(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
All of you Green Bay Packer fans out there should sit down or grab something to keep them from falling, because I’m about to commit cheese head sacrilege: Brett Favre should be traded.
Since I’m an Oakland fan, I’m clearheaded enough to see crystal clear rationale behind this solution to Green Bay and Favre’s problems this season. The Packers are 1-6, and Favre is coming off a game in which he threw five interceptions.
Before I go any further, I must make it clear that I’m normally not for superstars jumping ship and switching teams this late in their career. Joe Montana in Kansas City, Tim Brown in Tampa Bay, Emmitt Smith in Arizona, Jerry Rice in Seattle (he gets a pass for the Oakland years), Orenthal in San Francisco; all of those instances never happened, and I refuse to remember them.
But this is different. Favre still has something to give to the game, and he doesn’t deserve to be stuck on a rebuilding Green Bay team for the final years of his Hall of Fame career. Most of the pretend examples (remember, they never happened) listed in the previous paragraph were running on empty when they left their original teams. It’s true that Smith set the all-time touchdown record in Arizona, but he retired shortly thereafter, and he should have set it with Dallas.
Who else remembers Joe Montana looking like he was lost in Kansas City, particularly after receiving a concussion in a playoff game – when he sat on the bench looking like Forrest Gump with his box of chocolates?
All you have to do is watch Favre play and realize that he still loves the game of football, and still has the talent to win games.
A quick look at his season stats reveals that he’s on pace to set a career high in completion percentage, his QB rating is better than it was six years ago, he is maintaining his career average in yards per completion, and he may match career highs in completions (a possibility) and touchdowns (a stretch).
The problem is he has no one to throw the ball to, and no one to hand it to, and no one to block for him, and no defense to protect the other end zone. Because of this, he may also set a career high in interceptions.
He’s always been a quarterback partial to forcing things, but he used to have all-pro teammates that would make plays for him. Now he has scrubs that shouldn’t even be on the same field.
It’s clear that Green Bay is in a rebuilding mode, so why not trade the most valuable commodity at their disposal? Besides, is it fair to ask Favre to be a part of that when he won’t be around by the time all the new pieces are in place?
Realistically he only has two or three years left. But who knows? He might pull a Warren Moon or a George Blanda and still be effective after the age of 40 – he’s currently 36. How many of you out there would gladly trade your starting QB for a chance at Brett Favre? I know I would. Kerry Collins would be out of a job if I were running the Raiders.
The Pack drafted Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the draft last year. Personally, I thought Rodgers should have been the number one pick for the 49ers.
It doesn’t take a George Halas to realize that Rodgers is the future.
As long as Favre is there, a complete rebuilding can’t take place. He said before the season that it was “Super Bowl or bust” for Green Bay. He’s not content taking lumps for the franchise while young players develop.
How many teams out there could benefit from Favre changing colors? The hated Baltimore Ravens immediately come to mind. He could make a difference for that team, but could he and Brian Billick co-exist? Probably not.
Tampa Bay would be a good fit. Chris Simms will be a solid NFL quarterback one day, but today’s not the day. They have a solid running game in place with a new ‘Cadillac’, they have a solid defense, Coach Jon Gruden who’s in the same family tree of coaching as Favre’s ex-mentor Mike Holmgren, plus they have tons of young players they could ship to the Packers in exchange for Favre.
If that trade happened, the Bucs would immediately punch their tickets for Super Sunday. The Bears and Dolphins also might work as options for new scenery.
The point is, I don’t want to watch Favre languish away for a mediocre team his last few years. You can guarantee that if he does stay in Green Bay, he won’t be long for retirement.
He deserves better and football fans shouldn’t be deprived of reveling in the joy that he brings to the game.