Strangely enough, the screaming headline news of
Talk about your juxtaposition. It couldn't be any starker. While Favre has been the ever-present face of the storied Green Bay franchise these past 16 years, here today are the Falcons, still searching for their first back-to-back winning seasons, and still desperately trying to replace the franchise quarterback they let get away.
At No. 3 in this year's draft, Atlanta is likely in position to select Boston College's
Consider the following:
• In the 16 seasons since Favre arrived in Green Bay and took over the starting job in Week 4 of 1992, the Falcons have started exactly 16 different quarterbacks in at least one regular-season game. The humbling breakdown is as follows:
• The Falcons have started the same QB in all 16 games of a single season just three times in those 16 seasons: George ('94 and '95) and Vick (2006). In eight seasons, or half the time, Atlanta has started three different quarterbacks in the same year, including 2007, when Harrington (10), Redman (four) and Leftwich (two) played musical chairs at the game's most pivotal position (with predictable results, 4-12).
• Atlanta has enjoyed just four winning seasons and four playoff trips in those 16 years, with 10 losing seasons and seven years in which it racked up a double-digit loss total. By comparison, Green Bay has posted a gaudy 13 winning records in that span, with 11 playoff trips and just one losing season. Almost polar-opposite fates, wouldn't you say?
What a disaster Falcons quarterbacks have been while Favre was building his Hall-of-Fame career in Green Bay. Who could forget the sideline confrontation with head coach
It's all hypothetical, of course, but if Favre had stayed put, the Falcons likely would have been spared the ignominy of Vick's career self-destruction in 2007, which devastated the franchise in almost incalculable ways. They would not have had to endure George's embarrassing meltdowns, or the false hopes that briefly accompanied young quarterbacks such as Johnson, Graziani or Kittner. And they wouldn't have had to traffic so heavily in the veteran retread quarterback market that brought Hebert, George, Chandler, Harrington and Leftwich to town.
Favre under center, year after year, might have trumped it all. For the Falcons, this week's news at least presents one small consolation: It brings to a close the most galling chapter in franchise history, and in one sense puts them out of their misery. After 16 years, No. 4 can haunt them no more. The Falcons finally have one thing in common with the Packers: Now they both can miss Brett Favre.
• Here's the thing about Favre's playing style that I think always resonated so deeply with NFL fans: It had an every-man quality, in that the version of the game he played each week somehow resembled the game we all remembered playing growing up. Be it on the playground or in organized youth football.
His wasn't some display of the perfect technique or form; he didn't execute at a supremely gifted athletic level that we could only dream of. We could watch Favre and see ourselves flipping a desperation underhand pass on the playground, just before the rushers got to us. We could see him chuck the ill-advised pass into triple coverage and recall when we blindly trusted that our arm could make any throw it had to make, no matter what the odds.
Watching Favre out there reminded us of what it felt like when we were playing the game, and conjured up our own experiences with football long before we just sat and watched others play. I never even knew Favre was doing that, but now that I reflect on it, that's what he reminded me of each week. The kid playing football that almost all of us were at some point. He just got to do it a lot longer than the rest of us.
• They say timing is everything, but I wonder if
Maybe it's fitting in a way however, since Favre and Sapp were linked together for a good long time in their careers, as rivals in the now defunct NFC Central division. When the
• I must admit Sapp's retirement after 13 seasons makes me feel rather old. I was the Bucs beat writer for the
The resulting story ran in time for the start of a Bucs mini-camp which Sapp attended, and while I can't be sure, I don't think it served to endear me to the talkative and rather vindictive rookie defensive tackle.
• Now that the sky has stopped falling in the Boston area, and
• I maintained all along that the Patriots would re-sign Moss based on knowing the good thing that they had together and would also bid adieu to cornerback
But a part of me understood the anxiety level of Patriots fans in regards to Moss's situation, and I think you can blame
So while most New England fans probably wanted to trust in Moss' pronouncements that he wanted to remain a Patriot, and heard Brady call him and his top receiver "a package deal'' at the Super Bowl, the specter of Vinatieri's surprise exit two years ago wouldn't allow them to completely rest easy.
• By the way, I'm still waiting to hear exactly which Super Bowl contender is holding open its starting quarterback position for
• Let me get this straight:
• In a signing clearly aimed at replacing free-agent receiver