Thursday, July 31, 2008

Can We Give Peace A Chance?

Greetings, G-Force.

Please allow me to fantasize. I feel entitled.

On occasion, I am a metaphysical mind. Things happen in life that make the stars seem aligned. Today an event occurred that appeared cosmic in nature. I walked into the condo from a long day of work. Waiting for me was an autographed Brett Favre authentic NFL Football. Yeah, A* is the best wife ever!

As I went for a run, I was having visions of John Lennon & how appropriate his writings were to the current state of my mind with respect to Packer football.

"Imagine" Brett Favre in Purple. Makes me want to puke. Regardless of the price. The Vikings have NEVER won a Super Bowl. And we're going to hand them #4? What's the price to make your arch enemy the NFC favorite? I'm not sure that I can determine a price. Maybe a Ricky Williams or a Herschel Walker trade would make sense for the future of the team, but I don't think I could swallow watching #4 in Purple.

I started dreaming of "Yesterday" when "all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay." I was yearning to "believe in yesterday." Favre's "shadow is hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came so suddenly." I wish for a return to "Yesterday. Love was such an easy game to play. Now, I need a place to hide away. Oh, I believe in yesterday."

Favre in Green Bay. Like "Yesterday." A grand finale. Thompson & McCarthy agreeing that their responsibility is to put the best Packers team on the field for the '08 season. Both agree that the Legend gives them the best chance to win. We put the nonsense behind us. We agree that Brett was a jerk. Brett apologizes for the horrid public relations spot that he put the team in. We're one big happy family again. "Oh, I believe in yesterday."

So, I wish for one more opportunity to say "Give Peace A Chance!" Welcome, Brett. With open arms, we allow him to enter training camp. He's a hit at Family Night. In the pre-season opener, it's Brett to Driver like the good ol' days. Favre's in rhythm. He earns his spot as the starter.

That is what I "Imagine." Instead the Packers have taken a Guns N' Roses approach to "Yesterdays" and are feeling as though "yesterday's got nothing for me. Old pictures that I'll always see. Some things could be better if we'd all just let them be."

Under the Guns N' Roses approach, the Jets are an ideal trade partner. It's noteworthy that Ted Thompson and Mike Tannenbaum have had success as trading partners. They've traded three times in the last two drafts. Additionally, there are the logical reasons such as the Jets are not only in the AFC but they are not on the Packers schedule. Plus, the Jets were big spenders in the off-season and still lack a QB.

If I were to trade Favre, which is still hard for me to comprehend, I would make sure that I put a condition that he could not be traded to an NFC North team and if he was traded again, I would receive additional compensation. While I doubt this is legal, I'd find a way to make it a "gentleman's agreement."

The reality is that I would guess the Packers have until next Tuesday to deal Favre or else he will be in camp. Roger Goodell will probably wait until after Family Night to reinstate Favre. After all, Goodell is a politically correct guy. And if the Packers cannot strike a trade, can we "Give Peace A Chance?"

Aaron Rodgers will have my full support if & when Brett Favre is traded, but until then, I "believe in Yesterday."


Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Concerns Abound

Greetings, G-Force.

I've wrote this on a number of occasions: By nature, I'm an optimistic realist. And right now, the realist side of me is frightening. Drama surrounds our camp. In his press conference, McCarthy looked beat-up & confused. He appeared to be tired. And we had not yet had a practice.

This is supposed to be the most exciting part of the year. The group regathers. The players are fresh. Normally, hope is all around. There should be the excitement of a new beginning.

But, the '08 Packers are in a tough spot. While our hierarchy feels we are prepared to succeed in post-Favre era, they have to know we cannot win with a young QB unless we have our star RB. Ryan Grant must be in attendance by Wednesday. It needs to get done. We need to stand united. Grant was one of our top performers last year. We need him in camp ASAP providing stability and continuity to our backfield. Additionally, he needs to find his chemistry with A-Rod. Time is short. Get the deal done, Ted Thompson.

