Archive for the ‘football’ Category

What’s going on with Brett Favre?

July 16, 2008

On my way to work this morning after listening to some of the “highlights” from Favre’s interview last night, I asked myself, “self, what is going on with Brett Favre?”

Why has Favre suddenly become contentious and openly confrontational. Sure there were some conflict-laden incidents with Walker, McKenzie, Holmgren, and a few others over the years. But over 17 years, a smattering of conflict here and there can be expected – in fact, I’d go so far as to argue that Favre has almost been suspiciously non-confrontational over his time in Green Bay. I’ll allow that it’s possible that perhaps Favre is very different behind closed doors, but I very much doubt this as there isn’t much evidence to suggest this is the case. When I consider this seemingly harmonious quality of Favre’s and mix in there the fact that he is a bright guy (a lot brighter than he sounds sometimes), it makes his present behavior ever more mysterious.

One of the things counselors are trained to investigate is whether or not a concerning behavior appears to be an isolated new behavior or an ongoing pattern of behavior. What I’m struggling with here is that the pattern of behavior I’ve observed from Favre over the years has been largely positive and one very much in-line with his team. But lately, he has not only been seemingly unconcerned about the effect of his behavior on his team, but he is targeting Ted Thompson in particular and doing it in a rather confrontational, vitriolic manner (saying TT is a liar, saying he’s coming to camp to call the team’s “bluff”). This is unlike the Favre we’ve come to know. I know reader Triple D believes all we really “know” is the PR spun Favre and that he may in fact be more of a problem in real life. Possible, but I would say not likely mostly because there are things we do know about Favre. We’ve all watched him perform, watched him be gracious in victory and  defeat. We’ve watched him play through pain, emotional and physical. We’ve watched him interact with kids who are stricken with incurable diseases – and watched him cry at a press conference because he cared so much re one little girl. We’ve watched him handle himself well in many many situations, until recently. I think we do have some idea of what he’s like. I think most would agree, he’s proven himself to be a high quality guy over the years, which explains in part his massive nationwide popularity. So I do see this most recent behavior as more isolated and not really a pattern.

Fans have known Brett Favre for 17 years and TT for 3 years. This is significant and one reason I think many Packer fans are not letting go of Favre here and that polls continue to show fans still want him to be the starting QB. And, throw in there what we do know re TT: that he’s a very tight-lipped, serious guy who comes across to many as cold – but at the same time he’s also professional, obviously cares about his job and he’s done a heck of a job thus far as GM). Favre should win in this popularity contest, it makes sense that he would win. But that doesn’t answer questions re why he is so angry right now and why he is seemingly not acting like himself.

While it’s difficult to conclude anything about all of this without more info, I’ll offer an early thought on this. As I mentioned above, judging by my belief that Favre’s behavior is a more recent behavior and not really an established pattern of behavior, my guess is that something fairly significant happened in the last year or two between Favre and Thompson that led one of them to conclude the harm was irreparable. McCarthy, Murphy, Campen and others have been stuck in the middle. Something perhaps like Favre getting wind of a conversation where TT ripped Favre or said something like he just didn’t want Favre around anymore. Or, perhaps something where Favre ripped TT for not listening to him and word got back to TT that there was backstabbing going on. Or perhaps one or both feeling like the ego of the other was not helpful to the team in some way.

Can’t be sure – but stay tuned as the drama unfolds…

Favre’s in control – here’s why

July 15, 2008

For those who haven’t yet learned why Favre essentially controls his own destiny by forcing hand here, following is a quality explanation provided by the NFL Network:

A rare talent, Packers quarterback Brett Favre now holds a rare distinction. Without having an official no-trade clause in his contract, Favre has a no-trade clause. If the Packers agree to trade Favre to any team, the quarterback can veto the deal simply by declining to report. Then Favre’s rights would revert back to Green Bay, which would be forced to take him back along with his $12 million base salary — or release him. To carry’s Favre salary, and all the distractions that came along with it, would be an enormous financial and emotional burden for the Packers. Thus Green Bay would have to commit to keeping Favre or to trade him. But unless it is a team that appeals to Favre then the Packers quarterback can continue vetoing deals until he has a satisfactory new home. Basically, if Favre unretires he gets to play where he wants. – NFL Network

My question for any experts out there would be what happens if the team sends Favre to Miami say for Jason Taylor, and Favre refuses to report – do the Packers get to keep Taylor or would the whole deal then be nullified? I would think the latter, but I guess I’m not sure how these things work out. Any thoughts?

