Brett Favre - Breaking the Habit

This article has been submitted by the debuting Kabeir Dilawri.

“Winning is a habit; so is losing” – Vince Lombardi

Is it not ironic that the Green Bay Packers, one of the most storied and successful teams in all of professional sports, are not heeding the mantra of one of the two individuals synonymous with the franchise and breaking a habit? If Lombardi can be characterized as the undeniable brains of the Pack from a historical point of view, a 2nd round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 NFL draft that goes by the name of Brett Lorenzo Favre can be considered the infallible brawn. This is why it absolutely ludicrous that GM Ted Thompson, Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and the rest of the Packers brass have given the holder of the record for most career wins by a starter at the QB position a less than attractive ultimatum wrapped up in their decision to not grant his unconditional release: Be a backup to unproven protégé Aaron Rodgers (whose meteoric rise to starting QB status is comparable to that of Matt Schaub’s last year – someone who has had limited experience, yet has shown flashes of brilliance) or continue to sail off into the sunset.

Before analyzing the Packers’ brass’ decision, I have to say that I was not always a #4 fan. Being a long-time 49ers fan, Favre represented what Michael Jordan was to Utah Jazz fans during the 90s – someone who, when the road to victory was all but paved, would always show up to make an amazing play and lead his team back into the game, and onto a devastating win. However, at the same time, you could not help but respect his talent and perseverance just a little bit. In 1995, 1996, AND 1997, Favre was that thorn in my Niners side.

Quite possibility the pinnacle of my sports viewership occurred during the 1998 Wild Card round, with Steve Young connecting with some receiver by the name of Terrell Owens on a TD strike across the middle of the endzone (i.e. the Catch II) to end the game and allow the Niners to conquer their demons (i.e. Brett Favre), and also ushering in Owens’ rise to prominence (and numerous headaches for the NFL).

When the rivalry between the Niners and Pack began to run its course is when I started to gain an even greater appreciation for Favre. Here was a man who would leave it all on the field and even when the Packers were a subpar team, took them to the next level and made the plays needed to be made by a team’s leader. While the NFL has resembled more of a Thug Life culture over the past several years, Favre could be counted on to be the one good citizen that the NFL could rely on (editor’s note: see There’s Something About Mary for more). While Pacman Jones was making it rain and Travis Henry was adding to his list of illegitimate children and failed drug tests, Favre was showing that hard work and practice really do translate into success.

So what will happen will Favre?

One thing is certain: Favre simply cannot be a backup. Not to an unproven Aaron Rodgers. It would be like Robin fully assuming the role of guardian of Gotham when Batman was still fit to do so. Nor would I suspect that Favre would be willing to be a backup – and not just on the Packers, but on any team.

Favre cannot be released either. Both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears are a decent QB away from contending for the title, and with Favre having close ties to individuals within the Vikings organization, there is no reason to think he would hesitate to join one of the Pack’s chief rivals. This would mean Thompson facing the embarrassment of not only losing the division to a Brett Favre-led team, but also the potential of Favre coming back to Lambeau and picking their defense apart. After all, we all know he has a flair for the dramatic (example: game vs. Oakland Raiders after Brett’s father passed away).

It is conceivable that the Packers could trade Favre. However, to see Favre in another uniform would just not be right, and, after all, how many veteran players have really been successful in adapting to a system they are not accustomed to having been in the same one for so many years? Failed experiments such as Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith automatically come to mind. Even more, does Thompson really want to cement his place in history as “that guy who traded Brett Favre to a team that, with his acquisition, immediately vaulted themselves to a Superbowl title?”

One can understand the Packers’ approach in this situation. Favre is to the Cheeseheads front office what the Soviets were to Winston Chuchill: “A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” that the Pack have given up on solving. For the past couple of years, they have had no idea what #4 will do, how his mind works, what drives his decision-making, and as a result, he has tormented the Pack with his waffling in concerns to the issue of retirement. It is now evident that the team has simply grown weary of this indecisiveness. In a way, it is admirable that the Packers are sticking to their strategy and continuing to place so much confidence in Rodgers. After all, sports is a business ( see: Brand’s disloyalty in the NBA last week), and you have to do what’s right for your organization not only in the short term, but for the long-term as well. The Pack just believe that Rodgers times has come, and to take Brett back would set his development – and the organization’s – back considerably.

However, the bottom line is that, as exhibited last year, Favre still has game. A lot of it. And coming oh so close to a shot at the title last year, Thompson has to roll the dice and bring Favre back as the infrastructure of the team is, much like last year’s, built for a championship. That is, of course, with an experienced, playoff savvy QB like Favre.

Favre is the Packers. Kind of like what Tony the Tiger is to the Frosted Flakes; bigger than the brand itself, and there should be no hesitation by Thompson to bring the legend back. If not only to ensure that the Packers remain a top team for the foreseeable future, but to avoid a potential bad reputation for the team. Favre is well-respected around the league, and this “tough love” by the Packers’ brass would not be viewed favourably in the NFL community. Even more, how would free agents view the Packers organization? Needless to say, this would be another excuse for free agents to avoid playing in the harsh Green Bay climate.

It should be noted that divorces such as what this one appears to be are commonplace in our society. One that immediately comes to mind in the business world is that of Steve Jobs’ forced departure from Apple, the company that he built, in the 80s. Once he left, Apple’s growth became stagnant (and it wasn’t until 1997 when Jobs returned as CEO that the iRevolution began and the company started to become the superpower it is today.)

Does a similar iFate await the Packers should they decide to keep Favre from playing?

This article has been submitted by the debuting Kabeir Dilawri.

3 Responses to “Brett Favre - Breaking the Habit”

  1. Pope Says:

    I would really like to hear what Aaron Rodgers has to say about the whole thing. There has to be some sort of Packers thinking as to what it would look like to pull the carpet out from under Rodgers and what it would do to his confidence level.

    Just a thought.

  2. Douglas Says:

    Rodgers isn’t their QB of the future, they drafted Brohm in the second round and their whole organization is high on him. Rodgers is a stop-gap and would be a bonus if he worked out.

    That being said Brett Favre should learn how to spell and stay retired. You can’t fuck with your team like that, they gave him a chance to come back. He cried and said he was done, he just wanted a going away party, fucking Diva

  3. Bob Says:

Leave a Reply