Our D-Line has a number of question marks. Justin Harrell must get himself on the field. Johnny Jolly has to get his drug issues dealt with. Colin Cole is recovering from a punishing forearm injury and his strength has to be a concern - at least early in camp. Has Daniel Muir matured like we hoped he would during the off-season? These shortcomings could force Cullen Jenkins back inside, which puts enhanced pressure on Jeremy Thompson to immediately perform. All of a sudden, a presumed strength of the team is a weakness.

These issues must be resolved immediately or else they could carry into the regular season. There is immense negativity surrounding our locker room. The press is continuously adding fuel to the fire. There is still time to positively burst out of this muddle, but the clock is ticking. Family Night is 1 week away. Our star RB must be the one taking hand-offs. Anything less would add to the already distracted locker room and we need a breath of positive air.

Anyone remember the Dorsey Levens hold out? We don't want a part II.

End The Drama,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Freedom Is Not Free"

Greetings G-Force.

My wife & I spent this past weekend in Washington DC and while you never want to compare the men of the battlefield to those of the football field, I feel compelled to metaphorically draw comparisons. To many, Brett Favre is an American Hero.

As individuals, we are all a product of our youth and we apply our life's experiences to our current environment. My Dad always says that if you were to take the Packers out of Green Bay, you would have Fargo, ND or Des Moines, IA. Figuratively speaking, while growing up in Green Bay, WI, Lambeau Field was my US Capitol. My Heroes were John Jefferson, James Lofton, Lynn Dickey, Eddie Lee Ivery, Paul Coffman, Tim Lewis, Mark Lee, Mark Murphy, John Anderson, and Tim Harris - to name a few.

While I was walking through the National Mall for the first time in my life this weekend, I was introduced to the Capital of the United States of America. I was reminded of historical truths that created this great Nation. For the majority of our population, regardless of whether you believe in voting for the right or for the left, you are PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! Furthermore, whether you want us to stay in Iraq or whether you want us to leave tomorrow, we all want the same thing and that is the end result to equal a successful & triumphant victory in which the American legacy is held in honor.

As I walked through the World War II Memorial, I read a quotation from Admiral Chester W. Nimith that read:

"They fought together as Brothers - In Arms. They Died Together & Now They Sleep Side by Side. To them we have a solemn obligation."

As I sat in reflection on my plane ride home, I thought of how this related to the current state of the Green Bay Packers - Brett Favre relationship. After the NFC Championship last year, Ted Thompson remarked, "the difference between winning and losing in the NFL is so small, but the emotions you feel afterward, winning as opposed to losing, is so great that it’s really not fair. When you lose, it’s almost like a part of you died. When you win, you’ve never felt more alive.”

Brett Favre & Ted Thompson have Lived Together. They've Died Together. They've Slept Side by Side Together.

Blood. Sweat. Tears. It did not matter - Brett Favre stepped on the field for the Green Bay Packers.

3 MVPs. 442 Touchdown Passes. 286 Interceptions. A Super Bowl victory. A 6 interception playoff game. It did not matter - The Green Bay Packers love for Brett Favre did not waver.

Now, it's time for each other to honor their solemn obligation to one another. And I feel the obligation should rest squarely on Favre's shoulders. He should feel obliged to the Packers. While the Packers & Favre have been synonymous with one another for 16 years, Favre remains an employee of the Packers. If Favre is 100% committed to playing football, by Wednesday, he should tell the Packers that he is coming back and reporting on July 27 for the START of training camp. If he cannot commit by Wednesday, he should call Thompson and say that he is not going to play this year. If Favre gives commitment, the Packers should open their arms and welcome him back.

