Ted Thompson wanted Favre out

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(The initial part of this post was first drafted back in March, around Favre’s retirement time, but it was not posted because Steve wanted to “do more research”…I’m trying purge Steve of his journalist tendencies and have them give way to blogger tendencies, but no dice. We’ve actually both thought that TT has wanted Favre out now for a while – dating back to last year. We’re writing this now because if this Favre thing is pushed further, I’m pretty convinced we’ll all see that TT never wanted Favre back anyway – TT did everything he could to make it clear to Favre that TT was ready for the Favre era to end).

Here it is. Steve and I have been speculating about this really ever since the 2006 season ended. We have reached the conclusion that by his actions (or inactions), his words and even his non-verbals (counselor-speak), TT has made it relatively clear to fans and I’m sure Favre, that he was actually NOT indifferent to Favre’s retirement decision (which was the public impression he conveyed), but that he just didn’t want Favre on the team anymore, period. We have been monitoring this scenario the whole off-season like most NFL fans with a suspicious eye cast toward TT. Following is our argument.

  • Prior to Favre’s retirement, TT responded to a reporter wondering if TT had encouraged Favre to come back by saying something to the effect of: Favre is a 38 year old man, he can make his own decisions. TT handled this reporter’s question in a dismissive fashion.
  • Mike McCarthy never spoke inclusively of TT whenever alluding to efforts to encourage Favre to come back. On a good number of occasions, MM was clear that he wanted Favre to come back, but MM never indicated “we” or never mentioned TT when referring to Favre (that I am aware of).
  • TT being extra clear once Favre did retire that Rodgers is the guy. Sure, this is a logical thing to say considering he was back-up last year and has learned now for 3 years behind Favre etc. But it was interesting that this was simply declared by TT right after Favre retired when the modern-day response for coaches/GMs to any talk of who will start is “it’s an open competition” etc.
  • TT’s handling of the locker situation – wanting a clear, tangible reminder to all that Favre is done.
  • TT making sure Favre’s retirement ceremony would take place as soon as possible – the first game of the season.
  • TT drafting 2 QBs in the draft. For a guy who “never drafts for need”, this appears to be an extra obvious message to Favre that the team is attempting to move on.
  • TT’s non-verbals during the whole retirement announcement process. I got a fairly strong sense that he simply was not that INTO the whole retirement, tribute, adoration period like most of the rest of the football world.
  • The straight comments from Favre’s family and agent that it was clear the Packers didn’t want him back. They said it then and they’ve said it as recently as yesterday (WISN news and FOX 6 both carried phone conversations with family members indicating the Packers didn’t do enough to convince Favre that he was wanted back). Given that McCarthy is on record stating he and Clements tried hard to convince Favre, when Favre and family members say “the Packers” didn’t do enough, clearly, this leaves only one person in a position power for them to be referring to: TT.
  • Rodgers is TT’s guy. TT drafted him and has pushed for Rodgers to succeed and one day be the guy.
  • The fact that Jason Wilde and many other writers are pointing out that the Packers likely won’t take Favre back. How Favre’s potential return is handled is something that is determined by TT ultimately and so when these writers state that they have inside sources indicating Favre’s return would not be welcomed by the Packers, what they are saying essentially is that TT does not want him back. Period.

I know there are those of you out there who may be frustrated that I am posting this and seemingly siding with Favre. That’s not quite true. While I wouldn’t be averse to Favre returning because I think he could lead this team to the Super Bowl, and while I do think TT has not wanted Favre on the team for a while now, I do think Favre has handled this situation poorly. A quiet part of me hopes that what he said today, that this is all just a rumor, is true so that he can preserve his well-deserved legacy and the Packers can move forward with an exciting young QB.

