The oddest thing about Monday's press conference to announce Eric Mangini's firing wasn't the fact that less was said about what caused the termination than all the things that had nothing to do with it. No, the oddest thing was that it turned into a lovefest between Woody Johnson and Brett Favre, despite Sunday's three interceptions and a largely underwhelming season for the quarterback.
Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum were emphatic about their desire for Favre's return in 2009, a strange choice given the gaping hole on the sideline. It's hard to cajole a coach into a job when he'll also be shoehorned into a forced marriage with a mistake-prone, 40-year old quarterback who doesn't like to make quick decisions about returning to play from one season to the next.
It's easy to see Johnson's ode to Favre as a way to keep the celebrity quotient, and resultant PSL revenue, high. Let's play devil's advocate, though, and say that the Jets are playing with an open hand to light a fire under Favre. There's no first-round pick like Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings, nor is the fan-base tired of his annual agitations about retirement. They may be tired of his interceptions, but that's another story for another time.
If that's the case, the Jets are handling things the right way. If they want him back, they've said so and it shouldn't be that difficult for him to sign on for another term. If Favre refuses to make up his mind, however, the Jets need to treat him like he doesn't exist. Favre can't be a question mark while a new coach tries to put together his first team. He can't leave them twisting in the wind while they prepare for free agency or the draft without knowing if they need to address the position immediately or in a year's time.
This isn't Green Bay, he's got no history here and didn't play well enough to make his return a no-brainer. The Favre trade hijacked the 2008 season, which wasn't all negative, but he can't be allowed to take ownership of 2009 as well.