So much of the local media is supporting Ted Thompson's treatment of Brett Favre. I think it's profoundly mistaken. I begin with the proposition that whether Favre has treated the Packers "fairly" or has acted in a rational manner is wholly irrelevant. His job was never guaranteed by - nor is it entirely dependent upon - some judgment as to whether his behavior or that of Packers' management was more reasonable.
The question - the only one - is whether the Packers are better today with Favre at quarterback. The team - at least with Favre - is a Super Bowl contender and you don't throw that away for the "future."
So there are three possible justifications for Thompson's position. The first - and most easily disposed of - would be a belief that Rodgers is a better quarterback today. He may be, but no rational person could think so. He hasn't played an entire game in the NFL. While he moved the team against the Cowboys after Favre was hurt, he showed an inability to finish drives. He hasn't, if I recall correctly, played more than three consecutive quarters in the NFL without being hurt - has, in fact, never had any significant playing time without being hurt. None of this means that he can't be a very good quarterback, but the notion that the Packers are better in 2008 with Rodgers than they are with Favre is just nuts.
I understand that Favre got very cold in the NFC championship game. (I was there.) But the real problem in that game was the complete absence of a running game and Plaxico Burress' domination of Al Harris. Change either one of those and the game wouldn't have come down to an interception in overtime.
But maybe it's not so crazy if Favre isn't really ready to play. Maybe his Hamlet act has convinced Thompson that he doesn't want it anymore. But it seems to me that he has - after starting so many games in a row and playing so well at such an advanced age - earned a presumption that he will be ready to play. Not as a reward, but as a recognition that past practice supports this particular projection of future performance. If he can't answer the bell, Rodgers is ready - or at least Thompson thinks so.
Maybe Thompson thinks that Favre's grandstanding will hurt team morale. There are reports that Favre became bigger than the team during the (not unsuccessful) Sherman era - but, if he did, it seems that the larger problem in the Packers failure to make it to an NFC title game or the Super Bowl - was the absence of a supporting cast. Favre didn't fail to stop the Eagles on 4th & 26. It was the entire team that got dominated by the Falcons and Vikings.
Thompson obviously has great ability in identifying good football players - particularly among the less celebrated. (His first round choices - with the exception of A.J. Hawk - have been uninspired.) That's a great talent but you also have to know how to deal with stars. His bullheadedness about what Favre should and should not have done has backed him in a corner. If Favre plays poorly elsewhere, he'll be ok. If Favre plays well elsewhere or, and this is the cruel part, doesn't play at all, then Rodgers needs to have a Pro Bowl season and the Packers have to, at least, win the division. There is no way that his handling of this situation doesn't place Rodgers under tremendous pressure.
Maybe Aaron is up to that. I'm a Packers fan and I hope so. But it's a bizarre - and unnecessary gamble - on Thompson's part.