ARLINGTON, Texas -- At least one of the hot themes of Super Bowl XLV hype week should come as no surprise to seasoned NFC North fans. There is a perception among national media members that the Green Bay Packers should feel validated and perhaps vindicated for trading quarterback Brett Favre three years ago.
It's a tightly-wrapped story, and one that the Packers haven't attempted to play down. Coach Mike McCarthy said: "It wasn't popular, and it wasn't fun at times, but we felt it was the right decision. And I think why we're standing here today talking about it proves it was the right decision."
Receiver Donald Driver, meanwhile, told ESPN's Ed Werder: "Look where we are at now. That was the benefit. The benefit is that we're in the Super Bowl. But the good part is I've played with two great quarterbacks, and one got me to the Super Bowl."
As we discussed at the time, successor Aaron Rodgers proved quickly he was up to the job. If the Packers made a mistake, it was allowing the circus to spill into their 2008 training camp. At the time, I thought that might have been the by-product of a leadership group that was still coalescing under team president/CEO Mark Murphy -- who was about eight months into his job at the time.
And after talking to Murphy earlier this month, it seemed clear he considers the Favre episode to be a watershed event for the Packers' front office.
"One of the things that was true before and after is that Mike and [general manager Ted Thompson] have a great relationship," Murphy said. " [But] it was a time, as I look back on it, where it was a very good opportunity early in my tenure to work with them and find out how we could all work together. We made a football decision and we stuck with it and we made it work."
In other words, the Packers aren't in the Super Bowl simply because they cast aside Favre and installed Rodgers. The teamwork required to pull through that drama strengthened the communication, and therefore the effectiveness, of their leadership. If anything, that is the lasting effect and impact of Favre's ugly departure.
Related: Murphy plans to reach out to Favre "at the right time for him and for us" to plan a true reconciliation and jersey retirement ceremony.