Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Favre or no Favre?

Posted by mizzou1028 on July 9, 2008

I don’t know any more about the nuances of the rumors surrounding a possible return to the NFL by Brett Favre than the man in the moon.  I don’t know if Favre is really feeling the itch to return just months after an emotional retirement press conference, or if this is just being fueled by the media to fill up time when they have nothing else to talk about.  I don’t know what Packers management is thinking on this.  What I do know is that if Favre does want to return, and the Packers say no thanks, than they had better be prepared for it to backfire.  There is not a good track record in NFL history for replacing legend quarterbacks.  In fact, it is about as close to guarantee for failure as there is in the sport.  Nothing against Aaron Rodgers, who played well against Dallas last year when Favre was injured, but if the Packers really think they’re better off with Rodgers than they would be if Favre came back, they are probably in trouble.

The list of quarterbacks that have tried to follow legends in NFL history is a rather dubious one.  By the nature of it, trying to follow a Hall of Famer is not an easy task anyway, particularly when a young signal caller is trying to replace a guy who’s an icon, like Favre is in Green Bay.  Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls in the 1970s with Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t until Ben Roethlisberger in 2005 that the Steelers really had any stability at the position after Bradshaw’s retirement.  Bradshaw was followed by among others Cliff Stoudt, Mark Malone, David Woodley, Scott Campbell, Bubby Brister, Neil O’Donnell and Kordell Stewart.  The Steelers had a number of good teams between Bradshaw’s retirement and their Super Bowl win in ’05, even making the Super Bowl in 1995 with O’Donnell, but all of those guys had to play in Bradshaw’s shadow.  How about guys who have followed John Elway in Denver?  Try Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte and Jake Plummer.  The Broncos went 6-10 in 1999 the first year without Elway, and this was with a team that won back to back Super Bowls in ’97 and ’98.  There is no doubt that the Broncos would not have been near that bad in ’99 if Elway had returned to play for another season.  As a side note, you could even make the argument (however thin) that Terrell Davis never would have torn his ACL had Elway returned.  See, that happened on a play where Griese threw an interception into double coverage that Elway never would have thrown, and Davis got injured trying to make the tackle.  How about the Miami Dolphins post Marino?  Again you’ll find Brian Griese’s name among the replacements, and actually Frerotte’s as well, in addition to Jay Fiedler, Damon Huard, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, A.J. Feeley and Sage Rosenfels.  Miami STILL has no stability at QB since Dan Marino retired in 1999.  There is no doubt that Miami fans would have gladly taken one more season with Marino at the helm in 2000, if nothing else for one more shot at a run before the inevitable rebuilding process.

The point of all this is not to say that Aaron Rodgers will fail.  Truth is, we have no idea how he will do.  It is reasonable to say however that being quarterback of the Packers for a full season is quite different than coming in as an injury replacement for one game.  The point is that if the Packers are that fast to say goodbye to Favre, and are ready to take their chances with Rodgers, they should be prepared for the team to struggle.  In fact, history shows they are likely to miss the playoffs with Rodgers at quarterback based on the track record of teams the season following the retirement of a legend quarterback, particularly when that quarterback is the face of the franchise.  If Favre wants to come back and play one more season, the Packers should welcome him back with open arms, period.  Favre had one of his best seasons last year, and there is no reason to think he can’t still play at a high level if he wants to.  Can you imagine Mike Shanahan in 1999 if Elway said he wanted to return a week before camp, even in the wake of his retirement press conference?  Can you imagine Shanahan telling Elway, “no I think we’re set with Brian Griese, thanks”?  Me neither.

Whether Favre actually plays this season or not will be interesting to see.  It will more interesting if he wants to play and the Packers wave him off.  If that were the case, the Packers would have to either release him, allowing him to play for another team, or they would have to trade him, neither of which would be an easy pill to swallow for Green Bay fans.  If the thought of Favre in another uniform makes a Packer fan want to throw up, than imagine Favre playing for arguably the one contending team that is missing a quarterback.  The one team in the league that is set at pretty much every position except for quarterback.  A team that made a big splash in the offseason bringing in Jared Allen (arguably the league’s top defensive lineman) and a good receiver in Bernard Berrian.  A team with one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks and a team that in recent years has been amazingly stingy defensively against the run.  A team who’s current top QB is very young, inexperienced, and could use a year under Favre.  A team that as currently constructed has been picked to win the Super Bowl by Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman.  That would be the Minnesota Vikings, prime division rival of the Packers.  If the Packers are that sure they would rather take their chances with Aaron Rodgers, they should envision this scenario: Week one, Monday night at Lambeau Field, Packers-Vikings, Favre coming out of the tunnel in Vikings purple.  It should be enough to make any Packer fan want to throw up.  That is, until they envision Favre holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season in a Vikings hat, after the Packers have suffered through a 6-10 season under Rodgers.

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2 Responses to “Favre or no Favre?”

  1. DrypeOxype said

    Very nice!!

  2. […] their friendly schedule, and I think this is shaping up to be a big year for the Vikings.  In fact, they could have had this last year if they had been able to swing the deal for Favre then. […]

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