Every drama has its ending; Mario Puzo's intertwinement of crime and family concluded in the form of 1990's film The Godfather: Part III, when after Michael Corleone -- the then aging crime family head -- screamed in silent-then-deafening horror at his daughter's murder, sat outside his home in Italy before then falling to the dirt in death... bringing one of film's greatest trilogies to a riveting close. The Sopranos shafted its viewers in its series finale -- JAG succumbed to its tired, hormonal and middle-aged fan base by letting Harm and Mack finally be together, throwing any intuition of avoiding corniness out the c.o.c.k.-pit window.
And now, what has been going on for over 16-years in Green Bay, Wisconsin and in the hearts of Packer faithful is now closed - at least for the self-proclaimed title town. Brett Favre has been for the past few seasons, a legend - as usual - that has shown no ability to think outside of himself, and not for the organization he's been a champion for for so long, the fans, his family, his teammates, and especially Aaron Rodgers, a young QB yet to ever get a start due to waiting with a headset on the sidelines while Brett throws touchdown after touchdown, interception after interception all in an effort to bring one more title home for the Cheesheads. Favre has created his own version of a modern Shakespearean play, titled "To Play or Not to Play" for the second-half of the 2000's. For the past few years, every off-season comes and goes, with number-four waiting, and waiting, and waiting until the last moments to decide whether to stay or go; and always being staying. After a remarkable 2007 season, in which Favre had career numbers, setting numerous records - both he'd like to remember and forget - he decided it was time to hang them up. The Packers had made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game in 2007. That was the last game of Favre's career, according to Favre shortly thereafter.
Then, he had an itch. An itch he had to scratch. (Oh, don't we all have this problem?) Brett made some phone calls, seeking someone to help him with this itch... either to make it go away, or rub it raw until it bleeds - green.
Green, as in the New York Jets green. After just over a month long stalemate with Ted Thompson and the Packer Organization, Favre was reinstated, then, showing true classic Favre mind tricks, Brett made it clear he wasn't wishing to be a Packer and flew back home. Hours later, he's a New York Jet, jumping onto a sinking ship with hopes of using the likes of Laveranues Coles and Jericho Cotchery and other offensive tools to -- pardon this -- re-tool a retched Jets team that has been struggling at the QB spot for a few years. Oh, how we hung on for dear life through it all. Screaming in pain and confusion, begging to know what was in the box. And unlike the horror in Gweneth Paltrow's head, we have a mixture of joy, disbelief, exasperation, disgust and surprise. Rick Reilly said Brett was like a seven-year old girl; a drama queen; a primadona. To me, we're all in his court, being pulled along by wires through the desire of the puppeteer above -- Favre. If that's too cynical for you, then you're either a Packers fan or just too tired of watching update after update on ESPN News, and couldn't care one way or another.
Despite any backlash I feel towards number-four, it is nice to see him back in uniform - although the one I nor anyone had envisioned - and ready to lace ‘em up, dawn another helmet, take hold of an offense, a team, a fan base, and make one more run in the sun. What we thought was his "Eclipse" last winter in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field is now only an afterthought; casting Chad Pennington astray and facing off against AFC foes is in the forefront, crawlin' closer and closer ‘to the present. And I welcome it. I welcome Brett back to the NFL, back to contention, back to where he can be a kid again. I want to see his laser arm in action; his playful grin, his perilous attempts at victory, even, his interceptions.
But that's only part of my outlook on his return.
Part one: elation. Part two: pessimism and ultimately, apathy. If I had a singular question for Brett as of this moment, it'd be if he truly believed coming to the Jets was a positive move in his life. Do they really, truthfully, have a chance at another Super Bowl, because, doing my best to pin-point the obvious here, outside of feeling the desire to play again, he just wants another ring. Another taste of Super Bowl XXXI, another pass to Andre Rison, another leap into the air with his helmet clinging to his golden fingers. No matter what the critics say - the ones staring at the 2007 schedule and the numbers four and 12 - the Jets are something Brett can hurdle into contention. Adding Alan Faneca to protect Brett, you've got a chance to at least keep him on his feet. Throw in Dustin Keller at TE and you've got one more target outside of Cotchery and Coles. Look behind him in their formation during upcoming practices and you'll see a feisty two-headed monster bearing down on the turf, begging for a chance to run too day-light. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will most likely get their shots to erupt into the second level of opposing defenses with Favre calling the signals, providing that same deep threat he brought in Green Bay, whether he had Antonio Freeman making improbable catches on Monday Night Football or Donald Drive and Greg Jennings. The offense that was 26th last season in the NFL surely has a shot at cracking the top 15 this season. There's just one, or a large number of problems, that stands in their way: The heavily stacked AFC.
This makes the hair stand up on the necks of Packer front-office men. That conditional draft pick they acquired and its value is dependent on how Brett and the Jets do in 2008. In 2009, if the Jets made the Super Bowl and Brett performed highly as an individual, the Pack's pick turns from a dull, fourth-rounder, to a blossoming first-round draft pick, giving the Packers the luxury of nabbing a high caliber player. Looking at the AFC, one starts to lose the sudden burst of hope that was once exuberant with life and excitement after Brett's move to the Big Apple. For sure, any sane person knows they can't win the AFC East. There's no way past the goliath Patriots, and those pesky Bills are a tough out, ala the Baltimore Orioles. Skamper on down the list on ESPN.com, and you see a laundry list of teams capable of killing Brett's dream of hoisting another silver trophy:
Broncos -- possibly; Chiefs -- maybe; Chargers -- definitely; Ravens -- only if Kyle Boller doesn't show up to camp; Bengals -- defense; Browns -- too foolish to label as a one-hit wonder; Steelers -- Big Ben is still there; Colts -- No comment; Jaguars -- good luck running on them; and the Titans -- stout run-attack, both offensively and defensively.
All are teams capable of making the post season. All teams in the way of the Jets and Brett Favre's pursuit of avoiding looking like a total fool in coming back.
That... and fulfilling the promise he's surely stressed over and over to Deanna that him going back to football is good and will work out alright. I doubt she's too pleased about all this, eh Brett?
Combine elation that Brett Favre is back in the NFL with the doubts he'll have any success and a diminished legacy, reputation and a loss of respect for the man the past few years, culminating in the past few days, and you've got where I rest on the issue now:
I guess I still like the man, seeing how I want to see him play some more, but that childhood idolization is gone. I won't mind seeing his gunslinger ways back in action, but the silent rooting is gone. If the Jets make the post season, it'll be okay, so much that I get to see some more totally against the grain plays made - and mistakes. If they don't: the shoulders will shrug, a grin will form, and words will form, taking shape and expelling:
Should've just stayed at home... you got what you wanted, now deal with it, Brett.
No matter what happens in the next few years in New York, it may have been better to just stay home... and apply some crème to that itch. Whether the Packers handled this poorly and wrongfully pushed him away is unforseeable to me at this point; I'm not going to point the finger at a franchise that has been held by their collective jewels for the past few years and wanted to move on, after they had thought that Favre had as well. It boggles my brain how Favre can so inexplicably not have any idea of understanding as to why he wasnt feeling welcome. Why they offered him money to stay away. Why they were playing hard-ball in stating that Aaron Rodgers was their QB. This was a business move, and one the Packers had to make. If not anything, a move to restore any sense of pride they had left. Who knows if Favre will ever realize that.