Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Favrewell




I have to blog quickly today, and I am guessing you know who will get 95% of the blog today…

Brett Favre brought me a lot of sports joy, as a boy who grew up loving my Green Bay Packers. I loved my Packers, but from the year I was born in 1972, until Brett Favre arrived, I had never seen them in a playoff game (except for that sham strike year of 1982 which nobody recognized as legit). Then, he arrives, and the playoffs are an annual happening. Further, a Super Bowl was something you could dare to dream about.

So, if you want an honest appraisal about Favre from me, you are likely to get nothing but praise and adoration. Sorry. I know he is flawed. I know he makes bad passes at bad times. I never said he is perfect. But, he is the greatest I have ever been able to call "our guy". You see, the great ones never ended up in Wisconsin. They always played in Chicago, New York, Dallas, or somewhere else.

He is Wisconsin's. We didn't have much. And We still don't. But we will always be the only place he has ever thrown a touchdown. And that makes a few of us proud.

And in my case, makes my opinion about him a bit tainted.

Nevertheless, to the Cowboys fans reading, I now know how you felt when Staubach said goodbye. It sucks.

Bob McGinn looks at the end of the road


Fear of failure drove Brett Favre to the pinnacle of his profession. It also led him into retirement.

Mental exhaustion was cited by Favre, as well as by Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, for the decision Monday night that crushed his legion of fans. The other side was that Favre knew the score in Green Bay and that his time had come.

Favre played football as if he had a sixth sense. Like so many others with a father who also coached, Favre became immersed in sports at a young age. No one ever understood all the emotional nuances and erratic currents of pro football better than him.

Certainly, Favre would have been a competitive player if he had returned for an 18th season. But odds are that he never again would have reached the remarkable level of performance that shocked just about everyone in 2007.

Favre knew that. He also knew, better than anyone else, just how poorly he had played down the stretch on that frigid night 6½ weeks ago when the Green Bay Packers couldn't defeat the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.

There was a price to be paid for such a defeat. As Favre undoubtedly could sense, there was, perhaps for the first time, considerable sentiment within his own organization that a change should be made at quarterback.

A master of concealing his feelings, Thompson struck all the proper chords Tuesday. But when the general manager said he hadn't tried to persuade Favre, let alone beg him, to play another season, it spoke volumes about the dynamics of their relationship.

For all his records and adulation, Favre always needed to be stroked. Thompson wasn't stroking. Maybe feelings were hurt. Maybe that's the way it goes.

As well as Favre played in the first 11 games last season, when his passer rating was 101.5, the continuance of a disturbing trend was forthcoming.

In 2007, Favre's passer rating in the final seven games was 82.1. In 2006, the rating was 81.3 in the first nine games and 61.0 in the last seven. In 2005, it was 93.1 in the first six, 58.0 in the last 10.

Extreme cold or not, Favre had been fading in the late stages of three straight seasons. Given Favre's age, it was a terrible harbinger of what undoubtedly was to come.

When it was all set up for the Packers to make a glorious return to the Super Bowl, the run game fizzled, the run defense went in the tank, Plaxico Burress couldn't be covered and the Giants were by far the more physical team.

Oh, and Irv Favre's son knew he didn't hold up his end of the bargain.

In the hours after the defeat, Favre packed up assorted belongings from his locker to an extent that he never had before. That gave the Packers pause.

The organization was prepared to massage Aaron Rodgers' ego for another year. Not that it's outsized by any means, but by his fourth year Rodgers simply needed to be playing. McCarthy said as much at the Super Bowl.

Favre knew that, too. Maybe the kid from California did come on a little strong at first, but Favre was far from blind. He could see Rodgers had started to take a much more humble approach. It was as if Rodgers had begun to emulate some of Favre's earthiness. It was clear that he was starting to get what it would take to lead a team.

That no doubt pleased Favre. Not only that, he could see Rodgers progress on the field from a prospect with almost no chance as a rookie to a prospect with a legitimate chance after three seasons.

The Packers had a problem because Rodgers was entering the fourth year of a five-year contract. Depending on what the upcoming labor struggle means for free agency, Thompson faced the possibility of never seeing what Rodgers was made of if Favre continued to play.

Favre understood that as well.

There was a groundswell of support from within to go with Rodgers, but no one ever would admit to it publicly because that would be akin to committing professional suicide.

Is this a case of Favre taking one for the team?

Maybe. For a player of his stature, he always was remarkably in tune with the rare
criticism that came his way. He could feel the cold vibe coming his way.

But Favre also isn't given to self-immolation. If he wanted to have played, he damn well would have played.

