Move forward by bringing back Favre

Feelings might be hurt, but the Packers' best chance to win now with a talented roster is by welcoming back their longtime quarterback, Packer Report's Tyler Dunne says.

Good thing Brett Favre isn't a politician. He has lost votes across every demographic.

His bashing of Ted Thompson lost him the management vote. His comeback undercut of Aaron Rodgers squashed the young teammate vote. And his failure to mention any team goals during a three-part interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News lost him a chunk of the fan vote. Favre's never been one for sleazy political correctness, and over the past couple weeks, the frustration finally boiled over. And he lost a ton of public support in the process.

Oh, how the tide has turned. Or more appropriately, the leverage.

Favre's outright defiance of Thompson two weeks ago looks like a G-rated, Will Smith rap-level diss. President Mark Murphy's reported payoff bribe is the team's latest head-scratching maneuver to desperately keep Favre miles and miles away from 1265 Lombardi Ave.

He figures to be at practice on Tuesday, though. Twirling a football on his index finger in Rodgers' shadow, just waiting for Thompson and Mike McCarthy to eat their "we've moved forward" words.

It's been easy to dismiss Favre because he seemed to be the one handling the situation so poorly — from the slowpitch questions from Greta to the mysterious alleged conversations he's had with "Minneapolis" offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

It's easy to sympathize with Rodgers. The poor guy should be making $8 million a season as San Francisco's starting quarterback. One long wait on draft day and three years of clipboardin' later, he's stuck in this muck.

But enough sensitivity. This isn't a Disney show. It's the NFL. Rewind to last season and it's no debate at all. If Favre is in a Packers uniform, Favre will start. The staunch denials can be reversed easily.  

Favre isn't the prehistoric, creaky-legged quarterback Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath and Joe Montana became — as much as skeptics love to compare the scenarios. Favre finished second in the MVP voting with 4,115 yards and 28 touchdowns, and came within one overtime of the Super Bowl. Back when Favre jovially was cupping snow into his hands and firing a snowball at Donald Driver during a three-TD pass performance against Seattle in the playoffs, did anyone in their right mind foresee Murphy flying down to Hattiesburg, Miss., with a suitcase of money to bribe Favre?

Forget the regurgitated "moving forward" and "change" messages that have been thumped harder than the religion that is Environmentalism. Green Bay is a win-now team. For some reason, this blessing is cursed by Thompson.

No doubt, two years ago — rotting from a 4-12 disaster — Thompson had a five-year plan. But things changed. Players like Greg Jennings, Jason Spitz and James Jones grew up faster than anyone expected. The Ryan Grants, Atari Bigbys and Donald Lees became stars out of nowhere. The veterans didn't age. They peaked. And Thompson's long-term plan was trashed. Or at least, should've been.

This is a win-now team — that needs a win-now quarterback. Super Bowl windows open and close quicker than post-Seinfeld character sitcoms. While New England has somehow sustained success as Jerry, most teams' hopes flame out quicker than George in "Listen Up!" and "Bob Patterson."

Maybe Rodgers isn't a fast track to mediocrity. McCarthy's quarterbacks school and three years worth of practices have elevated Rodgers' game. But even a glass half-full view would say he's two to three years from reaching Favre's Pro Bowl level.

Who knows where the careers of Al Harris, Charles Woodson and other defensive veterans will be when the lines cross? Who knows if Donald Driver's career will crumble abruptly like Freeman's did? Thompson is trying to force rebuilding on a team that's equipped to win now.

Favre's pending comeback is being billed as a disastrous, lose-lose situation distraction on par with T.O.'s driveway sit-ups, Kelvin Sampson's recruiting shenanigans and the Rev. Wright's sacrilegious sermons.

But it's not nearly as catastrophic. With Favre and Ryan Grant back with the Pack, Green Bay fields the same exact team that came within an overtime of the Super Bowl last season — with a new weapon in the slot in Jordy Nelson.

When Thompson received the text message heard around the world on July 5, he should've aborted his vacation and greeted Favre with a Rocky-Apollo on the beach bear hug. Hey, they worked out their differences.

But Thompson didn't, and hell gradually froze over with each bizarre twist to this story.

For some reason, Favre is blasted for wanting to play football. But what's worse — a Hall-of-Famer deciding he wants to play again at the eleventh hour? Or a front office cowardly trying to hijack Favre's career by paying him a $25 million ransom?

Naysayers refute his return by saying the offense was "tweaked" for Rodgers and there's no way Favre could fit in with this team this late. Right ...

First off, McCarthy dismissed that cute word "tweak," saying his West Coast hybrid offense isn't really changed at all. Secondly, as far as rust goes, one offseason in Kiln, Miss., instead of Green Bay, Wis., doesn't override 16 years as a starting quarterback. It's not like Favre was a practice hero anyways — Antonio Malone's two interceptions of Favre last July aren't exactly immortalized in Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

The other half of Favre-haters clamor at the quarterback sticking his nose into rooms he shouldn't — players play, coaches coach, managers manage, yada-yada rhetoric.    

Judging the muck chucked at Favre, you'd think he was a criminal. How dare Favre make free-agent suggestions! Please. He didn't nail a person with his car at 3:30 a.m. on a bar strip like Marshawn Lynch. He didn't get caught with 200 grams of codeine like Johnny Jolly.

Favre did something every star does at some point — lobby for personnel moves. Big deal. He wants what's best for the team and is chastised for it? There is nothing wrong with your quarterback pulling for the best wide receiver of this generation, Randy Moss. It means he's involved. He cares. He wants to win, now.  

Some players have the right to sit in the cigar room with the big cats and discuss personnel decisions. Favre — more than any other figure in sports — is such a player. He's the general on the battleground that understands the situation best — 160 wins, 442 touchdowns and 22 playoff games give Favre the right to lobby for another superstar. After all, Paul Pierce's push for Kevin Garnett didn't hurt.

As No. 4 stumbled through wild-card flameouts with Bill Schroeder, Corey Bradford, Bubba Franks, an aging Freeman, an ornery Javon Walker, a perpetually double-teamed Donald Driver, he became jealous. Like everyone else, Favre saw the loads of cap space at Thompson's disposal, and politely arbitrated for Moss the past two offseasons.

Not because he's selfish, but because he wanted to win now. And now, the Packers have a nucleus to do just that — without mortgaging the future. It's a dream scenario. McCarthy said rookie Brian Brohm has mentally picked up his offense quicker than any quarterback he's had. A new heir would be set.

It's not too late. Favre's back. There's no way he'll be benched in the Monday night opener if he's on the team then. Maybe someone's feelings are hurt. This is business. This is a matter of wins and losses. Thompson should swallow his pride and slightly alter the team's status quo. Let Favre walk back into the stadium he built.

This isn't a lose-lose scenario.

With Favre, the Green Bay Packers are built to win now.

There are 31 other teams that would kill to say that.

Tyler Dunne is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at tydunne07@yahoo.com.


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