August 8, 2008

The Favre Elocution

I’ve always kinda liked Brett Favre.

I like that his first NFL pass was picked off and returned for a TD by Redskins LB Andre Collins.

I like that he’s from a place called Kiln. Guy named Favre, place called Kiln. It’s an elocutionist's dream.

I like that he plays the game the way I think I would have, had I been born a freakishly gifted athlete. Fearless, peerless … shameless. Interception? Bummer. Now gimme the damn ball—no way you get me again.

I even like that he’s part diva. Guy who plays like he does, and looks like he does (Marlboro Man Light) shouldn't also get to sound like James Earl Jones or exude Sinatra cool. It wouldn’t be fair.

So this is not about disliking Brett.

This is about tiring of the mantra I’ve heard over and over again throughout this whole exhausting drama that “Brett Favre gives the Packers the best chance to win.” The NFL talking heads throw that line around like gospel.

I’m saying, don’t be so sure.

Might want to allow for the possibility that Aaron Rogers, today, is the better quarterback—be it straight up or simply in terms of being the best guy for the Green Bay Packers, right here, right now.

No one on the face of the planet is better situated to make that call than Packer Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Forget the record books. Forget the mental highlight reel you can conjure of Favre sprinting down the field chasing one of his 442 touchdown passes. Focus on now and what’s at stake.

McCarthy was presented a choice—head into the 2008 season with Aaron Rogers or Brett Favre behind center. And make no mistake, the choice was ultimately his. Had he believed strongly enough that Favre was the team’s best option, he would have made damn sure the front office knew it, the players knew it, the press knew it and the world knew it. Had he really believed Favre was the better option, Brett would not be holding court in New York this week, he’d be back in Green Bay king of all he surveyed.

Yet McCarthy chose Rogers.

Why? There's no way to conclusively know … not unless you know Mike personally and he shares NFL pillow talk with you. Personally, I think it may have something to do with the difference between Brett’s regular season winning percentage, 160-93 (.632), and his playoff record, 12-10 (.545). And more pointedly, that after starting his playoff career 9-3, between 1992 and 1998, beginning with the loss to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII a decade ago (a decade?), Brett has since gone 3-7.

But that’s not the point--it could have nothing to do with that at all. Maybe Mike’s seen something in Brett’s delivery that tells him the arm’s going. Maybe he’s tired of the killer INT’s the rest of the world excuses as “just Favre being Favre”—hey it’s not their job on the line. Maybe the whispers out of the locker room, when the cameras and mics aren’t around, tell him Brett’s not really welcome there any more. Maybe Brett has bad breath. Most likely, as with most things in life, it’s a combination of all kinds of factors.

The point is that the one guy most qualified to make the call and the most to lose if he mucks it up, opted to go with Aaron Rogers. More than anything else I’ve heard or read from a million self-appointed experts, to me that speaks volumes.

So at least allow for the possibility. Don’t casually substitute your own judgment for that of a professional, at the peak of his profession, who has not just spent his lifetime making enough good football decisions to earn his place to begin with … and who is not just one of perhaps a half-dozen men on the planet who has watched Favre and Rogers with their own eyes every meeting, practice, game, workout, etc. for the past few seasons and broken down more film than Siskel, Hebert and Spielberg combined … but is also a professional whose very livelihood depends on his ability to make this kind of call.

Maybe he's wrong. Maybe Rodgers will flat on his face and Favre will have the last laugh. I’m just saying … don’t be so sure.

No comments: