Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hey Miami, Stay Away From Favre

You've probably all seen this before:

A prominent player is rumored to be available either by trade or an imminent release from his team. In the wake of this news, your team's message board is instantly flooded with posts like "OMG! We need to get (insert player's name)." It doesn't even seem to matter who that player is. If he's a big name, he must be brought on-board - logic be damned!

I call this type of fan the "compulsive collector." Any big name is good enough, as long as it's a big name. Factors like how they fit into a team's scheme or salary cap are not important. These fans are unique in their maddeningly short-sighted view of team dynamics and the components of sustained success. They would likely rather cheer for a lousy team stocked with recognizable players than patiently stay with a group of youngsters as they develop into the stars of the future.

I expect this kind of behavior from a percentage of fans. After all, for some people, the most important aspect of their fanship is how much they can brag about the moves their team has recently made, regardless of how they turn out in the future. There's rarely any accountability with this type of boasting, and most importantly, any move can be made to look good since no actual games have been played that will prove otherwise.

On the other hand, I generally don't expect this irrational viewpoint to come from the sportswriters who are paid to be the voices most in tune with the needs and dynamics of a single team. And yet, I had to read through Greg Cote's article in the Miami Herald, assuring me that Brett Favre is a match made in heaven for the Miami Dolphins.

And yes, this is the same narcissistic, soon-to-be 39 year old quarterback and the same one-win team that you're thinking of.

My only question to Mr. Cote and to anyone else who agrees with him: How, in your right mind, can you rationally believe that Brett Favre is a positive addition to this franchise?

I will not argue that Favre is far and away a better quarterback than any of the three guys currently on Miami's roster. I agree that having Favre line up under center in 2008 would be worth a couple of wins by itself. And I agree that the Dolphins would be a far better team in 2008 with Favre than without him.

However, there are two giant problems that still exist.

Miami won a single game last year...barely. While they have improved over the offseason, it is still optimistic to think the team can scrape together five wins this year. Even under the assumption that Favre automatically adds a couple wins, the Dolphins still fall woefully short of playoff contention. Let's stop kidding ourselves. This is not a team that is one star QB away from bursting back onto the playoff scene.

And that brings me to the second giant problem. Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano have all but shouted at the top of their lungs that this franchise is fully invested in a rebuilding mode. Sure, they want to win as much as possible now, but only within the strict confines of the rebuilding plan. For too long, the Dolphins have toyed with rebuilding, without ever actually committing to it. A half-assed rebuilding effort is a sign of indecisiveness and denial.

The key to rebuilding any team is a giant infusion of youth at all positions. That's why Zach Thomas was cut and Akin Ayodele brought in; it's why Marty Booker was shown the door while Ted Ginn was elevated to the starting lineup; it's why Parcells and Ireland have been shopping Jason Taylor all offseason long in the hopes of getting some future value. A team looking to contend would not even consider getting rid of Taylor.

For many fans, and perhaps Mr. Cote, it's just too hard to accept that the guys running this team do not realistically expect to contend this season.

Young players can only develop for so long on the bench. John Beck probably should not have played at all last season, but 2008 is a different story. This new regime needs to see what it has in its young QBs. Beck has to be given every opportunity to start this season and show what he can bring to the table. If Favre comes to Miami, that's another entire season of Beck's career wasted on the bench. And once the season ends, with Miami watching the playoffs from home, what will the team have gained - a few extra bucks from selling tickets to those who want to see Favre? The 2009 season will simply seem like deja vu, with fans and pundits everywhere wondering exactly what the Dolphins have at QB.

These are the questions that must be answered now.

And I havent' even mentioned that Favre's entire career has been spent in a West Coast offense, which is nothing like what Miami intends to run. Accomodating Favre's system would only further hamper every young offensive player's development into the system that is meant to be in place for years to come.

I just want Mr. Cote and those who share his feelings to answer a simple question. Is it more likely that the Miami Dolphins compete for a championship in 2008 with Brett Favre or that they do so with John Beck/Chad Henne over the next half decade? Understand that this is a one or the other proposition. The team cannot do both. Bringing in Brett Favre as a rental completely disrupts the development process of Miami's young talent.

If you still don't agree, let me put it this way: Bringing in Brett Favre would be like gambling on a one-in-a-million lottery ticket while sticking to the rebuilding plan is like investing in a mutual fund and patiently watching the funds mature.

And any Scrubs fan will remember what Dr. Cox said when asked if he wanted to put in some money for lottery tickets: "Oh gosh, Carla! I would, I really would! But you see, I already set fire to a big pile of money just this morning."

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