Brett Favre is a New York Jet—he has been for 2 regular season games now.
There were a lot of opinions back and forth as to whether or not the team should get him. Most fans were gung ho about getting Brett here, some weren't. I was one of those holdouts, as I was not in favor of trading for him. I felt that he was too much of a "me"-guy, and not into the Mangini "team" concept. I feared that too much attention would be placed on him.
I felt that Chad Pennington was the best quarterback for this team, as constituted. However, that was not to be. Favre was acquired, and Pennington was released.
Now that he is here, bleeding Green and White as I do, it is time to embrace him, and welcome him to Gang Green. And it is also the time to hope beyond hope that both parties know what they are doing.
There is a great moment in an interview that Mike Francesa conducted with Mike Tannenbaum and Brett Favre from Jets camp at the end of the summer. In this interview, Francesa is discussing the fact that Brett was sent by Tannenbaum, to all of the different places there are to hunt in NJ—hoping to make Favre feel at home. Brett mentions that now that he is here, he is having much difficulty in finding these locations.
This is a microcosm of my point here.
First, let's draw a recent parallel. This is the greatest quarterback the Jets have had since Joe Namath. But let's think more recently. Fifteen years ago, we had a similar situation in NY.
The New York Rangers had a team that was primed to make a run at the Stanley Cup. They were acquiring players such as Glenn Anderson, Craig MacTavish, and other veterans—guys with playoff experience, to put them over the top. Then they acquire the guy with the credentials—the legend.
His name was Mark Messier.
He was brought into the NY Rangers for one reason, and that was to win a title. It was not to improve, not to bring the Rangers credibility, nor to rebuild, but to win a championship.
In both cases, the teams brought in subordinate pieces of the puzzle. For example, MacTavish and Anderson on the Rangers, and Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and Tony Richardson on the Jets. The pieces both teams brought in were not young. They were pieces meant to win now. And in both situations, aging players with top championship credentials were brought in, Messier and Favre.
But most importantly, when Messier arrived on Broadway, all fans had visions of Stanley Cups dancing in their heads. They didn't have first-round playoff appearances, or improved seasons in mind—they had championships.
Whether we want to admit it or not, the situation is the same with Brett Favre. Whether any Jets fan will say so publicly, we have all had visions of Super Bowls, and great January football, playing vividly in our minds. Years of heartache coming to an end, the dream of all Jets fans.
We are not expecting 9-7. We want to go all the way.
If Brett doesn't play well, he will see the other side of NY. He has seen the glitz, the hoopla, meeting the Mayor, getting the key to the city, etc. And if he plays like the 2007 regular season version of Brett Favre, he will be loved.
However, if he plays like the 2006 Brett Favre, he will see just how cold New York can get. If he doesn't play well, this isn't Green Bay with a limited media presence. This is NY, where he will not be left alone if he doesn't play well. I hope Brett understands the magnitude of coming here, before he is forced to understand it.
Furthermore, I hope the Jets know what they are getting themselves into.
If you watched the Brett Favre introductory press conference last month, you would have seen that Mike Tannenbaum couldn't have looked happier sitting next to his new legendary quarterback. He had a grin on his face as if he just came out of his favorite candy store.
However, we have to remember that Green Bay very quickly made clear they didn't want him back. I know that part of it was the development of Aaron Rodgers. However, part of it must have been that they felt Brett Favre was done. He didn't play well in the second half of the NFC championship game, and the rumor was that played a part in them not wanting him back.
I find it hard to believe that when Brett wanted to return, they would have sent him away if they thought he was the Brett Favre of old. Maybe they are correct about him. We will see.
The bottom line is this: I hope Brett knows what he is doing by coming back, and I hope the Jets know what they are doing by bringing him here.