Thursday, July 31, 2008

$20 Million Ways To Completely Lose Respect

Now, trust me, I am in no way placing my 100% faith in a news source that broke the "Favre has a Packer phone" story, mainly because this story is so much more idiotic and sickening than that one.

JSOnline has reported in their blog that part of Mark Murphy's goodwill journey to Hattiesburg included an offer that few in the world could refuse. I was watching Fox11's Training Camp Report and I listened to Drew Smith report this, I felt like I was watching TJ Rubely all over again. Johnnie Grey, incidentally, looked as stunned as I felt.

According to this report, the Packers are willing to offer Brett Favre $20 million over the next 10 years to end this, stay retired, and let the "moving forward" thingy go on unimpeded.

That's $2 million a year for ten years. No report on where this money is coming from...Pro Shop sales, Brown County sales tax, whatever.

But, if this report is true, I can tell you one thing.

One of the most rational Favre fans will lose all respect for Brett Favre if he accepts this offer.

And it takes a lot for me, a guy who has intelligently and vociferously defended Brett from his rabid critic base for the past five years, to have to come to grips with that. But it is true.

Waffling on his decision to retire? Yeah, I wish he wouldn't, but that doesn't make me want to disown all my admiration for him. I see him as emotional and irrational, but still passionate.

Throwing interceptions? Any true football fan knows that an interception comes with the territory when Favre is concerned. You take the good with the bad, like most quarterbacks.

Torching Packer brass in public? Wish he wouldn't do it, but when you are frustrated and emotional, you do lots of things you shouldn't. Not excusing it, but again, he's passionate about this.

But, allowing your passion for the game to be paid off? Nope. I can't forgive that. I've always had this impression that Favre would be willing to negotiate most of his salary down to nothing to play this year, if he didn't feel he'd be letting Ted Thompson waste the cap space he'd be gaining, instead of using it to make a run this year.

In whatever defense you could make for Brett here, in today's economic times, we've all assumed that he's rolling in money from his career and endorsements. Thinking about Deanna's stoic stance at his retirement announcement, it does make you wonder if perhaps the Favre's have spent what they've earned and like many other Americans, are fearful of foreclosure. In that case, perhaps the money will talk to Favre.

But, it wouldn't be enough to save Brett's reputation in my eyes. He has many opportunities to make money...probably even that much if he entered the world of media prognosticating. And, he'd be
earning it.

To accept such a sleazy offer from the Packers would go against everything we've known about Favre. We've excused his interceptions, his childish response to retirement, we excused
everything because we fell in love with his passion for the game, the excitement he has when he gets the ball in the end zone.

How can you put a price on that? If he were to accept that offer and slink away into the night, after professing he has a passion for the game again, I've lost respect for him. Even if he desperately needs the money, I have no doubt he could get it without the Packers having to pay him hush money.

So there.

Which brings us to the other side of the coin.

There are folks out there who have vociferously defended the way the Packers have handled this drama, even in the face of some poor planning and public relations on the part of Ted Thompson and his staff.

If Favre accepts this alleged offer, I will admit defeat in my defense of Favre's character.

However, if the alleged offer is true, and he declines it, will those who have defended Thompson and the current administration in this situation be able to do the same?

This is an offer that is insulting. Insulting to Favre, insulting to the fans, insulting to all of us who purchase tickets, jerseys, anything that goes to that all-important bottom line for the franchise to remain competitive in today's NFL.

Where is this money coming from? And for that matter, why would you spend it in such a manner? Are the Packers so enamored with Aaron Rodgers that they are willing to spend $20 million over the next ten years just to see if he can stay healthy for more than three games in a row?

If you really believe in Rodgers, why insult Favre this way? Give him the release he wants, and quit worrying about the fan base or getting some mid-round draft picks as some sort of "compensation". This officially goes beyond any "business sense", and it comes down to "common sense".

You are gaining value with a release. You gain $12 million in salary cap space. You get your chosen quarterback to move forward with without any competition. You allow your team to start having attention on the guys playing on the field, instead of on the guy who isn't.

That's not only decent business sense, it is darn good common sense....far more sensible than trying to buy Favre's passion with millions of dollars.

Or, bring Favre into camp. Redo his contract so he has one year, and take the $13 million he would get paid next year and put that money into a Rodgers' contract extension. Or, if you believe in Rodgers so much, give that $20 million to him now and seal him up. Let the two battle it out and let Favre go out on top or flame out. Either way, Favre is gone after 2008 and Rodgers is the starter in 2009 and under contract for a couple more years.

It was Favre's choice to return, for better or worse. It is his choice to request a release, for better or worse. Instead of letting Favre deal with his own karma, though, the Packers are pusuing a sickening game of cat and mouse, allegedly becoming so desperate to keep him away that they will pay him a ridiculous amount of money to do so.

So, I have placed it on the table. IF this offer is true, and IF Favre accepts it, I lose respect for him. Period.

However, IF this offer is true, and IF Favre refuses it, I sure hope those that have defended Thompson (and now, Murphy) so relentlessly take their own step back and realize the idiocy and sleaziness of this move. I hope they also realize that those two are NOT "The Packers", but the administrators of the moment who will pass, just like Tom Braatz, Ron Wolf, Bob Harlan, and Mike Sherman.

I commented earlier on leadership. Being able to manage a football team is easy when there are low expectations and few trials and tribulations along the way. Leadership is defined when the expectations are high, and challenges mount.

Managing is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.

