At first I didn’t post on the Brett Favre saga becuase I didn’t want to be late the party. Now it appears that this is going to drag on for months yet, and by writing now I can still squeeze a few paragraphs into the first 10% of all the words that will end up being written.
Frankly, the story is barely newsworthy in terms of being shocking; you’d have to be FEMA not to have seen this one coming. Aside from the annual off-season “maybe I’ll retire, maybe I won’t” strokefest, this latest move is vintage Favre for anyone who’s followed #4’s on-the-field exploits.
“Triple-coverage? What triple-coverage? I’m Brett Favre – I can put the ball in a Junebug’s back pocket!” Whooosh. “Dang!” Similarly, while “miscalculation” might be hard for Brett to say, it isn’t a foreign concept to him. “Retirement papers? I didn’t file no retirement papers! I’m Brett Favre – they’ve got to take me back!”
The moves made by both the Packers and Favre have been just as predictable.
Farve: “I maybe, possibly, might want to come back, but you didn’t hear it from me.”
Packers GM Ted Thompson: “Naah, naah, naah, not listening! I’m on vacation! I’m rearranging my sock drawer! Brett who?”
Favre: “It’s all just rumors taken out of context, I don’t know how Chris Mortenson could have intercepted my text messages.”
Thompson: “Of course we’d welcome Brett back, as long as he’ll wear a helmet really made from cheese and confess that he was the one that killed Dan Devine’s dog. There might be a problem, though, because we’re all sold out of #4 jerseys and I told the staff not to order any more. He might have to wear #78, which also happens to be the number of times we’ve been down this road with Brett in the past.”
Favre: “Help! Help! I’m being repressed! Come see the nonsense inherent in the system! Want to see me cry again?”
The posturing by both sides is just as transparent. The Packers will act as if they’d gladly take Favre back as their back-up quarterback, knowing there’s no way in hell Brett will accept that, while Favre will say he’ll come back knowing that there’s no way in hell Thompson wants the nightmare of Favre in uniform on the bench while a young quarterback takes his lumps. The team could conceivably punish him by trading him to a non-contender, but that is nearly as empty a threat as bringing him back as a bench-warmer. What non-contending team would trade for Favre and his salary, especially knowing that Brett won’t want to be there. Even potentially contending teams will be hesitant to give up much, especially if it means Favre having to learn a new offense. You should also keep in mind how much Favre has whined about having enough talent on the team in recent years; even if the Packers can find a trade partner (which they have the technical capability to do), Favre will pout his way out of that situation as well, probably forcing another trade that will make the Packers’ moves blow up in their face. In the Packers’ favor is that trades take time and that’s something that Favre and most teams don’t have if he’s going to go somewhere new and be ready by the start of the season.
Ultimately the Packers and Favre know he has the leverage and can force his release just by continuing to be the pain-in-the-butt prima donna he already is. Thompson also knows that the Vikings would be a prime landing space for Favre given that the team is merely an established quarterback away from being a serious Super Bowl contender, and that Favre would relish the opportunity to play the Pack twice in the coming year. There’s not much Thompson can do to prevent it, except muddy the waters by proactively accusing the Vikings of tampering, especially since Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was Favre’s former quarterback coach. I don’t know what hard evidence Thompson could have to support his claim unless he’s got the power to subpeona phone records. Perhaps it was this transcript from a tape that was mysteriously found in the pocket of Bill Belichek’s hoodie:
DB: Hey, Brett, it’s your ol’ buddy, Darrell.
DB: Darrell Bevell, your old quarterbacks coach.
BF: I had a quarterbacks coach? Who knew? I think I knew a guy named Darrell who caddied for me for awhile.
DB: Ha-ha, always the kidder. I’m just calling you up like good buddies do, to talk about huntin’ and fishin’ and such.
BF: Do tell.
DB: Of course! I wouldn’t dream of having you tampered with, unless of course it was by Jared Allen; man, can that boy hunt! You know, we should get together. I think you’d like our West Coast off-, I mean, you ought to check out the west coast of Lake Minnetonka. Good fishing out there. Super, in fact.
BF: Hey, thanks, Darnell…
DB: It’s Darrell.
BF: Oh, yeah, Darrell. The thing is, I don’t know if I’m going to have any time. Michael Strahan has also retired, and him and me got a contract offer from FOX to go around the country re-enactin’ the time I fell down so Michael could set the single-season sack record.
DB: I remember you like bowling. We’ve got a good group of, um, bowlers over here. You know Kevin and Pat, and we got that kid we call, “All Day.” Next time we get together I’d be happy to give you a ring. Uh, hello?
BF: Sorry, Merrill, I accidentally dropped my phone. I had this itch I was trying to scratch.
Tune into ESPN tomorrow (and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that) for the latest developments.