October 04, 2011
You had to expect that after Brett Favre(notes) made a bit of a return back to the game by broadcasting last Saturday's Southern Miss contest, he might get a few radio opportunities out of the experience. That did indeed happen, and Favre went on Atlanta's 790 The Zone station recently to talk about a number of things, including the current Green Bay Packers team, and a quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers(notes).
Now, if you've seen Rodgers this year, you know that he's playing the quarterback position about as well as it can be played. If you haven't been paying attention, we recently laid it out for you. And with a quarterback that good, Favre was asked, was he at all surprised that the Rodgers-led Packers won Super Bowl XLV, giving Rodgers the same number of Super Bowl rings as Favre (and, it should be said, one more Super Bowl MVP award than Ol' Number 4 has)?
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Favre's answer was typical of the man. Passive-aggressive, a series of compliments with a bunch of hidden needles inserted, and the amazing ability to always bring the subject back around to himself.
"I'm going to be honest, I was not surprised. The biggest surprise to me would be that he didn't do it sooner. My last year in Green Bay prior to the first game, I made the remark that this was probably the most talented team that I've ever played on. And of course everyone looked up and was like, 'This guy's off his rocker.'
"We were very, very young; take me out of the mix and we were by far the youngest team in the league. But I could see the talent pool across the board was outstanding. Now our season kind of ended up being a reflection of that. We came close, and I think we took a lot of people by surprise, but guys emerged rather quickly. Aaron had a chance…even though the last couple years it's seemed like he's almost a rookie, he's been around awhile. And I'd like to think that he watched, he learned, and then when he got a chance to play, he brought in his ability which is obviously very good or they wouldn't have drafted him in the first round. He's got tremendous talent, he's very bright and he got a chance to watch and see successful teams do it right.
"And so, he just kind of fell into a good situation. On top of that, he's a good player. I don't think there's any pressure on him now, the talent around him is even better than when I was there. So I'm really kind of surprised it took him so long. In the early part of last year season, it hadn't quite clicked yet and I didn't know it would. I just kind of figured when they hit their stride, they're going to be hard to beat. And that's what happened."
I can understand Favre's desire to protect his own legacy in Green Bay (though he did everything he possibly could to tank it after the fact with his seasons in New York and Minnesota after his first "retirement" from the Packers), but there's an element of sour grapes in his statement that just doesn't sit well. In a way, it reminds me of the tension that grew between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the early 1930s with the New York Yankees, when Ruth realized that his own skills were starting to decline and Gehrig was going to be a monster player. Gehrig wasn't as glamorous as Ruth, and he did fall into a very good situation (hey, it beat playing for the St. Louis Browns), but Gehrig also held the Yankees together between Ruth and DiMaggio in the same way that Rodgers has helped the Packers to ascend from very good to truly great in his time with the team after Favre's departure.
The simple fact is that Rodgers is playing the position in a way that Favre may never have — with a ruthless efficiency that Favre rarely possessed. That's not a slam on Favre; the daredevil aspect of his play was one of the many reasons he was one of the NFL's most successful all-time quarterbacks. But it's also true that Favre should take a second look at how Rodgers is marshalling his old team — or, it's possible that Favre has already taken that second look and would prefer that Rodgers not fly so close to the sun.
After all, Donald Driver(notes), Greg Jennings(notes), James Starks(notes), Jermichael Finley(notes) and Jordy Nelson(notes) are all talented players, but Rodgers is the only guy on that offense who's got a Hall of Fame path right now. And you could very easily argue that Favre had better offensive lines through his career than Rodgers — at least, so far.
It just grates a bit that Favre is trying to make the NFL's best quarterback (that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it) into less than what he is, simply because he's taking Favre's ball and running with it, and throwing it more accurately than Favre himself ever did.
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