Monday, August 4, 2008

more thoughts on something you're tired of hearing people think about

It's August. Steve Smith is punching teammates. It must be time to preview the upcoming NFL season. But I can't. Not yet. Because we don't know where Brett Favre will land. It looks like the deal right now, unless a deal can be made in the next 12 hours or so, is that Favre will show up to Packers camp and compete for the job he abandoned a few months ago while weeping like the 1998 ladies of Camp Rockfish during Armageddon(and, knowing what we know now, with about as good a reason).

If Favre stays in Green Bay, that really only messes with Green Bay. Even the most mature of players will have, at some level, taken a side. Either with Rodgers (he doesn't deserve to be jerked around like this because some dude didn't think he had the guts for training camp last winter) or with Favre (he's Brett Favre). I'm more interested in what happens to Green Bay if Favre is traded. If Aaron Rodgers plays reasonably well(not great, but not badly...perhaps someone refers to him as a "game manager") after this supposed trade, I see one of two scenarios playing out.

1) The team is galvanized. They get together, say "it's behind us now," rally around Aaron Rodgers, and continue where they left off last season as a contender in the NFC.

2) The legend of Brett Favre haunts the team. This is already going to happen with the fans. If Favre is elsewhere, the fans in the stands will compare every move to their version of Brett Favre, who suddenly will never have thrown an incompletion, an interception (Hah!), or even had to toss a pass to a check-down receiver. They'll say that every Aaron Rodgers incompletion would have been a Favre completion. Every Rodgers interception would have been 5 Favre touchdowns. That's what Packers fans are going to do. There's a chance that the team might fall into that trap, too. And that makes for disgruntled players who don't believe in their quarterback, even if he's doing pretty well for himself.

Now, if Favre is shipped out of town and Rodgers isn't cut out to be an NFL starter after all? The Packers franchise will go into a tailspin and be unable to recover for at least four seasons. The young talent will start demanding to get out of town because no one will be on the same page with the coaching staff or management. The fanbase will be crushed, and forced to buy Bart Starr throwback jerseys. The Bears, Lions, and Vikings get two free games per season.

All of this is completely independent of what Favre would do on another team. If Rodgers isn't up to the task, it just won't matter. If Favre is great for the Vikings and takes them to a Super Bowl? Of course Wisconsin will weep. Even if he's terrible for the Bucs, though, and ends up losing his starting job to one of their other six quarterbacks; the word from Green Bay will be that Favre would have thrived on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

So let me reiterate: I have loved every second of Favre and the Packers organization playing "douchebag chicken" with each other. But I will not make my (often inaccurate) NFL predictions until Favre and his interception count have found a home.

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