Brett Favre: The Real Deal

Kyle ThompsonContributor IOctober 9, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - MARCH 06: Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers tries to control his emotions at his retirement press conference on March 6, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Listen up!

 I have loved the Packers my entire life, all 19 years and for those 19 years the only QB I knew was Brett Favre.  I loved Brett Favre it was like the guy was on cloud nine nothing in the world could go wrong.  I always thought of him as a friend, meaning a guy you would want to hang out and maybe play a game of backyard football with.  Because it looked to me as if he was playing this game, like a little boy playing Pop Warner, for the love of the game.  Not for the money, not for revenge, not because he was forced to, and not because he got his named called in front of thousands of adoring fans, he just played because he loved the game.  I always thought with Brett Favre the Packers were never out of a game he had this magical ability to make the big play when needed, but what also went through my mind was we don’t have a chance today, Favre is just not thinking, why is he just throwing it up for grabs.  After 16 wonderful years with Favre he retired he said it himself he has given everything he had to this game and cannot give anymore.  The man was to retire a legend and loved by all the way he wanted it…  Or at least I thought.

                When Brett Favre was drafted in the second round (33rd overall) by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991, he was a no name kid from a no name school somewhere in Mississippi.  He was Jerry Glanville’s personal show-gun.  He sat on the bench for his first year not as the backup or even the backups’ backup he was 4th string.  Glanville even told him that the only way he would get to play was if on the way to the game the bus crashed and he was the only guy left (he said this in humor obviously).  The only thing Favre was good for was winning bets for Glanville with the fans in the stands.  He would bet fans that Mississippi (Favre) could throw the ball three decks high, which impressively he could do with no problem, but that was Favre’s job, to win bets for his coach he was a long shot to ever play for the Falcons.  Luckily for Favre, Ron Wolf, who was the GM for the NY Jets at the time, had his eye on Favre for quite some time, in fact Wolf was going to take Favre with the 34th pick for his Jets.

                A year later Wolf, who was now the GM for the Green Bay Packers, made a trade for Favre (1992).  One that was thought to be ridiculous at the time, but Wolf saw something in the kid, from Kiln.  Favre was now the back-up to Don Majkowski.  In the third game of the season Majkowski went down with an injury and as they say the rest is history.  But was it really?

                During Brett Favre’s 16 seasons with the Green and Gold, he was awesome the best QB in the 1990s, he won 3 MVPs, 11 postseason appearances, and a Super Bowl victory.   He was known as the “Ironman” because of his consecutive starts streak.  Also, he never had a losing season until 2004 where he was 4-12.  This is what the dedicated true Brett Favre fans will tell you along with all his NFL All-Time accomplishments which I will get to later.  But what they don’t point out how the Packers organization stuck with Favre and his Family, through all his hardships.  Not only that, the Packers’ organization helped build a very strong team around Favre.

                Now I know everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect so Brett Favre is no exception.  Agreed, but one argument people make is that the organization was stupid to not let Favre come back after his retirement and start right away for the Packers.  The Packers gave him an opportunity to come back to camp and compete with Mr. Rodgers for the starting job.  What I am getting at here is the Packers’ organization did not owe Favre anything.  Why?  Here it is…  First, Ron Wolf did not draft Favre like he wanted to, so Favre was drafted by the Falcons where he was the 4th string QB.  This is where he would have probably rotted away for several years.  Two, Ron Wolf traded for Favre, if Wolf didn’t do this Favre may have never gotten his chance, so I will thank him for you Brett, thanks Ron.  Three, on May 14, 1996 Brett Favre admitted his use and abuse of pain killers.  He announced that he would be entering a substance-abuse program, to help him with his addiction.  The Packers’ very easily could have given up on Favre during this time, but they decided to stick with him and help him through this tough time in his life.  Four, Favre also suffered from alcoholism he finally went into rehab in 1999.  Another instance in where the Packer had to help him get through (  Five, the Packers brought in quality free agents such as Reggie White, Desmond Howard, Sean Jones, and Santana Dotson, Andre Rison, Eugene Robinson, Gilbert Brown.   Not to mention the defense was number one in both, points allowed and yards allowed.  Lastly, Mike Holmgren.  Mike Holmgren kept Brett Favre under control and disciplined him from 1992-1998.  He helped Favre tremendously become what he is; he taught Favre so much about not only the QB position, but nuances of the game also.  He was not only a coach, but he was like a father to Brett.

