Favre Retired (Again)

Sometimes sequels just shouldn’t be made, but here we go again.

The front page of ESPN.com says it all:


I’m not going to rehash my thoughts on Brett Favre, his career and where he stands in Football, or the saga of his un-retirement last year – but I will say this: 2009 didn’t do Favre or the Jets any good.

Also how does that salt on the open wound feel to Packers fans, seeing this image of Brett riding off wearing green & white?  You’d be hard pressed to find any images on ESPN of Favre with a Green Bay jersey.

NFL Things I Think I Think

Throughout the NFL season, part of my Monday morning routine was to fire up my browser and read Peter King’s “Monday Morning QB” column.  At the end of each column, King lists his “Top 10 Things I Think I Think About Football”.  They usually turn out to be more than ten things, but great insights on the week in NFL.

Since imitation is the best form of flattery, I wanted to borrow the idea from Peter and list a season-ending “Things I Think I Think” about the Broncos, other teams and football in general:

1. Despite the let-down that was December, the Broncos still had a decent season in 2008.

-a. I can’t believe we tore through running backs the way that we did: Pittman, Hall, Torain, Hillis, Pope, Young, leaving only mid-season hire Tatum Bell to run around for the last few games.  When you consider the injuries, it’s not surprising the Broncos struggled with running the ball as much as they did.  That said, while injuries are part of the game, it’s pretty daunting to lose 6 running backs in one season. It makes me wonder whether something happened with the blocking that left the running backs so exposed.

-b. Speaking of Tatum Bell – hey media: we get it! Tatum Bell worked at a cell phone kiosk before being signed by the Broncos. It was mentioned so much I was thinking of starting a drinking game.

-c. What an amazing season for both Cutler and Marshall.  When they were drafted three years ago, who would have thought they’d become one of the best QB-receiver Tandems in the NFL?

-d. As any typical Denver fan, I can’t help but make the Elway comparisons – and I’m wondering if we’re seeing a mirror of some of Elway’s early years.  I was too young to remember Elway’s early years, but I’ve heard that Elway also threw some pretty costly interceptions which led to such nicknames as “SmELl-way”.  Despite the worst-time interceptions, Cutler still managed great season-end stats, with a 25:18 TD/Interceptions, and an 86 rating.  Compared to Elway’s 3rd year of 22:23 and a 79 rating those are pretty good. The difference is that Elway led the Broncos to a 11-5 season that year.  Elway also had the ability to take some below-average Bronco talent and place them on his shoulders. Cutler is surrounded by too much receiving talent to have to do that.

-e. There are a lot of comparisons between Marshall and T.O- mainly because they have similar body types.  I hope the comparison ends there, as I hope my fear that Cutler felt compelled to get the ball to Marshall and forced bad passes to do so doesn’t come true.

-f. Another similarity between T.O. and Marshall for 2008: both dropped a lot of balls at really bad times. As it turns out, Marshall never completely healed from his fight with the Entertainment Center and his hand was numb all season.  Get well Brandon.

-g. Let’s be honest about Broncos expectations for 2008: They were pretty dismal at the beginning of the season.  I knew we were going into the year with a very young team, and that we were trying to develop players in very key positions. I was realistic about the chances, yet hopeful that we’ll surprise those teams. We saw a lot of that potential, especially in the first game when we dismantled the Raiders the way we did.  Then the injuries started to pile up, and we never managed to recover from that.

-h. All that said, it’s embarrassing that we weren’t able to cash in one of those last three games, especially with the Bills at home.

-i. When we had our Fantasy Draft this year I picked up Eddie Royal in one of the last rounds.  My friend in Houston said “who’s Eddie Royal”? I replied, “Oh you’ll find out in Week 1”. I was vindicated and Royal didn’t let me down all season long.  If we can keep Stokley & Scheffler healthy and Marshall selfless we’ll have nothing to worry about for a while.

-j. It’s time for Dre Bly to go. I realize that with Bailey out he was put in very tough match-ups, but it felt like every time there was a big play caused by blown coverage, Bly was a key player.  If we are going to free agency to replace Bly, let’s stay far away from Dome team cornerbacks.

