Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
By Guest Blogger: Karen
At this time one year ago it was Packer-mania. People were rushing to the stores to get their North Division Champions t-shirt, Packer garb was everywhere. Packer Friday's and Packer Monday's were back at schools and places of work. Everyone was reveling in it.
We were on our way to not only the play-offs, but the NFC Championship game.
This year, we are not going to make the play-offs and many people just want it to be over.
Yes, I am going there.
I know a lot of people in the blogosphere are done with this topic. I'm not.
A lot of people don't want to talk about it because they know its true.
Thompson and McCarthy's decision to kick Brett Favre to the curb was the dumbest most idiotic decision ever made. Period.
Allow me to elaborate. I believe that the best things in life are the surprises. Those moments when joy is its purest.
For example, for those of you who are parents, you would agree that finding out the gender of your baby the minute after he/she takes that first breath is likely the best surprise you have ever experienced.
Last year's Packer season was kind of like one of those surprises. At the end of 2006, Brett left the field with a tearful message that many thought was a good-bye. Then he surprised us and came back to play in 2007. And what a year that was!
In my opinion, 2007 was one of the best Favre Packers seasons ever, because the whole season was one big surprise. No one, and I mean no one, thought they would have the year they did last year. It was phenomenal. And Favre... how many records did he set?
But we all know how this story ended.
There is an AP story out today Missing element: Rodgers has played well, but absence of Favre's quiet leadership has hurt Packers more that is a must read.
It is a lengthy article but here are a few parts that must be highlighted with a few comments of my own:
By any measure, the Green Bay Packers' season has been a disappointment, a boiling mixture of unfulfilled potential, missed opportunity and chronic late-game failures.
Something has been missing from a team that 11 months ago was a field goal away from playing in the Super Bowl. The Packers have been in every game but one this season and yet they have lacked the spark or the confidence or whatever it is that they had last year that got them over the hump in so many close games.
It's easy to pass their 5-8 record off on injuries or misfortune or youth.
But what if the missing ingredient is Brett Favre? Not the touchdown passes, yards and interceptions he contributed; rather the aura, unspoken leadership and broad shoulders he provided for a team learning to win again.
For 16 years, he was the face of the organization, and when he had the ball in his hands with the game on the line, the atmosphere was electric whether it was home or away. Was he going to pull off a come-from-behind miracle or was he going to throw one of those bone-headed interceptions?
Either way, the focus was on him, and his teammates' job — perceived or otherwise — was to be there when he needed them. It didn't matter if you played on offense or defense, you didn't want to be the guy who let him down.
This is precisely what so many of us fans knew, but apparently Thompson and McCarthy didn't know or more likely- just didn't care.
On the field, Rodgers has about matched Favre's statistical output from last season, showing the potential to be a great quarterback for years to come. But Rodgers hasn't even been close to providing the same presence. The Packers have had an opportunity to win in the final minutes of six games this season, and they have failed to pull it out each time.
How many times this season were you on the edge of your easy-chair? Didn't think so. More like not wanting to look.
I sort of feel for Rodgers, what a tough position to be in. (Well not too terrible considering what he gets paid to play football) but you know what I mean. This next comment from him is very revealing: (emphasis mine)
"Our good players need to have the confidence, and maybe it takes somebody saying something, maybe it takes a coach," Rodgers said last week. "I'm not really sure what it is. It's a different dynamic than any other team I've been on. It's been interesting to watch and also be a part of it.
"But guys have to realize they have an opportunity to lead. I don't know what they want from me all the time. I'm trying to be the best leader I can. I'm trying to lead by example, which I think is the most important thing a leader can do. But other guys need to make the most of their leadership opportunities as well."
The biggest mistake general manager Ted Thompson might have made in constructing this team was to underestimate how Favre's presence would be missed around the organization. Thompson's decision to go young again left the team with only a handful of veterans to assume leadership roles.
Instead of adding a few grizzled veterans who might have helped in the transition, Thompson, who did not return a phone message left with him last week, signed no player with more than four years experience. As a result, the Packers were the youngest team in the NFL on opening day for the third straight year. Just before the trading deadline he had one last chance to add a player with tremendous credibility, but he passed on paying a premium price for Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez.
The veterans left to carry the weight had acquiesced to Favre in the past and probably were as unsure as the younger players what their leadership role should be this year. How many times this season have you seen a defensive player gather his mates on the sideline and demand accountability? Who, other than Rodgers early last week, has stood up and publicly urged his teammates to look in the mirror and make sure they're being honest with themselves?
It just hasn't happened.
Thompson is an idiot.
Read the rest of the article.
Back to my belief that the best things in life are the surprises.
I believe the New York Jets fans know what I'm talking about. The Jets ended their 2007 year with a dismal record and continued to be kicked around in the New York media market. Then along came one of those surprised. Hand delivered by the Grinch himself, Ted Thompson, with a big green bow attached.
His name is Brett Favre and now look at the year the Jets are having.
It's not just the plays on the field that Brett produces, it is his presence. His teammates want to do more, play better and try harder.
This year I am a Brett Favre Jets fan. I'll come back to the Packers next year, maybe. But this year, I wanted McCarthy and Thompson to regret their decision, and take heat for their selfishness.
And I wanted Brett to be successful.
It looks like this is working out just way it was meant to.