Both sides have handled this poorly. Both sides, in fact, are meta-messaging. What is meta-messaging? Well, frankly, it is a method of communication often exhibited by females. (Sorry female packergeeks readers, I’m just regurgitating info I learned from a communication seminar once…given by a female). The basic premise is that women, for whatever reason, sometimes do not communicate directly what is it they want or what it is they are thinking. For example, if your wife wants to stop at the ice cream shop she won’t say, “let’s stop there and get ice cream”. Instead, she says, as you drive by, “boy it’s sure crowded there, perfect summer night, those people seem to be enjoying themselves”. A few blocks later, the husband, who as usual was not being a good listener, realizes maybe his wife meant she wanted ice cream. When he asks if this is the case, his wife responds, pouting, “no, it’s too late now anyway”. Then wife is mad and husband is frustrated.

Anyway, my point is this: both TT and Favre are meta-messaging and we as fans are left to devour internet rumors and speculation in hopes of uncovering the truth. If either would just come out and say what’s really going on, maybe this whole thing could move forward in a more constructive way. But both sides are afraid to say something likely because they don’t want to look bad in the eyes of NFL/Packer fans. Problem is, this growing uncertainty re the truth is fostering some pretty strong reactions from fans – just listen to any sports talk radio station.

Here’s my best effort at the real truth here: after Favre’s poor 2005 season, TT wanted Favre out. Then due to the excitement generated by the strong finish at the end of the 2006 season, TT decided for PR reasons that he shouldn’t push Favre out like he had been planning to do, but instead gave barely noticeable support to a Favre return. Then, after the 2007 season, TT had further resolved to get Favre out (though it’s hard to imagine why a GM would want to usher out the 4th rated passer who took his team to the NFC Championship game). Throughout the off-season, TT did his best to dodge public questions re his stance on Favre’s return for 2008. But the truth is, he has wanted him out for a while now and when Favre finally decided to retire, TT moved swiftly (as we’ve pointed out above) to move on. Now, I suspect that Favre is actually just putting out feelers to see how a possible return would be received by the team/fans. I wonder a bit if he is intentionally trying to put pressure on the fans to put pressure on TT and the team to welcome him back. I don’t suspect he is itching to play elsewhere (as it seems only really crappy teams have major QB needs).

Either way, this situation is just not sitting well with me or really, any of the fans who have weighed in on this. (Oh, and by the way, read this from Rob Demovsky today – our guess is you’ll see more and more articles like this as it all shakes out).

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21 Responses to “Ted Thompson wanted Favre out”

  1. Bill Walsh Says:

    Seems exactly right to me, Andy. Thompson has been somewhere between diffident and passive-aggressive for the last couple seasons, and Favre’s been feeling unloved (poor dear). I suspect this will all break out above the surface before it’s over. Possibly when Favre signs a one-year deal with the Vikes or Bears.

  2. Ace Says:

    Probably a correct analysis, Andy. Favre’s departure began with his miserable season. Have not seen a discussion of Aaron Rodger’s contract in the press. Did the Packers risk his departure by not going to him now? If not this year, next? Packergeeks-do you know?

  3. joshywoshy... Says:

    i can’t take this anymore. espn has nfl live on basically to talk about favre. what the packers are going to do with favre. what team he would fit with if it weren’t the packers. they just said he’d fit on the vikings.

    ENOUGH!!!

    this is all bullshit. he is not coming back. he is not playing on the vikings. this is shameless. the only person who’s said he wants to come back is chris mortensen, the same guy who kept whining that no one was listening to him and his ‘sources’ that eli manning’s injury last year was ‘much worse’ than advertised, and that he would be out 6-8 weeks. he didn’t miss a game. mort isn’t worth the powder to blow him up.

    and what the hell is wrong with quadry ismail? man, does he look weird. if he spent less time plucking his eyebrows, and more time … wait, he’s an ex-player football analyst. i should expect absolutely nothing but sensationalist ‘couldn’t agree with you more’ predictions of favre playing for the vikings next year.

    again, this is all based on favre saying he ‘has the itch to play.’ i’d bet my left nut that joe montana still has the itch to play every fall. jesus, I have the itch to play football every fall, even though i never have.

    consider my steam blown off.

