Favre situation – very divisive

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This may be the most obvious post title I have come up with yet. Not creative at all, but direct. This whole Favre thing has become amazingly divisive. Fans who were collectively excited getting to the NFC Championship, collectively sad to see Favre retire, collectively excited to see the new era ushered in with Rodgers – are the same fans who are now collectively divided (if you will…though I don’t think linguistically that a people can be collectively divided).

I have good friends who bitterly oppose one another on the Favre situation. There are strong arguments out there on both sides of this situation and I think that is partially why this is so divisive. I think there are many of us huge Favre supporters who are struggling with the fact that Favre hasn’t handled this situation well either. We don’t like the wavering, we don’t like the fact that it took him a fairly significant amount of time to even make the first retirement decision back in March, we don’t like the fact that he hasn’t just come out to say directly what’s going on and now we really don’t like the fact that he’s seeking an unconditional release to play with any team (and we really really really don’t like rumors that Bus Cook has put feelers out to the Vikings).

We’ve already touched on the ways in which we’re disappointed with the organization’s handling of this, particularly Ted Thompson. And, further support for these arguments comes from Al Jones and Scott Favre, both of whom 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 arguments.

Still, I can’t help but think of an analogy here: I find myself feeling like I imagine I would feel if I learned that a good golfing buddy/Pabst-swilling friend whom I’ve known for a few years is secretly into re-enacting (Civil War, Medieval knight fighting, etc). I would still like him and likely still want to golf and drink Pabst with him, but I’d have a hard time admitting to myself that he could possibly like re-enacting – it would be inconsistent with my perception of him. I couldn’t totally ditch him as a friend because he’s fun, a good golfer and hilarious after a few Pabst, but I would feel at least a slight disconnect. Likewise, in the Favre situation, I find myself struggling to admit that he is at fault for this too and that he hasn’t handled this well and that he seems to be somewhat unaware of the disharmony he’s causing in what had quickly become a cohesive unit that rallied around the new QB.

Even though I still want Favre on the field and think he gives us the best chance to win now, I can’t help but feel this slight disconnect for the first time in 17 years.

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10 Responses to “Favre situation – very divisive”

  1. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    That’s a poor analogy: Favre is not our friend. No matter how great a guy we think he is, we do not know the first thing about him. Everything that we think we know about Favre is shaped by the NFL PR machine.

    Here’s a more extreme analogy: Kirby Puckett. When I was a kid Kirby Puckett was pumped up as every kid’s best friend. Great ball player, all around good guy. Turns out he was probably a lying, abusive jerk. Here’s a over-the-top extreme analogy: O.J. Simpson. There was a time when O.J. was an all-around good guy and smiling face on TV.

    The point is not to equate Favre’s conduct with double-homicide. I merely mean to illustrate we don’t know anything about these guys. If you think you know them: you are wrong. You are not their friend. You are not their drinking buddies, even if it feels like you are.

    Favre has received a free-pass for a long time because people *think* they know what he is like. For example, when the rumors swirled that Favre pouted and demanded a trade when Thompson couldn’t swing the Moss trade in 2007, Packer fans just denied that such a scenarios was even possible. Favre would *never* do that. We know him.

    No. We don’t. But we are starting to learn more about it.

  2. L.A. Says:

    Good observations.

    It’s amazing the amount of anger and bitterness that is happening between fans of the same team over this issue. I will never understand how Packer fans can ever spend time eating their own over an issue when there are so many Bear and Viking fans to be picking on.

    And, I agree…I’m a longtime Favre Fan, and this does bring a “disconnect” that wasn’t there before. It’s too bad, but let’s see how it all actually pans out before we continue to cast stones at whomever we choose to be the enemy, when they are both Packers.

  3. Joe Says:

    Are we sure that Brett gives us the best chance to win this season? Or the best chance to win the games that matter? Since 1997, he is 3-7 in the post season. He has a 77.8 passer rating in his last 12 post season games. In the last 5 post season games the Pack are 1-4 and Brett has chucked up 13 interceptions. That is not special; it is not legendary; it is average at best.