Making such an offer to Favre is terrible leadership, paying a man who is able to play, contracted to play, and has the right to play somewhere in this league a ton of money to simply go away. The only way it is a good play for the Packers is if he accepts it, which will reflect terribly on his character.

It's not good business sense, and is sure isn't common sense, either.

I have never liked rumors, and usually make fun of them more than comment on them. But this particular rumor is one that is so potentially damaging for both sides, I am hoping that, like me, most true Packer fans (and this includes Favre fans and Thompson fans alike) are praying that this rumor is completely unfounded and false.

The ramifications if the rumor is true is titanic.


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I'll 'fess up and state that I'm a Ted Thompson fan. However, this is just plain stupid.

I hope it's not true. There is no sense to try and do this. In fact, to offer shows just how big of disconnect there is between Brett and the Front Office.

LosAngelis said...

Thanks, anon...

It's tough, because to me, this kind of action really tips the entire poker table. There's folks on both sides trying to spin this, but the fact is, it really, really, really made this ugly and messy.

I don't find it at all surprising that once this rumor broke, the front office suddenly started making serious talks with the Jets and even opened themselves up to trading with the Bears/Vikings. I think they realized they got caught with their pants down and now they are in quick-resolution-damage control mode.

Denny said...

I respect your football analysis, but you obviously have limited business or leadership acumen. The Packer offer to employ Favre at $2 million plus per year for Packer and NFL Public Relations makes good business sense for the Green Bay Packers, the NFL and Brett Favre.

What do you think Wranglers Jeans, Visa and other companies pay Favre for endorsements? The $2 million per year for 10 years is a reasonable fee for his services to promote the Green Bay Packers and the NFL and is a better business contribution and present value deal than paying him $12 and $13 million the next two years to perform as a QB or seeing him play for a Packer competitor.

With regard to Favre’s retirement “waffle”, while understandable, it is totally unacceptable in business. In business, good managers demonstrate strong leadership when key people leave the organization by reorganizing and/or placing new people in the key positions so the business can move forward in a positive direction. They do not disrupt and disorient the entire team by rehiring a remorseful employee who immediately wants to return to their prior positron.

In conclusion, you and other anti-Packer management people need to “Get Real” and recognize we have one of the best leadership teams (Murphy, Thompson & McCarthy) in the NFL business and one many failing companies would be wise to emulate.

Denny / Atlanta Packer Stock & Season Ticket Holder

LosAngelis said...

Hey Denny,

Thanks for the input. Incidentally, this particular article was written when the media was still presenting the situation as "hush money", and I wrote it as such, insuring that I kept it very clear that this was not anything more than rumor at that point.

So, yes, the idea of keeping Favre on, like Marino, in some capacity is wise, as is the wages.

However, it is important to note that the original offer for this role was made when he was "retired", not in the middle of a PR war with the organization. I certainly understand with the new information that the severity of Favre choosing not to return in order to accept such a deal can still be disappointing, though not devastating. Likewise, the re-offer by Murphy is, given the timing, still comes off as somewhat of a convincer to retire, saving a lot of face for the organization, though nowhere near as devastating as it was with what we were presented with when this article was written.

(Don't know if you noticed, but I did write another article addressing most of this)

As for your other points:

Favre's Waffling: There is no doubt that Favre's waffling is disappointing, and in the eyes of many, damning. But you also need to remove personal feelings from this. He has gotten his consequence for this: the organization has moved on and decided to take a risk with Rodgers. This is their right, and while disappointing for Favre, that is the bed he's made for himself.

However, that doesn't change the fact that he can come out of retirement, the Packers are bound to his contract, and he CAN play this year for the money he negotiated.

From that point on, this becomes a much more muddled picture than a simple "Favre waffled, so he's bad". And if you truly do know your business sense, you know that it is the responsibility of a good leader to handle the most difficult of situations in not only the right way, but in a confident and inspiring manner. This has not necessarily happened. Favre isn't paid to be the leader of the organization, but Murphy/Thompson are.

You can take that as criticism of their regime, but you're also talking to a guy who would prefer Favre had and still stay retired. My own preferences, however, don't matter. Just because I want something doesn't mean that it colors everything either faction does.

As for Thompson and Murphy being the "best leadership" in the NFL, well, I'm not going to agree with you at this point. It's easy to be honored for your leadership when you've had low expectations and exceeded them, and not had any real trials and tribulations to speak of. It's a totally different story when the expectations are high, as they are following just missing the Super Bowl.

Trust me...I have a lot of respect for many of the things Thompson has brought to the team, but there are other things that I am critical of. This is truly the season that the Packer leadership will earn their stripes, because now it is no longer easy.

Denny / Atlanta Packer Stock & Season Ticket Holder said...

Thank you for the response, I appreciate your insightful commentary.

One minor point, I said "one of the best leadership teams" in the NFL. I would not be so presumptuous to set a ranking, but they are definitely in the top 5 to 10 teams based on financial returns, win-losses and franchise popularity.

ANYHOW, it's OK with me that we agree to disagree - just like Favre and Packer management.

Keep up your excellent blogging; it is definitely one of the better ones I read.

LosAngelis said...

Thanks much, Denny.

I do think that TT has a lot of potential...I think when it comes to scouting and drafts and having a vision, he's among the best. I think he's still learning and struggling a bit with the PR side of it, which unfortunately, is a part of the job, too, especially in times like this.

Glad you like the blog. Keep reading and GO PACK!