  4. Corey Behnke Says:

    Good stuff. I have been saying this on the podcast for a while..Not as succinctly or as intelligent though. :)

  5. Tom Kapocius Says:

    I can’t believe that I just spent minutes reading this garbage and I’ll never get that time back. Farve had a 12 mil contract and an outstanding team around him, as reasons to come back. TT is right, Favre is a grown man and at some point the team needed to move on. I have loved watching BF play for 16 years, but he announced his retirement and the Pack have moved on. Get over it and stop bashing TT for being professional.

  6. BeerKid Says:

    Was anyone here expecting that after last year’s near-success, Brett Favre who appeared that he can still play, was going to retire in March? It was a surprise to everyone.

    TT is the worst GM in the Organization’s history. Yes, worse than Sherman, whose ineptness can at least be blamed on being both GM and Head Coach at the same time. Oh sure, TT’s runs a great draft, but a GM is much more than that. He’s the ambassador that should be out pushing for the team, think Ron Wolf, not locked away in a film-room.

    I can’t believe for a minute that the cash-cow that Brett Favre represents has been something that TT has been trying to dump to the wayside the last few years. Jersey sales, home games on ESPN/MNF, etc, etc. Yet TT is trying to run BF out of town… where does he think all this extra revenue is going to come from when signing bonuses and pay-raises are required. He should be milking his legendary QB for every dollar he can get.

    So if what you say is right, then TT is the worst GM ever.

  7. lostinutah Says:

    As usual, I love BeerKid. If TT isn’t smart enough to want Brett – and granted – him retiring if he really wasn’t ready was a mistake and can throw the team off track – he is missing something. Brett’s got to retire. At some point. And, I hope, on top. Which might be why this season was the time to do it. But for heaven’s sake, don’t kill the Almighty dollar, or the team, too soon.

  8. vikefan1 Says:

    joshy…….you’re dismissing Morts comments like they mean nothing , so far as i know wasn’t it Mort himself that first broke the news that farve is retiring ?

  9. Stacey P Says:

    I’m a female packergeek reader.
    Meta-Messaging??
    Andy, you’re freaking HILARIOUS!
    ok, so let’s try it: “Boy, those Carolina Panther colors are really nice, perfect timing for a veteran QB, fans would sure look good in #4 jerseys. “

  10. Aaron Says:

    Tom Kapocius is my new personal hero.

  11. awhayes Says:

    Aaron – Tom K,

    Hey, I’m not saying Favre is a saint here, or that he’s untouchable w/re to criticism. As I noted, he has not gone about this very well either. I have not understood Favre’s vagueness about wanting to come back – he should just state it plainly and announce he wants to return, period. I haven’t liked his approach. Or, if he wasn’t sure re returning, he should have said he’d play again, but retired later if he didn’t want to – not the other way around. At the same time, I wouldn’t use the word “professional” to describe how TT’s gone about things. I know it’s his job to advance the organization and make some very difficult decisions, but my suspicion is that he has not wanted Favre on the team and if it comes out eventually that TT was a major factor in pushing Favre out, regardless of how it makes him/the Packers look, I would see this as shortsighted GM leadership because Favre was coming off of a career year. Simply put, after the end of last year going into 2008 (and despite my belief that Rodgers will be good), Favre was the QB who gave us the best chance to win.

  12. PackerBelle77 Says:

    I don’t know if TT wanted Favre out or if he just wasn’t willing to have the world revolve around Favre. Yes, he said that Favre could make his own decisions. If he had truly wanted Favre out he could have pressed for a quicker decision. While I don’t know the extent of his trying to get Favre back I do know that in the off-season TT talked with Favre via phone. But I tend to agree with TT – Favre shouldn’t need someone to convince him to come back to a 14-4 team with a heck of a chance of going to the SB. Especially with a $12 million salary there.