STEVE WRITES: I’m no expert — something that’s clear from pretty much everything I write — but I’m certain that the entire deal would void. Any trade partner is well aware of Favre’s issues and if there aren’t protections built in to such a deal — I believe there are — would be sure to add them.

Further, I’m not sure I buy the broader argument that Favre holds all the cards here. He can get paid, but he can’t make the Packers put him on the field or allow someone else to put him on the field. If he really wants to scratch his itch, then he’ll have to go wherever the Packers send him.

I still think the Packers’ claim that they’d welcome back Favre as a backup is a stupid one. Whatever they might gain in trade leverage they are losing in good will. For people just following this from afar — and for a sizable number of Packer fans — it just makes the Packers look like they’re not serious about these discussions.

STEVE ADDS: Be sure to check out the rest of the column by NFL Network’s Adam Schefter.  I think he’s incorrect when he says that Favre holds all the cards, but I think that he’s dead right when he argues that the trade market is not a good one for the Packers.  Among other reasons, it’s why I think the Packers ought to at least check in with Minnesota and Chicago about what they’d give up for Favre.  If Bus Cook is smart — and sneaky, since such discussions would be against the rules — he’s trying right now to determine how much the Vikings would give up for Favre.  There has to be a point at which Thompson and company consider that.  What if these are the options: A) keep a bitter Favre on the roster for $12 million, B) release him unconditionally and allow him to go to the Vikings, C) trade him for a conditional 7th round pick to the Dolphins (where Favre would not report), or D) trade him to the Vikings for a first and third round pick next year.  I’d be eager to see Favre in purple and yellow.  Unlikely?  Sure.  Crazy?  Far from it.

Response to Steve’s Favre Interview II post

July 15, 2008

I’m falling in line with many who are questioning Favre at this point and agree with much of what Brother Steve has written on the matter. I worry that he’s become somewhat selfish over time, and part of me can see the functionality of standing up to him.

However, I disagree with parts of the last post. I do think that those 3 points of difference Favre had with Ted Thompson are significant in that they shed light on why Favre’s brother, Favre himself and the now simply out of control Al Jones keep pointing their fingers at TT. It also validates my suspicion (something we’ve written about before) that TT and Favre have not seen eye to eye now for a few years. And it also begs the questions: what else have they differed on and how big is the rift between them right now.

I agree with Brother Steve that Favre is not the GM and on one level, these 3 instances should viewed as Favre and TT simply disagreeing. And taken separately, each issue alone is probably not a big deal. But cumulatively, over time, I could see how Favre would feel a bit frustrated when he believes in something and TT seemingly disregards his thoughts. While he’s not the GM, he has clearly been the most important figure in Green Bay for some time now. That is undeniable. And he has earned that – so he should have some sway at least – more than a Tyrone Culver for example. I agree with Steve that signing Mariucci may not have been a great idea as McCarthy has more than proven his abilities already (and Mariucci was not stellar in his coaching efforts). Favre was off there and if he were off on the other 2, I’d chalk it up to him having no clue re personnel stuff. But I disagree re the other 2 issues: clearly Moss can still play and clearly the O-Line suffered dramatically when Wahle and Rivera left. I think Brother Steve arguing that Moss may not have fit in the locker room is a weak argument – Moss went on to have one of the best seasons ever by a receiver and I think it’s not unreasonable to assume he would have been very good with the Pack too. Favre was right on that one. And, Favre was partially right too on the O-Line issue. The O-Line has been a source of weakness for the last 2 years mostly (with the second half of last season sort of excepted). I don’t think Rivera should have been re-signed, but Wahle definitely should have. We still don’t know who our left guard is 3 years later. At the time, Wahle was a snubbed pro-bowler and a major reason Mike Sherman’s incredibly predictable run game somehow flourished back in the day.

