Packers XLV

"Packer Preview" Owes A Debt to Brett

Posted August 5th, 2014 @ 06:08pm

On Sunday, August 31st, I'll settle in behind the mic in the KFAN studio and kick off season number 19 of "Packer Preview," the first and to this day the only, team-centered radio show airing on its arch rival's flagship station.

It would never have happened, if not for Brett Favre. The only way it gets off the ground is if the team is a Super Bowl contender. When I first pitched the show to the brain wizards at KFAN in the summer of 1995, the Pack was an up and coming powerhouse, led by its precocious and magical young quarterback. But KFAN was coming to the end of its first contract as the home of the Vikings and the last thing they wanted to do was stir things up with a Packers show.

But the Vikings flipped the rights to WCCO after the season, so I went back to the goochies and reminded them that the Pack was coming off an NFC title game appearance and would be a Super Bowl favorite in '96. "Packer Preview" was green-lighted and my first season was Brett Favre's Super Bowl season.

The Packers have always been incredibly popular in the Twin Cities, dating back to the time before the Vikings came to be. My dad grew up in St. Paul in the 40s and he was a Packer fan. Add in the number of people (like me) who discovered what a great metropolitan area the Twin Cities is and migrated over from the land of cheese, and you understand why you'll undoubtedly find one of us on your block or at your office.

By the mid-90s, Packer mania was rampant in the Twin Cities, since it looked like Favre, Reggie and the Packers were ready to take over and win a few Super Bowls. OK, that didn't happen but the Packers won one, lost one and were a perennial playoff player. And the appetite for Packers conversation was immense.

And it allowed me to remain on the air at KFAN, even when they reclaimed the rights to the team in 2000. My show got bumped back an hour from 9am to 8am (and this season we're on from 7am-8am), but they allowed me to stay, understanding that ours was a unique rivalry and the truth is, they've been one of Clear Channel's shining stars for years because they like to think and program outside the box.

But back to where I started. Favre is the reason my show ever happened, but longtime listeners know I was not pleased with #4 as the messy separation and divorce went down. For 16 seasons though, he gave us, week in and week out, NFL theater at the highest level. Every game was an adventure and we never felt we were out of a game until the last second ticked off. It was never dull. As a child of the 70s, I saw plenty of dull Packers seasons.

In this era of pinball offenses, records are broken weekly, it seems. Most of today's QB records will be taken with a grain of salt, as fans try to compare Montana to Elway to Manning to Rodgers to Luck, etc.

But Favre's two most meaningful records will stand the test of time. The consecutive game streak will never be broken. His wins record may be broken by Manning (Favre leads by 19), but 186 wins by a starting QB will look impressive for as long as the NFL is around.

We Packers fans didn't like the way it ended. Favre put the Packers in a very difficult spot and the team made what I thought was the only decision to make. But he is one of the greatest QBs of all time and certainly one of the three greatest Packers (I still put Hutson and Nitschke ahead of him. After much reflection, I reluctantly put him ahead of Starr).

It's been seven years. It's time to move on and recognize where Favre sits in the annals of Packers lore. It was never a question that his would be the sixth number retired.  I thought this would be the year. The December Monday night game against the Falcons seemed like the perfect platform--honoring Favre with the team that drafted him in the house. But by next year the new and improved Packer Hall of Fame will open and this will become its signature event.

Then on one special night next season, maybe the opener, we'll see #4 join the other hallowed Packer numbers: 3, 14, 15, 66 and 92. Precisely where it belongs.


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Comments (14):

