The Green Bay Packers went 13-3 in 2007 with Brett Favre at QB and were stunned in the playoffs at home by the eventual Super Bowl champ Giants, 23-20, in overtime in the NFC Championship game. Favre threw this interception in overtime that set the Giants up for the winning field goal.
What followed was a bizarre, shocking offseason: In March, Favre, 38, retired. And wept. In July, he expressed a desire to return to the Packers. They said no thanks, we’ve got our replacement in Aaron Rodgers, the 1st round pick who sat patiently for three years, waiting for his opportunity.
There were allegations of tampering by the Vikings. Favre complained in the press about the Packers not wanting him back. And then, in August, the Packers traded him to the Jets.
It was quite the spectacle. Nobody could have seen it coming during the season, or even after it.
Could a similar situation be shaping up in New England?
- Second-round pick patiently waiting in the wings (Jimmy Garoppolo; Rodgers was a first-round pick).
- Rodgers started zero games in three years; Garoppolo has started two in three years.
- The Packers were 13-3 in Favre’s last year and lost at home in the conference title game; Brady’s Patriots were 14-2 and are playing at home in the conference title game.
- Brady is 39; Favre was 38.
The Packers had to make a difficult decision: Do we dump the face of our franchise, a Hall of Fame QB? Ultimately, they decided to move on with Rodgers. Obviously it tore apart the fan base; Favre was the most popular player in modern franchise history.
But the decision has paid off. In nine seasons with Rodgers, they’ve won a Super Bowl and they will play in their 4th conference championship Sunday. Favre is enjoying retirement.
If the Patriots — 6-point favorites against the Steelers — manage to lose to the Steelers at home Sunday, are we going to talk about the Patriots’ offseason decision of Brady or Garoppolo?
The two key differences, of course, are that A) Tom Brady is the greatest QB of all-time and B) Tom Brady hasn’t been wishy washy about retirement multiple times.