    The guy has had a great career and he left when everyone still loved him; but I am not convinced that he gives us the best chance to when the games that matter (any more). He had a great year last year but, when we needed him to step up, he didn’t and I think it is because he couldn’t. Physically he can’t handle the cold anymore – that much is obvious to anyone with eyes. Mentally he seems to have lost his killer edge. I don’t like saying any of this, but I can just let this whole best chance to win stuff go on and on. Its like a qualifier that has unthinkingly been added to the beginning of any Brett Favre conversation.

    I anticipate that people will say that he didn’t have a team around him in the later years, but I think that is BS too. Since 1997, the Pack has fielded a 1,000 yard rusher every year except 2. In 3 of those years the team had a top 5 rusher. And in 2003 when Green had 1,900 yards Favre was second in the league with 21 picks. In 1996, Favre had no help and won the super bowl. Lack of a supporting cast – is beginning to look more and more like an excuse we are all making for the memory of Brett Favre.

    I also suspect people will want to use last year as another example of why Favre is still great, but Farve was successful last year because he was forced to play small ball – short passes. Most of the yards per pass last year came after the catch.

    I don’t like this at all. I never wanted to have to sit down and parse out Favre’s numbers but because of this crap HE is pulling, I have to. If he just stayed retired, I would never have had to do this analysis. If he would have stood up like a man and said, “I want to play,” I probably never would have done it because I would have just said “okay, its Brett give him the ball.” But now the team has moved on and we have to weigh the positives of Brett coming back verses all the negatives of Brett coming back. I think we are all over valuing the “best chance to win” factor in this equation.

  4. awhayes Says:

    Triple D, first of all, my analogy is way better than either of yours – Puckett or OJ? What? And I wasn’t saying Favre is my friend – I don’t think of him as a friend. I was just saying the SITUATION is analogous – going through all of this now with Favre is like learning about a shortcoming in a friend, something you’d just rather not admit to but can’t ignore. I’d rather not admit Favre has contributed to this whole problem but the fact is, he has and so I’m admitting it…We at Packergeeks are into accountability and have been critical of Favre when he’s screwed up or done things we didn’t like in the past too.

    But my question for you is: if you don’t know Favre like I don’t know Favre, why is it that you can apparently assume he’s Puckett-like or Simpson-like. While I freely admit he’s no angel, I’ll stop far short of assuming that he’s Puckett-like or Simpson-like.

  5. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    First, my apologies if I was not clear, and was definitely not equating Favre with Puckett or O.J. My point is that none of us knows what Favre is really like, even though everyone *thinks* they know what he is like. The Favre that you *think* you know is a fictional character…a media creation. Favre-The-Selfless-Hero.

    Like Puckett. The Real-Favre is a stranger to me and to you. We can guess at what he is like, but we’d only be guessing.

    The problem is that everything that Favre has done is filtered through the Favre-The-Selfless-Hero lens. When Favre says that “its not in his contract to be a mentor,” that is inconsistent with our idea of Favre-The-Selfless-Hero. So we twist his words to make them more palatable. “Well… what he really meant is …..” But if we didn’t already have the preconceived notion of Favre-The-Selfless-Hero, we’d probably think “boy, that was a selfish and petty thing to say.”

    Put simply, the only reason these new events are “shocking” is because we have dismissed all/most of their precursors. Favre is a such a great guy he could possibly have meant X or done Y. Well, maybe he did mean X after all. Maybe he is guilty of Y. And maybe his recent conduct isn’t (or shouldn’t be) so surprising after all.

    Through the years, I’ve heard people say all kinds of crazy things about Favre. I’ve heard that he “doesn’t care about money.” Really? I care about money. I bet you care about money. Favre doesn’t? Like he’s Jesus or Ghandi or Buddah or Obi Wan or something?

