Smith: Frenzy over Favre situation could get even worse
OK. None of ESPN's never-ending conveyer belt of reporters covering the recent "Will He Stay or Will He Go?" saga between near-mythical NFL quarterback Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers actually spun around to the camera and barked that phrase - a la character Brian Fantana's "Panda watch!" line in the 2004 comedy classic "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."
But you could tell they wanted to. And you kind of figured one of them - Chris Mortensen, Ed Werder, Rachel Nichols, Wendi Nix, somebody - would; what with the around-the-clock coverage the ultimate sports network force-fed its loyal viewers as Favre un-retired and attempted to return to the franchise he led to a Super Bowl XXXI victory more than a decade ago.
If Internet message boards and the blogosphere are any indication, most of the nation's sportos were sick of hearing about it long before Packers brass said, "Thanks, but no thanks. We'll take our chances with Aaron Rodgers," and traded the Lord of the Cheeseheads to the New York Jets.
I must have been in the minority. I wasn't pacing the room, sweating, waiting for the latest live report from Packers camp, but I was genuinely interested in whether the three-time NFL MVP would remain in a Green Bay uniform and why the club that he threw 442 touchdowns for in 16 seasons would balk at letting him come back. The man is a living, breathing legend that die-hard Packers fans love and others worship. If Favre told a Packers fan to jump off a building, (I'm guessing) the fan would ask the QB for an autograph and a picture, then comply with his demand, yelling, "It was worth it!" while plummeting toward the ground.
That's why I'm looking forward to the aftermath of this whole drama in Green Bay. How long of a honeymoon period, if any, will Packers fans give to Rodgers.
Sure, if the fourth-year quarterback from Cal leads the Packers to the playoffs and looks like a top-tier signal-caller while doing so, Green Bay fans will love him and shower adulation on the Packers' front office for its bold move.
But what if Rodgers is just average and the team plays .500 football? Worse, what if he struggles or gets injured and the Packers are one of the league's bottom-feeders?
If the cheese hits the fan, Packers fanatics will no doubt blame Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, president/CEO Mark Murphy and even head coach Mike McCarthy.
Couple Packers struggles with a great year by Favre in a new green uniform in New York and I wouldn't be surprised to see Green Bay fans descend from their seats onto Lambeau Field with pitchforks and torches to mob Thompson, Murphy and McCarthy.
If Packer Armageddon goes down, at least ESPN reporters would have another chance to summon their inner Fantana:
"The mood is tense; I have been on some serious, serious reports but nothing quite like this. I uh ... Packers fans have taken over the frozen tundra. I tried to get an interview with their leader, but they said no, he is livid, he will literally rip your face off."
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