article wrote:One of the biggest stories in recent sports history just got a lot bigger: Brett Favre is a New York Jet.
The emotional retirement-turned-unretirement nightmare of the Green Bay Packers icon was supposed to have ended with a deal to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday night. Everyone at Lambeau Field felt strongly the deal was going to get done this week, and with the Bucs. Jets brass even felt that way until late Wednesday night. But when the Bucs failed to counter the Jets' significantly better offer -- a fourth-round pick that can rise to a third-, second-, or first-, depending mostly on Favre's playing time -- the Packers chose New York's offer Tuesday at 11:15 p.m.
And the Jets had the most famous player in franchise history since Joe Namath.
A source with knowledge of the talks said early this morning that if Favre plays 80 percent of the offensive snaps with the Jets and the Jets make it to the Super Bowl, Green Bay will receiver New York's first-round pick next April. Considering he's played 275 straight regular- and postseason starts, the 80-percent playing time likely won't be an issue. But the Jets are coming off a 4-12 season, and even their heartiest fans can only dream of a season that ends in an AFC Championship over the likes of New England, Indianapolis and San Diego. So it's likely the pick will be somewhere between a second- and fourth-rounder in 2009. That didn't temper the Favre fervor around Jets camp early today. Nor general manager Mike Tannenbaum's assertion that he has no guarantee from Favre that he'll play beyond this year.
"We acquired Brett Favre from Green Bay, and he'll be a member of the team,'' Tannenbaum said on a conference call this morning at 1:15. "We're excited about it. We're glad he's on the team. [Coach] Eric [Mangini] and I just felt ... when the opportunity presented itself, it was the right move to move and we went ahead and did it.''
The move likely means the end of veteran quarterback Chad Pennington's career with the cap-strapped Jets, who needed to clear room on their salary cap for Favre's $12.8-million base pay this year. Pennington, due to count $9 million against the Jets' cap, will be cut loose sometime Thursday "unless something unforeseen happens,'' Tannenbaum said. "We will have a separate transaction involving Chad before [4 p.m]. It is a bittersweet moment for us. I have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person and a player. He gave his heart and soul to the organization for a long time.''
The Packers, who over the last month had a bruising battle in the press and public with the player who put them back on the football map, took the high road in an early-morning statement.
"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.''
Favre exits Green Bay as the career NFL leader in most passing categories, including touchdowns (442), yards (61,655), completions (5,377) and attempts (8,758). He has started 253 straight regular-season games, also a record -- and one Peyton Manning will have to start every game over the next six years to exceed.
Many players and teammates were asleep by the time the trade was announced this morning, but it stunned those who got the word. And it will stun the New York area when the screaming headlines come out this morning.
"You're kidding me,'' said Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, a Wisconsin native who got the news leaving a team meeting in training camp in Oxnard, Calif., at 12:15 a.m. EST. "Wow! I can't believe it. Brett's a Jet. Incredible.''
Romo paused for a second, then said: "I'll tell you what -- that division is immense now. With [Bill] Parcells in Miami, the Patriots, and now Brett in New York, the AFC East has gotten so much stronger in the last eight months.''
The reason people will be shocked when they digest this over their morning coffee is simple. Not even the Jets thought it was going to happen.
"My gut feeling for a long time was that this was not going to come to fruition,'' Tannenbaum said. "I never thought it was alive.''
Tannenbaum did not speak with Favre for the first time until late Tuesday night, when Favre was still in Green Bay and digesting the fact that his career with Green Bay was over. Favre had never been enthused by the prospect of going to Tampa Bay or New York, preferring Minnesota because his former quarterback coach in Green Bay, Darrell Bevell, was the Vikes' offensive coordinator and because the offense was so similar to Green Bay's.
But Tannenbaum was evidently persuasive in at least two conversations with Favre, the second one late Wednesday night. "We were able to talk through moving to the northeast and a lot of issues,'' he said.
In the end, the Jets simply wanted Favre more. Their offer was too good for the Packers to believe and was more than the Bucs would have considered. Under no circumstances, not even if the Bucs won the Super Bowl with Favre playing great, would Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen have considered surrendering a draft choice that could rise to a first-rounder.
The reason Tampa Bay wasn't as desperate as the Jets was simple: The Bucs won the NFC South last year with an old quarterback, Jeff Garcia (now, like Favre, 38) years old, playing well. Garcia completed 64 percent of his throws with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions before flaming out in the NFC Wild Card round against the Giants last January.
Now Favre will have to adjust to a new offense with a coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, he's never met. That could be a tough adjustment. Early this morning, though, recently retired NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, who knows Favre and Schottenheimer well, said he didn't the adjustment would be a monumental one.
"The new offense is an issue, but not a huge issue,'' Dilfer said from his California home. "Schottenheimer likes the shotgun, and Brett likes the shotgun. Schottenheimer like the empty backfield and spread formations, and Brett likes those. What's good about Brian is he builds his system around the players he has. Brett will have to re-learn a system and study hard for the next three or four weeks, obviously. But I think he'll know it in three weeks and own it in seven.''
Dilfer said Schottenheimer's pass plays are numbered, while West Coast plays have names. A staple pass play in the Schottenheimer's scheme, 525 F Post, will likely be renamed with a term Favre recognizes from his playbook -- say, "Wally,'' -- and he and Schottenheimer would use that name while Favre was getting used to the numbering. The numbers are not really hard. If there are three receivers on the field, for instance, and "525'0 was called, it would mean, from left to right, the three receivers would run "5,'' "2,'' and "5'' routes in the Jet terminology.
"The only thing that would concern me,'' said Dilfer, "is that Brett is going to go to New York tired and weary because of the strain of the last couple of weeks. And he's going to have to work hard to make sure he knows the offense for the first game, and there's going to be the media onslaught. I'd worry a little about fatigue if I were the Jets.''
Fat chance that the Jets will be worried about anything this morning. They'll be the toast of the biggest city in the world for pulling off this deal, on the heels of spending $49.1 million this offseason on bonuses for four veterans expected to kick-start a 4-12 team.
And for Favre, he'll have to get used to life in New Jersey -- the Jets are moving their practice facility from Long Island to Florham Park, N.J. late this month -- and he'll have to get used to new teammates. "I like their receivers, [Laveranues] Coles and [Jerricho] Cotchery,'' he told me 11 days ago. "I think they've added a lot in free-agency. They're not a bad team.''
Now, they're a very famous one.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/w ... s/?cnn=yes
I like it guys. Clemens gets a mentor and the Jets should be playoff contenders if Brett can continue his streak.
I feel bad for Penny, but after they restructured his contract last year...I was certain they couldn't/wouldn't have him back this year. Didn't think that would happen this way though. Thanks for the memories Chad.