Brett Favre came down with a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease this past week.
During an interview with an Atlanta radio station on Tuesday, Favre was asked what he thought of his successor, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl championship last season.
“I’m going to be honest,” Favre began in his rambling 308-word response. He proceeded to say he was surprised the Packers didn’t win a Super Bowl sooner, which has been widely interpreted as a slam against Rodgers.
The radio station (790 The Zone) issued a statement the next day claiming Favre’s words were taken out of context. When that didn’t gain traction, Favre did more damage control when he told USA TODAY his comments were misinterpreted.
“It is very (infrequent) when I do interviews,” Favre told USA TODAY. “I was very gracious and complimentary of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.”
Truth be told, if Favre was attempting to praise Rodgers and the Packers, I’d hate to see what he considers insulting, because his comments, taken in their full context, were neither gracious nor complimentary.
Favre did say this of Rodgers: “He’s got tremendous talent, he’s very bright.” But those seven words, which made up 2 percent of his entire response, were immediately followed by what can only be interpreted as a potshot.
“He got a chance to watch and see successful teams do it right, and so he just kind of fell into a good situation,” Favre said.
That was followed by this zinger about the Packers winning the Super Bowl in Rodgers’ third season as a starter: “The talent around him is even better than when I was there. So I’m really kind of surprised it took him so long.”
Favre comes off sounding petty and bitter. Instead of taking the high road and giving Rodgers his proper due and leaving it at that, Favre couldn’t help but reveal the resentment he still feels because the Packers dumped him in 2008.
It was only natural that Favre felt anger toward the Packers back then after serving as the face of the franchise for 16 years and giving so much to the team and community. His pride took a major hit when the Packers told him they no longer wanted or needed his services and were trading him in for a newer model.
Favre’s desire to stick it to the Packers by eventually signing with division rival Minnesota made perfect sense, and he no doubt felt a sense of vindication when the Favre-led Vikings swept the Rodgers-led Packers in 2009.
But that glorious season ended badly when a Favre interception in the NFC championship game cost the Vikings a Super Bowl berth. It’s the same way Favre ended his career in Green Bay in 2007, when his overtime interception in the NFC title game cost the Packers a Super Bowl berth against the New York Giants.
In the later stages of his career, Favre proved time and again he couldn’t win the biggest games, which was part of the reason why Packers General Manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy decided to move on. In his final 10 playoff games with the Packers, Favre threw as many interceptions (19) as touchdown passes.
Rodgers helped the Packers win more playoff games (four) in the span of a month last season than Favre (three) did over the final decade of his career in Green Bay.
In the most important statistic of all, Rodgers in three years as a starter has won as many championships as Favre did during his entire career.
Favre was great during the early part of his career, when he captured three league MVP awards. He also owns every major passing record known to man, including a longevity streak that likely never will be broken.
But to borrow from Favre’s words, I’m going to be honest. As unthinkable as it once seemed, the Packers found a quarterback who is even better than Favre. Rodgers is more accurate, commits far fewer mistakes and gives the Packers a chance to win multiple championships.
Favre, ever the competitor, is struggling to accept that, which prompted his ill-advised comments about Rodgers.
— Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MikeVandermause.