Archive for March, 2008

Laura Ingraham and Brett Favre (with updates)

March 7, 2008

Apparently Laura Ingraham made fun of Brett Favre for crying at his press conference yesterday. I like Laura and consider her a friend, but she’s way wrong on this one. I didn’t hear her comments and if we get a transcript we’ll post it. But if her argument is that he is somehow not a tough guy because he cried, well, she is revealing her own ignorance. Professional sports needs more people like Favre, not fewer.

UPDATE: Yeah, she’s definitely mocking him. She has a poll on her website asking whether Favre “embarrased himself” by crying. And her “soundbite of the week” is this: “I hope *sniffle* the fans *snort* appreciate me *sniffle* as much as I appreciate them. *sigh* Brett Favre, crying during his farewell press conference.”

Is her position that it is never manly to cry in public? That’s ridiculous. I don’t think men should cry as often as Hillary Clinton has been lately, but it’s hard to think of a guy who less a pansy-ass than Brett Favre. He has played through some of the toughest life experiences a man can endure, with very few complaints. And he has played through more injuries than most athletes will see in their lifetime.

I’m glad Favre was emotional yesterday. If he hadn’t been, he would have come off as just another automaton, a guy who played professional football for the money, the fame and the statistics. Of course those things motivated him, but he played, unlike most professional athletes today, mostly because he loved the game. I would have been upset if he hadn’t been emotional.

UPDATE II: This blog has a some excerpts of Ingraham’s rant. If this is accurate, then the discussion of Favre sounds incredibly stupid. (Byron York, who apparently joined in, is also a friend). I’ll have more to say about this over the weekend or on Monday, but Favre is exactly the kind of player who ought to appeal to conservatives. He played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He didn’t whine at his teammates (like Dan Marino and Peyton Manning), he didn’t take plays off (like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens), he didn’t criticize he coaches in public (like dozens of players), he didn’t change teams (like virtually everyone in the NFL), and he didn’t miss a start for 253 consecutive games (unlike every NFL player in history other than Jim Marshall and Jeff Feagles (a punter). And we’re supposed to think that none of this matters because he was emotional at a press conference that ended his Hall of Fame career? Clueless.

UPDATE III: I’m reliably told that Byron York was really just a bystander to Ingraham’s rant.

Golf’s ugly side (but also impressive side)

March 7, 2008

Came across this interesting story from professional golf. This guy, Tripp Isenhour is a journeyman-type player – off/on the PGA Tour, but mostly plays on the Nationwide Tour.

Anyway, check this out. As someone interested in birds of prey since I was little, I’m bothered that Mr. Isenhour was seemingly so flippant about killing this bird. But at the same time, I have to admit – it is just plain impressive to kill a hawk 75 yards away in around 10 attempts.

The PGA Tour’s motto is “These guys are good”. While there may be no better demonstration of just how good these guys are, my guess is they won’t use this example.

A Post-Favre Getaway

March 7, 2008

For some of us, the pain of a post-Favre era for the Packers is just becoming reality. If you’re like me, and cannot bear to deal with this sad new world, you might consider a trip to Dodgeville, Wisconsin.  I’m looking to book a room soon at Don Q’s FantaSuite Hotel, to escape the real world for a while. Among its offerings: the Northern Lights Suite, featuring a “full-sized Igloo with a waterbed, whirlpool surrounded-by mirrors, overlooks a serene arctic landscape under the warm glow of the Northern Lights.” Or there is the Sherwood Forest, featuring a “king-sized bed nestled among the trunks of real trees, forest-setting whirlpool and CD player.” Or Casino Royale, featuring a “Queen sized bed with lighted mirror and walk up whirlpool surrounded by mirrors, Red/Black decor, Vegas style. AM/FM radio.” (Editor’s Note: They’re advertising the AM/FM radio?) There is Mid-Evil, which “features a queen-sized bed, shackles on the bed, and chair and a heart-shaped hydro-therapy tub.”

Andy, being a diehard Star Trek fan, has dibs on Tranquility Base, which is a “recreaion [sic] of a Gemini Space Capsule, ‘moon crate’ whirlpool, VCR and CD player.” So I’m settling for Shotgun, with “a queen-sized bed done in a hunting theme, old shotguns on the walls and a 300 gallon copper cheese vat tub and shower.”

I wonder if I can get them to fill the tub with Cheese Whiz and leave bags of Tostitos along the side. I’ll bring a couple coolers full of Pabst and never leave.

Favre done, now what? GM moves needed…

March 7, 2008

Now that Favre has firmly confirmed his retirement and appears set on a new path, we at packergeeks, along with GB management, need to start looking forward. It’s still hard to accept, but we need to start looking forward.

That begins today. As GM, I would have already called Takeo Spikes and Chad Pennington. I’m not sure the extent of Spikes shoulder injury, but he was more than quality last year for the Eagles and would bring a talented veteran presence to the defense replacing Poppinga (Spikes is a strong-side linebacker now).

