Shawn Lee, one of the survivors of POL S 325 and a really great guy to boot, is a passionate football fan (who has developed a pronounced interest in pan-Arabism). He popped me an e-mail the other day about, well, Brett Favre. Here’s the text:
You said that you don't see how Favre could've saved the season for the Packers, but I don't know I have to disagree. Sure Favre is having a rough go now, but he has been really good for NYJ, and in spite of what happens tomorrow, the Jets are a better team with Favre than they would've been with Pennington. You don't shove a legend out the door unless you have and absolute stud waiting in the wings (see 49'ers Montana to Young transition). Now Aaron Rogers is a good and serviceable qb, and could have a good career, will it be a Hall of Fame career? Probably not. A charismatic leader behind center, even if he is old an over the hill and overrated, forces d - coordinators, not wanting to look the fool, to overemphasize ("respect") his passing game more which of course opens up the running game. This year Grant was a bigger threat out of the Packers backfield than Rogers was, allowing defenses to key on him. The year before the opposite was true, Favre was more of a threat, which allowed Grant to emerge. Simply put the NFC North might be won by a 9 win team this year, the Jets have 9 wins, and your Packers are on the no. 1 tee box with my Seahawks.
This, of course, requires some sort of response. So, point by point, then:
You said that you don't see how Favre could've saved the season for the Packers, but I don't know I have to disagree.
You share this opinion with many of the most colorful posters to the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Packers page, home to the most vociferous of the Farve fans anywhere.
Sure Favre is having a rough go now,
Let’s compare and contrast his statistical performance for this year with that of Aaron Rodgers:
Note the gap of 566 passing yards. Favre made slightly larger number of attempts and completed 2.1 percent more of his passes. That said, Rodgers averaged 0.8 yards more per pass. As much as I may resent it as on old guy, I attribute this to the “zing” of youth. Indeed, our young gunslinger “zinged” us six more touchdowns than Favre made for the Jets. Moreover, Rodgers did it with nine fewer interceptions than Favre. I think I’d have wanted Rodgers, not Favre, on my fantasy team this year.
And as far as the Packers’ future goes, I really don’t think Rodgers has peaked yet. By the by, let's compare Rodgers with Favre's renaissance year last season:
Note here that Rodgers has nearly as many yards, an equal number of touchdowns and two fewer interceptions. Rodgers, incidentally, was sacked way more often this year than Favre was last year. Rodgers performs under pressure. Plus, the kid, like Favre, isn't made of glass. He played through a shoulder injury and started 16 times. Certainly, QB injury was every cheesehead's big worry going into the season. It turned out to be a red herring. The Kid is tough. Remember when making this comparison that 2007 was an exceptional year for Favre. We don't have enough data yet to be certain that Rodgers can keep this performance up, but you have to admit the numbers are deeply encouraging.
but he has been really good for NYJ, and in spite of what happens tomorrow, the Jets are a better team with Favre than they would've been with Pennington.
Does anyone debate this? Certainly I don’t. Favre was an excellent deal for the Jets even if he retires this coming season. Jersey sales alone probably made the deal a financial success, and I think Favre was a genuine asset for the Jets offense.
You don't shove a legend out the door unless you have and absolute stud waiting in the wings (see 49'ers
to Young transition). Montana
Now, I’m not a Niners fan (far from it!), but did everyone know the year Steve Young took over that Steve Young was going to be Steve Young? I’d be interested in reading the first year rhetoric surrounding the young QB and his reception on the Niners.
Now Aaron Rogers is a good and serviceable qb, and could have a good career, will it be a Hall of Fame career? Probably not.
For what it’s worth, let’s compare the Kid’s first year with Favre’s and Young’s. Since Favre didn’t start all sixteen games in 1992, I threw in 1993 as well. Likewise, I threw in 1992 for Young.
First, note that Rodgers threw for more yards this year than either of these giants did in theirs. Of course, in Young’s case, this is an unfair comparison, as he made far fewer attempts. Young's average pass was longer than either Rodgers or Favre. Moreover, his low number of interceptions put both Favre and Rodgers to shame. But note that Rodgers is far more attractive than Favre in his opening two years. I see nothing in his cards that suggests that Rodgers can’t be one of the greats. You are correct that the odds are against him are high simply because of Favre’s exceptional talent (i.e. Favre is already exceptional and has been for a long time. In contrast, it's hard to spot an exceptional player before he has a reputation), but can you see why the Packers would risk a great deal to prevent losing Rodgers to free agency? Favre certainly didn’t start his career with better credentials than Rodgers.
A charismatic leader behind center, even if he is old an over the hill and overrated, forces d - coordinators, not wanting to look the fool, to overemphasize ("respect") his passing game more which of course opens up the running game. This year Grant was a bigger threat out of the Packers backfield than
was, allowing defenses to key on him. The year before the opposite was true, Favre was more of a threat, which allowed Grant to emerge. Rogers
I would like to see you provide some sort of evidence that this process actually happened. At the very least, I’d like to see documentation of some sort of coaches arguing that they can relax on the Packers’ passing game and focus on corking up Grant. I watched every Packers game this season except the second Bears game just before Christmas. I saw little to suggest major fault on the offense other than the size of the linesmen and the injuries on the offensive line. Moreover, recall the rhetoric in 2005 and 2006. Everyone (but me, I felt) said Favre was washed up and a has-been. Fantasy guides systematically downgraded him. His reputation is far better now than it was then. No one predicted that Favre would have a blockbuster year in 2007. I need stronger evidence to be persuaded by your theory.
Simply put the NFC North might be won by a 9 win team this year, the Jets have 9 wins, and your Packers are on the no. 1 tee box with my Seahawks.
Compare QB performance on the Packers this year with Rodgers to our even more disastrous year under Favre in 2005, when the O-line collapsed after Wahle and Rivera were lost to free agency. I feel these years are quite comparable:
Rodgers had eight more touchdowns and sixteen fewer interceptions. Favre’s reputation didn’t keep us from going 4-12 in 2005, the last time the O-line collapsed. This time we’re 6-10. Why not admit that Rodgers did a better job than Favre under the real pressure of a no-win situation? It never matters who is behind the O-line when the O-line sucks. Tip steak or filet mignion, once the meat goes through the grinder, it's all hamburger. For what it's worth though, Rodgers, at face value at least, is a greater asset when the O-line falls apart completely. Among other things, this is due to Rodgers' exceptional mobility, an attribute he has in common with Young, not Favre.
I’m so sick of everyone dumping on Aaron Rodgers. The decision at QB this year was probably the most sound decision undertaken by Ted Thompson (I sure wish he could pick a punter). Sorry, Shawn, I just don’t miss Favre. Who needs a freaking prima donna who makes you go through this "will he/won’t he" routine about retirement every fucking year? Who needs a guy who basically comes out and says, "Well, yeah, I retired. But you were supposed to come after me for the next six months, wooing me into coming back, because I'm God's gift to football. I need to feel more special than this!" To be honest, I miss Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera more than I miss Favre. When they left, our O-line died. Favre should have retired. 2007 was an excellent ending. Everything after has been pure ego.