-k. Our Defensive Line and Linebackers celebrated way too much and over-trash-talked for the way they performed.  Here’s to finding some humble pass-rushers for 2009.

2. Even if the Broncos were able to win against the Panthers, Bills or Chargers and get into the playoffs – we should have stopped hearing about the blown Ed Hochuli call in week 2, and how that ruined the Chargers season a long time ago.  Yes Hochuli made a bad call that affected the outcome of the game, but Hochuli didn’t make the Chargers lose the other 7 games, took the air out of L.T’s tires, didn’t get LB Merriman hurt, or make the Chargers defense as bad as the Broncos D.  When the Colts ravage through the Chargers this weekend, hopefully Charger fans won’t blame that on Hochuli too.

3. How funny would it be that Favre’s likely last pass was an illegal forward lateral that went nowhere.  Was coming back from retirement worth it?

-a. Also a telling Favre stat I came across: 273 games, 310 interceptions

4. Nice job Lions, at running the table.

5. It’s great to see teams at the bottom of the barrel turn it around the way they have. The Falcons story is the most incredible, closely followed by the Dolphins, and I can’t help but have a soft spot for a Cardinals.  I think the Falcons will be the only ones that advance to the second round – as they are playing the Cardinals.

-a. I also think all 4 home teams will lose next weekend

6. As tempted as it is to pick the #1 seeds, I’d love to see a Carolina/Pittsburgh Super Bowl.

I have plenty more thoughts on the NFL, but I’ll take a break for now. I’d appreciate any thoughts that you may have.

How Favre pissed away good will

This latest Favre drama is too funny to watch.  What started as rumors from family members has evolved into a huge spectacle that has to have some truth to it.  The sports media, notorious for slurping Favre, has even turned on him.

Two of the best NFL reporters offer really good insight:

ESPN’s John Clayton:

“In 2007, he’s the king of Wisconsin again, coming off one of his best seasons. Now, he’s like that unpopular relative who always threatened to show up at your house for the summer and then plops himself on the couch.”


Sports Illustrated’s Peter King brings some good perspective all-around, but explains why Packer fan (and NFL fan for that matter) is reacting to Favre’s alleged desire to return:

The one thing I don’t believe Favre understands yet is the tumult which will greet his return to the Packers, or to another NFL team. There are Packer fans who have moved on, and wish he would do the same. He doesn’t realize fully — yet — that Brett Favre returning to the Packers would bug a slew of Packerphiles who wish he’d make a decision and stick with it and ride off into the sunset with his glory intact. Because he insulates himself from much of the football world in Mississippi, I’m sure he doesn’t realize the impact that playing for another team would have on his bleed-Packer-green fandom.

Well put Peter.  As a Broncos fan, I would have loved to see Elway come back, especially when the Broncos had a lousy season as they had after he was gone. However, Bronco fans realize that retirement is part of the game and Elway has found other ways to stay active in football without suiting up and playing. I realize Favre is different: where Elway got to ride off into the sunset as a Super Bowl MVP, Favre’s last pass in the NFL was an interception.

At the same time, this is just a lose/lose situation all around.  If Favre submits his plea to return in writing, the Packers have little choice but to accept him, and throw out all of the re-adjustment of the offense they’ve made to suit Aaron Rogers.  If the Packers dare deny him or release him, they’ll face the wrath of angry Packer fan for costing out their greatest quarterback. Both Favre and the Packers can spin about how they want to come back and compete, but the reality is that this could become the season of sentiment.  Whether Favre is entitled to it is debatable, but I think the other 52 players in that locker room may have a tough time swallowing that they’ve been set back 4 months from the rest of the league just because Favre “got an itch”.

This whole situation reminds me of the Ben Folds (Five) song: Steven’s Last Night In Town.

“But We thought he was gone
And he’s come back again
last week it was funny
now the jokes wearing thin
cuz everyone knows now
that every night now
will be [Brett’s] last night in town”

(Favre) Oh Please…

Sorry for keeping my football hat on longer than I should, but this is also too good to pass up.

If you didn’t hear, Brett Favre retired.  I respect him as a player and what he meant to the Green Bay franchise (especially since we Broncos have the myth, man & legend of Elway), but my eyes are starting to roll to the back of my head when I see this on ESPN:


Oh please.

