Silver: “Their hero willfully abandoned them.”


Thank you Mike Silver. It’s nice that someone who gets paid to write about these things is actually paying attention to, you know, things like facts. Silver, formerly of Sports Illustrated and now with Yahoo! Sports, has a must-read column about this whole ordeal. (It was written before the Jets deal.  Thanks to PG reader and renaissance man Bill Walsh for sending it.)

I’m serious. Go read it.

Okay, some of you are lazy or don’t have time at work. Here are the highlights.

There have been numerous tactical missteps made by Favre and the bosses he publicly suggested are dishonest – general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy – during this month-long saga, and Packers fans have a right to be frustrated at both camps. But if you believe that the quarterback soon will be leaving Green Bay…because those merciless meanies just didn’t want poor ol’ Brett around, you’ve got more than cheese clouding your head.

As McCarthy stated in his news conference after Tuesday’s practice, and as Favre himself had stated more clearly in his latest woe-is-me interview (this one to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen) earlier that morning, the reason the future Hall of Famer couldn’t come back to the Pack was that he can’t let go of his ill will toward his employers.


Favre got more and more resentful, lashing out publicly and privately demanding to be released. The team held firm, insisting that it would only trade him to a team outside its division. To force the issue – and thanks largely to the intervention of commissioner Roger Goodell – Favre secured his reinstatement, flew to Green Bay and, in a shameless bit of showmanship, showed up at Lambeau Field with his wife Deanna to watch the team’s “Family Night” scrimmage from a luxury box.


Favre, meanwhile, couldn’t overcome the negativity that apparently has been swirling inside his mind for quite some time. In that lengthy vent session last month to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, Favre complained that he couldn’t trust Thompson because, among other things, the GM had ignored his pleadings to acquire Randy Moss and hired McCarthy over Steve Mariucci, the one-time Packers assistant and former 49ers and Lions coach with whom the quarterback is extremely close.

Think about that: Favre was affronted because the Pack’s general manager wouldn’t follow his quarterback’s decree about whom to hire as head coach.

The Packers hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer as a PR consultant, but in truth, Favre is the one more in need of such image management.

Consider that Favre, in another interview, said he only wanted to play for another NFC North team – in order to play the Packers twice a season. Now that’s loyalty.

Yet, for all his regrettable posturing, Favre still had the image war won when he stepped off that plane Sunday night and received a hero’s welcome and an invitation to return to the Packers’ roster. At that point, the coach of another NFL team told me, “The game’s over. There’s no way Favre won’t get his job back now. If you don’t start him, how are you going to explain it to all of those fans?”

If Favre, as some suspected, was preparing to engage the Packers in a game of chicken, be it in an attempt to go where he wanted to go (Minnesota) or to get his old job back, this is what he should have done:

1. Not attend the scrimmage. (Perhaps he and Deanna could have stayed home and rented a DVD.)

2. Apologize to McCarthy and Thompson for having called them dishonest and assure his bosses he had overcome his ill feelings and was embracing a return to the organization under any terms.

3. To prove he totally was on board, show up for practice on Tuesday, wave to the adoring fans, meet with reporters afterward and tell them, “I just want a chance to compete for my job and help this team” – even if he believed the competition was going to be a sham.

4. Quietly push for a trade or his outright release and wait for the Packers, facing the prospect of a season-long quarterback controversy and a $12 million tab for a player they had hoped would stay retired, to blink first.

Alas, Favre couldn’t help himself. On Tuesday, while still in discussions with McCarthy about his future, he took a break to call Mortensen and confirm what many of us had suspected all along: Favre, despite another public statement to the contrary (“My intentions have always been to play for Green Bay,” Favre had told the Sun Herald of Gulfport, Miss., before returning on Sunday), was the one who wanted out.

“The problem is that there’s been a lot of damage done and I can’t forget it,” he told Mortensen. “Stuff has been said, stories planted, that just aren’t true. Can I get over all that? I doubt it. … So they can say they welcome me back, but come on, the way they’ve treated me tells you the truth. They don’t want me back, so let’s move on.”

The reality for Packer fans, writes Silver, is that “their hero willfully abandoned them.”



21 Responses to “Silver: “Their hero willfully abandoned them.””

  1. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    “Fourth-year quarterback paused during an individual drill late in the Green Bay Packers’ training camp practice Tuesday afternoon and spied a little boy, maybe 6, among the hundreds of spectators lining the Oneida Street side of Clarke Hinkle Field.

    ‘We don’t love you,’ the kid said. ‘You suck.'”

    Shameful. Just shameful. The gutwrenching part is that I’ll bet you that poor kid’s parents are *proud* of him.

  2. ebongreen Says:

    I realize that everyone reading this site should already have read them, but I have to say – where’s the love for the last two Bob McGinn columns?

    I know it’s Insider and costs a little cash every year, but these are the most rational and reasonable analysis of the Packers’ organizational position I’ve seen anywhere. IMO, McGinn is the gold standard of Packer journalists.

