Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Easy is usually another word for wrong.

After discussing the Favre business with some friends, the only reasonable answer I can give as to what he should do is “I don’t know.” On the one hand, he said he was done, and the franchise moved on accordingly. After year after year of playing “Will I or won’t I?” with the staff and fans of the team, it would seem like he owes them the decency of following through when he pulls the pin and leaves. Threatening a comeback forces the team into the awkward position of making things work the old way just as they were figuring out the new way. It’s like having breakup sex, then trying to build a relationship off of it; it was supposed to be goodbye, and everything else is just awkward beyond belief. You don’t think Mike McCarthy has been putting in time changing his gameplan and prepping his personnel accordingly? Worse still, what does this do to Aaron Rodgers, who’s patiently waited for three years now without creating any turmoil whatsoever? They’ve been developing him during that whole time, and now that he’s ready to go and under center Favre wants another crack at a Super Bowl? Bench Rodgers again, and you set this team back at least three full years following this season. There’s no way that he’ll stay with this team once his contract runs out, and I guarantee there will be teams beating his door down to get a five year vet who’s shown great promise. Brett’s got one more in him, tops, and even if you believe in Brian Brohm (and I’ve made no bones that I don’t), it’ll take at least two more for him to emerge as legit. Doesn’t Favre owe it to the team to let things progress naturally from his announcement? Isn’t that the dignified thing to do?

But at the same time, doesn’t the team owe him something too? The years of service have to mean something, right? Sure, he said he was leaving; you list the things you’ve said you’d walk away from and see how many of them rank up there with this situation. You want to keep a man from doing something he loves, something he’s devoted his life to, and something he’s still probably great at because he had a tough decision and might have said the wrong thing once? And for all the talk of “dignity,” is there anything more dignified than having the ability to call it a life (at least in the professional sense) on one’s own terms? Vinny Testaverde did this for 800 years, and nobody called him undignified; since when does Brett Favre not get more leeway than Vinny Testaverde? Anyway, from a purely practical standpoint, isn’t Favre actually doing the right thing for the team next season? Is anyone willing to bet he couldn’t outperform Rodgers?

The point is that there is no simple answer; this is a man and a long, cherished relationship, and simple answers to problems in that relationship would cheapen it. Do I love Aaron Rodgers? Sure, but I’d also love to see Favre try and outdo last season. It’s the rare win/win that comes with a lose/lose.

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