                Another argument is that the Packers’ forced him to retire.  Now I will only touch on this a little bit because no one really knows what exactly happened with this situation.  But what I do know is that the Packers’ did want to have a decision made earlier than when Brett usually gave it to the organization.  They didn’t want to play the waiting game all the way up until the beginning of the season.  But do you really think that the Packers’ organization wouldn’t allow Favre as much time as he wanted to make a decision?  Of course they would have they did it for the last 3-4 years.  Then on Thursday, March 6th 2008, Favre had a press conference to announce his retirement from the game of football.  During the conference he went on to say, “I don't think I've got anything left to give, and that's it," Favre said, choking back tears. "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to.  Now when someone is questioning whether or not they have anything left to give to what they love, to me that means they are done.  I knew he was unsure and didn’t take enough time to make a decision, but when you retire, you retire.  If you aren’t sure if you want to play anymore, you probably shouldn’t play, but if you can’t make a confident decision ask for more time or for your release at this time.  But like I said before the Green Bay organization would have given Favre more time if he really needed it.

                Now let me get this straight, this upsets me and disgusts me the most when people say the Packers’ just terminated Favre and did not give him a chance to get his job back.   This is not true when Favre changed his mind and was granted the ability to return to the league by commissioner Goodell, Mike McCarthy, Mark Murphy, and Ted Thompson all said that Favre would have every opportunity to compete with Aaron Rodgers for the starting QB job. And I quote from The Washington Post in 2008, ‘”General Manager Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy had been adamant in recent weeks that the team had moved on without Favre and was committed to Rodgers as its starter. If Favre returned, they said, “that Favre would be allowed to compete with Rodgers for the starting job.”’  So the fact that Favre did not have an option of competing for the job is complete BS.  Yes, they also offered him that media deal, maybe not the best idea, but they were trying to help Favre stay a Packer and keep him a part of the organization.  Oh and also I don’t want to hear they were unfair to him, they were moving in a new direction with Rodgers, because guess what, FAVRE RETIRED!!!!!!

                Now all you Ted Thompson haters out there read this carefully because in this paragraph I will make you happy and I will make you very upset.  First of all I would like to congratulate Mr. Thompson on his Executive of the Year Award for 2008.  He was named by EOTY by Sporting News Magazine.  Now, as you know by reading my previous paragraph that Ted Thompson, did NOT force Favre out of Green Bay.  Yes, he did trade Favre away and he did say he did not want him to go to the Vikings.  Now, if I were a smart individual I wouldn’t want to give my division rival the guy they wanted.  Ted Thompson did not believe Favre was washed up, he just believed that Aaron Rodgers was the best option at that point for the Packers.  Now this belief could have changed if Favre out performed Rodgers in camp.  Ted Thompson has a very good track record as a GM.  First I will name some players he got rid of when they were past their prime:  Marco Rivera, Mike Flanagan, Mike Whale, Ahman Green, the always overrated Darren Sharper (yes I realize he leads the league in interception now, if you want to know why I think he is overrated ask me), Na’il Diggs, and Najeh Davenport just to name a few.  I will name some players that he acquired for the Packers during his tenure here in Green Bay.  When you are done reading them, think about these players to yourself and why would I point them out.  Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers, A.J. Hawk, Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Ryan Grant, Nick Collins, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Mason Crosby, and Jordy Nelson to name some.  Did you think of anything yet?  Well, these are some of the most popular players on the Packers team and more than likely your favorite Packer, if not your favorite player.  Also, he brought in Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers, both look like solid choices.  So please don’t hate on Ted Thompson unless you have a legit reason to do so.  He has gotten rid of some fan favorites and yeah I also disagree with some of his decisions but he knows a heck of a lot more about these players then we, the fans do.  I will agree he is egotistical and always thinks he is right, but that is the kind of attitude you need to have when you are building a team, you can’t second guess yourself.  If you don’t have confidence in yourself, do you really think your co-workers will?

