Apparently Brett Favre is returning to the Green Bay Packers for his 16th season. Is this good for the Packers?
Obviously with Favre’s popular support, it is in the best public relations interest of the Packers to allow Favre anything he wants short of murder. But will his return help the team? Despite his career and league high 29 interceptions, and a pedestrian quarterback rating of 70.9 to go with just 20 touchdowns, and considering that Aaron Rogers is likely to not be the next coming of Ben Roethlisberger or even Chad Pennington circa 2002, Brett Favre will make the Packers a better team in 2006. But does that really matter?
What is three or so more wins if they only mean a record of 7-9? Granted in the week NFC North, where the Chicago Bears, despite a dominating defense returning all of their starters, still have offensive and quarterback woes, and the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are basically starting over, the playoffs are certainly a possibility, and may only require nine or ten wins. Yet, even if the playoffs are reached, and that is not a guarantee, the Packers are likely to find themselves one and done. Favre is not the miracle cure, and he is no longer able to raise the team up on his shoulder and his right arm and carry them to Super Bowl glory. Not that this was ever the case, for Brett Favre is Super Bowl-less without Reggie White dominating on the other side of the ball.
Where does Favre’s return leave the future of the franchise? Aaron Rogers will spend another year riding the pine, watching a living legend who bluntly refuses to tutor his heir-apparent. Not only will Rogers not be gaining valuable experience from playing, but the Packers are forced to wait another year to figure out if Rogers truly is the heir-apparent or will they need to go shopping again soon. Aaron Rogers needs time to work with the veteran receivers to learn the game, and to grow a rapport with some of his future weapons. Favre prevents this.
The Green Bay Packers are clearly starting over and rebuilding, having selected their “franchise” quarterback in last years draft, and with a new coaching regime in place this year. They are not built to win now, however that has not stopped teams in the past in this parity driven NFL. However, to best build for the future and ensure future success it would have been in the Packers’ best interest if Favre had accepted retirement, made a few public appearances to appease the fans and allowed the Packers to move on and bring closure to the Brett Favre Era.
Well that era now has one more year left. What can we expect from Brett Favre this year, what records might he have a chance at?
Last year was an especially tough year for Favre as the Packers played through inconsistency and key injuries. Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport return to carry the ball for the Packers, and Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson should be healthy and ready to go, with Javon Walker shipped to the highest bidder. Sitting at the overall pick five in the upcoming draft should see the Packers select a defensive difference maker in AJ Hawk of Ohio State, though there is the possibility that D’Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia could be their man, and would then provide Favre with the protection that he was sorely missing last year.
Record-wise Favre is sitting at 53,615 career passing yards, 7,746 yards short of Dan Marino’s 61,361 and definitely out of reach this season, and thus unreachable where Favre is concerned. However, Favre sits only 289 completions away from Marion's record, 4,678 to 4,967, and considering Favre completed 372 passes last year, he should achieve this record towards the end of the season barring injury or a renewed commitment to the running game. At 396 Touchdown passes, Favre enters the season 24 away from Marino’s, recognizing a pattern here, 420. There is definitely a chance that this record is held by Favre come 2007, though considering he was limited to only 20 touchdowns last year, this is not a guarantee.
The record the Packers might not mind Favre breaking, and one that is doubtful considering the condition of the Packers’ roster currently, is the Career Wins as the starting quarterback where Favre stands at 139, 8 behind Marino, who does not hold this record, which belongs to John Elway with 148, 9 wins ahead of Favre. The nine wins to tie, or ten to break would more than likely see the Packers in the playoffs this year.
Though his return hinders that Packers plans to start over, it does allow the fans the opportunity to give Favre the send off he deserves, and the thrill of the record chase for a man who has been a class act and deserves the success of his career.