A Nation So Right and Yet So Wrong on Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, and Brett Favre
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“Someone said it! Someone finally said it!”
That’s it, I said it. So did you, and the people you have debated these issues with.
What issues am I talking of you say?
Well how about this exhaustive list:
- Jay Cutler can play.
- Jay Cutler can’t play.
- Aaron Rodgers is better than Brett Favre.
- Brett Favre is the franchise.
- Brett Favre isn’t the franchise.
- Brett Favre shouldn’t be traded.
- Brett Favre should be traded.
- The Packers should deal Favre to an AFC team.
- The Packers should just release Favre or honor his wishes.
- Mike McCarthy is a flash in the pan.
- Mike McCarthy can get the Pack back to the Super Bowl.
Regardless of who you are, you have an opinion and you have come down on one side or the other of some or all of these arguments in this abbreviated list.
But here’s the rub to set us all straight: you were right, but you were also wrong, the fact is we all were.
Rewind to the 2008 offseason, when Brett Favre seemed ready to retire. It would be the last time he was in the good graces of most football fans.
From the outside looking in, it seemed like Packers GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy were not going to allow Brett Favre to return to the Green Bay Packers.
It was viewed as though Favre had cried wolf in playing the retirement contemplation one too many times.
Moreover, it was not being viewed as Aaron Rodgers' time in Green Bay. This started to divide Packers fans and was debatable nationwide.
Looking at those specific decisions in retrospect, you must give the Green Bay Packers credit for sticking to their plan.
Certainly, the way the Packers front office handled the issue from start to finish showed a lack of class to the point that it nearly required league involvement to resolve the dispute.
That piece of the puzzle is probably the hardest for most fans of the league to digest when thinking about those difficult days in Green Bay.
The Packers organization tried everything from forcing Brett Favre to retire to paying him off to eventually trading him with mandates that he not be traded to divisional rivals without severe repercussions.
Moreover, the organization went out of their way to make their former Hall of Fame golden boy know he was not welcome around their facility.
The irony here is Brett Favre was traded to a Jets team that needed a better head coach than Eric Mangini. Eventually, Favre was able to find his way onto the Minnesota Vikings roster which was his desired destination after his stay in Green Bay wore thin.
Favre took the Vikings to the NFC Championship game last season and don’t forget the Vikings literally turned the ball over more than they had all year, otherwise they could have won the Super Bowl with Brett at the helm.
This season Aaron Rodgers has shown he could follow-up a solid first-year campaign as a starter with one that has landed his team in the NFC Championship game.
Keep in mind the Packers might represent the NFC and yet could have been knocked out of the playoff picture by their Divisional and Sunday foe the Chicago Bears in Week 17.
The Packers edged the Bears 10-3 at Lambeau Field to squeak into the playoffs. The Packers lost 20-17 at the Bears in Week 3.
Still right now the Packers are the hottest team in the NFC and look the part of a team that could win it all after blowing out a high powered, No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons team on Saturday night 48–21.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 366 yards in the dismantling of the Falcons and looks his very best right now.
In the forgotten time zone, things were turning sour for Jay Cutler and his stay with the Denver Broncos.
Once projected to have similar skill sets as the legendary John Elway it seemed a proverbial cinch that Cutler would lead the Broncos back to the promised-land.
After all, Jay Cutler was able to take over the Broncos QB duties the year after Jake Plummer brought the Broncos to the AFC Championship. It seemed Cutler was on the fast track and then the Broncos would hit the .500 wall and essentially miss the playoffs in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
That led Pat Bowlen to make a very difficult decision to dismiss his good friend Mike Shanahan.
It was the second worst football decision in franchise history given the results Josh McDaniels produced in the process during the worst franchise decision of all-time to hire the inexperienced head coach.
That is when Josh’s “Slash and Dash” fire sale dismantling of the Broncos began. The irony was the Broncos offense was rated second best when he took over, so most coaches would have focused on strengthening the defense.
Josh decided his first item of business was to find a quarterback since he decided he was smarter than everyone else and Jay Cutler was not his guy.
The reality is what started as a small dispute became a bit of gossip when Jay Cutler called Vic Lombardi (a local sports anchor) and told him of Josh McDaniels seeking to trade him, that call eventually aired. It was at that point things went from being small to being far bigger than they ever should have been.
It was two young kids in Cutler and McDaniels not getting along fueled by the media hype and things just continued to disintegrate from there.
Jay Cutler emerged in Chicago to high hopes while Kyle Orton came to the Broncos from the Bears to a divided fans base, choruses of boos, and the eventual competition with Tim Tebow for playing time.
Meanwhile. Jay Cutler learned some very hard lessons from his first season with the Chicago Bears, his favorite team growing up in Indiana.
The Bears had a sparse offensive line, no running game to speak of, a poor receiving corps by NFL standards, and a banged up defense that missed superstar Brian Urlacher most of the 2009 season.
Early in the 2010 season things seemed at their worst for Jay Cutler when he was sacked a record nine times in first half against the New York Giants in Week 4. Cutler also threw one interception that game and lost one of his the fumbles on the day.
It seemed like the lows of last season had gotten worse. The Bears lost three of their four games in October and then caught fire sometime after their Halloween bye week. The Bears wound up winning seven of their next nine games and winning the NFC Central Division.
So now we know at least enough of the rest of the story to go by.
You were all right as was I, but we were all wrong, oh so very wrong on all of these guys.
The golden boy Brett Favre proved he had the goods to still play at the highest level in 2009. In 2010 the Vikings imploded and now Favre is now haunted by a cell phone scandal that involved former Jets employee Jenn Sterger. It’s definitely something that has tarnished his Hall of Fame legacy and credentials. So the case against Brett's character was solidified and Packers fans felt some redemption in their distain for their former franchise player. Still Brett Favre nearly got the Jets into the playoffs in his only season there and did get the Vikings as close as that franchise has been in a little over a decade to the Super Bowl.
Jay Cutler was enough to help the Bears reach the NFC Championship game in 2010 and is somehow starting to show he has the face of perseverance. His accusers said his character was lacking, while his supporters clung to his potential. The fact is most franchise quarterbacks turn the corner in their fourth season under center. In Cutler's case he gets a mulligan for his first season in Chicago. He now appears to be right on schedule as an up and coming NFL star. We now know Jay Cutler is fully capable even after it looked like the Broncos may have gotten the better end of the deal with Kyle Orton’s top five passing statistics.
Don't forget Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers showed he could stand up under the shadow of Brett Favre much in the way Danny White did in Dallas following Roger Staubach. That in it of itself should speak volumes about the temperate spirit that Aaron Rodgers displayed through many difficult months at the helm of the same team future Hall of Famer Brett Favre led.
Still, Aaron Rodgers reserves the hopes of surpassing that Dallas Cowboys model to becoming the equivalent of Steve Young hoisting a Lombardi in San Francisco shortly after replacing the great Joe Montana.
The Packers front office proved us all wrong in their decisions while proving us right about the lack of class to their methods. It was and remains an eyesore upon the image of the NFL. Still the Packers head coach Mike McCarthy right now deserves all the credit he gets. While fans still question his game-planning and decision making he has the Pack back where they were in 2007 under Brett Favre, just one game from the Super Bowl. I for one didn’t think he had it in him to rise above. Now we see that team of destiny look in their eyes so you have to credit their head coach for getting them this far.
Only time will tell us just how right or wrong we all have been.
This much is certain.
We’ve seen enough to know that we were all right and oh so very wrong.
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