Ted Thompson is the stupidest man in the history of sports, right? As the GM of the Packers, Thompson has the most prolific passer in NFL history, a living legend in Lambeau and the man who was one pass away from leading the Pack back to the Super Bowl. And Thompson wants to get rid of him for an unproven Aaron Rodgers, who has never thrown a meaningful pass in the league.
You thought I was going to diss Favre? No way. If he was a broken down has-been and Rodgers was the next Favre, I’d say move the former Southern Miss Golden Eagle out to pasture. But Rodgers will be the man who gets replaced after replacing the Man. In two years, Brian Brohm will take over for Rodgers and the next Favre will be in place.
If Favre was in wrestling, the Head of Talent Relations would have an easier time managing this situation. JR crossed that bridge with Stone Cold and I am sure Terry Taylor deals with it in TNA with Sting, Kevin Nash and more. Wresting is a little easier… you don’t have to do much. Can you still work at least a little?
But, there’s more… How hurt are you? How are you dealing with the pain pills? You got enough money banked? How many ex-wives have you bought houses for?
Let’s say the Head of Talent Relations gets the answers to those questions. Now, you have to go to either Vince McMahon or Jeff Jarrett and say “your veteran star is thinking about hanging it up.” Vince and Jeff? They’d say “thanks and we’ll move on”.
So why is the answer to the old time athlete stepping away from their physical domain such a difficult one?
Because the athletes can be marks for themselves. They can’t let it go. Once the smell of fame gets in your nose, it’s hard to forget.
Stone Cold knew it was his time. Ric Flair hung on too long but bowed out the right way. Hulk’s repeated comebacks got worse each time. Kevin Nash looks like he’s a white tuxedo away from being Colonel Sanders but he’s realistic about the wrestling business being about money.
Brett Favre can’t let it go. He’s a mark for being “Brett Favre”. Same went for Roger Clemens. Thank God for Brian McNamee and the Mitchell Report or we’d be dealing with another Rocket comeback.
It breaks my heart to see Hacksaw Jim Duggan still hanging on Raw. He looks terrible and he must have never banked any money. But Favre’s got loads of loot.
Athletes like Willie Mays, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan all hung around too long because they were marks for themselves. Oh, and I wasn’t racking on Ali last week. It was a shot on JBL for talking so slowly. GM’s and boxing promoters have no soul for not forcing the greats go out on top.
So Ted Thompson may not be such a tool. The Packers GM may be Favre’s best friend for wanting him to go out in style. It’s not about winning. Just ask Josh Hamilton in the Home Run Derby. It’s about letting go and allowing your fans to remember you being great, not broken down.
So, while Brett Favre may be a better option than Aaron Rodgers as QB for the Packers, who says that one more snap won’t be his last? Thompson knows that a guy who retires, then unretires many times is a mark for himself.
And just like in wrestling, a good GM has to protect the talent from themselves.
I can’t wait for the release of “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. It’s the story of a broken-down wrestler unable to deal with life outside the business. Rourke’s character is a mark for himself, a mark for the fame.
I hope Brett Favre can make it to the premiere.
Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org