                Back to Favre, people say that Favre only had one losing season and won a Super Bowl for Green Bay and for that the Packers’ nation should love him for eternity.  I disagree; yes he was a key component to the Super Bowl team.   But is he the entire reason, the main reason, or even the biggest reason?  Nope.  Green Bay’s defense was the best in the league; it was led by a tremendous defensive line that included names like White, Brown, Jones, and Dotson.  The secondary was very good, with Butler, Newsome, Robinson, Evans and even Prior.  The linebackers, which weren’t too shabby, Cox, Simmons, and Williams.   The offense wasn’t lacking production either; the offensive line gave Favre a ton of time to throw with guys like, Taylor, Timmerman, Michaels, Winters, and Dotson.  The Backs were pretty solid:  Bennett, Levens, and Henderson.  Yes the punter was Hentrich, who might be one of the best, Jacke who was consistent, the special team’s kickers very good.  Also, yeah this group of WRs and TEs maybe not the best to work with, and Favre made these guys better than what they were, but here they are:  Freeman, Rison, Beebe, Jackson, Chumura, and Brooks.  And no one can forget this man the former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP Desmond Howard, who brought a kick back 100 yards to put the Packers well ahead in the fourth quarter.  He was the spark and key to the Packers’ season.  How could I forget the Head Coach, one of the best ever Mike Holmgren?  Who led Green Bay to back to back Super Bowls and also coached an underdog team (Seattle Seahawks) to a Super Bowl. 

                The argument has been made that you need a very good quarterback to win a super bowl or get to a super bowl.  Some even say you need a great one.  That is the reason people give Favre a ton of credit if not all of it for the two super bowl appearances and the one win.  Well, the quarterback may be the most important position on the field but there is proof you can have an average QB or even a below average QB and make or win a super bowl.  Don’t believe me, check this out.  Now I know Tom Brady is going to be in the HOF and is one of the best QBs ever, but as a rookie he was not that, but guess what he won a super bowl (16 of 27 passes for 145 yards with a touchdown).  In Super Bowl XLI the Bears made the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their QB, enough said.  In Super Bowl XL the two QBs Roethlisberger (The Winner, 9 for 21, 123 yards and 2 ints) and Matt Hasselbeck (The Loser, who hasn’t been the best QB).   Super Bowl XXXV QBs, Kerry Collins (The loser, 15 for 39, 4 ints, 112 yards) and the winner was Trent Dilfer (12 for 23, 153 yards, 1 TD).  Super Bowl XX the winning team was the Chicago Bears, their QB was Jim McMahon.  The Bears went 15-1 that year, McMahon stats 2,392 yards and 15 TDs, now those are not even average numbers.  And two of the best QBs in NFL history never won a super bowl, Dan Fouts and Dan Marino.  Some even consider Marino as the best QB ever. 

                 Brett Favre is the greatest QB ever, is what a lot of people think, but what makes a player the greatest is it wins?  Super Bowls?  Stats?  Consistency?  Not Turning the Ball Over?  Winning Postseason games?  Getting to the Postseason?  I don’t know how you measure someone’s “greatness” but if it is wins, I guess Favre is the greatest.  If it is Super Bowls, then no.  If it is Stats, yes and no.  Consistency, that is a tough one, you know he is consistent with his effort, but his play is all over the place.  He isn’t reliable either, sure you know he is going to be there every game, but what is his mood, is he fully in it or is it just not his day and he wants to chuck it erratically anyway.  Turnovers, not even close.  Post Season wins well he has 12 wins and 10 losses.  Pretty good, but overall not what you are looking for.  From 1992-97 he was 9-4 very good, but since he lost to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII he has been a pitiful 3-6.  So yes he has been successful getting to the postseason, but for the most part he hasn’t done the job when he gets there.

                When you go to Brett Favre’s official website the first thing you will read is:  For the Love of the Game, this makes me sick.  Brett Favre used to play the game because he loved it, but now it is no longer about that.  Sure he might still love it, but that isn’t the main reason he decided to comeback.  For all you Brett Favre fans, that will love him no matter what he does, is your opinion.  I understand that no matter what I write or say, you will never change your mind.  But what I do hope to accomplish in my writing is to bring you back to Earth and show you that Brett Favre isn’t all that you think he is.  He was great with the Packers in the early years from 1993-1997, but from then on he has failed to produce what was expected of the great, immortal, legendary, Brett Favre that you all love so much.  So go ahead cheer for the man who doesn’t care about what I think, you think, or anyone else thinks.  Because the only thing Brett Favre cares about is what he thinks and that is the only right and moral way of thinking.