Brother Steve will no doubt rip my lobbying to trade for Chad Pennington. Aaron Rodgers would too. But the fact is, Rodgers is mostly unproven. While many of us feel sorry for him having to sit his first 3 years etc, I don’t think it’s healthy for everyone to assume he should be our next quarterback. He does seem smart, knows the offense, played well in Dallas and it’s fine that he’s considered the first (and only) quarterback we have right now. But I think some veteran competition would be good and Pennington is just the guy. Chad Pennington has not been that great in NY recently, but he is a very good quarterback. Pennington, in a system like ours surrounded by the developing receiving talent we have could be unstoppable (like Eli Manning’s watch commercial). The Clemens guy the Jets replaced him with is atrocious. Anyway, in addition to offering solid competition for Rodgers, Pennington would be a tremendous asset to have ready-and-waiting when Rodgers gets hurt calling him mom on his cell phone before the first game. He probably wouldn’t cost much – maybe a 3rd/4th round pick and he’d be worth it.

Now, I know how much TT values picks, but one flaw with his draft-first mentality is the assumption by him before the draft that all of his draft picks will pan out. What I mean by this is, TT guards all of his draft picks and adds more through trades etc almost as though he believes every one of the draft picks he makes will turn out to be successful. Where’s David Clowney? Couldn’t we have had Randy Moss last year instead of David Clowney? TT, drop a 4th rounder and pick up Pennington.

UPDATE: Steve writes: Andy’s hitting the crack pipe again.  If Chad Pennington provides competition for Aaron Rodgers we don’t want anything to do with either one of them.  I’d give up a 7th round pick for him, nothing more. When people described Brett Favre’s passes, they talked about a “laser” or a “rope” or a “rocket.”  When I see Chad Pennington, the first thing that comes to mind is “wet noodle.”  Even in a short passing game, his balls don’t have enough zip to get to receivers without getting picked off.  When we went to see the Jets-Packers game at the Meadowlands a few years back, I remember thinking, after one Pennington throw twenty yards down the field,  that if I broke on the ball when he released it, I might have been able to pick it off.  I was in a luxury box at the time.

Spikes, on the other hand, is intriguing.  He is not the player he once was, to be sure, but he’s probably better than Brady Poppinga.  And, if Justin Harrell doesn’t pan out, the Packers could ask Spikes to use his neck to stop the run.  It’s wider than Gilbert Brown.

More Reaction to Favre

March 6, 2008

Several good posts on the Favre news conference over at ESPN’s Hashmarks blog.

In the end, I don’t think Favre felt like he could live up to his remarkable 2007 season. And quite frankly, it sounds like he’d grown tired of living up to all the expectations that come with being one of the game’s most popular players.

“Brett Favre got hard to live up to,” said Favre in one of the most poignant and revealing moments of the news conference.

His most defiant moment came when a reporter asked how difficult it was to walk away after throwing the back-breaking interception against the Giants in the NFC title game.

After describing what the days after loss felt like for a few moments, he sort of caught himself.

“I’m going out on top,” he said with a determined look on his face. “Believe me. I could care less what other people think. I’m going out on top.”

Asked what he planned to do in retirement, Favre said, “Nothing. Nothing.”

Gut reaction to Favre press conference

March 6, 2008

Well, I have only been able to watch parts of the press conference due to questionable technology at work. Obviously not too pleased re this. But from what I have seen:

*It appears to be a firm retirement. When he said he just doesn’t “want” to anymore, that really signaled the end for me. It was a decision that both Brett and Deanna made together – which is sensible. One of the most telling comments to me was Deanna stating pretty clearly that she will not be around nearly as much for her charity work and that neither will be up there for the annual softball game. This speaks to me of 2 people who are simply exhausted.
*Favre’s exhaustion isn’t just dealing with expectations of Packer fans, but of the NFL. He IS the NFL and though he’s been relatively quiet about it over the years, he has had a tremendous amount of pressure on him simply because the NFL surely wanted him to keep playing.
*Brett Favre is highly underrated in the intelligence category. I know he plays jokes on people and may say some stupid things out of the public eye, but in public, he is one of the very rare people who manages to avoid saying dumb things…ever. At the same time, he still manages to actually say something. Explained: so many athletes just say cliche crap and give us nothing as far as insight or interesting info. Favre manages to say more than most athletes without ever getting trapped into saying something regrettable or stupid. One of the only other players I know like this is Mark Tauscher (who, by the way, is brilliant).
*I detected a fairly strong sense of Favre being settled already with this decision. He may have flare ups where he gets a burning desire to be back out there, but he came across quite firm and OK with his decision.
*As he often has, Favre alluded again to the fact that the bulk of his weekly work begins after games on Sundays – the full week of preparation, the working out etc. Well, Dan Needles made a great point on the D-List this morning when he shamelessly admitted that he’s been trying to work out now for 5 years and can’t do it. (Me too – Steve, how are you doing in the fat contest we’re having?) I think the larger point is that most people can’t keep any sort of a workout regimen up for 2 months, much less years. So, it’s extra understandable to me that a 38-year old whose been beaten up on the field for over 24 years or so now would just want to relax and not work out for a while – in fact the sound of that is appealing to me as I write (wait, I haven’t been working out for months anyway).

