FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The New York Jets’ relationship with Brett Favre in the 2008 season was a lot like experiencing love for the first time. First came infatuation over his gaudy numbers. After a hot and heavy start fans couldn’t get enough of the ageless wonder. Then came the downfall – in-house fighting, communication breakdowns, injuries. All of which culminated with a messy break-up which was followed by Favre getting together with a sexier team and Jets fans feeling like they were used and taken advantage of.
And after all the hoopla that surrounded the two, the Jets still wanted to be with Brett Favre. Because sometimes, teams never can get enough of the physically gifted players that thrive on the off-the-field dramatics.
According to Favre, who spoke with the New York media via conference call Thursday afternoon, the Jets inquired about the possibility of Favre returning in the final hours leading up to the 2009 NFL draft. General manager Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson all tried to sway the 40-year-old gunslinger out of retirement in hopes of returning for the 2009 season.
“Here I was, pushing 40 with a torn biceps tendon,” Favre said. “I felt like that was the wake-up call I was looking for, if you will. They asked if I wanted to come back. I was like, ‘I don’t want to go through surgery and all that stuff.’ ”
As we know now Favre did exactly that when he decided to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. And the Jets did the only thing a team could do: rebound by courting a younger, more physically gifted quarterback. That quarterback, of course, was Mark Sanchez, whom the Jets traded up for and selected him fifth overall in the 2009 draft.
However had they not been able to land Sanchez, Ryan has said that he would have given his A effort to coerce Favre in returning to the Jets instead of simply inquiring about the possible return of the future Hall-of-Famer. Favre did say he was open to the possibility of returning for a second season with New York, saying he knew the potential that the ‘09 Jets team had.
Throughout the conference call, Favre was adamant about how much regret he had when looking back at his time in New York. After jumping out to an 8-3 start, which included back-to-back victories over the New England Patriots and an undefeated Tennessee Titans team, Favre and the Jets stumbled before the finish line, ending their season on a 1-4 streak.
“I just wish it had ended better,” Favre said. “That’s my only regret.”
It was well-reported that Favre did have torn biceps in his throwing arm, that was not mentioned until the end of the season, which contributed to his and the Jets’ late-season collapse. He would go on to admit that he should’ve sat and nursed his injured arm, saying that it affected his accuracy. But, of course, that would never have happened. The Brett Favre-sized ego would not allow him to sit and risk his consecutive start streak, now at an astounding 288 straight games.
“Should I have sat down, taken some time off?” questioned Favre. “Hindsight would say yeah, but I was determined to lead that team to victory and to the playoffs. When you’re in that moment, it’s hard to take a step back. I felt a considerable amount of responsibility.”
And it is that 20/20 hindsight vision that Jets’ fans will use to perceive their ex-QB on Monday night. It was his performance that cost the Jets a playoff spot. And it was his performance that cost Eric Mangini his job. And although the Jets have their new match made in heaven with Sanchez, Jets’ fans will still spew venom at their former quarterback. Just the over-priced/bad investment of a number four Jets jersey will be enough for fans to jeer rather than cheer.
Jets’ fans think about this: would you really cheer for your ex’s new, flourishing relationship with someone else?