As Favre mulled his decision, thoughts of having to sit through more meetings no doubt entered his mind. Let's face it. Favre knows more about the game than just about all of his coaches. Plus, he had heard it all 1,000 times before.

Certainly, Favre considered his legacy. Yes, another Super Bowl would have been the perfect way to go out, but he had every record known to man and a Pro Bowl berth to boot in his 17th season. Y.A. Tittle, Fran Tarkenton and John Elway made the Pro Bowl in their 16th seasons, but it's quite possible that the only other quarterback to play in the game in their 17th season or beyond was the ageless Warren Moon.
Moon, who retired in 2000 at 44, made it in his 17th, 18th and 20th seasons.

And then Favre would have assessed his health. No recent operations. Nothing debilitating. One of his early blockers, guard Rich Moran, weighed in Tuesday via e-mail with these trenchant thoughts on the retirement.

"Happy for Brett," Moran wrote. "He is healthy. He can be introduced down the road and not have to limp. He can lead a normal life and enjoy what he did and not struggle all day to get around like a lot of players."

Amen.

So, in the end, maybe Favre beat the reaper. In five years, he will join Otto Graham, Norm Van Brocklin, Tarkenton and Elway on the short list of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who walked away from football without having a major injury or having been discarded.

Graham and Van Brocklin quit at 34. Like Tarkenton and Elway, Favre is saying goodbye at 38. One now can only hope that Favre won't try to play again.


August 2013 I. Will. Be. There….


It's never too early to get those reservations for 2013

Any Brett Favre fans out there might want to save that date and block out the time.

After announcing his retirement Tuesday, that's likely when Favre will be inducted
into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In fact, some Packers fans already have gotten a head start on plans.

"I got some calls this morning about it," said Joe Horrigan, the Hall's vice president for communications-exhibits.

Here's what Horrigan has been telling fans about tickets and hotels:

Tickets will go on sale to the public shortly after the Class of 2013 is selected at Super Bowl XLVII that year and the teams for the Hall of Fame game are announced.

They are only available through the Hall of Fame Web site. While a small number of renewable tickets have been offered by the Hall, it has not yet been determined whether they will open that avenue to the public again. That means Packers fans who wanted to secure their spot for Favre's induction by purchasing renewable tickets now can't do so. That could change, but it's doubtful, Horrigan said. With demand expected to be great, the date and time that tickets will be made available will be publicized by the Hall and the Packers.

Most of the hotels in the immediate Canton area are blocked by the Hall of Fame for guests and media, but there are many within a 20- to 30-minute drive that will be available. Fans also can purchase tour packages that include tickets and hotel.


What did Mel Kiper Say on Draft day 1991?


I had Brett Favre as the 17th highest-rated player in the 1991 NFL draft. In my final first-round mock draft, I had Favre going 21st overall to the Kansas City Chiefs (Kansas City drafted LSU running back Harvey Williams). In fact, Favre was not the first QB taken in 1991 -- Dan McGwire went 16th overall to the Seattle Seahawks. Favre was a second-round pick, going 33rd overall to the Atlanta Falcons (I had both McGwire and Favre with the same grade, 9.2).

Here's the write-up on Favre from my 1991 "Draft Report":

After a nightmarish spring and summer, it appeared Brett Favre would have to consider sitting out the 1990 campaign. His run on bad luck began with elbow surgery to his throwing arm that sidelined him the entire spring practice session. While rehabilitating that injury, Brett was involved in a single-car accident on July 14 that resulted in a variety of injuries, including a gash on his knee, a concussion, as well as severe bumps and bruises to most of his body. After talking to Brett and his family at the Senior Bowl, he was fortunate just to survive the accident, let alone return to the gridiron this season. You see, the car he was driving was in the process of falling down a hill into a creek, before the car was stopped in its tracks by a tree. Had the car fallen into the creek, Brett would have more than likely drowned, since he was unconscious then. His brother, who was in a following car, pulled Brett out of the wreck, where he lay on the side of the road until an ambulance arrived to take him to a hospital.

After leaving the hospital, he was still not feeling even close to 100 percent. As Brett explained, "It felt like a knife was jabbing me in the middle of my chest." He twice went to see a doctor, before being returned to the hospital for further evaluation. On Aug. 8, he underwent surgery to remove a 30-inch portion of the lower end of his smaller intestine. During the ordeal, he lost between 25 and 30 pounds, weighing in at only 193 pounds before the start of the football season in late August, early September.

