Wait a minute, THIS was the plan?
To let a smiling and triumphant Brett Favre fly into Green Bay on Sunday and then throw a blanket party for him on Monday night? To ream him for five hours and then still try to A) trade him or B) tell him he’s the backup to Aaron Rodgers.
Instead of the situation being crystal clear on Tuesday, it's even more muddied than before. Coach Mike McCarthy, GM Ted Thompson and Favre could not agree on what Favre's role would be. A stalemate's been reached. And league sources are indicating that trade talks are alive again.
I swear, when McCarthy told me Saturday afternoon that the team had a plan in place for Favre’s return, I assumed it would be one that wasn’t written in crayon.
In President and CEO Mark Murphy’s “Rubicon Statement” released Sunday, he said the team would use Favre’s presence to its advantage.
If taking a spiteful stance that flies in the face of logic (there’s not a planet in this galaxy on which Aaron Rodgers could outplay Brett Favre in 2008) is an “advantage” I’d hate to see this team at a disadvantage.
A league personnel man told me Monday night that the Packers are paying right now for the inexperience of their top-level guys and the fact that there isn’t an owner to step in and say, “Enough.”
Murphy has been on the job for nine months. GM Thompson is an excellent talent evaluator (despite what Favre might think) but his crisis-management skills consist mainly of widening his eyes and repeating the questions he’s asked. And McCarthy’s a football guy who’s letting his football sensibilities get in the way.
The hiring of Ari Fleischer may have been a nod to that inexperience. But the former White House press secretary needs to understand something before dispensing advice to an NFL franchise. The public is a lot more knowledgeable about football and Favre than it is about foreign affairs and weapons of mass destruction.
The football public knows a screw-up when they see one. Immediately. And the treatment of Favre – who I’ve been critical of since this thing began – is now simply spiteful. The Packers are going to get crucified in the court of public opinion if this goes down the way it’s headed.
Now, on to the practical matters.
What team is going to exchange anything of value for Favre now when they know the Packers are ready to auction him off?
And if the Vikings do become the team that Favre joins (a move I seriously doubt: Tampa Bay or the Jets are more likely), is there any way the Packers recover if Minnesota overtakes Green Bay in the division?
How can the Packers say their interest is in putting the concerns of the “80 men on that roster” first when they continue to A) drag the situation out and B) lock out a quarterback who was one of the five best in the league last season.
The Packers braintrust has lost sight of the situation.
They think they are walking Favre down the plank at the point of a sword today. In truth, they’re the ones dangling.
It doesn’t have to go down this way. I didn’t think it would go down this way. But if it does, McCarthy, Thompson and Murphy are way in the wrong. They’re the ones perpetrating the distraction. And they’re the ones putting 2008 and the rest of the team in harm’s way.
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