Friday, February 02, 2007

Number 4 comes back for more

Brett Favre announced this morning that he will be returning for another season as quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Favre has publicly hinted at retirement numerous times over the past few years, often making his deliberations public. But he put the question to rest early this time. A few thoughts.

  • First, I was wrong when I wrote about this topic last year. I thought that Favre was slowing down and that playing with what looked to be a woefully outmanned Packer squad would mean that his career would end not with a bang, but a whimper. In some respects, what Favre accomplished last season was perhaps his most impressive performance yet. He played under control almost the entire season, not trying to make the riverboat gambler plays that had plagued his 2004 and 2005 seasons. Even though he had only one reliable receiver, he was able to put up pretty good numbers and lead the Packers to an 8-8 record, including an impressive 5-1 mark against divisional opponents. Favre showed the skeptics something that we should have known all along - you underestimate Mr. Favre at your peril.
  • The NFL still needs Brett Favre. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have long eclipsed Favre as the best quarterbacks in the league, but they do not provide the persona or image that Favre has. The NFL tends to look askance at displays of personality, but Favre has been able to establish an indelible image through his play on the field, not through the machinations of marketers. He is still one of the best public faces the NFL has to offer and will be until he decides it is time to leave.
  • As a fan, I'm simply delighted that I get to see Favre play some more. It's easy to forget how boring the Packers were for the quarter century between the end of the Lombardi era and the arrival of ol' number 4. I've long delighted in dredging up the names of the obscurities who wore the Green and Gold during that long drought (Terdell Middleton! Ron Acks! Tiger Greene! Paul Ott Carruth!), but let's face it, the Packers were not all that entertaining in that era. With Brett Favre at the helm, every Packer game has held at least some residual interest, and not only for Packer Backers.
  • Can Favre get the Packers back to the Super Bowl? Maybe. The NFC does not have a dominant team right now. The Bears are in the Super Bowl on the strength of a very good defense, but Rex Grossman may be one of the worst quarterbacks to ever take the field in a Super Bowl. The Saints were a great story this year, but a lot of things broke right for them. The Eagles, Seahawks, Cowboys, etc. are solid teams that don't scare you. If the Packers can find a few more weapons for Favre, it's easy to imagine them being right back in the hunt next year. If the Packers were in the AFC, they'd have no shot. But they aren't. So why not?
  • Mr. Dilettante challenge: submit your favorite obscure Packer in the comments section, and say why.


Anonymous said...

Randy Vataha, Wide Receiver from Stanford. Why, because his name's funny sounding and he definitely meets the test of obsure.

Mark said...

Hey anonymous,

Good choice - Vataha was gassed when he showed up in Green Bay, but he had a pretty nice career with the Patriots before that. Washed up guys showed up in Green Bay with alarming frequency back in the 1970s.