Throwing flags on absurd play

Time to analyze Favre's long-running drama before potentially undergoing a change of heart

August 10, 2008|By David Steele

Sixteen final thoughts about the Brett Favre saga, and I do mean final. (Subject to complete reversal of plans later.)

*With so many NFL teams having huge quarterback problems - including the Ravens - and with statistically the best quarterback in NFL history suddenly available, it's telling that so many of those teams - including the Ravens - said, "Thanks, but no thanks." And the Ravens once traded for Terrell Owens.

*There are subtle signs that this was far from a no-brainer for the New York Jets, either. Team vice president Mike Tannenbaum said in Thursday's introductory news conference: "We did a voluminous amount of research not only on Brett as a player, but also as a person and [made] sure we thought he could fit in in the locker room. ... We were extremely comfortable about just what he did on the field, but just as importantly, what he is off the field and what he stands for." Sounds like the sort of homework, and qualifying, you would do for Adam "Pacman" Jones rather than Brett Favre.

*But it also sounds like the sort of thing you do with a player who toys with quitting every offseason and actually did quit this offseason.

*Meanwhile, as the New York Daily News shoehorned the word "Broadway" into every other Favre headline after the trade, an online poll still said the best quarterback in town, by a razor-thin margin, was the one leading the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Giants' Eli Manning.

*In Friday's Green Bay Press-Gazette, which ran the front-page headline of the deal on a black mourning-style background, the headline on the lead editorial was, "We Don't Know What To Make of Favre Trade Either."

*And in a poll on the Web site for a popular Milwaukee sports talk show, asking the question "Which side are you on?" the Packers have maintained a slim but steady lead. Isn't this supposed to be the land of unconditional Brett love?

*Note to the Jets' wide receivers: Get your contracts in order before Favre finds out they're not. Ask Javon Walker about that.

*Wonder whether Favre lost any "simple country boy" points when he flew back and forth last week in a private jet.

*Wonder whether the networks (yeah, you know who you are) lost any "restraint and perspective" points when they cut to live coverage of Favre's plane landing at Green Bay's airport.

*Wonder whether Chad Johnson was sitting at his locker at Cincinnati Bengals training camp thinking: "Wait - he publicly demanded respect from his management, just like I did, but I got branded a villain and he's still a hero? And I never actually walked away from the sport, like he did. And the commissioner never tried to step in to mediate with me. What am I missing here?"

*Speaking of which, time to play Rank the Distractions: Barry Bonds playing designated hitter for the last two months of a pennant race; Owens castigating his quarterback daily for half a season; Kobe Bryant making and retracting trade demands for a week; Favre holding his team and the entire NFL hostage for a month. Tough call.

*"I gave everything I possibly could give while I was there," Favre said at the big news conference, "and I don't think people could question that." People? "Gave everything you had - including that long, teary retirement speech?"

*On the other hand, Favre admitted that holding out to play in the same division as the Packers was "a little bit ... vindictive." If he had added, "Sort of the way the Packers were when they refused to release me or honestly trade me to a willing partner," you couldn't have been mad at him, right? The NFL bullies like few others bully.

*Nevertheless, once Favre pulled the "I changed my mind, now unlock the door and let me back in" routine, the Packers had to figure there were no more rules to abide by.

*Don't be surprised if Favre makes the Jets a playoff team. Also, don't be surprised if the Jets next spring are where the Packers were ... waiting ... waiting ... uh, excuse me, have you made up your mind yet?

*And, finally, don't be surprised, ever again, by any iconic hero who supposedly epitomizes all that sports should be about unleashing his ego and sense of entitlement when it suits him best, and to hell with the consequences.

*Hold on. Now I've got an "itch" to give a few more thoughts. Let me text them to you, or you can wait for my brother to call you, or ...

david.steele@baltsun.com

Listen to David Steele on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. on WNST (1570 AM).

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