Archive for March, 2008

From the Onion: Mathemeticians Retire #4

March 29, 2008


CAMBRIDGE, MA—Mathematicians, statisticians, number theorists, and members of numeral-oriented professions held a press conference at MIT Tuesday to announce plans to honor quarterback Brett Favre’s stellar 17-year career by retiring the number four. “After careful consideration, we came to our conclusion based on the following factors: one, Favre’s passion for the game; two, his unmatched ability to win; three, his resilience and sheer toughness in the face of adversity on and off the field; and five, the fact that he holds every significant passing record,” professor Jeffery Hamilton said. “No person will be permitted to ever use the number again, though it may be necessary to create a new integer to place between three and five.”

Favre’s greatest moments…nicely done

March 28, 2008

USAToday put out this list of Favre’s greatest moments. It is well done (as is often the case at USAToday) and it makes me miss Favre already.

It also made me think about the greatest moment I can remember in Favre’s career. There were so many that it is nearly impossible to single one out. The Super Bowl, Oakland game, Denver game and the many Bears games triumphs come to mind. But one play forever sticks out in my mind. It may have been the most beautiful pass I’ve ever seen. It was at the end of a game in Detroit against Detroit, probably mid-90s and I believe it was in the playoffs or to get to the playoffs. The pass traveled about 60-70 yards in length when you consider he threw the pass from the left side of the field to the right corner of the end zone. Sterling Sharpe ran under the perfectly thrown ball with just enough space to get 2 feet down for the winning touchdown.

I’ll think of others, but that play comes to mind often when I think of Favre. What are your favorite Favre moments?

NFL rule-makers are bored, very bored

March 28, 2008

I don’t mind the NFL cracking down on wild behavior and making sure that the NFL is not disgraced by a few poor behaving individuals. It makes sense to have tough consequences for unacceptable behavior and my hope is that it would serve as a deterrent.

However, making players cut their hair to a certain length is positively ridiculous. It is an unnecessary rule – there is no reason I can think of that this would be needed. In fact, I think a solid argument could be made that some of the longest haired players are the very same ones who best embody what the NFL likely wants to stand for: hard-working, committed, rule-abiding atheletes (Al Harris, Atari Bigby, Troy Polamalu, Mark Gastineau).

Bigby was quoted yesterday saying this is ridiculous and frankly, I’m not sure what he’d do if he were told he had to cut it. As many know, he is a rastafarian who grew up in Jamaica and contended last night on TMJ 4 news that it would be against his religion to cut his dreads. There are others too who I’m sure would rather not cut their hair. It just doesn’t make a difference at all and I can’t think of any reason to enforce such a rule. In a sense, this may be a case of Goodell getting power-happy – kind of like the retail store manager who starts out as a lowly employee at $6 and hour and works her way up to assistant manager, then manager at which time she gets to wear the colorful, circular key chain thing around her arm and make arbitrary decisions based on her belief that her she now can do anything with her newfound position of power.

More TT thoughts…

March 27, 2008

First of all, read RayMidge’s thoughtful comments in the comments section of our previous post. Good points.

One other point that I failed to mention before concerns TT’s money management skills. I still question his decision not to re-sign Mike Wahle, but other than that, TT has managed the Pack’s money very well leaving us in a very comfortable position presently. I can’t help but think that TT anticipated Favre’s retirement and figured it would be sensible to have some extra cap room to help the team through the Favre-less transition. While he appears to be trigger-unhappy, if you will, about signing potentially valuable free agents, it is nice to know that TT could move quickly and convincingly if there happened to be a very attractive free agent who could contribute. Also, he is in a great position to re-sign Packers who presently are playing at a high level.

Adding this into the mix and really thinking through this more, I think it would be more accurate to say I believe TT has done a really good job (not just a good job). I

Ted Thompson voted Executive of the Year

March 25, 2008

Interesting that the last few posts on Packergeeks have generated some debate over whether or not TT is even good at his trade. Read here about how Sporting News awarded him Executive of the Year, beating out the GM for the Giants.

I feel compelled at this moment to render my own judgment on TT. I’ve had a waffling opinion of TT from the start. When he came in and fired Sherman, I thought he was a quality GM and someone who had the stones needed for team improvement. Then, he looked past Jim Bates to hire Mike McCarthy (Mc-Who?) and I suddenly began to wonder. In the beginning of the MM era, I thought TT had hired McCarthy more as a puppet so that TT could rule the whole organization from his cold, lofty perch. McCarthy of course got off to a 4-8 start and I started thinking TT didn’t know what he was doing with coaches and/or player personnel. But one thing didn’t make sense: why would he take a flier on an unproven coach when there was so much at stake for TT himself for the coach to succeed?

When McCarthy and the Pack turned it around at the end of 2006, I once again began to question my own criticism of TT. After the surprising 2007 campaign, I suddenly started telling people, “yeah, I’ve always thought building through the draft was smart – TT and I think alike” even though I’ve always had more of a balanced building philosophy of draft and free agency . I began lying as I rode the TT wave. Then, Favre retired and questions swirled around about whether or not TT and MM did enough to persuade him to come back. And something still tells me that while that may not have factored much into his ultimate decision, somehow I believe it’s true, TT in particular didn’t make much of an effort.