I am really going to miss this guy. Who else would come to the site of what surely would be perhaps the most emotional thing he’s ever had to do, without notes. One the the things we’ve always loved about him is his ability to be real in a world where there is unbelievable pressure to be fake (think other athletes and cliches and politicians and newscasts and pretending to like coworkers…). He is a class act through and through and he has really served the organization well.

Favre – because I know you’re a faithful reader of packergeeks.com, if you get bored in retirement and decide to play a Wisconsin round of golf – just shoot us an email…

“I Can Still Play, I Just Don’t Want To”

March 6, 2008

Brett Favre was emotional as he announced his retirement this afternoon. Greg Bedard has lots of details and there will be video/transcript over at Packers.com.

The first question he took involved an issue we’ve kicked around a bit here. Will he unretire?

He didn’t answer directly. If I had been watching a politician answering a question about whether he might seek higher office, the lede might be: He did not rule it out.

But Favre isn’t a politician. And watching as the press conference continued, I got the impression that Favre is very comfortable with his decision. Although he was quite emotional as the session began, he regained his composure the longer he spoke and gave very rational, thoughtful answers about his decision to retire.

“Believe me, I’ve questioned the decision. I think it’s the right decision.”

UPDATE: On ESPN News, Darren Woodson and Mark Schlereth had just the opposite view. They both argued that Favre seemed to leave the door open to a return quite deliberately, given that he refused to rule it out twice in response to questions. Interesting.

UPDATE: The PFT guys think he’s done for good. “Above all else it was clear it was final.” Their whole post is worth reading.

Favre Tributes

March 6, 2008

We had something of a blog explosion on Tuesday with this post about John McCain’s reaction to Favre’s retirement. One of the nice and unexpected outcomes is that we served as something of a Favre tribute page that day and racked up comments from people — Packer fans and others — from around the country. I highly recommend checking them out here. Add your own if you haven’t already.

UPDATE: Greg Bedard has posted something similiar here.

Why Didn’t T.O. Get Coverage Like Favre?

March 6, 2008

Of all the stupid anti-Brett Favre articles from the last few days, this one from Slate might be dumbest.

I like and admire many of Slate’s writers, and their reflexively-contrarian impulse is often healthy. But this Robert Weintraub character is clueless. He complains — without any obvious irony — that Brett Favre gets better press coverage than Terrell Owens. I’m serious. First he lists — and downplays — all of Favre’s personal tragedies.

Then comes this:

While Favre is lionized for playing through tragedy, Terrell Owens’ success has never been given the same kind of context. As Catch This! reveals, the fact that T.O. made it to the NFL is a miracle. Owens, who grew up destitute and fatherless in backwater Alabama, wasn’t allowed to leave his front yard as a child for fear of getting whipped. Favre grew up in small town bliss surrounded by his loving family. Not to demean the loss of loved ones, but who has overcome more here? Why is every hurdle Favre has jumped over presented as the Pillars of Hercules, while a guy like Owens is dismissed as a loudmouth?

He continues:

Another Monday night game earlier this year that unfortunately coincided with his wife’s battle with cancer occasioned a sit-down with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber that included such hard-hitting queries as “Where would you be without her?” and “How would you compare your toughness to your wife Deanna’s toughness?”

What “hard hitting queries” would Weintraub have liked? “Is the cancer your fault?” Or “Why didn’t you make sure they found it earlier?” It’s an interview about his wife’s cancer.

Then, at the end of the article, the author complains that Favre gets better coverage than Ahman Green.

No one doubts Favre’s Hall of Fame credentials—three MVP awards, a Super Bowl ring, 200-plus consecutive starts, and an ability to laser the ball between defenders even at age 35. On the other hand, it’s fairly obvious that Favre has been propped up these past few years by his All-Pro running back, Ahman Green. Here’s a guy who plays hurt and plays well, hails from a red state, and is by all accounts a solid citizen who runs youth football camps in his hometown. Yet Ahman gets props only for his yards—I have no clue what tragedies he’s had to overcome. I guess he’s just not a regular dude.

I’ve always been an Ahman Green fan. But this analysis is just silly. (Who cares is he “hails from a red state?” It’s football.) Just a few months before this was published, Green was arrested for battery. Solid citizen?

This drivel was first published in 2005. I can’t imagine what possessed Slate to republish it now.

A Nice Post by Al at Packernet

March 6, 2008

We were critical of Packernet Al’s rant after the NFC Championship. (See here and here.) But he comes through with a thoughtful post on Brett Favre’s retirement and what it means for the Packers.


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