It was public knowledge that Ted Thompson and Brett Favre didn’t get along with each other. After all, Ted is the reason Favre is still not playing in Green Bay. I mean how could you blame him? Favre was 38 years old at the time and just finished his 17th season and they had been grooming a younger talent in Aaron Rodgers. For that reason, it is believed that Favre came back to play this season for the Minnesota Vikings just to stick it to Ted Thompson and the whole Packers front office and win a another Super Bowl title.
Favre got the best of the Packers both times they played each other and after all he is going to be the last one laughing as the Vikings are an elite team this year and could make some serious noise in the playoffs. Former Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt joined WSSP in Milawaukee to add some light to the Ted Thompson and Brett Favre saga, whether Brett felt as if his days were numbered after he finally realized Ted Thompson’s philosophy, and whether Brett told him that he didn’t have time to wait around to build through the draft like Ted Thompson’s philosophy calls for.
On the Brett Favre and Ted Thompson saga:
“Well yeah I mean listen I was around there nine years. Three with Ted as the general manager, one with Ted back in ’99 before he left for Seattle and obviously Brett was there the whole time. Let me tell you a couple of things that are obvious. One: Brett is hired to play quarterback and Ted was hired to run the team. So there are obviously different opinions on that. But you know I think the situation you described is accurate. The philosophy that we had in the three years I was there with Ted was certainly to build through the draft and identify players and target players towards core extensions, long-term contracts, players that are homegrown, players that are developed in the farm system, if you will, through the Green Bay Packers, through draft, through practice squads, through coming up through the system and then selected targeted acquisitions in free agency. We are all aware of Charles Woodson and that was certainly a large recruitment and maybe the biggest signing in free agency for the Packers ever besides Reggie White and a few others with Pickett and Chillar. You don’t see the big splash signings in Green Bay than you do with other teams. Time will tell whether that is a successful strategy or not. I think you will see every year in early March where the big signings happen whether Albert Haynesworth, Bart Scott, etc. this year.
Every year there is always a few. I think by in large you will see that most of those signings are more noise in March than they are in December or January and that is what ends up happening. It is a philosophy and one that Brett was a little bit frustrated by because he wanted the proven veterans that in his mind would make his work more successful, that would give him more options that would give him proven commodities to line up next to him. And as I mentioned the article as I changed in the locker next to Brett so when he came into the other locker room and we talked a lot. I would listen to him and I told him that was not the philosophy there and as I said in the article he would kind of shrug and walk away. He was frustrated on a few things that didn’t happen that he thought could have happened.”
Whether Brett felt as if his days were numbered after he finally realized Ted Thompson’s philosophy:
“Well I think that Brett thought his time was running out about ten years ago. I came to the Packers in 1999 and I started hearing the retirement talk about a year later. In 2001, I was able to accomplish with the Packers we were able to do the first $100 million contract in football. I remember with Bus Cook trying to negotiate his contract in 2001, February, saying gosh I hope we can get two or three years out of this deal. I mean we were both saying that. We were both saying that we hope we could get Brett to at least 2003 and here we are in 2009 and he is still going. I think that is a natural. Players start getting older and he starts seeing a mortality shelf to his career and he wants proven veterans to make that happen. As I said, I said to these guys that you got to trust a guy like Greg Jennings and he said: I don’t have time. Well he will get better. I don’t have time. Well you will see. It’ll happen quickly.”
Whether Brett told him that he didn’t have time:
“In so many words he said: How long is it going to take? So I don’t know if those were the exact words but sure… Players are impatient and management has to look long-term. Sometimes it is different I think when you have situations where immediate needs vs. long-term needs it is always a push and pull with the organization.”
Why there is a philosophy to build through the draft when Minnesota has gone out and signed big free agents and built through the draft:
“Well why is there a philosophy? Because that philosophy has been practiced by a lot of people in the past and has proven to be somewhat successful… Listen there are extremes. I mean there are teams that go and make the big splashes every year, one of them in Washington, D.C., and the success has not been there. Clearly it is a correlation between winning and spending has not been clear. That is kind of the biggest reasons to avoid free agency. Let me say it again, there has not been a proven correlation in the NFL between spending and winning. When you make that statement then you can see why people avoid big spending in free agency, why people avoid big spending in trades, etc. When the Vikings made the acquisition of Jared Allen and paid him the highest contract in defensive ends at the time and gave up top draft choices. You can say what you want about that deal they ended up into the playoffs but they ended up in a place where they probably didn’t want to end up last year. This year they have started out very strong so I think what philosophy rings true but listen there are philosophies that win and philosophies that lose and I don’t think it is proven that one is a formula that excludes the other.”
On the comments that Troy Aikman said on Sunday and whether Brett wanted his way out of Green Bay or whether Brett thought he needed to get into a better situation:
“Well I thought that Troy’s comments were interesting. Troy knows Brett as well as anyone and I mentioned the article that Brett spends a lit of time around the broadcast guys when he arrives in town on Saturday and just hangs out talking football whether it is Phil Simms, Troy Aikman, Matt Millen, John Madden. I have seen that happen. He has come out of those meetings two hours later when most players spend ten minutes in those meetings. I think it had some merit. Again this is not news. I think it has been documented that he had some hard feelings towards the present management in Green Bay and that was a tough thing. Let me say this, everyone of your listeners, you, me had to be sad at the way it ended last year. 16 years the face of the franchise and the signature player for the team they raised the asset value of the franchise, made it a national and international attraction, became as inextricably linked to a franchise as any player in any sport, divorced.
And I had left a few months before that and it was incredibly hard to see. It was hard to fathom that there would be a divorce. But the Packers made an organizational decision to move on. That happens in business in sports, in life. People make decisions to move on and to go back was going to be very hard… Mike McCarthy has said publicly that Brett put us in a difficult position. And the difficult decision became we have to tell the face of the franchise for the last decade and a half that we are moving on with the younger player. But as I have said many times they aren’t ending up with a stopgap veteran quarterback and the reason that they could say that they were moving on is because they had groomed this guy for three years. When Aaron Rodgers showed up there was something that he knew right away this guy had.”