    Of course they would say that Rodgers was the guy. The only other QB they had was Nall! I would hate to think that Nall could actually challenge Rodgers for the job. I don’t think that drafting two QBs was drafting for need. Brian Brohm was a steal in the second round and it fits with TT’s best player available. Flynn was also fairly highly rated. It isn’t like TT went and spent the first round pick on a QB. He used the second 2nd round pick to get a steal and a seventh to get someone who has a lot of potential.

    Regarding the locker and the number retirement, the locker stayed there for quite awhile. I feel like TT is in a lose-lose situation. If he leaves it there he would have to let someone use it or let it be this monument to a guy who is no longer there. And there would be criticisms for either of those situations. If he gets rid of it he’s getting criticized too. Plus, the number retirement ceremony makes sure Favre will always be a part of the Packers. They ensure nothing like what happened with Reggie White occurs and Favre even said he wanted it earlier rather than later so that it wouldn’t interfere with hunting. If TT really wanted Favre gone he could have postponed it and let his guy have his moment. Instead Favre will be front and center the very first game he’s not playing.

    Like I said, I don’t think TT wanted Favre out but TT is someone who doesn’t let his decisions revolve around one player. And I support that. Double standards on a team just lead to problems. Favre shouldn’t have need TT to be trying to convince him to come back. Favre could have returned to a $12 million pay check, a young and talented team that was one game away from the SB and a team where everyone wanted him back.

    I also tend to to think that there is a difference between TT wanting Favre to leave (which I still don’t think is completely accurate) and his actually doing something about it or having an effect on Favre’s decision. Favre came back after a 4-12 year where he (Favre) had one of his worst seasons ever despite facing a new coach and system. He came back after an 8-8 season where no one was expecting the team to be overly good. So it seems unlikely that TT could have that much influence if Favre left after a fantastic year rather than a dismal or okay year.

    So I guess the whole point of my ramblings is that most of the actions that TT did fit with his whole strategy of not revolving the team around one player. After Favre’s retirement he seemed to be trying to balance the need to move on with the need to honor Favre’s contributions. I don’t really think that he wanted Favre out or that he influenced Favre’s decision. If so Favre would have been gone after 2005. Favre always played because he loved to play – and if one guy who isn’t even on the field can make him not want to play then the spark really was gone. I love Favre and I will always be thankful for everything that he did and I wish he had chosen to come back for one more season. But he didn’t and to me there really isn’t significant evidence to suggest that TT wanted him gone or did anything to affect Favre’s decision one way or another. And that seems to fit with TT’s pattern of behavior. He focuses on the team rather than individual players. But that is just my view.

  13. A real Packer fan! Says:

    As a 37 year fan of the Packers, I can say without any doubt that I have moved on from the Favre era. If he forces the Packers to take him back now I can see a real civil war amongst cheese heads. He is old and tired, and he needs to stay retired. Rodger can run circles around him.

  14. Dan Says:

    IF TT wanted Brett back he would have been more aggressive in free agency just as Brett wanted. I really question the timing of Brett’s decision for retirement and Randy Moss’s signing with the Patriots. They both have the same manager from what I understand and both Brett’s decision for retirement came within HOURS of Moss’s signing with the Patriots. Coincidence? I don’t think so…I think the manager let Brett know Randy signed and that was just the final nail in the coffin. TT has done nothing in my eyes to show ANYONE especially Brett that he wants him around.
    Somewhat off the subject, but the draft was mentioned. Can anyone explain why a WR was drafted 1st??? I think we need another WR like we need another Lambeau Field…we have an aging secondary and need other improvements on defense, not another man to catch the ball…there are plenty of great players that can do that already.

  15. kiedrowicz Says:

    For crying out loud this shouldn’t even be an issue. If Favre wants to play for the Packers, he should play. I am sick to death of that Packer Board of Directors, including Bob Harlan, screwing up the Packers with their idiotic decisions. I know that I am going to get a set of the Packer by-laws and figure out a way to get rid of those clowns on the Packer Board.

