Written by Andrew Ottoson Tuesday, 29 July 2008 14:34
I've been trying to come up with something to write about the Brett Favre soap opera for the better part of a month, and I've got nothing to say. Except this:
No matter where he plays this season, Favre's “best case scenario” statistically is Rich Gannon's 2002.
With Jon Gruden’s offense geared around his talents, Gannon signed with the Raiders in 1999 and immediately started putting up Pro Bowl numbers.
Then, in ‘02 Gannon posted a few unholy fantasy football stats, ran away with the MVP and led the Raiders to the Super Bowl.
That’s has to be the best case scenario for Favre, doesn’t it?
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While we’re here, let’s not forget that Gannon and the Raiders were more than a little unlucky in the title game against Tampa Bay, throwing five interceptions against a Tony Dungy defense armed with the insider knowledge that Gruden had taken with him when Al Davis traded him for draft picks in 2002.
That was really a fun Super Bowl to watch, wasn’t it?
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Gannon was hardly a hall of famer when he was run out of Kansas City in favor of Elvis Grbac, so comparing him then to Favre now is a little bit nutty... even though Gannon, old at the time, was five years younger than Favre is today.
Even with the age difference, I haven't seen any reason why Favre couldn't reprise everything Gannon did over the next four years, if he lands on his feet with a good team. All he has to do to remain an elite quarterback is dodge the worst case scenario: Gannon's 2003 or 2004.
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Before a Week 7 shoulder injury sent him to the sidelines in '03, Gannon had his QB rating plummet and his sack total rise, in no small part because of inferior offensive line play. In 2004, Gannon ran for his life straight into a career-ending hit from Derrick Brooks.
The moral of the story here is, if Favre wants to play, he should be looking for the most stacked offensive line out there.
* * *
New Orleans and Cincinnati are the only teams that allowed fewer sacks than Green Bay last season, but both have established quarterbacks. So do most of the teams that finished in the top two-thirds of the league in the sacks allowed.
Throwing out the 12 worst in the sacks allowed category, just seven teams lack an established signalcaller: Arizona, Buffalo, Washington, Houston, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota.
Because of the divisional rivalry, Minnesota looks to be both the most willing and the least likely to pull off a big trade.
Arizona is just starting the Matt Leinert era and Houston is one season into a 6-year, $48 million deal with Matt Schaub. Favre’s contract is for $12 million this season.
Buffalo and Tampa Bay have by far the most space under the salary cap, and Carolina and Washington have virtually none. All of this makes Buffalo and Tampa Bay seem like realistic trade partners for the Packers.
If it were up to me, I’d rather see Favre play in Buffalo than Tampa—mostly because Gruden will always be a Raider to me.
Sadly, even the juiciest Internet rumor linking Favre to Buffalo is dryer than a dehydrated Slim Jim.
(Note to self: don't write analogies while standing in line at Ampride. And stop eating things just because the Macho Man Randy Savage made it sound like a good idea in a TV ad 15 years ago.)
But let’s not ignore the fact that Favre has all the leverage here. His problem isn’t lack of leverage—his problem is the very short list of teams to choose from.
If all of this drama Favre is putting his supporters through is about winning a Super Bowl, why won’t he just accept a role as Aaron Rodger’s backup?
With Favre in the fold, the Packers would be as good—at least on paper—as any NFC team, and there’s a very solid chance that Favre could earn the starting job midway through the season. But the real question is why Green Bay management hasn’t done more to foster exactly that attitude—or just welcomed him back with open arms? It has been a big mystery to me, but ESPN Web columnist Gene Wojciechowski shed some light on that with a very sharp column Monday.