Beefs against Thompson play role in split

A record-breaking career in Green Bay ends with Brett Favre miffed at GM Ted Thompson. Bob Fox recalls the issues.

How did we get here?

Brett Favre is a New York Jet , but in 16 record-breaking years as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, he accomplished deeds no player in NFL history can match.

Deeds like all of the all-time passing records. Like a record 160 wins, which is 12 more than John Elway. (Think about that for a minute. That's an average of 10 wins a year.) Like an astronomical 253 consecutive starts — 275 if you include playoffs. Like a touchdown pass in 18 consecutive playoff games. Like three league MVP awards

Certainly, the 2007 season was one of Favre's best, as the Packers finished 13-3 and were one win from the Super Bowl. Favre's completion percentage of 66.5 was tops of his career, and his seven 300-yard passing games tied a career high.

Yet, the split of Favre and the Pack occurred. Why? 

Let's go back to 2005, when Ted Thompson was hired as general manager. That first season — one of his first big moves as drafting Aaron Rodgers in the first round — was abysmal. The team finished 4-12 after he allowed three key free agents — guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle and safety Darren Sharper — to leave. In last month's interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, Favre spoke of three incidents in which he felt Thompson had let him down or lied. One incident was letting Rivera and Wahle go. Second, was not trading for Randy Moss before the 2007 season. Finally, there was the promise Thompson would interview Steve Mariucci for the vacant coaching job in 2006.

Let's address those incidents. It was a mistake to let Rivera and Wahle go. While Rivera had age and injury issues and had only two good seasons with Dallas, Wahle became a Pro Bowl player with the Carolina Panthers. Combined, their absence, along with injuries to Javon Walker and Ahman Green, helped lead to the 4-12 season.

The Moss incident was well documented. Favre offered to redo his contract to help the Packers acquire Moss — both players were represented by agent Bus Cook. Thompson, however, did not pull the trigger, and Moss wound up having a record-breaking season for New England.

But to Thompson's credit, he added to the Green Bay receiver corps by drafting Greg Jennings (2006) and James Jones (2007) and acquiring free agent Koren Robinson, a move Favre heartily endorsed. Robinson was released after the 2007 season, mostly due to lingering knee issues, but Jones had a solid rookie year and Jennings had a breakout season in 2007 with 12 touchdown receptions.

As for Mariucci, yes, Thompson should have interviewed "Mooch." But perhaps Thompson thought Favre was sort of running the asylum under Mike Sherman, and felt that a coach like Mariucci, who is close to Favre, would not be conducive to the situation. Besides, the hiring of Mike McCarthy helped turn Favre's career around after Favre had his worst season in 2005.

Regardless of why it happened, it's time to move on. True Packers fans want the team to succeed, even if the relationship between Favre and the Pack ended so clumsily.

I believe the Packers and the Jets will be playoff teams in 2008. Hopefully, the pain of the Favre split will die as time goes on. The legacies of Favre, Thompson, McCarthy and Rodgers will be on the line. Favre can make his Hall of Fame career that much more impressive in New York, while Thompson and McCarthy are off to great starts in Green Bay. But that was before the trade. That is why the success of Rodgers in Green Bay is so important.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com


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