Lombardi: Favre the hero; Favre the goat

I am surprised that the play of Brett Favre last Sunday has caused so much turmoil and chaos in Packerland. I have seen him throw some questionable passes. I did see the playoff game versus the Rams a few years ago when he threw six interceptions. I do know that he has a tendency to press and take chances. He will throw picks in bunches. No one who watches the Packers should be surprised that Favre has it in him to have a game like this. With the good comes the bad.

The surprising outcome of his performance and the heartbreaking loss to the Bengals is the short memory some pundits and Packer fans have about their beloved quarterback. His defenders and detractors have spun his performance and the performance of the team to fit their positions without any grounding in reality.

His supporters point to the fact that he has lost all of his weapons and is forced to try and do it all on his own. His top two running backs are out. Three of his top four receivers are out. David Martin was hurt. His offensive line is subpar. They will also question the play calling and game planning. Mike Sherman does not use him correctly. Ted Thompson did not get any good players in free agency. The team did not run enough. Certain players dropped sure touchdowns. No one is this cabal will admit that he made some bad decisions. And no one should be surprised that he did so. He has a history of it. He is a great player, but he takes chances and gambles. That fact does not diminish his ability or his greatness or require him to be benched.

His detractors will point to the fact that he makes bad decisions and try to extrapolate that into questioning his skills or mental faculties. They will question whether at the age of 36, he has finally started the downward slide of his career. If he had not turned the ball over the Packers would probably have won. The defense played well enough to win and even with all the turnovers, the played well enough to win.

Critics will also take this opportunity to pile on Favre just for spite. They have never liked him for whatever reason and now is their chance to stick it to him. Maybe they are jealous; maybe they hate him because he is successful. I used to work for a guy who always took delight in criticizing Favre and often called him stupid. Of course he only did so after he had played a bad game. He never said a word after a four TD game. Interesting part about it is that the Favre Family was one of his clients.

Regardless of their reasons, they will look at anyone who attempts to defend him as a sycophant, a blind defender of all things Favre.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. He is trying to do more with less. Injuries and free agency have depleted the roster. The lack of a running game makes the play action pass a non factor. The defense has played well enough to win. All these statements are true.

And Favre has not lost it. Since late in the third quarter of the Panthers game, he has played as well as I have ever seen him play. Prior to the Bengals game, he was on a roll and you could stack his level of play up against anyone in the league. Sure they fell short against the Panthers and lost to the Vikings (a loss which hurts more after Minnesota got creamed on Sunday), but he has been on a roll. Unless something happened sometime last week, he is still a force.

No one can question his desire, effort or physical gifts. No one can convince me that he is not the best chance the Packers have to win. He should be more careful with the ball, but he is what he is and I would never suggest that he change. To try and change him would be pointless.

John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.

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