Let's get the blinders off about Favre, shall we? We all know the litany: Most passing yards, most attempts and completions, most td passes most wins, the 3 MVP/coMVP"s, the iron man starting streak. But most of Favre's records are the product of longevity. When broken down into per season or per game averages he's not that great. Stats available at show that on a per season yardage basis Favre is only 12th among qb's with at least 1500 career attempts at 237.9 ypg. Just a fraction ahead of Marc Bulger and Trent Green. On a per season basis Favre doesn't rate with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or even Matt Stafford. Aaron Rodgers is already 4th on that list at 257.4 ypg. We all know that Favre is by far the NFL's career interception leader at 336. Thats more than 50 than the next highest and the only figure for any one over 300. In nearly a third of Favre's seasons in Green Bay he threw as many or more picks than td's. The "average" Favre season was 25 td's to 16 INT's. Favre's career passer rating of 86.o pales in comparison to Aaron Rodgers' current 104.9. In fact of the top 5 most efficient passing seasons in Packers' history Rodgers has 4, Bart Starr 1 and Favre doesn't even make the list. In nearly half the seasons Favre was in Green Bay the team failed to reach double digit winning seasons. The Packers averaged only 9.3 wins per season during the Favre era; barely above .500. Favre played on only 1 Super Bowl winner; and Desmond Howard not Favre was the MVP of that game. Favre failed to deliver a Super Bowl repeat for the Packers in SB XXXII, despite them being heavy favorites. Between 2001-07 Favre personally threw away at least 4 good opportunities for the Pack to get back to the Super Bowl with his playoff meltdowns. Indeed the representative, defining play of Favre's entire career is that cross body pass and pick that cost Minnesota a Super Bowl in 2009. It's a play he performed repeatedly before in Green Bay. Favre is the only Packers qb to lose a Super Bowl. He's the first Packers qb to lose home playoff and championship games: three times. In those 3 games Favre threw 4 td's and 8 INT's. Favre became a kind of drug to Packers' fandom because he was the last and longest active member of that great 1996 team to play on.But the tailing off in both personal performance and team achievement post '96 showed the limitations and flaws of Favre. Now the kool-aid is being mixed and served and like addicts relapsing to their drug a Favre who was 10 feet tall and never lost a game is being constructed for us to serve an NFL PR agenda. It might be understandable had we not found a qb like Aaron Rodgers to follow the act. But after seeing ARod how can anyone not see the overratedness of Favre? He raised and dashed our hopes repeatedly and in the end double-crossed and betrayed us. So I'm still waiting for a convincing argument that warrants retiring his number and putting his name on Lambeau Field.

on August 16th, 2014 at 07:58am

to respond to the guy with no name, alot of what u say are fact, but numbers don't always show everything, my favorite line in your post, was he only won 9.3 games per season!!!! how many teams would take that right now? ask the vikes, browns lions and many more, like I said I am glad they went to 12 but 4 saved the packers from a horrible 70's and 80's mess and made them fun to watch. and they lost that 2nd super bowl because they couldn't stop terrel davis. now we have the new packers and let's play. go pack

on August 16th, 2014 at 11:31am

If you're going to blog you can't leave us hanging or maybe ask the readers to submit stories as the Curd reporters.

on August 18th, 2014 at 09:59pm

I think the clinching argument against Favre is the "what qb would you most want on your team in a big game with a championship on the line?" I can't imagine any one seriously saying "Favre." And just a point about Super Bowl XXXII. It's been the standard line that it was Terrell Davis' big rushing day that beat the Packers. But two second quarter Favre turnovers, while Davis was on the sideline with a migraine, spotted Denver a 10 point lead and left the Packers on their heels and playing from behind the rest of the game. Favre's lost fumble and interception changed the momentum and complexion of that game.

on August 27th, 2014 at 06:40am

I too have enjoyed reading these opinions on Brett Favre. larry, I agree with most of what you wrote but when you said Favre never had a losing season, you are mistaken. Favre and the Packers went a pathetic 4-12 in the 2005 season which led to the firing of Coach Mike Sherman and then the hiring of Coach Mike McCarthy. I am really glad Aaron Rodgers is the current Packer QB as he doesn't make as many (or any) stupid throws as Favre. I look forward to his # being retired as despite his faults, he is the reason the Packers were so competitive in the 90s and 2000s. I also think he will go into the Packers Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hope to see # 12 in both HOFs as well. Go Pack! Have a great season!

on August 29th, 2014 at 10:46pm

I'm not a big advocate of retiring numbers, but I will say that the impact that Favre had on the franchise can't be taken for granted. Sure, the divorce was messy, and going to the purple was unforgiveable (at the time), but it was 16 unforgettable years he had with the Pack. I say let's all move on; retire #4's number, and put him in the HOF in both Green Bay and Canton. I can forget the bad times quite easily, because it's not something I would obsess over. But I hope it's the last number that gets retired. There are a lot of Packers in Canton that you could make a case for retiring their numbers, but you'd be running out of numbers sooner than later.

