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Jerry Glanville: I Traded Favre to Help Sober Him Up

Mar 18, 2010 – 12:25 PM
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Josh Alper

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One of the best "What If?" questions of the last 20-odd years in sports centers on the Falcons' decision to trade Brett Favre after his rookie season. How different might football history look if Favre had worn the black and red of Atlanta instead of the green and gold of Green Bay?

We all know that G.M. Ron Wolf was the driving force behind bringing him to Green Bay. He'd been with the Jets in 1991 and wanted to take Favre with the 34th overall pick, but the Falcons swooped in and took Favre. That left the Jets with Browning Nagle (speaking of fun what ifs) and Wolf had to switch teams to get his man.

Still, there's always been a bit of a question about why the Falcons were so eager to get rid of their second round pick. In a radio interview with WNSR in Nashville, Jerry Glanville, coach of the Falcons at the time, gave his side of the story.

"I had to get him out of Atlanta. . . . I could not sober him up," Glanville said. "I sent him to a city where at 9:00 at night the only thing that's open is Chili Joes. You can get it two ways, with or without onions. And that's what made Brett Favre make a comeback was going to a town that closed down. If I would have traded him to New York, nobody to this day would have known who Brett Favre ever was."

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, this isn't the first time that Glanville has brought up this reasoning for Favre's departure from Atlanta. It seems reasonable enough, except for the part where Favre would have never developed as an NFL star because of his taste for the nightlife.

After all, Favre hasn't been shy about discussing his battles with alcohol and painkillers during his NFL career. Maybe they would have been worse in a livelier town than Green Bay, but people with a taste for the drink seem to have a way of finding it whether they are in New York or South Dakota.

Glanville's concerns may have been well founded, but, in general, this feels very similar to the story of Cris Carter's career evolution. He struggled in Philly, for whatever reason, and then blossomed once he was in a different setting. Maybe getting away from Buddy Ryan was the impetus for that change. It seems just as possible that Mike Holmgren would have worked his magic if he'd been in Atlanta when Favre arrived in the league.
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