Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brett Favre FINALLY decides to stay retired. Thank god!

If you couldn't tell by the headline, nothing makes me happier than to finally be done with the second Brett Favre retirement saga in as many seasons. The media circus began once he was officially released by the Jets at the end of April and it hasn't stopped since. Until now.

I remember around this time last year when the news broke that Favre had been traded to the Jets on August 6, which also happens to be my birthday (what a great present!). Many Jets fans whole-heartedly bought into the Favre frenzy as his jersey flew off the racks, but I wasn't one of them. I made my apathy towards the trade well-known amongst my family and friends, and 11 games into the season I looked like a fool for doubting the ageless wonder. The Jets were leading the AFC East at 8-3 and had just knocked off the undefeated Titans. Despite 13 interceptions, Favre had also thrown 20 touchdowns and had the Jets streaking towards the playoffs.

Five weeks, nine interceptions and just two touchdown passes later, the Jets were on the outside looking in to the playoff picture after a dismal 1-4 stretch that included road losses to San Francisco and Seattle. And as much as it pained me, all I could think was, "I told you so."

Favre was a misfit from the start. He had to learn an entirely new playbook in just a month of training camp and develop chemistry with a completely new set of receivers. And the Jets personnel wasn't that of a high-octane aerial attack. Laveranues Coles was no longer the burner he once was, and Jerricho Cotchery is the definition of a possession receiver. Without a deep threat, the Jets struggled to stretch the field even with Favre's rocket arm, and many times during the season Favre would force the ball deep into double coverage, resulting in numerous drive-killing interceptions.

Meanwhile, the quarterback the Jets released to make room for Favre, Chad Pennington, flourished with the division rival Miami Dolphins. Pennington also beat the Jets in Week 17 to keep them out of the playoffs and win the division for the Dolphins. Pennington finished second in the MVP voting to the Colts' Peyton Manning after throwing 19 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, and he proved that he was indeed healthy and still deserving of a starting gig in the NFL, something the Jets weren't convinced of when they announced he would have to battle the underwhelming Kellen Clemens for a starting job.

Hindsight is 20/20, but Favre was running Pennington's offense all along in New York. A healthy Pennington doesn't throw half as many interceptions as Favre did and probably matches his touchdown total, as he threw almost as many with a significantly less-talented Dolphins offense. Favre was most successful throwing short passes in the Jets' West Coast system, something that Pennington does better than most quarterbacks in the league. And for all the hoopla about Favre's arm strength, he didn't create many big passing plays down the field, except for the other team.

The Vikings should be happy to finally move on from Brett Favre. A soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback just coming off shoulder surgery isn't exactly a recipe for success, even in the unimpressive NFC North. And if he tired (physically and mentally) after 11 games last season, it seems rather unlikely he would make it through the 16-game NFL grind this time around. Not to mention the uncertainty he created around the team about who their quarterback was going to be this season.

Tarvaris Jackson is no Brett Favre, that's for sure, but he doesn't have to be. Not with Adrian Peterson in his backfield and a stifling run defense. I still think the Vikings are the favorite to win the division, but unless Jackson develops in a hurry they likely won't make it out of the first round. I can understand the frustration of some Vikings' fans and players, who thought they could contend for a Super Bowl with Favre under center. In the end, I think they'll realize they're better off without him. And yes, I am still bitter about last season. If you couldn't tell.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this one and the "sarcasm" was great!