And I also take issue with Favre weighing in only on issues that affect him. Of course he’d do that – if he started saying we need a new safety and a better punter, then he’d be imposing his thoughts on areas that he doesn’t know as much about. It makes sense for him to offer suggestions on matters that affect him.

As we all become more aware of the interpersonal dynamics at play between Favre and TT and Favre and MM, it helps give us more insight into the complexity of Favre’s retirement decision. That said, I still don’t see how this stuff would have influenced him as much as it seemingly did. If he wanted to play, he could have played, by all accounts. He had the support of fans, family, teammates, the coach at least…

I’ve found myself in a curious position today – wavering like Favre from understanding Favre’s position of just wanting to play now and regretting his retirement decision and the teams’ position of just wanting to bring some resolution to this by moving on with a decision they’ve already made. Perhaps in one of the next few posts, we’ll focus in on some possible solutions to this mess – again, as aspiring GMs, we need to think more re how to move forward.

Sports talk show host opinions on Favre not representative of fan base

July 15, 2008

Last Friday, I emailed the Star Tribune’s sportswriter Patrick Reusse about an article he’d written on the Favre situation. He had interviewed Drew Olson, from Milwaukee’s ESPN’s the D-List as his main source for the article. As much as I respect Drew Olson, I don’t agree with his position entirely on this Favre matter because I believe it’s been clouded by Favre-Fatigue. Olson and the other D-Listers (Bill Johnson and Dan Needles) like all the talk show hosts I’ve listened to (except Homer on ESPN Milwaukee who says the team should say “fine come back, but your done after this year”), are squarely in the camp that Favre is done, and the Packers need to move on. Anyway, the gist of Reusse’s article was that this is how most Packer fans feel (mostly because that’s what Olson thinks and that’s what he seems to hear most from his callers). Olson told Reusse that when the Brewers got CC Sabathia, people didn’t care as much re the Favre news because they were so sick of it – well, that was true only for a couple days and while plenty have tired of the Favre saga, this happened mostly because the Brewers had just completed perhaps the biggest trade in their history. But it stopped being true shortly thereafter and ever since, Favre’s situation has dominated headlines.

Anyway, right now as we all deal with this situation, the sports talk show hosts are the ones who have to deal with it most. So, when you and I wake up and think about what we’ll be doing today, we can think about other things. But for these guys, for the last 2 weeks (minus a couple days for Sabathia), all it’s been for them is Favre this and Favre that. I too might get a little tired of the lack of topic diversity and talking about it non-stop. So I can understand the talk show host general tendency to slide negative on things like this, because it’s exhausting and frankly, given the information that is coming out, Favre’s position has become harder to defend. But the risk that’s run here is that these talk show hosts are major holders of local opinion on sports matters and while they do shape public opinion often, sometimes their opinions are simply not representative of the fan-base. So when I emailed Reusse, I told him that his sourcing was narrow and I guessed that it was probably closer to 60% of fans actually wanting Favre back.

Consider these two polls, the first a Green Bay poll done on Sunday and second at jsonline:

What do you want Favre’s roll to be in 2008?

  • 33% starter, 19% back-up, 15% coach, 34% stay retired

Should the Packers trade Favre?

  • 18% yes, 74% no, 9% release him

(Of note: 53% of respondents were female).

jsonline poll:

Which QB do you want to start next season for the Packers:

62% Favre

36% Rodgers

2% Someone else

So, my overall point here is that some of the loudest voices are the ones lining up against Favre – but don’t be fooled into thinking that is how most Packer fans feel. In fact, the polls and stats I’ve read seem to indicate the opposite.

As for me, I continue to be frustrated like most fans and if anything, I’ve come around to thinking that the organization has handled this perhaps better than I initially thought. As I said yesterday, I can’t fault the team for wanting an answer prior to the draft. So, I too have grown increasingly frustrated with Favre’s back and forth. But there remains a part of me that still believes that he would be very effective if he were to play in 2008 for the Packers because he can clearly still play.

