N.Y. minute

O, BY THE WAY

Quarterback has little time to adjust, win

On Brett Favre

August 08, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

Trading all-time great Brett Favre to the New York Jets might have Green Bay management on trial for the rest of this season as the Packers rely on untested Aaron Rodgers to reprise last year's playoff run, but Favre is hardly in the most comfortable position, either.

Among the teams with which Favre's name had been associated - namely, the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jets - New York was the least-comfortable fit on a couple of levels.

The Vikings and Buccaneers had coaches with whom Favre had some association, either directly or indirectly, and ran at least a variation of the West Coast offense. Conversely, the Jets' system is tactically the least similar to what Favre has been running since he blossomed under Mike Holmgren when they were with the Packers.

And no place could be more different culturally from small-town Green Bay, where Favre's laid-back Mississippi-bred style translated perfectly despite the obvious differences in latitude.

In Green Bay, Favre's on-field peccadillo of throwing the occasional ill-advised pass might have been overlooked somewhat by the media and certainly by the fans because of what he had done in salvaging a proud franchise that had fallen on hard times when he got there in the early 1990s. But in New York, Favre will have no such reservoir of goodwill from which to draw. Media scrutiny will be harsher because of expectations for immediate success despite the fact that the Jets were 4-12 last season.

In Green Bay, there was one team and one superstar, Favre. But New York has a fistful of pro sports teams populated by any number of stars. And the jaded sports public there is less inclined to hand out free passes for poor performances and more likely to, "What have you done for me lately."

In Green Bay, Favre could ask for some privacy and expect to get it. In New York, the tabloids stake out hotels and restaurants looking for a photo to plaster on Page 6.

In Green Bay, if Favre had somehow continued to play for the Packers but failed to get the team even as far as it went last season - the conference championship - he would still be revered. In New York, if he doesn't get the Jets to the playoffs, he'll be called washed up.

In Green Bay, he played in the NFC North, where he was the only quarterback of any demonstrated ability. With the Jets, he will play in the AFC East, with the ominous presence of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady looming.

Obviously, the future Hall of Famer didn't have a whole lot of choice regarding a new team, so after a suitable amount of romancing by Jets officials, Favre decided to take a bite out of the Big Apple. It remains to be seen whether he has bitten off more than he can chew.

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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