(Long Island, NY) If your team had the opportunity to acquire a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is also a nine-time Pro Bowler and sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, there wouldn’t be many scenarios where you would want to turn that offer down. Especially when heading into training camp, your quarterback situation is not settled, and the two battling it out for the job are not exactly headed to Canton unless they buy a ticket.
So what would make anyone say that Brett Favre to the Jets wouldn’t end in confetti being blown into the Tampa Bay night sky come February? Before we start booking the flight to Disneyland, it will make more sense once it is broken down.
While Favre is obviously on a decline, he did have a very productive season in 2007. Leading the Packers to the NFC Championship Game, he may have thrown his worst pass of the year on his last attempt, which snuffed out a Super Bowl berth for the Pack and sent the Giants en route to Arizona. During the regular season, Favre threw for 4,155 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, good enough for a 66.5 completion percentage. He has been a tough out and has started all 16 games in each season dating back to 1993. His leadership skills have never been questioned – for the most part – and playing with that little kid grin has made him the face of the NFL for quite some time.
The Mississippi native will turn 39 in October and has been on the bubble of retiring for two years now. Even in Green Bay where he can walk on water, Favre began to wear out his welcome by taking forever to make up his mind. When he finally held his emotional press conference during the offseason and walked away gracefully, the story seemed to have a great ending. His number four jersey was going to be retired by the organization during the Packers’ home opener on a Monday night versus the Vikings.
But Favre couldn’t let go. Give him credit for being such a gamer, but take some of it away for selfishness. He began to bad mouth the Packers front office by saying that they made him rush his decision, which he now regrets. Regardless of what Favre claims, he is his own man and could have told them that he wanted to think about it a little more. By flip-flopping his decision, Favre is throwing a monkey wrench in not only the Packers’ plans, but also that has trickled down to possible teams vying for his services.
Alex Rodgers was anointed Favre’s successor on more than one occasion, and that still is not written in stone. Green Bay seems to be saying all the right things that it is the youngster’s job, but if Favre shows up to training camp, how could they seriously sell that to anyone? That’s where the Jets come in.
According to NFL sources, the two teams that figure to be involved in trade talks with the Packers are the Jets and Buccaneers. Eric Mangini, the third year head coach of the Jets, is not very informative during his daily press conferences, and usually refutes something like this. But his sheepish grin in tiptoeing around questions about the quarterback spoke volumes once he didn’t say anything that the team wasn’t looking to make a deal.
“We still keep that internal,” said Mangini. “That’s been consistent, too. Mike’s (general manager Tannenbaum) the combination guy. He likes to talk different combinations.”
Draw your own conclusions from that, but if you know Mangini at all, he is not a giggly-type, by any stretch of the imagination. He was openly laughing when asked abut Favre and could have put the entire matter to rest. Could that be part of his plan to push his two signal callers, Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens – in their head-to-head battle for the top spot?
“The bottom line is that sooner or later the organization has to make a decision one way or the other,” Pennington said. “I hope it’s sooner than later. I think for our team to be able to move on and accomplish the things we need to accomplish, the things that coach Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum want to get accomplished, we have to make a decision and the sooner the better.”
The nine-year veteran is absolutely correct, and seems even more determined to prove to his naysayers that he is the right man for the job – even if that group includes Favre. Hypothetically speaking, for the Jets to bring Favre in, reports are that Green Bay wants at least a first round draft choice. That is a lot to give up for someone who may only play one year, even if that person is Favre.
Working with that scenario, Pennington would become an ex-Jet via trade or being waived with Favre in the fold. Unless he delivers a Super Bowl ring, how much is it really worth? You would lose an important draft pick, your 32 year-old quarterback that has been successful and then possibly have to start all over in 2009.
Older quarterbacks that have left their long-time team for greener pastures have mixed results. For every Joe Montana – who was traded from San Francisco and led Kansas City to the 1993 AFC Championship Game the following year – there have been situations like Joe Namath’s, who didn’t want to hang it up even though he was obviously through. Broadway Joe forced a trade from the Jets to the Rams and limped away from the game in 1977 after throwing five picks in only four starts.
Which Joe will Favre be compared to when he ultimately decides that he is going to take his rightful place next to the other greats in Ohio? If it is the latter of the two, the Jets will have undone a smart football move made 31 years ago.