Whether it's the combination of being a slow news week or media outlets being desperate for something to write about, the "Brett Favre coming back" story just won't go away. Keep in mind that Favre himself hasn't come public with any intention of playing in 2009. In fact, if anything, he has gone out of his way to deny reports that he wants to come back. Yet, it is like the Terminator of sports stories – whatever you try to do to it, it won't die.
Where the truth lies in Favre's interest in returning is uncertain – from here it looks more like agent Bus Cook is trying to stir things up more than Favre having a burning desire to return. The story would seem to be more of a by-product of Favre's annual "Will I or won't I?" retirement talk. He played the Packers for years, holding them hostage for months at a time with the question of whether he would quit or stay. The talk got so intense that in 2005, the Packers hedged their bets by taking Aaron Rodgers in the first round – a player that hasn't seen any significant playing time in three years.
But the media continues to take the rumor mill at its word. Fans in Chicago hear that Favre is coming there. Carolina's general manager was forced to address the rumors that he is heading to the Panthers. Several other teams have discussed the matter in hypothetical situations. However, the truth is much different.
If you're looking for a landing spot for Favre, the best thing to do is play the elimination game. The Packers would be the logical landing spot, but the Packers have made a big move in terms of moving on. They offered Daunte Culpepper a contract that, for some unexplained reason, he turned down (Daunte, you really need to hire an agent). They also used their second-round draft pick on Brian Brohm and grabbed another QB in the seventh round. It would appear they took Favre at his word that he is done and, while Favre is still the property of the Packers, they have taken his cap money off the books and are moving forward without him. Green Bay would have to release or trade Favre for him to be able to go to any other team, but the question is how many teams could he realistically go to.
In the NFL version of "Survivor," the tribes will have spoken and, despite Hall of Fame credentials, Favre's list of teams can be dwindled quickly. Start with the obvious. If Favre is coming back for one year or even two, he wouldn't want to come to a team that is rebuilding and has no realistic shot at contending for a Super Bowl this year. In that case, you can eliminate Miami, Buffalo, Kansas City, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis.
His desire to start would preclude a lot more teams that have established quarterbacks already in the fold. In that case, you can eliminate the Patriots, Steelers, Bengals, Eagles, Giants, Cowboys, Saints and Seahawks.
It's also unlikely that teams with young stud quarterbacks that were either first-round picks or have earned their starting stripes would bench them and retard their progress for a one-year run with Favre. In that case, you can eliminate Cleveland, Houston, Tennessee, San Diego, Denver, Washington and Arizona.
We're already down to fewer than 10 teams that could realistically vie for Favre's services. The Vikings and the Bears? The Packers wouldn't likely be willing to allow either of them to get No. 4 and pose the prospect of him returning to Lambeau Field wearing the visitor's uniform. It would be sacrilege. The prospect of losing to a Favre-led team in 2008 would be too much for the kerosene-drinking Packers fans to handle, so you could just as easily get rid of '08 opponents Carolina, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville.
So, by the process of elimination, that leaves just three teams. Baltimore and the Jets were both playoff teams in 2006, but fell to double-digit losses last year. Neither of them looks overly promising and, if Favre felt smothered by the media attention he received in Green Bay, imagine the New York press and what they would do to him.
In the end, it appears there are only two logical landing spots for Favre – either stay in Green Bay or go to Baltimore. If he does decide to come back, don't expect the Packers to release him. They have fans that have season tickets as part of wills from one generation to the next. They don't want to alienate them. If Favre is sincere about coming back, the Packers may be his only viable option and the hostage-taking will be happening again. It may already be happening.
Commentary: Where Could Favre Go?
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