As atheletes go, I’m a big Brett Favre fan. I admire the guy’s passion and grit and, hypothetically speaking, if I were a head coach, would love to have him be the QB of my team for as long as he was able to play.
That said, I completely understand Packers coach Mike McCarthy not welcoming him back with open arms after his changing his mind about retiring. There’s an extreme selfishness underlying the whole situation that reflects poorly on Favre and is the kind of thing that has tarnished the reputation of way too many atheletes who didn’t know when to hang it up and move on. (I’m looking at you, Vinnie.)
As a Jets fan, I’m not the least bit excited about them trading for him and unceremoniously shoving Chad Pennington — a real stand-up guy and true team player who’s been treated like a red-headed stepchild ever since Mangini took over the team — out the door before he had a chance to prove his worth working with a revamped offensive line and a more experienced head coach and offensive coordinator. That Favre stands to benefit from the major roster overhaul this season instead of Pennington is disappointing as I believe the Jets will turn things around and a have a realistic shot at a 10-6 season, at worst, and will be poised to make a serious run through the playoffs.
I’ve been a Jets fan since I first really started following football back in the early 80s and have fond memories of the likes of Al Toon, Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin and Wayne Chrebet — the prototypical Jets player, IMO — and have always wished we had a marquee QB at the helm. Yahoo Sports has a chart comparing the “eighteen different New York Jets quarterbacks [who] took the field since Brett Favre began his streak of 253 regular-season starts for the Green Bay Packers, beginning in Week 4 of 1992” and it’s not a pretty sight.
I was a big fan of Esiason and Lucas (underrated and never given a fair shot to keep the job), hated O’Donnell with a passion, and am hoping Clemens turns out to be the real deal — but Chad Pennington is a Chrebet kind of guy and this season, I’d take him over anyone else on that list in a second. None of them, Chad included, ever took the Jets to the Super Bowl, though, which is something Favre now has a good shot at doing.
Right this minute, with the pre-season kicking off tonight, the thought of making a playoff run and winning the Super Bowl with Favre isn’t terribly appealing to me. If he pulls it off, I’m sure I’ll get caught up in the excitement as the season goes on, but it will feel a little hollow, kind of how I imagine Don Mattingly fans felt in 1996 watching the Yankees win it all without him while that idiot Wade Boggs rode a horse around the field.
PS: It was just announced that the Jets released Pennington outright, so at least he’s free to determine his own future instead of winding up in a questionable trade to a weak team. Hopefully he gets a shot at a starting gig on a team with a not-ready-for-prime time QB. Whereever he ends up will likely become my default second-favorite team, though, and I’d love to be faced with the dilemma of that team, with Pennington at QB, facing the Jets in the playoffs.