As I continued my reflection from my walk through the National Mall, my attention turned to the moment in which I walked through the Korean War Memorial, I read a sign that said "Freedom Is Not Free." If Favre wants back and the Packers genuinely do not want him back as the starter, they should make an honorable attempt to trade Favre. The last 24 hours have brought a 2nd and a 6th for Jason Taylor and a 2nd and a 5th for Jeremy Shockey. You know that Ted Thompson's pallet and appetite for trading just became wet. While Thompson may not want to be known as the man who traded Favre, if the Legend commits to coming back and the Packers do not want him, they must attempt to discover what is fair market value. The Dolphins, Bucs, Jags, Panthers, Chargers, Chiefs, Redskins, Ravens, Falcons, and 49ers are the teams I would call. I highly doubt that the Chiefs, Ravens, Falcons, and 49ers would be looking to pull off a deal, but they are lacking a solid QB for the 2008 season. And after all, Favre's "Freedom is not Free."

So, I'm giving Favre until Wednesday to let us know his full intentions. After that, I'm 100% committed to living with Aaron Rodgers as the QB of the Packers for the 2008 season. I also commit to never making a "Favre would have done this" or "Favre would have done that" comment during the 2008 NFL Season.

With or Without Brett, the G-Force needs to have one vision. This vision must be focused on winning football games with the players that have reported to camp. The G-Force must move on. The Packers Family Night is less than 2 weeks away. The G-Force must be united. Energy must spiritually be pointed in the same direction. Chico's "Support The Helmet" statement is profound at a time like now. At some point, we all knew Favre would retire. And at that point, the G-Force must remain stronger than ever. The relationship between the G-Force & the Green Bay Packers must continue to be fundamentally based around two words: Passion & Belief.

There is no Man on Earth that has supported Brett Favre more than I. And I'm not looking for a political debate, but maybe, just maybe, both in America & in Green Bay, it's time to "Vote For Change."

Freedom Is Not Free,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Verdict's Released

Greetings, G-Force.

No more propaganda. No more false jargon being passed on from media puppet to Packer fanatic. No more assumptions. Thankfully, we FINALLY have the details.

For years, we have heard the "Ted Thompson is running Brett Favre out of Green Bay" statement. For years, I believed it. Yeah, we'd read assurances that during the off-season Thompson would phone Favre and encourage him to remain a Packer. Strangely, this year, this topic became a headline. And Ted Thompson was wrongly accused.

Ted Thompson was not pushing Brett Favre out of Green Bay. Ted Thompson was not forcing Brett Favre out of Green Bay. Sadly, Brett Favre is doing it to himself.

Over the last couple of days, we've read the story. It's no longer tabloid. Instead, it's fact. I'm not going to rehash the story as I trust you've read/heard/seen it, but I will say that Brett Favre has disappointed me.

I, wholeheartedly, believe that the Green Bay Packers are in good hands with Ted Thompson. I've often wondered whether the Packers best interests were in the best interests of Ted Thompson or whether Thompson wanted to do it "his" way.

I was wrong.

Thompson wants to win. And one thing is absolutely evident: Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and Scott McKenna all want Brett Favre to be the Packers starting QB when we host the Vikings on MNF in Week 1. And we want him 100% committed. Anything less is not going to suffice. In fact, I still want the 2-year commitment.

Ted Thompson, I trust you. I trust you as a businessman. I trust you as a scout. I trust you as a GM. I trust you as the builder and architect of the future of the Green Bay Packers.

Ted Thompson, this has been the most difficult off-season of your life. Arguably, it's been the most difficult off-season that any GM has encountered in the history of the greatest franchise in sports. And Ted, as the dust is settling, in the eyes of a die hard Brett Favre fan, you are coming out smelling like roses. You've convinced me that you want Brett back. If Brett cannot realize the same, shame on him.

We are less than 2 weeks away from the start of training camp. We're loaded with distractions and Ted, you've done your part to silence the critics. You handled yourself with class in what was a no-win situation. I'm thankful to have you, Ted, as the constructor of our future.

Brett, for the better part of 2 decades, I've hung onto your every step. I've lived for each down. I've enjoyed each interview. I've watched with with admiration. Brett, you are my idol. You remain my idol. But, Brett, it's time to make a choice and you have two options:

1.) Retire. Leave now. Ride off into the sunset as arguably the greatest football player to have ever lived.

