The Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies are here and the crown of the class is quarterback Brett Favre who once upon a time, was a member of the New York Jets.
As we continue through the offseason, every day we get that much closer to the NFL regular season. Another milestone on this journey is the Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend that kicks things off right into the preseason.
The crown jewel of the 2016 class is quarterback Brett Favre and deservedly so as he was elected as a first ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer. While many fans remember Favre for his years in Lambeau, that wasn’t the only place he suited up for.
Once upon a time, Favre’s tenure with the Green Bay Packers got tenuous and he was thrust onto the trading block. The decision came down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the New York Jets, after negotiations were complete, the Packers sent Favre to Broadway.
It ended up costing the Jets a conditional fourth round draft choice with performance escalators that could bump it up to a third round pick. The Jets were coming off a horrid 2007 season in which they finished 4-12.
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Although the team was much better than the record dictated, they were in desperate need of a quarterback who could get them over the top.
Favre has been labeled a gunslinger throughout his career and that was the epitome of his 2008 season with the Jets.
There were highs and lows from that season, the easiest way to break it down is the tale of two halves.
The first half of the Jets season foretold a potential deep playoff run and perhaps even a Super Bowl title.
The highlight being a Week 4 game against the Arizona Cardinals, in which Favre threw six touchdowns against them, a personal best and one fewer than the NFL record at the time. In the first eight weeks of the season, the Jets were 4-3, but that last win against the Kansas City Chiefs sparked a five-game winning streak.
The last game of that five game winning streak was against the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans, bringing the Jets record to 8-3. This is where the fairy tale story of the Jets comes to a crashing halt.
Right after their momentous victory over the Titans, Favre infamously stated to the media that the Jets weren’t the best team but they beat the best team so that speaks volumes. The Jets were at the time one of the top seeds in the AFC and with a few more victories could clinch a playoff berth.
Aug 4, 2016; Canton, OH, USA; The locker of Brett Favre has been recreated in the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network
The Jets would end up finishing 1-4 in the final five games, missing the playoffs. Ironically enough when the Jets made the trade for Favre in a reactionary move they released quarterback Chad Pennington.
Pennington was scooped up by their AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins. The Jets ended up losing the regular season finale to the Dolphins, who ended up winning the AFC East.
To add insult to injury, Favre revealed that he had shoulder pain and had an MRI performed on December 29, 2008, which revealed a torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder.
So when the Jets were 8-3 and on top of the world, if Favre would have simply taken a seat and let career backup quarterback Kellen Clemens in, maybe Jets fans would have had a different feeling for Favre’s tenure in Gotham. After the 2008 season had ended, in mid January 2009, Favre told Jets’ general manager Mike Tannenbaum that they should consider heading in a different direction regarding the quarterback position.
Favre ended the season with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. While he gave Jets fans a lot of hope heading towards the playoffs, he inevitably crushed all of their hopes and dreams. So not only did the Jets think they had a legitimate chance at a Super Bowl for the first time since the late 90’s, but Favre retired and then came back again.
Packers fans won't like this.
— ESPN (@espn) August 3, 2016
Favre came back and officially signed with the Minnesota Vikings on August 18, 2009. So why would his return to the Vikings upset the Jets?
Favre went on to have arguably the best year of his Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Vikings, just a year after sinking the Jets in the final five weeks of the season. To be specific, Favre threw 33 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions to show for it.
It was unbelievable that Favre at the ripe age of 40-years-old, would go on to nearly lead the Vikings to their first Super Bowl appearance in a very long time. Ultimately for Favre, his iconic gun slinging mentality that got him a gold jacket, ended up being the final dagger in his chase for a second Super Bowl title.
Favre brought the Vikings all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints. Favre had a chance to win the game late in the 4th quarter, before he rolled to his right and threw across his body as he’d done so many times before, but this time he got intercepted.
The game ended up going to overtime and the Saints never looked back on their way to their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Again eliciting the same sort of hope for the Vikings as he had done with the Jets, before again, throwing it all away.
Favre was one of the most entertaining players on and off the field during his time in the NFL. A gunslinger who was willing to take all the risks in the world, believing senselessly in his own abilities, often to a fault.
The Jets could’ve been Favre’s chance at that elusive second championship. So while we take this time to commemorate Favre as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, the Jets will forever live in the infamy of what-if with Favre’s tenure.