This weekend was the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction of the Class of 2016. What a class it is! With greats such as Ken Stabler, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Tony Dungy and perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time, Brett Favre going in this year, 2016 Hall of Fame weekend was surely a memorable one.
While watching some of the coverage this weekend I caught a show called Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp where his guest was Favre. This show is normally one where Gruden breaks down film and talks offensive schemes with future draft picks, but this is one he did with Favre before his Hall induction.
The showed high lights of his career, all the way from high school to the pros. While they did this,they showed him being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Many fans probably forgot or just assumed he was drafted by the Packers because he spent the bulk of his career in Green Bay. But no, he was selected by the Falcons coming out of Southern Miss.
Some may remember that while at Southern Miss, he quarterbacked the Golden Eagles to a huge upset win over the #6 ranked Florida State Seminoles in a game in Jacksonville in the 1989 season opener, 30-26.
Favre tells Gruden a story about how on his first day of practice, Falcons Coach Jerry Glanville asks him what college he went to. When he replied “Southern Miss” Glanville responded with “I wanted the guy from Mississippi State. We drafted the wrong guy!” One has to wonder if Glanville regrets that statement now.
They shipped Favre off to Green Bay after one season. In the Falcons defense, Favre injured his hip inn the Senior Bowl prior to them drafting him. Some doctors compared his injury to the one that essentially ended the career of B Jackson.
But with what transpired after the Falcons sent him to Green Bay, was this the biggest blunder in NFL or even sports history? By the time Favre retired, he had re-written the record books. he held the all-time record for passing yards, touchdown passes and consecutive games played.
He quarterbacked the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one, and made them a powerhouse in the NFL once again, something they had not been since the days of Vince Lombardi.
Yes, we know of some other huge blunders, such as the Chicago Cubs trading Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio, or the New York Mets trading Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, or the Charlotte Hornets trading away Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac.
But the Falcons trading away Favre after one season,then watching him become perhaps the greatest football player of all time, has to be right up there with the Boston Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, or the Boston Celtics acquiring Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll.
This wasn’t Gretzky going to the L. A. Kings for practically nothing. Sure the Oilers sunk into mediocrity ever since that ill-fated deal. But they won a bunch of championships with Gretzky. The Falcons got nothing from Favre, then got nothing for him. The Packers have gone on to win two Super Bowls since that trade while Atlanta has failed to win one while playing in it only once. The Red Sox got some World Series championships while they had the Babe. Atlanta got nothing.
So yes, this may have been the biggest sports blunder ever.