2.) Come back. Give it another run as the Leader of the Pack. They can say all they want about you being #2, but everyone knows that when we come out of the huddle, you are our Leader. If #4 is on the roster, #4 will determine our success. Give us commitment. Wins will follow.

It's less than a month until the pre-season opener.



Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Celebrity Rule

Greetings, G-Force.

Living on South Beach has reinforced some of life's valuable unwritten laws. For example, I can go to Joe's Stone Crabs for dinner. Reservations are not allowed. So, I put the McKenna name on the waiting list and go to the bar. An hour and fifteen minutes later, I'm still waiting on the bar. Meanwhile, Darren & Jamie Sharper walk in and they're immediately seated. I live with it and I accept it. We all have a place in making Joe's Stone Crabs reputable.

Furthermore, I ask the Maitre d' when we will be seated. He responds that "there are a few to be seated before you." Minutes later, my wife (who is supremely more beautiful than I...yes, I married up!) poses the same question. Immediately, we are seated.

Law reinforced.

It's time for Ted Thompson to be reminded of such laws. Thompson has done a remarkable job building the current roster of the Green Bay Packers. We're loaded with young prospects. Our stable also includes some veteran thoroughbreds who have proven to be loyal stallions.

In Thompson's first 3 years, he was the General Manager of Brett Favre's Green Bay Packers. Favre was the Chief of the Packer tribe. However, the present state of our team portrays Ted Thompson as the Engineer of the roster and Mike McCarthy as the director of the team's productivity. In essence, we could be viewed as Ted Thompson's Green Bay Packers. I'm more than comfortable with Thompson being the head honcho, but I wish he would recognize the Celebrity Rule.

If the Packers were coming off of a 4-12 season and Favre had played like he did in 2005, I would understand it if Thompson was shy in welcoming Favre back. But, we are living in a "win now" league. And if Favre wants back, he should be greeted with open arms. I commend Al Harris for calling into NFL Radio on Sirius and stating the same. After all, as Harris said, "we're talking about Brett Favre, here."

In many ways, I'm excited to see Aaron Rodgers perform. But, I still believe that Favre gives us the best chance to win this year.

No one knows what really has gone on between Favre & Thompson. But, in many ways, sports media has reminded me of the old school WWF. In the media, Favre has gone from Hulk Hogan to Andre the Giant - the bad guy superstar. Thompson is Bobby "The Brain" Heenan who aligned himself with Andre the Giant...then fought with him...before eventually rejoining forces. I should mention that - together - they teamed for a WWF Championship in the '80's!

If I were Thompson, I would phone the Legend. The conversation would like this:

"Brett, you should have never retired. Are you 100% committed to continuing your career in the NFL?"

If Favre's answer is yes, my response to him would be:

"Brett, we are building a winning culture in our locker room. We want to take care of those that are loyal to us. We are building an era of successful football in Green Bay. You know, Brett, putting the "Title" back in "Titletown." With that being said, I want to be fair to Aaron. With that being said, Brett, assuming you are healthy, will you guarantee me that you will play 2 more years?"

If Favre's answer is yes, I'd say, "Brett, when can you be in Green Bay?"

Following this conversation, I would phone Rodgers.

"Aaron, Brett's coming back. He's given us a 2-year commitment. We still believe that you are the future of the Green Bay Packers. We want to offer you an extension. You're going to be the back-up for 2 more years, but you will be our starter in 2010. What are your thoughts, Aaron?"

If Rodgers is fine with this scenario, great! If not, Brian Brohm becomes our future and I'd explore trade options. I'd call Bill Parcells and I'd talk to him about Jason Taylor.


"Hey Jason, can you commit to 2 more years?"


Ted, remember the Celebrity Rule. He comes first. Ted, recognize your importance. Not only are you welcome, but you're the crucial element of our assemblance. And your clan is vastly superior with #4 at the helm. Welcome him back.

Enjoy your 4th.

Be Safe,

Talkin' S-Mac.