    I also have heard countless times that “Favre doesn’t care about records.” Really? If I was in his position, I’d probably care. Nobody says “Peyton Manning doesn’t care about records,” or that “Tom Brady doesn’t care about records.” For some reason we are supposed to believe that Favre is above the fray? Why?

    Favre has been a great athlete and a tough s.o.b. Aside from that we really don’t know the first thing about the guy. All the stuff that we think we know is just that: stuff that we think we know.

  6. awhayes Says:

    Solid points – and I understood the general theme of your first comment – that we don’t really know these guys. And I do find your point re the Favre-selfless-hero-lens to be legit. I do think many Packer/NFL fans want to view Favre a certain way so the tendency can be to minimize his role in anything negative. I very much follow your argument and don’t totally disagree with you.

    However, I have 2 issues with your statement “we really don’t know the first thing about the guy”. 1) we do, he’s been a Packer 17 years and we’ve learned a fair amount by watching him and how he handles himself in many different situations. As I said before, watching him in the public eye gives you at least some clue as to what kind of guy he is. The fact that he has always been committed to playing every game gives you an indication of what kind of guy he is. You’re right to say we don’t know everything about him, especially personal things, but we do know some things. And, at least for me, I take some pride in not letting PR spin form my entire opinion of someone. 2) if you’re including yourself in the discussion about not really knowing the first thing about the guy, why is it that the tone of your comments is decidedly negative – that for some reason, you know he must be a bad guy?

  7. Corey B Says:

    Great insight as usual. I totally agree- between moderating the Packer Fan Forum and our Myspace page- tons of people have tried to fuel this packer Fans /Favre Fans thing. it’s so stupid.

  8. awhayes Says:

    Joe – I hear the pain of having to even go here and dissect all of this. It sucks and while many Packer fans stand divided right now re their opinion re how things should move forward, I think many can agree on this situation overall, be horrible.

    However, I do want to add that I have given careful consideration when I state that I think Favre gives us a better chance to win. He is the better QB. While I totally agree that his playoff performances and even regular season big-game perfs have been declining over the years, I am most concerned for him re the mental edge. That is a very strong point you make. I wouldn’t say he’s lost it but Steve and I have both written as recently as last year about how he gets a look that he never used to get that is a look of resignation rather than motivation. He used to have a never-die sort of approach and I just don’t know if that’s there. Could be age, or lack of motivation, I don’t know. So, I agree this is a concern.

    But I also think it’s premature to assume Rodgers will step in and be anything close to what Favre was last year. Sure Favre did a lot of “small ball” last year but he did it very well and he was a major reason we got to the NFC Championship game. It’s just like baseball’s small ball, you still need people to execute and Favre did that very effectively last year. I personally have a hunch Rodgers will be pretty good someday and there is something to an argument saying McCarthy’s offense is brilliant and probably easier for a QB to succeed in. But this whole argument would be quite different if Favre were 9-7 last year. He wasn’t, he went 14-4 and were it not for Brady, might well have been a deserving MVP. That can’t be overlooked.

    I’m interested to see what he says tonight. I share Steve’s concerns re his inconsistency on all of this.

  9. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    If the tone of my message is negative, its because I am so tired of the Favre Show. Given a little time and distance, I’ll probably start to think of Favre in a more positive light. But right now, man…

    Can’t fault him for wanting to come back, but, to use Favre’s own words (regarding J. Walker) “he’s going about it the wrong way.”

  10. Joe Says:

    “But I also think it’s premature to assume Rodgers will step in and be anything close to what Favre was last year. ”

    I don’t disagree with that. I am unsure which QB gives us the better chance to win. I am just getting tired of hearing everyone say it is Farve without providing anything other than a conclusory statement to back it up. I am sure someone will say, that 17 years of his playing career is all the evidence I need, but when you are talking about a 36 year football player past performance becomes less and less relevant with each year.

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