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You Don't Know What You Chad, 'Til It's Favre


I've been meaning to get some words up on this site for some time. But I didn't want my first post to be a downer. I didn't want to be attacking the Jets - the squad that I root for and dole out money for - in my debut submission to this here forum. The blogosphere is rightfully derided for its self-indulgent second guessers and I didn't want to help bolster that argument by spouting off with complaints right from jumpstreet. I wanted to be positive. Especially since this endeavor - hatched by men with greater game-planning acumen than a certain defensive coordinator whom we've all come to know and loathe - was still getting its feet wet. And, besides, my father taught me to say nothing when I had nothing nice to say. And, that's why I haven't been up here lamenting the overabundance of empty backfield sets and the lack of carries for Thomas Jones. Even though I told the guys who run this show that I was ready. And willing. That's why I haven't been up here ranting about the lack of aggressiveness in our defensive schemes and the complete miscasting of our top draft pick as a linebacker when he was a pass-rushing end in college. But these same old Jets have left me with no choice. There is nothing left to do but contemplate what is and what should never be again. With the season closed in epic fashion on Sunday, there is no choice but to rant and rave and rend. So, let's have at it. But where to begin?

Like Vizzini said, when things go wrong we should go back to the beginning. Not, the Big Bang beginning, not the AFL beginning, the Shea Stadium beginning or even the beginning of the Tangini Era but, rather, the beginning of the end of this season. The beginning of the caper that was the 2008 Jets football season.

August 7, 2008. That is when this began.

That is when Jet Favre was delivered unto the masses of Rutherford. When his coming was heralded in Hempstead. It was billed as the final move. Faneca, Jenkins, Woody, Pace, Richardson and Keller were already in the fold. Swapping out incumbent Chad Pennington for Brett Favre was supposed to be the over-the-top piece. It was supposed to be the spine-rip fatality dealt to all foes.

On the 6th of August, Chad Pennington was head and shoulders (mostly head) ahead of Kellen Clemens in the QB race, yet things were uncertain. The media and management had turned on Pennington during the previous 4-12 campaign. They wanted him out and they wanted him to fall behind Clemens in the depth chart. They had spent the entire offseason strong-arming fans when it came to the lately-injured quarterback who they perceived as too noodle armed to lead the team into the future. A future containing personal seat licenses and a seemingly insurmountable Patriots juggernaut. So, they pulled the trigger. They brought in Favre and sent Pennington packing. Done and done. And, that single personnel move - more than anything else - is why we are were we are today: coachless, potentially quarterback-less and utterly alone in the footballing world.

Not only did Favre submarine the Jets chances with his own performance on the field but his self-aggrandizing personality and my-way-or-my-way approach to scheming brought out the worst in many others. It's often said that the great ones make their teammates better. And, perhaps there was a time when Favre was capable of that sort of play. But this year he made everyone worse. From the executives right on through the coaching staff, the players and the fans. Favre revealed the crass, starf&*king side of Woody Johnson and showed that he is at least equally concerned with selling seat licenses as he is with winning football games. Favre exposed the lack of guile in GM Mike Tannenbaum who went after the graybeard QB like an Anthony Michael Hall-alike goes after the washed-up prom queen at a high school reunion. Meanwhile, the savvy Bill Parcells picked up Pennington in a heart beat, knowing that mind can triumph over muscle in today's NFL. Favre punctured "the system" Mangini was trying to implement in his third year and broke all that the young coach had tried to build in his first two seasons. Favre pushed our young offensive coordinator away from the running game and forced him into a horrific playcalling vortex in which he kept trying for big passing plays to make up each down that we gave away. Favre kept sending Kris Jenkins and company out onto the field because he couldn't sustain a drive and the big man tired noticeably as the season went along. Favre caused the New York media machine to amp out of control after the 8-3 start, making the decline so much more painful. And, Favre played on the desires of us fans for another Joe Namath, causing us to turn our backs on one of the two signal callers in franchise history to lead the team to the playoffs on three occasions.

He brought out the worst in all of us.

And then Sunday's game against the Dolphins happened. Favre threw three interceptions, the running game was all but abandoned in favor of empty backfield sets, and the ghost of Jets quarterbacks past led his new team to the division title in front of a sold-out crowd. That just happened.

--WWOD? (for more of the same, head over to What Would Oakley Do?)

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NY Jets Mix blog featured writers Paul Malamood
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