Look, he retired – he didn’t die!  While this was mildly surprising – especially since he was a self-thrown interception away from being in the Super Bowl – this was the same thing we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years!  You know how the news media has their little vignettes on-deck for old guys they think are going to die soon – I bet sports writers had these graphics and stories sitting in the queue, just a click away from being published.

Favre had a great career.  He has the all-time TD’s record (as well as the all-time Interceptions record, but Favre slurpers forget that).  He took some pretty bad Green Bay teams and made them competitive, and he did bring enthusiasm and fun to the game.  He did wonders for Green Bay and deserves all the Cheesehead accolades.  While I celebrate Favre’s achievements, I can’t help but bring up things that prevent me from jumping on the Brett Bandwagon.

  • His Starting Record: He’ll be hailed like Ripkin for starting so many consecutive games. However, I think that Favre let that record get in the way of his better judgement.  In 2001 1999-2000 he had injured his thumb, which only sent Green Bay further spiraling down.  It was obvious he wasn’t helping his team by being out there, but Favre wouldn’t take himself out and because of the hype around the record no coach would take him out either.  This reared it’s head again in these last few seasons, notably this season during Week 13 when he separated his right shoulder.  Favre probably shouldn’t have played week 14, and while they won (it was the Raiders), he risked injury in a game that he probably shouldn’t have played in (again, it was the Raiders).
  • Constant Retirement Contemplation: For the last few years we all tuned in for The Days of Our Packers, where Brett Favre went through his soap opera of whether he felt like he should come back again.  All players contemplate retirement – I get that – but there were two things that bugged me about Favre’s contemplation: 1 – It was so damned public – It bothered me when he sat around in interviews wondering out loud whether he should come back and said that he’d wait and see if the Packers would make good moves.  To me this came across like he was holding his team hostage, being a GM from the sidelines.  “If you guys make good enough moves, maybe I’ll honor you with my presence for another year”.  2 – He made his decisions far too late. With the exception of this year, Favre didn’t arrive at a decision regarding retirement until the summer, preventing the team from making any free agency moves or draft preparation.  Had the Packers known sooner they could have better groomed a replacement for Favre appropriately, instead of gambling with the Aaron Rogers pick. Even this year, the Packers are too late to make any pushes for free agent veteran QB’s, all the best are already off the market (not that it was a great QB year anyway).  Now they have to deal with the problem that is Aaron Rogers.  This leads me to my next point…
  • Hurting Aaron Rogers. This same “consecutive start” probably hampered Aaron Rogers’ development from seeing any real game action.  There were a few meaningless games the Packers played in 2006 that would have allowed the Packers to evaluate Rogers, but Favre still had to start those games,dare they not break his coveted record. Granted, Rogers did end up getting hurt both of those seasons, but at the time a Rogers evaluation would have been prudent.  The Packers took a gamble and drafted Rogers to groom as successor to the Favre QB regime, but due to the Retirement Soap Opera they never were able to solidify their QB strategy.  Now they’re faced with Rogers’ rookie contract expiration and have to make a decision whether to keep Rogers and put up big money for an essential unknown.  Favre isn’t directly to blame, but one can’t deny that he has contributed to this circumstance.
  • “The Gunslinger” . The only difference between being called a “Gunslinger” and “Bad-Decision Maker” is luck & a ring.  Without his Super Bowl Championship, Favre would essentially be Jake Plummer.  The fact that Favre won his Super Bowl relatively early in his career enabled his apologists to brand him “the Gunslinger” who “gambles and takes chances” – whereas Plummer is “erratic” and “makes mistakes”.  This enabled sports writers to continue slurping him and ignore the fact that Favre also holds the record for career interceptions thrown.

Again, don’t get me wrong: Favre is an amazing player and the NFL is worse off without Favre playing – but let some time pas so people can ignore the above before branding him “the legend”.  I believe that history will consider Favre a great quarterback, but overshadowed in the 90’s by Elway, Marino & Young, as well in the 2000’s by Payton Manning & Tom Brady.

As for Packer fan: Take it from a Bronco fan – you don’t realize how good you had it until it’s gone.  A QB as legendary as Favre and Elway only comes to your franchise once in every 30-50 years.