Favre to the Jets

1218121186Any hope that the Summer of Brett would end soon went out the window this morning when the news broke that the New York Jets acquired the unretired quarterback from the Green Bay Packers. Had Brett Favre gone to Tampa there’s a good chance the NFL world have been returned to its normal state—because, really, who cares about Tampa? But with Favre in NYC, we’ve only just begun.

Jet Favre! Screams the front of the NY Daily News.

The NY Post ran the same headline in smaller type on its front, but recovered nicely with Brett the Jet!

What does it all mean to the Pats? In a way, this already benefits them. With Favre in the division, not to mention Bill Parcells in Miami, the Pats are no longer the most compelling drama in the AFC East, which undoubtedly suits them just fine.

The New York papers are full of gleeful columns like this one: Broadway Brett Has Great Sound, wherein the Post’s Steve Serby wastes no time bringing up the Joe Namath comparisons.

And there’s the problem for Favre and the Jets. With brief, usually one-year exceptions, the Jets have been living in the shadow of a quarterback who retired before almost all the current players were even born.

For 32 years, the Jets have been trying to replace Namath. They tried Richard Todd (who, like Namath, played at Alabama), they tried Ken O’Brien (who wasn’t Dan Marino). They famously tried to draft Favre in 1991, but settled on Browning Nagle, which didn’t work out so well.

They tried Boomer Esiason a few years too late, and repeated the same trick with Neil O’Donnell. Finally, in 2000, they drafted Chad Pennington in the first round, and they have been trying to replace him ever since.

So here comes Favre to finally complete the legacy of Broadway Joe. But are the Jets getting the “I guarantee it” Namath, or the Los Angeles Rams Namath?

My old friend from Philly, Sal Paolantonio, was on ESPN this morning. When the question of how Favre will handle the NY media came up, Sal Pal dismissed it, saying he would have the press, “eating out of its hand.” That is true. Today. But what happens when he throws his first ill-timed interception? He’s not St. Brett in Manhattan. He’s just another guy trying to prove himself in the big city.

For Favre, there will be no middle ground in his New York experience. If he is successful, he will be lionized as never before (even for him), and if he fails, it could get ugly.