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A Reasonable Argument for a Revisionist Idea

 

All Conditions Equal, is Rex Grossman Bret Favre?

“Sometimes there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.” -The Big Lebowski

He’s a relentless leader on the field.  Someone who isn’t afraid of a corner blitz, triple coverage, or an empty vicodin bottle. To him, the score doesn’t matter because all he wants to do is step back and see if he can be the first person to kill a receiver from throwing a football. He can toss for 400 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions, or he can toss for 400 yards with zero touchdowns and five interceptions, with the fifth interception always resulting in a “Touchdown After Interception” (TAINT). Is this Brett Favre you ask? It could be, but that’s not who I was describing. No, this is the Gator who very well could have been Brett Favre. I’m talking about Rex Grossman.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s impossible to say a statement like, “If they swapped time & places, Grossman’s career would be identical to Favre’s,” and then attempt to prove it true. Moments would be different. Maybe Grossman throws a TD where Favre would throw an interception, and this has a ripple effect causing the Packer’s defense to relax ultimately costing them the game. What if that happened in the ’96 NFC title game? Also, another factor to account for is their different personalities. Grossman might have been too easy on Cedric Benson resulting in his 1.1 Yards Per Carry (just a guess) while Favre might have been a harsher teammate possibly bumping YPC to 2.1.  So to that end, this entire essay is already rendered moot, but still, it's always good to wonder, “What if?”

Legacy Vs. Reality
As the announcers continue to gush over his current play while the public slowly turns on him, it has come to my attention that Brett Favre could possibly provide an answer to one hell of a “What if” question.

What if Kurt Cobain never died?

By burning out at the apex of his career, critics and the public still adore Cobain. His negatives are never mentioned, only his genius.

Meanwhile, the public is starting to catch onto Favre’s INT record, the occasional game ending TAINT, and the constant craving for attention. Even Peter King wrote a negative comment about Favre, and this is a man who wanted to rename his weekly column from “Monday Morning Quarterback” to “Love Letters to Brett.”

There is no question if Cobain were still around; peoples’ reverence for him would be drastically lower. Likewise, could you imagine if Favre died in ’97? They might have renamed the state after him or created a holiday in his memory.

So what does this have to do with my argument? Well, if they switch places and Grossman ends up winning the Super Bowl, then Favre’s promotion to instant legend would transfer and suddenly all of Grossman's interceptions are the receivers fault, a side effect from all of the games he’s played, or that he is just having fun.

Likewise, if Favre is on the Bears and starts the season 3-0 before getting hurt followed by Orton coming in to do the Orton thing, then eventually return and wind up making it to the Super Bowl but lose, then he gets killed by everyone.

The Teams
To compare the defenses of the ’06 Bears and the ’96 Packers is like comparing apples and oranges.

In 2006, the Bears defense played with the same reckless abandon, and the results were as good as anyone could hope. Their style consisted of trying to strip the ball during a tackle instead of bringing the man down and jumping passing routes to get the INT while actually leaving coverage responsibility to the safety. With this defensive philosophy, there are only two possible outcomes each game: blowout or get blown out. These outcomes aren't mutually exclusive either, sometimes both can happen in the same game, for example, that Monday night game they nearly lost against the Cardinals - Denny Green's famous, “Crown them” moment.

With the Packers, they had Reggie White who is one of only two players who could consistently win games on his own. Reggie influenced everything. Constant double teaming led to easier pass rushing and run defense, hurried throws, and allowed their team to float at least one player at all times. They had a Bob Sanders/Troy Polamalu role before any team realized you could play that way.

You could go down each offensive roster, and 95% of the best players at each spot were Packers. Sterling Sharpe alone was better than any receiver on the Bears. Plus, the Bears never used Thomas Jones the way they should have because they needed to make some attempt at getting a return on investment for Cedric Benson.

Put Grossman on the Packers and he could heave up anything and Andre Rison or Freeman would get it. Plus, there is always Sterling Sharpe as plan B. As long as he didn’t hand the ball off directly to a Patriot, the Packers still win that Super Bowl. You think Favre would be anywhere near as successful with Bernard Berrian?
 

 


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