  3. lostinutah Says:

    That’s what I’m sayin’.

  4. Ron La Canne Says:


    Dan Devine’s dog comes to mind.

    Listening to some of the complete idiots calling in on talk shows, I hope GB has an adequate security staff for the M.M and T.T. This is not a joke, unfortunately. I’m ashamed to be associated with idiots like that.

  5. Cate Says:

    I saw this when it first ran and my only thought while reading it was, “finally!”

    This whole thing has just left a bad taste in my mouth. Favre had the potential to retire as a complete and total rock star. A legend. And now what? Does he have it in him to give the Jets a good couple of seasons or is this basically akin to putting him out to pasture? It seems to me Favre has a lot more to potentially lose (even more than he’s already lost in that his reputation as a stand-up, folksy guy has been tarnished significantly) than to gain and I just can’t understand why he’s done what he’s done.

  6. cheese0317 Says:

    I remember, when I was little my Dad cursing Lynn Dickey’s crooked legs and limp arm. I remember hoping David Whitehurst could be a better answer, hoping that he might lead them to the playoffs. I remember growing older, and more skeptical about Rich Campbell. The Randy Wright fiasco seemed hopeless. Anthony Dilweg isn’t worth mentioning. The Packers were a joke, a loser, and some whispered that the town might never be able to field a champion. Then came Don Majkowski’s torn rotator cuff. The most glorious torn rotator cuff in the history of my life.

    The Favre Era dawned.

    Over the next 16 seasons, Favre started every game and during that period no team in the NFL had a better win-loss record. Favre vomited blood on the sidelines and then returned to the field to rocket a touchdown pass. Favre played his best game, a must-win game for the Pack, 24 hours after the unexpected death of his father, his best friend. Favre won a Super Bowl. Let me repeat that: Favre won a Super Bowl. Off the field, Favre never bitched about money, and only renegotiated his contract when the Packers needed cap space. On the field, Favre played with joy. He never posed, or gloated or whined. He played, and he celebrated and he scolded himself for his mistakes. On the field, he won more games and threw more touchdowns (and interceptions) than any person ever in the history of the NFL.

    On the back of this success, Green Bay returned to its glory. It became a place where free agents came to play, and a stop on the road to the division championship. And, we’ll repeat this for emphasis: During Favre’s 16 years in Green bay, no team in the NFL had a better record. The Packers returned to the Super Bowl, rebuilt their stadium, their practice facility, and their image as a winner. They brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown.

    Favre was not the only person responsible for all of that. But the 3-time MVP was the most important factor.

    And here it is in black and white:

    Ted Thompson just traded away the best quarterback in the NFC last year, the best player in Packers history, the quarterback with more wins and touchdowns than any other quarterback in history of the league, who is coming off a pro-bowl season with 13 wins, a run deep into the playoffs and the best completion percentage of his career … for a middling draft pick.

    The three quarterbacks remaining on the roster have 0 NFL starts, and one TD between them. The team is one injury away from being forced to start a rookie under center.

    There is not much you could say to convince me that this isn’t negligent management.

    Ted Thompson spent the better part of five weeks doing everything in his power to keep Favre from playing for the team, apparently so that Ted could play his draft choice. You can moan and groan all you want about Favre changing his mind about retiring. You can pick over the clumsy, disingenuous PR volleys from both sides and the bickering. But fact is: Thompson could have had Favre as QB this year, and he stubbornly clung to lazy metaphors and a decision he made a month ago (perhaps three years ago) to “move on”. Thompson has to take responsibility for that decision.

    Regarding this entire saga, I will say this: Favre deserved better. The fans deserved better. I do not and never will understand how a Packer fan who has watched Favre play could ever categorize him in the same category as malcontent wideouts who are more interested in paydays than wins of the field. I will never understand how Favre changing his mind about playing outweighs the fact that he is the greatest instinctual quarterback in the game, the best chance for a Super Bowl this year. I don’t understand the animosity from so many fans, and frankly I’m not much in the mood to have someone try to explain it to me again. I think those people have forgotten. Forgotten last season. Forgotten the 15 seasons prior. Forgotten Favre vomiting blood on the sideline. And forgotten all those years we suffered through Dickey, Whitehurst, Wright, Campbell, Majkowski.

    I don’t agree with those who argue that Favre’s poor sense of strategic career planning justifies his rejection. I never will agree with that. Let’s leave it at that.

    And let’s leave at this:

  7. Joe Says:

    Sorry Cheese but if you post it, it will be commented upon. If you are looking for a therapeutic release that people won’t critique, you came the wrong place.

    “But fact is: Thompson could have had Favre as QB this year.” Actually, fact is Thompson told Brett we want you back in January. Fact is Thompson did have Favre as QB this year and then Favre changed his mind (see the late March /April unretire and re-retire). Fact is Brett contacted the Vikings in early April. Fact is after Favre was in Green Bay, he was offered the chance to compete for the job and said no (this is sourced by Brett’s statements). Fact is Reggie White brought free agents to GB not Brett. Fact is in those days GB was perceived as racist and Reggie used to have to meet with free agents to convince them that GB was not a racist town.

