IT WAS meant to be a match made in heaven. But, like 50 percent of new marriages in the USA, it has ended in divorce. After just six months.
Fortunately for the New York Jets, their breakup with Brett Favre has been nowhere near as messy or emotional as the split with his partner of 17 years, the Green Bay Packers.
This time, there were no tears or long goodbyes. Favre simply instructed his agent to inform the Jets that he won’t be coming back this year to play for new coach Rex Ryan.
At the age of 39, one of the most recognizable and flamboyant quarterbacks in the National Football League has (for the second time) decided to hang up his cleats.
The good news for the Jets is that it will give them more room to maneuver within the salary cap and possibly paves the way for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to reunite with Ryan.
The bad news for Gang Green is they are now without a proven player in the most important position on the field. Of the three quarterbacks on their roster – Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge – only Clemens has started an NFL game.
Favre, of course, will be remembered for his exploits and achievements with the Packers, whom he led to one Super Bowl title against the New England Patriots in 1997.
A ten-time Pro Bowler, and the Associated Press’s NFL MVP on three occasions, Favre insists he has no regrets about his brief stint with the Jets.
He said: “Mike [Tannenbaum] and Woody [Johnson], as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding. My teammates were a pleasure to play with. Eric [Mangini] could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.”
Favre joined the Jets in the hope that he could have one last shot at winning a second Super Bowl.
Jets fans won’t be heartbroken by news
When they were 8-3, it looked possible. At the very least, the Jets seemed certain to make the playoffs.
But it all started to go wrong when they suffered a shocking 34-17 defeat at home to the Denver Broncos.
That was followed by a 24-14 loss in San Francisco and although the Jets did manage to record a somewhat fortuitous victory over the Buffalo Bills, they lost four of their last five games to finish 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs to the Miami Dolphins.
Favre completed 343 of 522 attempted passes and threw 22 touchdowns. But the most telling statistic was the number of interceptions – also 22.
Jets fans are still debating how much of the blame for their team’s demise was down to Favre – and how much was down to his teammates and Mangini’s coaching.
The answer is probably a combination of all three. There can be no doubt that Favre was too cavalier with the football. But then, he always has been.
His arrival – and the fanfare with which it was greeted – undoubtedly caused some jealously in the dressing room. By the last month of the season, the Jets were divided and disunited.
Mangini gave Favre so much rope that he was eventually hung by it. He paid the ultimate price with his job. Only time will tell whether he can find redemption in Cleveland.
Now Favre has decided that a second season under the intense spotlight of the New York media is not for him. The majority of Jets fans, unlike their Green Bay counterparts, probably won’t be heartbroken by the news.
But is this really goodbye? What are the odds against Brett having a change of heart later this year and coming out of retirement to play for another team. Stranger things have happened!