despite his age (nearing 40). It is a mystery why Mangini chose to wear his passing arm out when the load could have been dumped on the two Pro Bowl running backs.
It also is a mystery why the Jets defense, one of the top units at the midpoint of the season, decided to change its style of play.
Favre has since vanished, and it's obvious why. He has never had such a bad taste in his mouth after a season. He now knows what it's like to be a Jet, to be a part of the Jets, and to be a loser. A loser in the limelight of a city that will bury you no matter who you are, and that's just what New Yorkers did.
"Favre is washed up," they said. "You suck, Favre." "You're a bum." "Get outta town, jerk." And those were the nice comments.
Sad to say, they are very wrong. Favre is the best quarterback the Jets have had since Namath, and his numbers proved it (3,000-plus yards and 22 touchdowns).
Now with new coach Rex Ryan, fans say they don't want Favre back. My question is, "Why?" Would you rather have Kellen Clemens? Or Brett Ratliff, who had a good preseason against guys who work at supermarkets now? Yeah, that's who you want.
The Jets were 9-7 last year. That's not a bad change from 4-12. Did you really think Favre was going to take them to the Superbowl when he joined the team after their first preseason game? Why not let the guy come back for another chance under a better coach?
There is no other choice. No other quarterback is out there. Ryan should fly out to wherever Favre is and tell him he wants one more year.
Obviously, you get the good with the bad, in this case. With Favre, we get those sick long passes and touchdowns, but we also get those terrible interceptions.
If Ryan can make the defense as good as Baltimore's, then the Jets will be a real playoff contender next year. They have all the tools on the offense. Jets fans need to realize it was their defense and coaching that let them down.
If Favre were to come back next year, and the Jets started out 4-1 in their first five games, New York fans everywhere would be running for their No. 4 jerseys and would love him again.
Defense wins championships, not just one player.
The Jets now have a coach that will make that happen, so why get rid of the best quarterback they have had in 40 years?