  8. PackerBelle Says:

    “Favre deserved better.”

    No. Favre got better than he deserved. When he decided he wanted to retire the Packers said to take his time and said that they could reduce his workload in practice if that would change his mind. When he said he wanted to come back in late March they were ready to welcome him back. Even when he publicly called the GM and various coaches liars and leaked private conversations the Packers tried to keep things quiet. They tried to work with him on a trade that would be acceptable but Favre refused. In fact until this week he seemed intent on causing as many problems for the Packers as possible.

    “But fact is: Thompson could have had Favre as QB this year, and he stubbornly clung to lazy metaphors and a decision he made a month ago (perhaps three years ago) to “move on”.”

    But when he came back they were willing to welcome him back if he could show he was ready to work with the Packers. And Mike McCarthy, not Ted Thompson, was the one who said Favre wasn’t in a place where he could play for the Packers. Even Favre said that it was because he couldn’t get past his personal issues. Favre didn’t ask to come back – he asked to be released. That was his choice and not Ted Thompson’s.

  9. patrick Says:


    So we’re supposed to feel sorry for TT, and worry about his safety? Screw him and the horse he road in on. Hellloooooooo mediocraty

  10. PackerBelle Says:

    Patrick, no matter how much you disagree with someone’s decisions that doesn’t mean that threats are appropriate. Like it or not, TT is the main reason we went from 4-12 to 14-4 in a couple of years. Yes, Favre played very well this year. But without Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant, James Jones, etc he wouldn’t have done as well. And lets not forget that once he got a GM and coach that stopped bowing to his every wish, Favre started to play better.

  11. patrick Says:

    and now he’s gonna be responsible when they go back to 4-12 next year. i don’t wish something bad to happen to him or his family, but I sure as heck don’t feel bad for him, or worry about his feelings.

  12. patrick Says:

    I just want that ego driven moron to get the heck out of town, and take the weisel names Ari with him

  13. PackerBelle Says:

    I don’t think anyone feels bad for him or worries about his feelings but the constant blame on him is excessive. As is predicting that we’re heading back to 4-12 just because Favre isn’t here. After all, we were 4-12 with Favre and if he was solely responsible for the 14-4 season then we could have just as easily been facing a 4-12 year again.

  14. patrick Says:

    By 2009 they will be 4-12. They’ll have another mediocre draft, followed by signing nobody in the free agent market, some players will flee, and Aaron will leave… so begins the Ryan Brohm era. What free agent in their right mind will sign with Green Bay after the way they shafted Favre? Either someone really crappy, or strictly someone in it for the $$$. 4-12 here we come!

  15. patrick Says:

    I forgot to mention, if Aaron is still in GB he’ll come down with a hang nail and miss 5 games. Every bit of bad karma is going to park in the parking lot outside of Lambeau and and tailgate until Thompson leaves, and probably for a while after that. Here comes the pain

  16. PackerBelle Says:

    His name is Brian Brohm, not Ryan Brohm. And the Packer’s drafts have been far from mediocre. James Jones, Greg Jennings, Mason Crosby, Johnny Jolly, Will Blackmon have all had serious contributions to the team. And draft picks need time. We still don’t know how Brandon Jackson is going to turn out, or this years current draft picks. But if you want to see mediocre drafts look at the Vikings. Aside from Adrian Peterson they get okay guys but never great.

  17. Ron La Canne Says:

    Jerry Kremmer ” Packer Hall of Fame” (via WSSP Milwaukee)

    “This is a black day in Packer History. He knew at the Retirement Announcement Favre would want to come back.

    McCarthy was only the messenger. It is obvious to him that Thonpson was driving the issue. Wanted him gone because he didn’t want to deal with Favre and his inconsistencies anymore.

    Thompson’s gamble — if he wins everything is forgotten. If he loses, he will be on the train out of town and I’ll drive it.”

  18. PackerBelle Says:

    Apparently Mike McCarthy also didn’t want to deal with the inconsistencies – he’s the one who said Favre’s mindset wasn’t what it needed to be to play with the Packers.

  19. Ron La Canne Says:

    At the last press conference before the trade. Kremmer’s suggestion is that Thompson was trying to get this to happen all along. That’s his opinion and I’d think you have to admit his inside connections are certainly better than ours.

  20. patrick Says:

    “Mason Crosby, Johnny Jolly, Will Blackmon” You’re joking right?
    The 2 receivers are good, but they’re not studs by any means. If they were so good, why did he waste the first pick on yet another receiver? What a briliant move that was! Other than those two he has drafted nothing but roster filler. They have an average roster and they’ll finish at an average .500 or worse.

  21. lostinutah Says:

    It’s Jerry Kramer you guys, sheesh.

    And he’s right (let’s go Idaho!) – if this season doesn’t go well, Ted’s in big trouble.

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