29

June

Why the Fall of Brett Favre Started Much Sooner Than You Think

It may be like trying to piece together a train wreck you’d much rather not watch again, but given the Packers’ run to Super Bowl XLV, I think we fans can revisit this without cringing too much.

It’s time once again to look at the disgraceful downfall of one Brett Lorenzo Favre. Yes, everyone has beaten the topic to death the past few years but one thing that has not truly been discussed was the exact moment when Favre’s downfall began.  Some say it was in 2005 with the hiring of Ted Thompson.  Others argue it happened with the firing of Mike Sherman in 2006.

I’d have to partially agree with those who mention Sherman, except they have it backwards. I’d argue Favre’s meltdown began when Sherman was HIRED in 2000.

Wind the clock back to that year if you will: Ray Rhodes had just been fired and Favre was coming off a 22 TD pass to 23 interceptions season after battling a bad thumb all season.  Keep in mind this was two years removed from the Packers trip to Super Bowl XXXII against the Broncos.  Favre experienced his first non-winning season of his career as well.

More than that, players and coaches from the Super Bowl teams had begun to move on. Mike Holmgren was in Seattle, Reggie White was in Carolina for one last season and best bud former tight end Mark Chmura was on trial for sexual assault.   Favre’s mentors and best friend were all gone.

Enter Mike Sherman.  He came in talking about the great history and tradition of the Packers and wanted to make sure his teams were established in the same mold. This was a theme Sherman constantly revisited during his time in Green Bay.

He also talked about Favre as one of the greatest ever and a true legend despite the quarterback barely being over the age of 30.  The overstuffing of Favre’s ego had begun.  Instead of saying that yes, he is great but he still needs to be smart like Mike McCarthy later did, Sherman only praised his quarterback and when question about Favre’s faults (like those interceptions), he just basically shrugged them off as “That’s just Brett.”

The seeds were planted.

The first few years of the Sherman era were productive with the Packers making the playoffs in 2001 after a two year absence and they won the NFC North in 2002.