I do not blame Favre totally for the media coverage. He is somewhat responsible because he has yet to decide if he is coming back. But he did not drag the media down to Tunica to cover his charity event's press conference. He feigned surprise that there is so much interest in what he says and does, but that has to be acting. If he is not aware of the commotion he has created then he probably scored lower on the Wonderlic test than Vince Young.
Some suggest, like his old teammate Mark Chmura, that he desires the spotlight and is reveling in all of this speculation and discussion. Could be true, who knows? All great athletes have an ego, so that would not surprise me. For this team to be competitive next season, they need Favre. Unless Aaron Rodgers is the second coming, the Pack may not win two games next year as it currently is comprised, without Favre.
We need to remember a few things before we get worked up about his return though. He did throw 29 picks last year. I know his support staff stunk at many positions and injuries hurt badly, but the Lions stink and that did not save Joey Harrington. If his name was anything but Brett Favre, would we welcome him back so willingly? Of course not, the fans would be screaming for a replacement. He did play poorly at times last year and seemed fairly ineffective at other times. I know that some of us are curious to see how he will play if he comes back and the team struggles again.
So at the risk of further adding to the fuss surrounding Favre's decision, here is a breakdown of what could be going on:
1. It is a Smoke Screen: Favre wants to come back, yearns to compete and has already told the Packers that he is coming back. The team is sitting on it so teams that desire one of the franchise quarterbacks in this year's draft will come calling for the team's first round pick.
Logic behind It: Makes sense, but seems excessive. Does Favre or the team think all this public hand-wringing does his rep or the team's rep any favors? Can the damage to Favre's rep be overcome? In truth, all of this will be long forgotten if he comes back. If the ploy works, it will be to his benefit. The word will get out eventually. He will look like a hero.
2. CYA: Favre wants to come back, but is trying to protect his place in history and force the team to make some moves. He is questioning the moves the Packers have made (and will make) and is giving himself cover. If the team stinks, he can say he tried and look good. If they improve, he can take credit. He wins either way.
Logic behind it: This also makes sense. This makes the most sense if you think about it. He does not want to come back to a bad team, but the team does not look much better than last year. By dragging this out, he thinks he is forcing the team to make some moves and like I said, he has nothing to lose. He will either force their hand on player acquisition, or he can cover his backside by saying he tried.
3. He has it out for Ted Thompson: Favre is not sure if he is coming back but either way, he is trying to paint TT out to be the bad guy.
The logic behind it: Not sure if this is true, but if Favre does not think Thompson has done enough or shown him the proper respect, this would make sense. If he decides to retire, he can place it all on TT's lap. By not improving the team, he forced Favre to quit. If he comes back, it still looks bad. Favre can say that he would have decided sooner, but was not sure the team wanted him back.
4. He truly does not know: Favre is one of a kind. He could truly be unsure of what to do and is just dealing with it day to day. He has not planned any of this, it just happens.
The logic behind it: Like the theory of Occam's Razor, which postulates. "When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better." this explanation may be the better. He truly may not know.
5. The Packers want him to retire: But they do not have the stones to tell him or force him (or trade him). The Packers and TT have a plan and they are sticking to it. Build through the draft, be economical in free agency, and do not mortgage the future for today.
The logic behind it: Favre may not fit in to this plan. He retards the development of any future QB. He ties up cap money, which they do not seem in any rush to spend and he is mucking up their vision with this show.
I am not sure what the real reason is and there are probably many that I did not think of. Favre claims that he will not do it for the records and I agree with him. He says that he will not play for the money, but I would suggest that he play and donate all of his salary to charity. That would be nice.
I have heard that this thing is wearing on folks and Favre has exhausted some of the good will he has built up in the community and among fans. I think that is bunk to be honest. I have run across some career decisions in the past and if my decision-making process was public, I would probably look pretty stupid in comparison. If everything I did was reported, I would probably annoy more than a few people. Most of us would falter in comparison to Favre on this issue. Just because he is a good football player does not make him any different than the rest of us when we cannot decide what we want to do.
If my boss was waiting for me to decide if I was coming back to work and he was at least publicly willing to wait as long as it took I would exploit that fact. If I had a ton of money and was working for fun and if things did not work out, I could find another job in about 10 seconds, then I would probably be in the same spot as Favre. There is no urgency for him, so why should we expect it from him. I wish he would decide, but why is it my right or anyone's right to demand it from him? He has done too much for the team and Packerland for us to push him. Just follow his advice and go watch the Brewers. Either way the team will take the field next September and we will watch.
Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. 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. E-mail him at email@example.com.