I wrote the piece moments after ESPN learned Favre had decided to retire after one season with the Jets. They went 9-7, but fell short of their playoff mission.
The Jets were 8-3 and a fashionable Super Bowl pick after whacking the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans. But Favre's late-season struggles -- two touchdowns, nine interceptions over the last five games -- were instrumental in the Jets' collapse.
Reaction was swift and powerful. The last time I received as much backlash in the AFC East mailbag was in November, when I had the nerve to wonder out loud if the New England Patriots might have a decision on their hands regarding Matt Cassel.
Many took exception to me calling the Jets' season a failure because they improved their win total by five games. I have to dismiss that argument. This season was playoffs or bust for the Jets. Otherwise, Eric Mangini wouldn't have gotten fired.
Here are my favorite responses, or at least the ones I can print without turning this into a Martin Scorsese script:
Jamie from Parts Unknown writes: Mr. Graham...thankyouthankyouthankyou!!! Just read your pc. on Favre. Hit on all the cylinders including Favre's last excuse. Make you a bet, when all the dust settles "again", he'll do it again! Thanks again, good article.
Tim Graham: OK, that was the only positive one, as you're about to see.
Donnel in New York writes: your an idiot
Gilbert in Palo Alto, Calif., writes: Utter failure not! While many of your observations are valid, the Jets had a winning record didn't they after not having one the year before. If Pennington had proved himself as a Jet there would have been no reason to get Farve. Many times a career is rejuvenated by a change of scenery. And as usual Farve tried to play through an injury. Once he established himself with three straight MVP's. no coach dared sit him when he should have, ala McNabb in Philly this year.
Brad in Denver writes: an utter failure? Huh? The Jets went from dogs to a winning season and if you think Chad Pennington is going to be leading anyone to a Super Bowl you need to increase your dosage.
Jack in Sioux Falls, S.D., writes: Tim, A fiasco? First off, you look like you haven't played a down of football in your life pal, but that's beside the point. I'm not a Jets fan, or a Favre fan, or a Green Bay fan, but a football fan who barely realized that the Jets even had a football team until this past year. You see, that's the point, he made the Jets relevant. He gave people like you things to write about. Hardly a fiasco.
Joe from Parts Unknown writes: the media is making the favre trade out to be a disaster. it didn't work but i don't see how it sets the jet back too much. they only lost a 3rd rounder and they are getting an extra late pick from the packers. i agree that they now need a new QB but they needed one last year anyway so i don't think the ramifications are that severe.
Adam in Rockford, Ill., writes: can you not talk about brett favre? the guy is so over rated and the most arrogant person there is
Jim from Parts Unknown writes: I'm so shocked you are bashing the Jets when I see your resume consists of stints in Buffalo, Boston & Miami. I'm glad I was sitting down for that. Your list of cosequences is weak to say the least. Mangini leaving is a good thing. They have an all world offensive line that couldn't keep Farve off the ground and that's Farve's fault? The real problem is gone in Mangini. So Thomas Jones whined a little on a local radio station. he forgets the reason he was able to run is because of the down field threat of Farve. He couldn't do that with Chad, who by thye way had to go anyway also, it was never going to work. How did they he do in tht playoffs? So the experiment didn't work but it was fun to watch for 2 thirds of the season no we move on with what I think will be a much better coach. I look foward to reading your nonsense during the coming year.
Nate in Las Vegas writes: Is it really a fiasco when you imporve your win total by 5 games. They guy plays with an injury that would prevent you from typing your column and it was a fiasco? Come on, obviously you never played the game, and don't realize what heart it takes to play hurt. He gave them all he had, even hurt he was their best QB.
Dan from Ashwaubenon, Wisc., writes: Tim Graham - You are the biggest tool on the entire ESPN staff. Why don't you try being more like John Clayton, a classy media figure who gives the proper respect to future Hall of Fame players? Why not at least acknowledge the incredible body of work that Favre has put together instead of bashing him on his last season? Go back to Miami where you belong. You're shameless.
Jeff in Denver writes: Honestly, I was hoping for a little bit of honest reporting in your Favre coverage, but that was unrealistic I guess. Do you really feel like the Dolphins getting Pennington was a valid comparison? He was sent to a team that completely changed their offensive identiy with a creative game plan that surprised a lot of teams and won a number of games for them. Pennington wouldn't have won 9 games in NY. And you are completely forgetting the part where Favre made the Jets relevant, something they would not have been with Pennington. And don't pretend that Favre's collapse, and the team's, somehow led to the "negative" of people like Mangini losing their jobs - Mangini coached this team to more than a few losses this season, and they get Rex Ryan now...a huge plus for the team, as a result of this trade. That's fine that you want to insult Favre, but acting like the Jets were somehow worse off for taking the chance on him for one year is disingenuous and wrong.
