It was a seemingly simple comment made by Troy Aikman during the Green Bay Packers contest with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but it made me pause nonetheless.
Aikman said Brett Favre didn’t want to play for the Packers, anymore. I didn’t really understand it at the time and Thom Brennaman just kind of let the comment hang in the air before moving on, but now I get it.
After Favre retired from the Packers and then decided to come back, he never really had any desire to play for Green Bay, again. In fact, the comment raised another question, too, but more on that later.
Andrew Brandt, who was vice president of the Green Bay Packers through 2008, says Favre was disgruntled with the way general manager Ted Thompson was building the team, which was the basis for Aikman’s comment.
Brett never warmed to the management style of GM Ted Thompson. Beyond the stilted communication, Brett felt he received lip service from Ted about the team making runs at veteran players but didn’t actually pursue them, as that was certainly not his preferred style for building a team.
Brett had no business making personnel decisions for the team but felt his suggestions had merit. He would bend my ear for hours about getting Randy Moss or other veteran players who became available. Whenever Brett would make these comments, I would tell him to trust the young guys we had such as Greg Jennings. Brett replied that he didn’t have time to wait; I would tell him he didn’t have to wait.
After so many tirades about how we weren’t going after this guy or that guy in free agency or trade, I would say to Brett, “What part of Ted Thompson’s philosophy do you not understand?” He would just shrug and walk away.
Brett wanted a ready-made veteran team for the longest time. That’s what the Jets sold him last year, and that’s what the Vikings were selling this (and last?) year.
While I find Favre’s behavior selfish and petty, I also understand where he was coming from. After the 2007 season, Favre figured he probably had one or two more seasons left. He wanted to compete at the highest level and try to win another Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Packers were the youngest team in the league and Thompson, as always, did little to acquire difference makers through free agency or trade. I would be frustrated, too, if I were Brett Favre.
While it’s no revelation that Thompson and Favre didn’t see eye to eye, it’s interesting that it was so bad that Favre didn’t want to play in Green Bay anymore. Back to Aikman’s comment, it makes me wonder if Favre didn’t retire the first time because of his frustration and lack of relationship with Thompson.
If Thompson had been more aggressive in acquiring veteran stars, perhaps Favre wouldn’t have retired. Perhaps the Packers would have won a Super Bowl, and then Favre would have retired. Perhaps Favre would still be playing for the Packers.
We may never know the full story, and really, it doesn’t matter. The Packers current quarterback, who isn’t too shabby himself, would likely have walked via free agency had Favre stuck around longer than he did.
It’s debatable whether the Packers should have taken a two-year shot at a Super Bowl title with Favre vs. 10 years of solid quarterback play from Aaron Rodgers.
But the point is moot anyway, because Brett Favre is a member of the Minnesota Vikings, he didn’t want to be a member of the Green Bay Packers and there’s nothing we can do about that.