Now, I look at what he’s done (or hasn’t done) in free agency and I’m starting to wonder again. Sure, results are on his side for his draft-first philosophy dating back to his Seattle days – but I am still left feeling like he could be doing just a bit more in free agency. I agree with brother Steve that this year’s free agent crop is weak, but I still think we should have picked up Warrick Dunn or Billy Volek. I’m pleased with the Chillar pick-up (a told-you-so goes out to those who criticized my frequent criticism of Poppinga), but there were a couple other options it seems he didn’t look into much. And, bringing in Frerotte? That guy is horrible!

In the end, the bottom line is, it is difficult to argue with results. I’d contend so far that TT had one iffy year in 2005 (most of that was Sherman/Rossley’s fault), one OK year in 2006 and one great year in 2007. Overall, it has been a positive progression. I think this year will be a real test though. How good is the defense that TT himself has mostly put together? How many weapons does this offense really have? Will Aaron Rodgers prove he belongs at least among the very solid QBs of the NFL? Will Mike McCarthy continue his creative ways and bring the Packers back to the playoffs? Will TT make 2 or 3 crafty additions to the team through the draft or free agency before this season starts who will make significant contributions?

If I had to make a more conclusive statement re TT though, I would have to say that so far, I think he’s done a good job.

Origin of the word lobbyist?

March 24, 2008

For those of you interested in word origin and/or politics, check this out from USAToday:

The Willard Hotel
Washington, D.C.

Call this the birthplace of special interests. “President Grant was not a big fan of the White House, and he liked to get out and have a cigar in the evening,” Fawcett says. “He would go to the lobby of the Willard Hotel almost every night for a cigar and drink. People would wait in the lobby until he got there and then talk to him informally about what it was they needed. They became known as lobbyists.”

A Favre Appreciation

March 21, 2008

For anyone who is interested, I’ve got an appreciation of Brett Favre in the new National Review. It’s not online, but if you’re really, really interested, you can probably pick one up on any newsstand or just subscribe. National Review is a great magazine, worth reading every two weeks.

Packers Were Actually Chillar’s Last Choice

March 21, 2008

Two new articles suggest that Tom Silverstein got it wrong when he reported that Brandon Chillar took less money to come to Green Bay. Silverstein’s source was Chillar’s agent, though in rereading the agent’s comment he seems to have said that Chillar could have gotten more than he took from the Packers — not that he had gotten a better offer than the one he got from Green Bay.

In fact, reading this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and this one from the Arizona Republic, you get the impression that Chillar would have preferred to have ended up in either of the other places. In the first, headlined “Chillar Would Have Preferred to Stay with Rams,” Chillar tells a reporter that “of course” he would have stayed with the Rams if the money they were offering had been similar to the Packers. “I told them that from the beginning.”

In the second article, Kent Somers reports that the inability of the Cardinals to rework Larry Fitzgerald’s contract to gain salary space cost them a shot at Chillar. “According to several league sources, Arizona was Chillar’s first choice, but the Cardinals don’t have the cap space to sign him because [Larry] Fitzgerald’s contract has not been finalized.”

Okay, so contrary to Silverstein’s report, Chillar did not turn down a bigger offer to come to the Packers, but it appears that he would have rather played in either St. Louis or Arizona. Chillar basically says as much to the Arizona Republic.

“One year, $1 million,” Chillar said of the Rams offer “It just wasn’t cutting it. That made me think that they had very little interest.”

He added: “I think (the Cardinals) just had some in-house issues that they’re trying to get fixed; that they were going through with the (Larry) Fitzgerald deal and everything like that…Once Green Bay offered this kind of contract, I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. You can’t wait forever.”

I don’t fault a guy for wanting to get paid, but suggestions that he was willing to sacrifice to play here — whether they come from his agent or from a reporter who misunderstood what his agent was saying — are nonsense.

Chillar Is A Packer

March 20, 2008

I like the signing of Brandon Chillar. He was inexpensive, took less money to come to Green Bay than he could have made elsewhere, and wants to play for a winning team. All good qualities.

In fact, I like how the Packers have approached free agency in general. No stupid signings, no overpaying for aging veterans, no reaches. This was such a crappy free agent class that it makes sense to skip it almost entirely.

Gus Frerotte – seriously?

March 19, 2008

Wow, just as I was beginning to think TT may know what he’s doing, he goes out and asks Frerotte to visit. Check out Bedard’s article this morning.

I know the Packers need to think about picking up someone, but this is ridiculous. I believe it was our frequent commenter Raymidge who pointed out that for the first time in a long time, Packer fans will actually have to accept that we now must enter the Horrendous Veteran QB sweepstakes (Brock Berlin, Todd Bouman, AJ Feeley, Griese, Brad Johnson, Jamie Martin). Maybe I’m just in denial re Favre still and maybe Frerotte may not be the worst option out there. Considered that – no, the truth is Frerotte has to be about the worst option out there.

Last year, Frerotte threw 7TDs and 12INTs for a 58.3 QB rating. His career stats are equally unimpressive: 102 TDs 91 INTs for a lifetime 74.3 rating. He is a 15 year veteran who has virtually no upside. Having Quinn Gray as a back-up would be considerably more appealing to me as at least Gray has “potential” to do some things well. Even Kerry Collins, who despite plenty of bad decision making, still has a decent arm.

Also, remember, Frerotte once got a concussion as a Redskin by banging his head against the wall after a game.