Maybe it’s typical Jet fan cynicism but this looks like a disaster in the making. On local cable news this morning they’re showing man-on-the-street interviews where everyone who responds seems thrilled. These people don’t sound like Jets fans to me at all. Are they not aware that Favre turns 39 in October? I understand that he had one of his greatest seasons last year. It’s not all that rare for great athletes in the twilight of their careers will put up one last great season after their skills had seemed to decline toward mediocrity. Ottis Anderson in 1989. Randall Cunningham in 1998. Rickey Henderson in 1999. What is extremely rare is for a player to see his skills decline in his late 30s, as Favre’s did in 2005 and 2006 (QB ratings of 70.9 and 72.7, respectively) followed by a strong comeback to previous level of play – that lasts any longer than one season.
By comparison, Chad Pennington’s QB ratings in the past two seasons are 82.6 and 86.1, though he only started 8 games last year. Kellen Clemens, who started the other 8 games, had a paltry 60.9 rating but the team likes his skill set and sees him as a work in progress. Pennington will apparently be released by the Jets. Wish him well, he was always a team-first player. He stood on the sidelines too long holding a clipboard for Vinny Testaverde – another aging QB who played for the Jets at the end of his career as a starter. In Vinny’s case, Jets fans were lucky to get his great career year/comeback season in New York. That was 1998, when Vinny led The Jets to the AFC Conference Championship game. Going into the following season, the Jets were regarded as Superbowl contenders with 36 year-old Vinny Testaverde at the helm. In the first quarter of the first game of the season, Vinny dropped back for a pass and went down without anyone touching him. He’d snapped his achilles and was done for the season. You’d think that would be a lesson a franchise wouldn’t forget for at least 10 years.
A couple of choice excerpts from today’s NY Times:
Tannenbaum said that Favre had to be convinced to consider the Jets and that Favre talked directly to the Jets only in the last two days. Favre and his family favored the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Favre knew Coach Jon Gruden and his offense, all the way up to the moment when the Jets made the deal. The extent of Favre’s commitment to the Jets remains a question.
Favre has no previous relationship with Coach Eric Mangini and the offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and he will be forced to learn an unfamiliar offense on the fly. Favre’s style has always had a seat-of-his-pants element, and that has led to a striking propensity to throw interceptions. That problem could hamper him with the Jets, particularly early in the season as he tries to find his comfort zone with new receivers. But as he left Green Bay Wednesday morning, Favre expressed weariness at his predicament — the falling out with the Packers had taken a toll on him and his family — and a desire to merely join a team.