  16. Favre situation - very divisive « packergeeks Says:

    […] are unafraid to pin a majority of the blame for all of this on Ted Thompson. Read up on previous posts here and here for these […]

  17. Sharon Gaitan Says:

    Can’t someone have Ted Thompson Fired??????

  18. Ellen Eustace Says:

    I agree. It does seem for awhile that TT wanted Favre out for quite some time. It seems that the Packers organization as a whole has not been honest with Favre about a few issues, including the Randy Moss and Steve Mariucci incidents. TT’s indifference to Favre’s retiring and picking up Brohm AND Flynn speaks volumes. If he really wanted Favre, he would’ve drafted only one QB. It is really a lousy way to treat a 3 time MVP winner, who helped us to get our Super Bowl and is rated one of the best QB’s in the NFL. Ego. It’s all ego.

  19. Favre to Leave Green Bay? - Page 2 - Sports Convo { The Ultimate Sports Discussion Forum } Says:

    […] Favre to Leave Green Bay? This isn’t the article I found at first, but this is a similar one: Ted Thompson wanted Favre out packergeeks __________________ portfolio { http://www.liquidsmoke.net/ } aim { The Liquid Smoke } msn { […]

  20. Harrison Doutman Says:

    TT had to move on in his own mind. Shallow yes, but He did what He thought was right for his record. Favre is a cash cow, just look at the Jets… Some people are just dense when it comes down to the big picture. Babe Ruth retired as a Yankee. He was a Yankee ambassador forever. The most reliable QB in history was indirectly forced out by TT. Small minded indeed. How would you like to be remembered? The GM who kicked a legend to the curb or the GM who recognized what Favre did for the Packers. The Wisconsin sports media is in the Tank for TT’s version of events but it doesn’t pass the stink test. TT may have an eye for talent….. and thats where it ends.

  21. toolkien Says:

    I don’t think TT wanted Favre out per se. Everything is conditional and it’s a complex decision tree. I think any organization in the NFL is complex enough, and if you throw in a wishy-washy (by Favre’s own admission he was) HOF you make that even more complex. Did Favre and Thompson have the best relationship ever? Probably not, they are too different from each other and so both are just as responsible as the other as to why they wouldn’t have a meeting of the minds. I think Favre got too big for his breeches and Thompson didn’t care to play favorites.

    But I have no doubt that if Favre could have simply made up his mind in March ’08 he would have been the QB of the Packers for one maybe two more seasons and Rodgers would be in Buffalo now. They even gave him some time afterward, probably even through early June. But Favre cobbled together all sorts of reasons to hate Thompson and force the divorce on his end. I think Favre felt that he was lied to by Thompson when Thompson said they were not rebuilding, presuming to keep Favre playing only to make personnel decisions which seemed to contradict that statement. But is there room for semantical breakdown? What is the assumption with “rebuilding”? That you’re going to be bad for a while and Favre had no interest in waiting around through that period. Understandable. But is it POSSIBLE that by Thompson’s standard his personnel changes weren’t rebuilding? The changes he had to make to gut Sherman’s weak and slow team were actually UPGRADES? Making the NFCCG in his third year as GM would tell me that was his objective. But unfortunately Favre couldn’t see the “trees for the forest” as he isn’t ever going to be a GM because he doesn’t have the skill set for it. But the damage to Favre’s psyche by Thompson’s “lies” (i.e Favre’s lack of comprehension of complexities beyond his mind) was so acute that we got 2008 as a follow up to the promise of 2007.

    The long and the short of it is Favre isn’t as bright as he thinks he is after being the league as long as he has, and he’s not the most mentally balanced person when faced with pressure, on or off the field. In March of 2008 he went on record with Mortenson that he was NOT being forced out and that his biggest concern in giving an answer was “what if we make the Super Bowl and lose?”. If that is his mindset, the mindset that allows him license to keep a whole franchise waiting on The King’s decision, then the time was indeed to move on.

    And through the filter of 2/13/2011 I don’t see how anyone can say it was the wrong road for the Green Bay Packers.

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