Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Curse of Brett Favre

Until today, I have been a naysayer of those criticizing Ted Thompson's decision to trade Brett Favre to the New York Jets for a 2009 draft pick. By my logic, the drop-off in quarterback quality with Aaron Rogers was not exceptional and the Packers will end up with a potential future star with that high draft pick from the Jets. I analogize the trade to getting something for a used car that would otherwise not be driven again.

I have also been hard on Favre jock-sniffers Kevin Fischer and Huckleberry Dumbell. They are focused on the quarterback position where statistically Favre and Rogers have been a toss-up, 94.1 to 90.5 QB Ratings following last Monday night's fiasco in New Orleans. The reality is that Aaron Rogers is not losing any more games for the Packers than Favre normally did. It has been the Packers defense this year that is losing games. Fischer's and Dumbell's comparisons to the 2007 Packers also ignore the fact that the team was incredibly lucky with injuries last year.

I've been of the same mind as Jib, who said this week.
1. Think back on how many shootouts the Packers won with Brett over the years. Having trouble coming up with more than a few, aren't you? That's because the ultimate gunslinger wasn't actually all that good in shootouts. He was undisciplined and made a ton of errors when games seemed to be spinning out of control. Like you, I was hoping for Favre-like big plays in the second half from Rodgers. Unfortunately, even Favre did not make those plays very often in games like last night. He was more prone to toss 5 interceptions in games like last night.

2. You all are right. The Packers do miss the pass rush that Brett brought last year. And he was a stout run stopper, too.

3. You all are right. The Packers do miss the blanket-like pass coverage Brett brought to the secondary of this team.
But earlier today I learned of The Curse of Bobby Lane. The parallels are troubling.
In 1958, after leading the Lions to 3 NFL Championships and providing Detroit nearly decade of Hall of Fame play, the Lions traded Bobby Layne. Bobby was injured during the last championship season and the Lions thought he was through and wanted to get what they could for him. According to Legend, as he was leaving for Pittsburgh Bobby said that Detroit "would not win for 50 years".

For nearly 50 years the Lions have searched for answers and each time they think they have one, it gets foiled and they have to start from scratch all over again. The team is constantly in a rebuilding state with an ever constant Quarterback controversy (Ala Munson/Landry, Peete/Ware, or Harrington/Garcia).
Upon his retirement in 1962, Bobby held the NFL record for most career pass attempts, completions, passing yardage, and touchdown passes (since broken). However, it was his leadership and will to win that, to this day, separate Bobby Layne from his quarterback contemporaries. He willed three average Detroit Lions teams to championships in 1952, 1953, and 1957.
Layne and Favre were cast in the same mold.
"Bobby Layne never lost a game. Time just ran out. Nobody hated to lose more than Bobby."
Doak Walker
How many time has that been said of Favre?

I now understand that it is not the quality of the quarterback's play that is losing games this year. It is the bad mojo that the Packers now carry from Thompson's treatment of Favre. The lesson of the Lion's treatment of Bobby Layne bodes ill for the Packers chances of success for decades.

How long until we can add the Favre Curse to this list of famous sports curses?

Cross posted at Headless Blogger.

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