Remarkably, Brett was able to dress for the season opener against Delta State on Sept. 1, although he didn't return to action until the second game against Alabama. During the middle portion of the campaign, Brett began to regain his lost weight and strength, leading the Golden Eagles to victories over the likes of Louisville and Auburn. He closed out the campaign with a fine effort against NC State in the bowl game, throwing for well over 300 yards against one of the top secondaries in college football.

He has a strong, powerful arm, throwing the 15- to 25-yard intermediate routes across the middle as well as any quarterback to come out in the last few years. The Southern Miss baseball coaches have practically begged him to play the last few years. In high school, his fastball was clocked in the 90 mph range. Delivery is outstanding -- he snaps the ball right off from his ear, cutting through the wind that is a factor to deal with in the late fall/winter months.

One negative I saw during practice sessions was that he tends to hang his deeper passes, allowing CBs the time to react and get in a position to make a play on the ball. Although not a scrambler, he can sidestep the initial pass rusher, and learn to deliver the ball accurately rolling to his right.

* This kid is a competitor, possesses above average physical skills, and did his damage against top competition during his four years as the starter. To a certain extent, he is still recovering from the painful injuries he sustained in the car accident and ensuing surgery. I really believe strongly that he has the natural ability and overall attitude to make the successful transition to the NFL. Would be ideal for a club looking to develop a starting quarterback of the future, thus allowing him the time necessary to settle in at the pro level.

Combine Note -- Brett was the most impressive of the quarterbacks throwing the football, but didn't run for the clock, still a little banged up from the all-star game.


Gosselin’s Top 10 QBs of All Time


THE ALL-TIME BEST

With the retirement Tuesday of Brett Favre, here's where he fits into Rick Gosselin's list of the NFL's 10 greatest quarterbacks:

1. Johnny Unitas. Called his own plays and threw TD passes in an NFL-record 47 consecutive games.

2. Joe Montana. Won four Super Bowls and ranks as the fifth-most efficient passer of all-time.

3. Otto Graham. Took Cleveland to six consecutive NFL title games in the 1950s.

4. John Elway. Took Denver to five Super Bowls and ranks in the all-time top five in passing yards and touchdowns.

5. Roger Staubach. Took Dallas to four Super Bowls in the 1970s and won 74.6 percent of his career starts (85-29).

6. Brett Favre. Passed for more yards and more touchdowns and won more games (160) than any other quarterback.

7. Bart Starr. Steered Green Bay to five championships in seven seasons in the 1960s.

8. Terry Bradshaw. Won four Super Bowls in the 1970s and was the MVP of two of them.

9. Dan Marino. The most gifted passer in NFL history had a record 63 300-yard passing games.

10. Troy Aikman. Won three Super Bowls in four seasons, also winning an NFL-best 94 games in the 1990s.


If there is one game that Favre is remembered for, it is his Monday Night in Oakland a few years back. Rather than burn everyone a DVD, allow me to alert you to the fact that the NFL Network is showing it Friday night-


FRIDAY, MARCH 7
7 p.m. - NFL Classics: Packers at Raiders on Monday Night Football (Favre throws for 399 yards and four TDs on 12/22/03) (2.5 hours)


Oh yeah, And Warren Sapp retired


Warren Sapp's 13-year NFL career officially ended when his retirement was posted on the Oakland Raiders' Web site.


Reasonably sure that this the only time we have had a Cricket Video on here:



The Wire Series Finale Promo – Language Alert



Sea Bass will be blogging with you tomorrow and Friday...I will see you Monday Morning...

6 comments:

Brad C said...

It is so sad that such greatness will never be seen again. The best there ever was in my humble opinion.

The Wire will be missed.

Jake said...

Favre was great, hardly greatest.

Here's some Hicks news for you soccer bags:

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/03/04/liverpool.dubai.ap/index.html?eref=edition_business

Go Stars.

Poncenomics said...

Jake, I think Brad C was being intentionally misleading.

He's implying The Wire was the greatest ever, which is a bit of a slap at Favre.

Personally, I would agree with Gosselin's decision NOT to put Favre in his Top 5. A significant part of Brett's records has to do with 1) sheer longevity, and 2) the complete lack of a running game for much of his career (which is also why Marino belongs where he is, BTW).

Great QB, yes. But the over-blown cheesehead nation will undoubtedly spend the next 5 years trying to promote a revisionist view that he's somehow better than all the rest.

BACM said...

Jake I know it's hard as an Aggy not to take everything you read at face value.

A Silence Production said...

I was so happy to see Aikman in that top 10 but I was a little shocked not to see Steve Young on that list.

Josh said...

That cricket video is pure genius. Why does America have to be so stuck up? The British/Australians showed that guys naked ass running across TV AND showed a streaker on TV. What a society.