Sunday, August 3, 2008

The World's Biggest Flip-Flop

Anyone who thinks Barack Obama is the world's biggest flip-flop needs to look at Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers. All summer, Thompson has been steadfast in anointing Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback, refusing to give retired legend Brett Favre anything he wanted.

Rather than allow Favre to return and compete for the starting job, rather than trade Favre, rather than release Favre when he asked, Thompson did nothing. It was reminiscent of how our parents taught us how to deal with bullies in school: Ignore them, and eventually, they'll go away.

Only that never worked on bullies. And it didn't work on Favre.

The NFL will reinstate Favre on Monday, which is when the Packer great will return to Packers training camp. Green Bay management, which in recent weeks also had to deal with the holdout of running back Ryan Grant, did an about-face in offering Favre the chance to compete with Rodgers for the starting job.

C'mon, does anyone really think Rodgers can win this competition? Barring an injury to Favre, the starting job appears to have his name written all over it. Again.

Is this a PR move for the Packers, a chance to save some face after what has been a tumultuous and ill-handled summer? Yes, and it shows the Packers as an organization can't be trusted. Favre did force their hand, but in the future, when the Packers' front office says it's going to do something, I'll have a hard time believing them.

For the Packers, it was about Thompson's pride and ego. He wanted Rodgers -- his first draft pick as Green Bay's general manager -- to get the nod to validate himself. It didn't seem to matter which quarterback gave the Packers a better chance to win, it was all about what Thompson wanted.

As for the quarterback who gives Green Bay the best chance to win? Well, Rodgers wasn't the one who threw for over 4,100 yards in leading the Packers to a 13-3 record and within one game of the Super Bowl.

Favre made a mistake retiring when he did; even he admits that. But the best in their game reserve the right to leave on their own terms -- and that includes returning if they happen to change their minds. Favre is one of the game's best, and he deserves the chance to come back should he choose.

That the Packers did everything they could to make him stay away -- including an insulting $20 million "stay away" offer -- shows just what matters to the front office in Green Bay.

And apparently, winning football games isn't on that agenda.

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