on August 5th, 2014 at 02:29pm

Dave...after re-reading your posting, I need to point out one mistake - Favre was drafted in the 2nd round by the Falcons, not by the Pack, and Ron Wolf made the trade for him. Just in the interest of accuracy...:-)

on August 5th, 2014 at 03:05pm

I retract the last posting...sorry about that. (What? You've never had a bad day?) :-)

on August 5th, 2014 at 04:08pm

And in keeping with the spirit of the occasion Austen Straubel Airport will be renamed Benedict Arnold Terminal and St.Willebroard's church (where Lombardi was a daily communicant) is to be rechristened for St. Judas Iscariot. I'm not surprised but I am disappointed that Green Bay's quisling is having his number retired and will have his name inscribed on Lambeau Field. This is just another opportunity for Favre to "stick it" to the Packers. I don't think he really cares about it except that once again he has the Packers caving in to him and Packer fandom fawning over him and he's getting a huge feed to his ego in having what he did against the club in 2008-09 get glossed over and airbrushed out of the story. How can the Packers and their fan base have so little self-respect than to accord something like this to a player who double-crossed and betrayed them about retiring; all the while back-channeling with their main divisional rival to join them to compete against Green Bay. Have so many forgotten Favre's expressed and demonstrated attitude 6 years ago toward Packers fans and the club. "My legacy is my own," he openly proclaimed. Never did he confirm himself to be a Packer at heart when it really mattered. All this talk about what he "did" for the Packers or "made" of the Packers is misplaced. It is not what did Brett Favre do for the Packers but what did the Packers do for Brett Favre that is the real question. Just what was Brett Who before Ron Wolf brought him to Green Bay? A third string, Spurgeon Wynn of the Atlanta Falcons. The Packers put a supremely talented and deep team around Favre that could cover his wild and reckless gunslinging and made it work for the Super Bowl XXXI achivement. After that team left the scene, though, what did the great Favre do when left to himself? The myth now being spun that Favre saved and resurrected the Packers is nonsense. Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren and Reggie White were the ones who really played the lead roles in doing that. As late as 1994 Holmgren was still debating whether to to with Favre or Mark Brunell as the starting quarterback, because of Favre's wildness and recklessness. If Don Majkowski hadn't gotten hurt he might have been the quarterback thru those years in the '90's. I give Favre his due and his place but no more than that. He should be in the Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame. But retiring the number and putting his name on the stadium is a tribute too far. This has been pushed on the Packers by the league, elements of the media (outside of Wisconsin) and some sentimental old souls like Bob Harlan. There's been no groundswell of support for this from the fans. Otherwise why did they have to keep dribbling out hints as a test of the waters like Nixon going to China? But is is going to be done so the sheep will follow and the goats will have to hold their noses. I hope every Packers fan will take a look at the video program "Last Day at Lambeau" before you form your final opinion. And ask yourself whether this feels right as you watch people running around in Favre #4 Vikings jerseys, and watch the now stock video and photo images of Favre the player - as a Viking. And hear over and over how Favre had his "best" season and played with his "best" team in Minnesota. And you want to put that on Lambeau Field?

on August 7th, 2014 at 07:19am

Wow...that's quite the take - I wasn't expecting something like that. But Packerlifer, you're entitled to it, and I respect that. But let me add some perspective to this situation - after all this is PROFESSIONAL football we're talking about. These guys get PAID to do their jobs. Going back in history, in his waning days of his involvement with the team, Curly Lambeau made a strong effort to move the team to Los Angeles in the late 40's, even though the bylaws prevented him from doing that. It didn't stop him from trying to circumvent those bylaws and make the move anyway. It would have been easy to do in those days, with the Packers being on such shaky financial ground at the time. His last "dagger" was bailing out on the team to become coach of the Chicago Cardinals for two years, then coaching the Redskins for another two. Toward the end, he was a cunning, slitering snake who would lie to your face to get what he wanted. He eventually got back in the good graces of the board of directors, and look what happened after his death in 1965? They renamed the stadium after him.

