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Was Favre trade truly necessary?

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Before I pull the pin from the grenade and launch it, let me state the performances of these two quarterbacks are not interchangeable.

In addition to what they've done on the field, there were circumstances to consider when the New York Jets decided to trade for Brett Favre and cut Chad Pennington.

Both sides needed a change of scenery. The Jets had lost confidence in Pennington's ability to get them over the hump, and Favre is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who could provide the needed jolt.

How sad it seemed when Pennington landed with the 1-15 Dolphins. He looked like a castoff desperate to prove he still was good enough to start.

Yet here we are, with only three games left in the regular season, and the quarterbacks have identical records, tied atop the AFC East at 8-5 and headed for a potential do-or-die showdown in the Dec. 28 season finale.

While Dolfans are looking forward to the matchup, Jets fans must be dreading the possibility of Pennington keeping them from the postseason.

Pennington has had the better season, hands down. His team is more improved than Favre's. The Dolphins have an NFL-low 10 turnovers all year. Favre has thrown 15 interceptions and lost two fumbles.

Pennington has more yards on fewer attempts. His passer rating is 5.5 points higher. Even more incredible is that before leading receiver Greg Camarillo suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 12, all but one of Pennington's targets on game days were undrafted, and the one who was drafted (Ted Ginn) is viewed by many as a bust.

Favre has a higher completion percentage, more touchdowns and a lot more interceptions. His offensive line includes four first-round draft picks, and his receivers include Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller.

But could Pennington have taken the Jets as far as he has taken the Dolphins?

Would the Jets have responded the same to Pennington coming back for a ninth season as they did to Favre's boost?

In othe
r words, was the Favre trade really necessary?

Fire in the hole.