Strahan misfires on post-Favre Packers

In his initial comments as a Fox football analyst, the ex-Giants sackmaster underestimates the leadership skills of coach Mike McCarthy and the returning players.

Michael Strahan ended his pro football career on the highest of notes. The same can't be said for the start of his broadcasting career.

"You know, I think Green Bay is definitely going to have to have almost like a mourning period," Strahan, talking about Brett Favre's retirement, said during a conference call with reporters to discuss his new job as an analyst on Fox.

While it will be strange to see someone other than No. 4 under center on opening day, believe it or not, life in Green Bay hasn't changed since Favre's retirement. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The traffic lights remain hopelessly out of synch. And if you're in a hurry to get somewhere downtown, the bridge inevitably will be up to let a ship filled with coal or whatever navigate the Fox River.

"(Favre) was such an influence in Green Bay, on the field, off the field, in that locker room," Strahan continued. "Without him, OK, what is the identity of the Packers? Who is the face of that team, to carry that team into the future? ... I think they will be a team basically searching for their identity this year."

Identity of the team? By that, I assume Strahan means leader. Look, Favre wasn't exactly Alexander the Great or Abraham Lincoln when it comes to leaders. He certainly led by example with his work ethic and toughness, and he picked and chose his spots to lead by words.

Considering how little Favre hung out in the locker room with his teammates, the Packers will be fine in this regard. Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett and Donald Driver come to mind immediately. Aaron Rodgers certainly is trying to fill the void, as well, though he'll have to lead by example — in other words, win football games.

Most important of all is coach Mike McCarthy. He doesn't exactly ooze charisma, but he's won 18 of his last 22 games. He turned around a team in decline. The players have wholeheartedly bought into his system, sacrificing much of their offseason to work out and improve in Green Bay.

The Packers face several issues in trying to build on last year's stunningly successful season. Replacing Favre's leadership ranks very low among them.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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