In March, when Brett Favre
told the world he could still play but wasn't sure he wanted to, I didn't know what to do. My life had been turned upside down, and the man who WAS football for me was sitting there saying he wasn't sure he wanted to put in the work for a sport he had given everything to play.
I wanted to write something at the time, but everything I came up with just didn't seem to give the moment justice. I mean, he had been the best player on MY team for the entirety of my conscious life.
I watched him come back from alcoholism to be the NFL
's only three-time MVP. I sat in my television room as Brett raised his helmet over his head and ran around the field in the Super Bowl, all while dealing with a horrible addiction to painkillers.
After an incredibly long day, I came back to my apartment to watch the retirement press conference on my DVR. I watched the tears fall down Favre's face, noticing my face was similarly soggy. I remember being both incredulous and understanding.
How could the greatest ironman in NFL history be giving it up after being so close to achieving Super Bowl greatness once again? On the other hand, how could he truly do justice to himself and the team if he was not 100 percent committed to putting in the work every day? I knew that if he was square with his decision, then I had to be, too.
Someone told me once that love meant caring about someone enough to let them go; knowing it is in their best interest. Count me in as a believer of that statement and someone who applied it to the only quarterback I ever wanted to watch. That is certainly hyperbole, but it is representative of the way Packer fans felt about #4. Aaron Rodgers
wasn't a bad consolation for a team I knew could contend in the NFC. I was ready to move on from my broken heart.
Just when I was getting excited about my new relationship with Rodgers, Brett decided the grass wasn't actually greener in retirement (he may have also found out you can only cut it so many times). The Packers
, like me, had made peace with the painful break-up. They were ready to move on with their new leader.
But unlike the Packers, I was ready for Brett to come back four months ago when he decided to hang it up.
Make no mistake about it, if Brett were to come back, the Packers' players would feel like I do and willingly embrace his return. Al Harris was recently quoted as saying he would welcome Brett Favre back to the team.
Who gives the 2008 Green Bay Packers the best chance to win?
The answer is decidedly one-sided, and members of the team certainly understand that to be true.
While Rodgers has built a solid rapport with his teammates, no one commands respect or draws admiration like Favre. There are no guarantees Rodgers can play all 17 weeks, as he has never even started one NFL game. In the two games in which he has received the most playing time, he wound up with injuries.
Additionally, no Packers fan wants Brett Favre to be wearing another jersey. If Ted Thompson had said, "Brett, we'd love to have you back" and No. 4 were on his way back, the state of Wisconsin would be doing back flips. Just like Brett wasn't 100 percent sure he was ready to retire, you couldn't blame anyone for not being 100 percent sure Aaron Rodgers was going to be anywhere near a solid NFL quarterback.
Outside of Peyton Manning
and Tom Brady
, no quarterback meant more to his team's success in 2007 than Brett Favre. Had Brady not put on a record-breaking performance, Favre would be the league's only four-time MVP.
Ted Thompson and Packers' brass have turned into villains in this whole scenario, although it appears TT has not taken the hardline approach the way much of the media has accused. Brett wanted to come back in March, and both head coach Mike McCarthy and Thompson agreed Favre would come back as THE QB of this team.
Shortly thereafter, Brett had decided he would stick with his decision to retire.
Now that it appears Favre will be back in 2008, whether in green and gold or not. Ted Thompson wants to look to the future, but if he wants a Super Bowl ring this year, Brett Favre can definitely get this team there. Aaron Rodgers MIGHT be able to.
Remember, when Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm was drafted back in April, many scouts said they preferred Brohm to Rodgers. In fact, Merrill Hodge of ESPN predicted it would be Brohm, not Rodgers who would be playing QB in Green Bay within two years, when Rodgers is due for a new contract.
Brohm has started exactly the same number of NFL games as Rodgers: zero. Brett Favre has 275 under his belt. Why trade the most prolific passer in the NFL, and the face of your franchise for nearly two decades for a guy who has never played every offensive snap in a game?
The Packers are making this seem like they have some tough decision to make. The problem is that they created this media storm and resulting fan backlash when they decided "keeping your word" was more important than winning football games.
There is a difference between being old school and being stupid. A general manager's job is to put together a team that can win. Period. Brett Favre gives the 2008 Packers the best chance to win. That makes any discussion about doing anything else asinine.
Thompson doesn't answer to an owner in a suit like Bob Kraft or Daniel Snyder. If that were the case, believe me Brett, would already have his locker back. Thompson answers to the fans, who own the team, of the city of Green Bay and Cheesehead nation.
He answers to me.
I am telling him he needs to stop this pathetic power struggle and take back the greatest player to ever put on the green and gold. If Brett comes back and takes this team to the top, then there is no question you made the right choice. If he comes back and can't get it done, you can say, "See, I told you so."
Any other potential scenario leads to you being the biggest pariah in Packers history. I don't think you'll be getting your locker or a spot in Canton for that.