Hawkhunter in Chicago writes: Your'e an idiot and have no understandiig of football, how it's played, nor what it takes to play.
Steve in Cincinnati writes: Tim, The decisions to sign the free agents and to terminate Mangini and staff were independent of #4. The former deals were made before he put on the Jets uniform. The coaches were held accountable because of the investment, whether justifiable or not. The Jets won nine games, five more than in 2007 and notably better than the Packers. Chad is a fine quarterback, though not noted for arm strength, which is a key factor playing in the Meadowlands. The Jets largely gave up on Chad before Brett ever arrived. As for his teammates, sounds like a mixed deal with some unhappy but others rallying around him - harder to know for sure. The third round pick is the real cost - the other items you cite are a stretch to pin to Brett. Since Brett is too old to play like Brett Favre, the deal was too costly but not by a wide margin. I applaud the team for trying something to put them over the top. Best Reg
Jeff from Parts Unknown writes: WOW! Talk about blaming everything on Brett....whew! Tim, you forgot to add the demise of Packers season as well..."forcing" them to play Rodgers because Brett decided too late to un-retire! Thank goodness Mangini had the good sense not to name their son Timmie or Timothy.....talk about bad kharma!
Pat in New Haven, Conn., writes: I don't understand calling the Jets trade for Favre a fiasco. If Favre wasn't there, what would the Jets' record have been last year with Pennington or Clemems running the team? How many more wins (or less wins) would the Jets really have had? As a fan, wins and championships is all it really boils down to. The Jets would've been foolish not to try this out and see how far they could ride Favre's arm. It seems apparently to a winning season and not much else but a 3rd round pick is worth that gamble.
Russ in Mobile, Ala., writes: FAILURE? Why in the world would someone with your supposed intelect say such a "dumb" thing? Not being a homer for Farve, I even find your points "dumb". Let's see, the Jets were 4-12 with Pennington. Do not give me they "upgraded" their offensive line, because if they had, Thomas Jones numbers would have gotten better. Same horrid wideouts with brick hands, Pennington was not very good, and Farve was having a Pro bowl year until he got hurt. I would say bad luck with the injury. Pennington in warm Miami, did have a better results, but at the same time you are comparing apples to oranges. Just focus on what Pennington did with the Jets. Horrid at best. Then lets see, Farve had them in the drivers seat before getting hurt, and the team, along with him, faltered down the strech. But, let us not forget the Jets defense was not good at all. They could not cover and tackling was a joke at best. After Farve got hurt, why didn't the coaching staff pull him. Was he better not being able to throw than every other QB on their roster?, if not maybe the old coach got what he deserved. Please don't tell me they could not bench Farve. That will only subtract from your remaining "cred" Since when did Farve become a "bad guy" It seems you and other media types want to lable him as a joke. To date, maybe the best at his position. Right up there with Montana, Elway, Marino etc.....You should be ashamed for being publishing something as dumb as this article. Football Fan, not Farve fan
Tim Graham: For the record, Thomas Jones' numbers went way up. He had one of the greatest seasons for a Jets running back and improved from one rushing touchdown in 2007 to 13 last year. But I wanted to include Russ' response because he took the time out of his day to write it.
Steve in Parkersburg, W.Va., writes: C'mon man! His year with the Jets was NOT a failure. Won some games, gave us more great memories and we all had a lot of fun. Thank God for Brett!
Craig in York, Pa., writes: I always thought ESPN had very good journalism with some minor pieces of garbage. I know as well as anyone that you can use statistics to prove both sides of a coin, but saying the 9-7 record they wound up with was a failure for Favre, the trades they made, and the Jets is ludicrous. Jets doubled their record from just one year ago. Favre got them to where they were last year. Even players are admitting that you can't put the entire weight on his shoulders for the tumble they took at the end of the season. He had his mistakes, but the entire team did too. For the Jets, it just wasn't meant to be. Don't put a "failure tag" on the Jets season last year when the improved so much on the season before. It's like saying Michael Phelps failed in 2004 when he only won 6 gold medals instead of 7 or 8. It's people like that that have no understanding of the sport, and what it takes to even get to where Phelps, or where Favre wound up. My God report some positive news for once! This article is garbage!