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Addressing the Favre to Buffalo Idea

We've discussed the possibility of quarterback Brett Favre becoming a Miami Dolphin.  But the media buzz surrounding the Packers quarterback (at least, I think he's still a Packers quarterback...) has, at least on a highly speculative and rumor-mongering level, now included the Buffalo Bills.

Several news outlets, most notably the folks at ESPN (big surprise), speculated over this past weekend that Favre could wind up in a cold-weather, "QB unsettled" city such as Buffalo (the Dolphins and Jets were also mentioned, of course).  Such speculation led WGR 550 this morning to run a poll measuring the potential impact of a Favre-to-Buffalo move in a "fun", yet still sort of serious way.  Even Bob Matthews of The Democrat and Chronicle has joined in on the Favre-to-Buffalo bandwagon (sort of).  The main argument is that for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999, trading for Favre - even if he's only here for a season - would be worth it just to take a stab at ending that drought.

Sure, this may be a "fun" topic to discuss, but only if you're in the business of fantasy and delusions.  Brett Favre isn't coming to Buffalo.  The reasons?  Dick Jauron and team chemistry.

Favre Not a Fit in Buffalo
I'll admit: the idea of the Bills making a trade for Brett Favre, while incredibly far-fetched, is enticing.  To me, it's similar to the move the team made for Drew Bledsoe a few years back - no, that move didn't work out well, but boy, did it bring the hype.  Favre, even at age 38, is better than Bledsoe, so it's easy to assume that he'd have more impact in Buffalo than Bledsoe did as well.

But ultimately, having a duo of veteran and kid quarterback in this league leads to a mess.  Just look at the Packers - they thought they had the perfect situation, where Aaron Rodgers would take over once Favre retired.  That hasn't worked out so well.  It didn't work out well in Buffalo, either, when the Bills had to flat-out release Bledsoe to get J.P. Losman into the starting lineup.  The team would be facing a similar situation here with Trent Edwards.

The biggest reason, however, that Favre has literally a 0% chance of coming to Buffalo is that his style doesn't mesh well with the style of head coach Dick Jauron.  Buffalo's head coach prefers an offensive unit that is calculated and minimizes mistakes; Favre's style has always been gunslinger, balls-to-the-wall, and it's exactly not the type of quarterback that Jauron prefers.

The Effects on Team
Another little-discussed issue is what effects that a sudden move for Favre would have on a team that is, by and large, ready to make more on-field improvements.  What message does it send to Trent Edwards - he's our guy, but he's not really our guy because we're willing to take a shot with a diva future Hall of Famer?  What message does it send to the team's young leadership?

A move for Favre has a far more likely chance of ruining what chemistry the team already has than improving it.  Edwards' development is hurt - not from an on-field standpoint as much as being "the guy" in the locker room.  That's where Edwards really needs to make strides this season - he needs to be Buffalo's go-to guy, the leader of the offense, the face of the franchise.  If Favre comes in, he briefly owns that role - and then Buffalo's back to finding his replacement.

To that end, perhaps the strongest argument to make against bringing Favre in is this: hasn't Buffalo's biggest problem of the past decade been finding the successor to Jim Kelly?  Brett Favre doesn't solve that problem, folks - he merely delays the answer.  That's not forward progress for this franchise, it's a sidestep.  This team is too young to be taking sidesteps with iffy personnel decisions.  This team needs to keep digging for the answer to the question of Kelly's heir.  Maybe they've found the answer in Edwards, maybe not.  Either way, having Favre in town delays the revelation of that answer.

The Difference Between Playoffs and Contender
I'm just like any other Bills fan - I want Buffalo to end its playoff drought in a bad way.  I just want to see it done the right way - and mortgaging out large chunks of salary to an end-of-the-road quarterback isn't the way to do it.  I don't want our playoff drought to end in the fashion of one playoff season, back to the drawing board - I want a Bills team that can compete year in and year out for the league's top prize.  We're building toward that.  Favre stunts that growth, even if the short-term effects are positive.

So if there are Bills fans who want to live this fantasy out for a little while longer, have at it.  It's a nice distraction.  If, however, you're like me, you'll be spending the next 10 days until training camp focusing on the realities of the 2008 Buffalo Bills - a team that will not include Brett Favre.