On Wednesday at Lambeau Field, each leader of the Pack fielded questions from the media that elicited introspective, soul searching-type responses. Little of the interest of those in attendance had to do with the Packers' preparation for their Christmas Day game against the longtime rival Chicago Bears, who could clinch the NFC North Division on Sunday at Lambeau Field with a victory. The questions, rather, probed at what the future for the two individuals holds beyond this season.
What can be said for the Packers is that they will almost certainly drop their final two games of the season to post a 3-13 record. That mark would be the fourth poorest (based on winning percentage) in the team's 85-year history. It looks worse considering the Packers have not had a losing season since 1991. Even with the injuries the team has endured and other factors considered, this season reflects poorly upon Sherman, diminishing some of the success he had prior.
Favre, who has gained iconic status in Green Bay for his efforts on the field, is not looking much better than Sherman. Mired in the worst season of his career, questions regarding his decision-making have resurfaced (from earlier in his career) as No. 1 draft pick Aaron Rodgers waits for his chance. With 24 interceptions already, Favre will break his single-season high total with just one more in the last two games. Furthermore, his quarterback rating will be the worst of his career without two solid outings to end the year. Those two statistics are hardly indicative of a quarterback that gives his team the best chance of winning.
In most NFL cities, there would be no doubt that both Sherman and Favre would be gone following this season for the above reasons. Change runs rampant from year-to-year with many franchises. Illusions of a quick fix are a reality to most.
In Green Bay, however, business post-Ron Wolf is not always the same as other places. It is not rash. It is critically analyzed. Because of that, expect Sherman and Favre to return for at least another year, like it or not.
Ted Thompson, in just his first year as general manager of the Packers, has taken a quiet approach to what feels like a franchise in transition. He has yet to show his hand in public and does not appear to be ready to do anything bold quite yet. For that reason, more than any others, Sherman brings him stability and familiarity that his young team needs.
Favre, on the other hand, will continue to be the starting quarterback under the current regime until he decides to retire. His fate is in his own hands because neither Sherman nor Thompson would ever tell him they want to go in a different direction. They have indicated as much this year with their words and actions.
With Favre's comments on Wednesday, speaking of all the things he and the team has gone through this season following a 48-3 loss to the Ravens on Monday night, his decision to keep playing will only come down to one thing and one thing only – if he still wants to.
"Regardless of how we stand at this point," began Favre, "am I willing to commit next season like I did all year this season, willing to prepare like I did this last year, and physically can I still play? I don't think that's a question, I've been fortunate, I've been hit a few times, but still can play. My arm still feels great. I think more than anything, am I still willing to give everything I can week in and week out and in practice. I don't think because of this season, I really don't believe that would make a difference one way or the other…"
Favre also has proven to be stubborn, maybe a hidden reason why he will want another shot next year. Certainly that stubbornness has been displayed on the field where he continues to play his same style without the results he has had in the past.
"Regardless of who we've had in the game, really doesn't matter to me," he said. "I've always felt like I could be the difference-maker. We've won three games at this point, and I take full responsibility for that… regardless of who's in there. I've played in every game. I've thrown the same routes to different guys throughout my career and for the most part have been successful doing that, so I expect to be that way this year. If fact, with all the injuries and adversity we've faced, I take it on as a bigger challenge to get those things done, and that hasn't happened…"
While intimating weeks ago that his decision to return could depend on Sherman's status, Favre also changed his tone somewhat on Wednesday saying his decision to keep playing will not necessarily depend on who the coach is or who he is playing with. This is another slight indication that he is leaning toward coming back.
Whatever the case may be, the answers to the status of two of the more prominent figures in Packers' history can be expected to come soon after the season finale against the Seahawks on Jan. 1. With nothing left to play for, the fireworks will start then. Bring on the off-season!
Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.