on August 7th, 2014 at 10:21am

It has been pointed out that Curly Lambeau tried to pull some business shenanigans, Lombardi went to Washington rather than return to coaching with the Packers and Reggie White played for other teams before and after his time in Green Bay; yet their names have all been inscribed on Lambeau Field. The Favre case is really unique in Packers history. This was not a free agency departure, like LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami. It wasn't a trade of an iconic player like the 49ers sending Joe Montana to KC. And whatever those other Packer greats did they did for business reasons not to "stick it" to the Packers. Favre lied, double-crossed and betrayed the Packers about retiring, all the while scheming to get to Minnesota to compete against the Pack for spite as much as anything. I frankly don't think Favre ever really thought he could return to the Packers in '08. What he was really doing was trying to force the Packers to release or trade him so he could join the Vikings. In retrospect the Packers probably should have traded him for a boatload of prime draft choices that would have set the Minnesota franchise back years. Another Hershel Walker or John Hadl deal. But as it stands Favre is the Benedict Arnold of Packers' history. And we're being asked to forget the last 6 years, exaggerate the previous 16 and pretend to make nice with him. There's no real reconciliation here. Favre has never apologized or done anything to try to make some amends for his conduct in 2008-09. Tepid, "I was at fault, but..." isn't genuine or sufficient. Favre has said as much that he didn't care whether his number was retired in Green Bay. The only motive for him now is to once again have the Packers and their fans fawning over him and groveling at his feet. There needs to be something more than just career longevity and statistics to put a name on Lambeau Field. Those that are inscribed there played a unique and historic role in establishing , building and maintaining the Packers and represent the epitome and honor of the franchise. Favre doesn't fit that description.

on August 8th, 2014 at 06:41am

Packerlifer.....Your second take is very well thought out and hard to disagree with. That being said ...Favres on field accomplishments as a Packer deservthe Hall. Would you trust this guy with your sister or your dog probably not...but his on the field performance you can not deny. GO PACK GO !!

on August 8th, 2014 at 08:48am

Favre's main beef was with Thompson, as TT was the boss, and wouldn't let Favre play amateur GM and call his own shots. BF wanted his own guys, and TT said no. Regardless, it seemed to have worked out well in the long run. For me, the payback moment was when Favre threw the interception in the Vikings/Saints NFC championship game...I couldn't stop smiling for days. Then to have the Pack follow it up a year later with Lombardi #4 and championship #13, that was the ultimate. So what it all comes down to is Thompson wouldn't put up with the mistakes and the attitude, and sent him east. For me, it all worked out in the end.

on August 9th, 2014 at 01:31pm

Hey guys, reading all the posts, very interesting, here are my thoughts, 4 was the most needed player at the time then any qb ever taken in football. for 20 years we looked like the bears and browns and now the vikings going thru qb's, He played every damn game, we all forget that. he never had a losing season.he still has the most wins by a starting qb, manning will break that someday and passing td's too..But 4 was the face of the Packers for 16 years. here is where I think your wrong and most agree with u Voice, brett didn't love TT, and wanted some more players around him and didn't like the 12 choice, but, McCarthy was the one he butted heads with. the 1st week of training camp after he took over, he grabbed 4 by the face mask and said, U can't throw over the middle late like that, it will be intercepted,and all the guys knew this guy takes no shit. and he had the teams attention and they stood behind him and are still playing hard for him and respect him. he had thrown over 20 int's the year before cause sherman didn't say a word to him. MC got the best out of him but didn't like to play with restrictions. also MC saw 12 getting better every day and he knew 4 was getting older and didn't want to lose 12 and have him walk away. he also had a 4 hour chat with Brett before he said the train has left the station. I believe 95% I am right on this. just my take from what I have read over the years and talked too. his number needs to be retired simple as that. I didn't like him going to play for the vikes, but he made his choice to get back at MC and beat him. he wanted to play with his best friend Longwell and he played a big part along with OC, bevell, it's over, I plan on seeing him go in the Hall I hope. now let's watch this team win a super bowl if they get over these damn injuries. I sure wished we would have gotten Cooks wr from N.O. took him just ahead of us. like I said before the draft, but Adams may come thru, Go Pack

on August 9th, 2014 at 02:15pm

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