Packers Bribe, Brewers Slide

It’s tough posting about the Favre stuff because the situation seems to be changing hourly and by the time I finish this, something may have broken that I don’t respond to here. But as I write this, Brett Favre is reportedly mulling a $25 million offer from the Packers that will keep him away from camp and off not only the Packers team but all NFL teams. In short, the Packers are trying to buy off Favre to keep him retired.

Remember a few weeks ago when Ted Thompson told the media that they were not open to Favre returning to football because they were trying to “protect his legacy,” a stance that Favre openly mocked during his interview with Greta Van Sustren? Well, how does offering him a buyout serve that purpose? You know who usually gets bizarre offers like this? Mistresses that threaten to tell all to the spouse of the man they’re fooling around with — remember the great film Crimes and Misdemeanors? When Martin Landau offered to pay Anjelica Huston to keep her mouth shut, do you think he was trying to “protect her legacy”? He wanted her to go away, which is what the Packers want Favre to do. Don’t believe any of this garbage about this being an offer to keep Favre involved in “marketing” the Packers. Green Bay is one of the few teams that don’t need help marketing their product — unless, of course, the team tanks with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. 

But if Rodgers is completely ineffective at quarterback, or (more likely) if he gets hurt, don’t you think that the Packers’ bribe includes some verbiage somewhere that would allow Favre to come back as quarterback? Of course. And of course Favre, if asked, would quickly chuck his business attire (if he has any — he met with the Packers last week in roughly the same sort of clothes that I wear to clean my gutters) for his green and gold number 4 jersey.

So the Packers offer is the ultimate “eating their cake and having it too” situation. It’s absurd, it’s arrogant, and it’s offensive — keeping in line with how the team has handled this entire situation. The only thing that could make the offer worse would be if Favre accepted it. Then Favre apologists like myself who have been arguing for the team to either activate him or release him so he can play because all he wants to do is play football would be proven wrong. Favre taking the offer would indicate that money was more important than football to him all along, an action that would severely tarnish his legacy, the very thing that the Packers have been trying so hard for the last two months to protect.

But anyone paying attention to the Packers’ business methods wouldn’t have been too shocked by this Favre buyout offer. Internal Packer memos recently uncovered indicate that in just the last few months the following offers have been made by the Green Bay Packer organization:

  1. $15 million to Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress to keep bumbling Tavaris Jackson as the Vikings’ starting quarterback;
  2. $20 million to Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith to retain the two-headed quarterback failure of Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman on their roster;
  3. $5 million to Ford Field workers to secretly replace the Detroit Lions’ in-game supply of Gatorade with non-refreshing Super Chill Dr. Chill; 
  4. $500,000 to CBS’s Julie Chen to fix the outcome of Big Brother 10;
  5. $750,000 to NBC to name Favre as new host of Celebrity Family Feud;
  6. $35,000 to anonymous source for bootleg video of The Dark Knight;
  7. $500,000 to John McCain’s presidential campaign to name Favre as vice-presidential nominee;
  8. $500 to anomymous source for front-row tickets to see Bette Midler in Las Vegas;
  9. $1 million to Manny Ramirez to stay out of National League (he obviously passed);
  10. $450,000 to McDonald’s to make the McRib part of the everyday Dollar Value Menu.

OK, enough about Favre. On to what was the other disaster of the week: The Cubs thumping of the Brewers in four straight games in Milwaukee. After Monday’s series-opening victory (which was the only close game of the four), Cubs manager Lou Pinella said all the right things about how the Brewers were a good team, how it was going to be a tough series, and how the Cubs had their work cut out for them at Miller Park. It sounded good, but something about Pinella’s tone irritated me. He seemed extraordinarily condescending, like if Bruce Springsteen was forced to honor the Jonas Brothers at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Anyway, it bugged me.

But the final three games did nothing but validate Pinella’s superior attitude and further frustrate Brewer fans in what has been a roller-coaster season. It seems every time I’ve been ready to write this team off, they surprise with a great win streak. And every time I’m ready to anoint them the best team in the National League, they proceed to look like the Bad News Bears. After sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis, I convinced myself that — however unlikely it would have seemed earlier in the season — the Brewers were going to take three of four from Chicago, take the division lead, and not relinquish it for the remainder of the season. Didn’t quite work out that way.

Well, as horrible a series as it was — and the Brewers were completely dominated in every conceivable phase of the game — I refuse to believe, as I’ve heard elsewhere, that it was a “season killer” for Milwaukee. They got swept in July, not in October. This team simply has too much talent to write them off after a series that looked to me like an abberation, not a sign of things to come. (And Friday’s dominating 9-0 beatdown of the Braves supports that view.)

Despite the sweep, the Cubs only hold a narrow 6-4 season series lead on Milwaukee, and with six games still left against the Cubs — not to mention 51 games left overall, I still give the Brewers a puncher’s catch to win the division and they still have to be considered the favorite to win the Wild Card. How’s that for positive thinking? 

Although I have to admit, the struggles of J.J. Hardy and especially Corey Hart have me more than a little concerned . . .  Perhaps a bribe from Ted Thompson would elevate their level of play . . .


One Response

  1. Good points, Jeff.

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