But the more this plays out, the more I can see a trade materializing…

Favre was pressured into decision (Greta says)

July 14, 2008

Read here from jsonline’s Don Walker re how Favre tells Greta in tonight’s interview that he felt pressure to make the decision on retirement. Several interesting things from this blip:

  • why did he choose to share his side through Greta, non-sports-journalist Van eorthshf;aweth;, instead of say, Packergeeks? (Because she is a huge Packer fan, a national journalist and knew she might conduct the interview in a favorable way?)
  • if Favre felt pressured because the team wanted a decision before the draft, I’m not sure I can fault the team there. That would make sense, especially considering there was obviously a real possibility we’d be without him for 2008.
  • sounds like the guy just wants to play (and I believe this – I think he’s smart enough that he wouldn’t go through all of this trouble unless he was determined to make this happen).

We’ll be watching this interview tonight and bringing analysis to you asap.

Favre situation – very divisive

July 14, 2008

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.

Johnny Jolly in hot water…felony drug charge

July 13, 2008

Where did the expression “in hot water” come from and why? Most of us shower daily using hot water, take hot tubs…should the expression be “in scalding water”?

Thanks to Aaron over at Cheeseheadtv.com as well as jsonline this morning for informing us that DT Johnny Jolly was arrested last week on felony drug possession charges. He apparently had in his possession 200 grams of codeine. Not sure where this is all headed, but it is, at the least, concerning. (Bail was set at only $10,000 so I sense this may not be that big of a deal, but who knows).

I think both myself and the Packers had fairly significant plans for Jolly this year. I think he is really good and I think it’s no coincidence that our D-line play was less effective overall after is injury last year. For 2008, I had him starting next to Pickett with Jenkins and Kampman flanking. However, I go back and forth with whether or not Jenkins ought to start at defensive tackle. So, if there is a problem with Jolly being able to play at all, I would argue that it makes the need to pursue Jason Taylor even greater. As I’ve written previously, I think the Packers should seriously consider trading Favre (if they won’t let him return as the starter like I still believe they should) to Miami for Taylor. It makes sense and there have been some rumors suggesting Favre wouldn’t be opposed to playing down there (which almost makes me think he may be wanting to play for a couple more years – not just one).

Again, think about Kampman and Taylor rushing the edges – even if they don’t have a great season statistically/sack-wise, imagine the real and significant psychological effect it could have on the opposing QBs (and O-lines and RBs attempting to protect the QBs). Besides, I think obtaining a star like Taylor would significantly assist the Packers PR department re the handling of the Favre situation – and help many fans at least feel like we got something for the loss of Favre.

Did Ted Thompson just open door to Favre’s return?

July 12, 2008

Read this excerpt from an ESPN article updated late 7/12 here, re the Favre situation:

Speaking later to ESPN.com’s John Clayton, Thompson said he is prepared to accept Favre’s return and not necessarily as a backup.

And McCarthy added Favre wouldn’t coach. So, if this doesn’t mean he’d have a chance to start at QB, does TT have thoughts of converting Favre to safety? LB? TE? What the ;aklsdfj;alsdjfoiqwhto does this mean? Is TT opening the door to Favre’s return?

In this article, I do appreciate at least reading that TT appears to be aware that this situation is sensitive, but I wonder how he could have thought that his terse text message response wouldn’t have been problematic.

Ugly, ugly, ugly, all around.

Al Jones – mad at Ted Thompson

July 11, 2008

Read here for Al Jones very biased take on this situation. We have made similar arguments, but certainly, if Favre indeed wavered several times, including saying he was set to return only days before changing his mind again to retire – this story is cast in a different light.

Favre to Miami for Jason Taylor?

July 11, 2008

Read this from sportsillustrated.com. Speculation that one scenario might have Favre going to Miami for Jason Taylor. Now, while I have lobbied for Favre’s return based mostly on the fact that he’s our best QB, if this scenario played out, I wouldn’t be as devastated by all of this. Taylor would be a high quality pick-up and Favre would apparently get his wish to play more. I do agree with Brother Steve that if it turns out to be true that Favre waffled a few times prior to deciding on retirement, it does make the Packers stance more acceptable (and TT less culpable). I just hope for more info soon and a statement from Favre so that we can get a sense for where this may go.


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