It turns out Brett Favre
still will be wearing green after all.
Just not the shade he is familiar with.
The Packers traded Favre to the Jets
late Wednesday night for a fourth-round draft choice that could be as high as the first round if Favre leads the Jets to the Super Bowl
and takes 80 percent of the team's total snaps. The NFL
Network reported the pick becomes a third-rounder if Favre takes 50 percent and a second-rounder if he takes 70 percent and the Jets make the playoffs.
That's not a high price for a quarterback of Favre's stature.
It was 1959 when the great Vince Lombardi, in his speech to open his first training camp as coach of the Packers, famously noted the axiom, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."
How the NFL has changed since then.
Half a century later, Lombardi's own Packers had no interest in the available, willing player who could have helped them win more than anyone on their roster. And what's more, hardly any other teams had any interest in that player.
So far as is known, only the Jets and Bucs had shown interest in Brett Favre.
If winning still were the "only thing," there would have been a line of teams making bids for Favre's services. Twenty teams would have been interested.
And the Packers would not have listened to a single offer.
"No chance," they would have said when asked if Favre could be had. "He is too important to our chances of winning this year."
Instead, the Packers said Wednesday night in a joint statement from team President Mark Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson: "Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.
"We respect Brett's decision he could no longer remain here as a Packer. But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved."
This is the same Brett Favre who just last season quarterbacked his team to the NFC championship game. The same Favre who had the fourth-best completion percentage in the NFL (66.5) while also having the third-best average yards per completion (7.8). The same Favre who had the sixth-best passer rating in the league—95.7. And the same Favre who passed for more yards than all but three quarterbacks.
The Jets are going to be a better team because of Favre's presence. The Jets know Favre will be an upgrade over either Chad Pennington or Kellen Clemens, as he would be over almost any quarterback in the league who isn't named Brady or Manning.
He might even give the Jets a chance to compete with the mighty Patriots in the AFC East. You can imagine the smile on Jets coach Eric Mangini's face.
It's interesting that both of the teams in the Favre bidding were coach-driven. Coaches traditionally are more interested in acquiring as much talent as possible without regard to other consequences.
Coaches, in other words, are more inclined to see winning as the only thing.
What matters more than winning?
If Lombardi were alive today, maybe he would say, "Winning isn't everything. Developing my young quarterback is."
No, Lombardi wouldn't have said any such thing. He would have taken his whistle and gone to coach a Pop Warner team.