Monday, August 04, 2008

Four More Years?

I'm breaking radio silence today because this is amazing. Today is the closest we've come to a culmination of all the shit that's been going on with Favre, and I need to comment.

First of all, I can't hate him. Lots of people report that they do now; that they're done with him and his prima donna attitude. Look: He's still easily one of the best QBs out there. According to him, he made a mistake by retiring back in March. Have you ever made a mistake? Ever regretted a decision? Yeah. So leave that alone. Is he blameless? No. It was stupid to give an interview to Fox News rather than work through things using the 'proper channels.' Then again, knowing how badly Ted Thompson has mismanaged things with Favre, I can understand his frustration. I don't hate Favre. I hate this situation. Since July 4th, I have had this pit in my stomach that just roils and twists every time I have thought about this because of all of the endless conjecture and possible scenarios, which necessarily have included talk of a trade from the Packers. That thought has actually made me physically ill.

Yesterday, Roger Goodell accepted Favre's request to be reinstated to the NFL's active roster, and today at noon, the Packers will officially welcome him back... although perhaps "welcome" isn't quite the right word. We'll see tonight at 8:15 what Coach Oblio says, but the news from ESPN is that Favre will be allowed to compete with A-Rodge for the starting QB position. Frankly, there's nothing I'd enjoy more than seeing #4 starting in the Packers' first (nationally-televised!) preseason game against Cincy one week from tonight. It will seem right, whereas watching A-Rodge start and knowing that in a month we'd be retiring that #4 at Lambeau was not going to. I would celebrate, but... well, it'd just be very not right. I'm all for postponing that for as long as we can.

But here's the thing (actually, there are two concerns I have): 1) This won't end up stopping the trading talk. If Favre is competing, he could lose. (Yes, even I can admit that he can fail.) If he does, he could still wind up as a Jet, a Buc, or [gulp] even a Bear or [gag] a Viking. But perhaps even worse, 2) he could win the position... and then wind up playing the way he's supposed to "at his age." Trust me, I want more than anything for there to be one more magical season like this last one was. The problem is, there can't be. The thing that made the 2007 season magical was that it was completely unexpected. This season will already always be mired by the circus that has preceded it. If anything, Favre will feel the need to work all that much harder to win the spot, then feel he has to work all that much harder during the season and wind up with an injury trying to play younger than he is or simply go back to playing slingball and forgetting all of the techniques he was able to perfect over the past couple of years, when he went back to school and really re-learned how to play the QB position. If he sees the job as a gift, he might play like next year doesn't matter and put his team and his teammates in jeopardy. We could be up for another mediocre season... or another 4-win season. If we were going to have one of those in 2008, I wanted it to be because it was A-Rodge's learning curve season, not because Favre didn't take the opportunity to quit while he was ahead.

But look at what I'm doing. It's all conjecture. We can't know what will happen. We have to let it. We have to see what transpires. Again: More than anything, I want Favre to be Superman. I want him to come out playing at the same level as he was able to achieve last year, and then continue to improve. I want the team to rally behind him and want him to do well so they all do well. (I worry that the circus has already soured his teammates' attitudes in that regard.) I want Brett to be the starting QB and talk to the Packers team before the opening Monday Night Football game and apologize, saying it really was stupid what he did, and that in the final analysis it was really just all about the football -- about Packers football -- and that they were going to go out there and leave everything on the field every week and never look back. I want that team to be a team, banded together, running out on that field and mangling their opponents, not coming off the adrenaline rush until an hour after the final gun. I want to be the team of destiny with the seasoned QB not willing to go quietly into the sunset but hungry to go all the way to Tampa on February 1, 2009.

One last thing. A friend said this weekend that if the team was in a position to bring Favre back, that they should really put him through the wringer, practice-wise -- enough so that he wants to quit all over again. I'm perfectly happy with making him earn the position, but not with the intention of breaking him. But if that is what were to happen, god dammit, I want Favre to jump through whatever hoops and barriers the organization puts up and come out of it as though it was just another practice. I want him to be the clear winner, not just so there are no hard feelings, but so that the team moves on and comes as close as they can to forgetting this whole mess ever transpired in the first place. I want Favre at his best, and -- call me a fool for believing it, but -- I honestly believe he can be the best. I want him proving that against the Colts on October 19th by facing Peyton Manning and making him look like a clueless child. BUT, if that does not happen -- if injury, hurt feelings, a trade, or any combination of the above are to occur -- let me remind you (and myself): Aaron Rodgers is a hell of a lot better than the plurality of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL today. He is twice the QB Rex Grossman will ever be, and Grossman was in the fucking Super Bowl two seasons ago.

I can't believe there's a quarterback controversy in Green Bay... that involves Brett Favre.

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