Jets Pro Bowl Selections 2008-09
The Jets had an NFL-high and franchise-record seven players named to this year's Pro Bowl. Here is a profile on the all-star season of QB Brett Favre, who today informed the Jets he's retiring from football.
Midway through the first quarter of his first game as a New York Jet and the beginning of perhaps his final season as a professional, Brett Favre let loose a wonderful long pass in South Florida. And while the ball floated through the air, the pulse of Jets Nation accelerated just like a youngster driving a Porsche on the Autobahn.
After Favre's seven-step drop and a flight of more than 55 yards, the ball eventually landed in Jerricho Cotchery's hands. J-Co waltzed in for a 56-yard TD to give Favre and the Jets their first score of 2008.
"I thought I overthrew him, but I obviously didn't," said the Jets' new signalcaller, who was 38 when the season commenced. "That's the one thing I didn't want to do with the first big-shot play we had was just unleash one and throw it to the second deck."
Then a quarter later, Favre delivered another TD on a somewhat miraculous connection. Pressured on a fourth-and-13 play, Favre got rid of a jumpball while being crushed by a Dolphins defender and the rock somehow found Chansi Stuckey for a 22-yard TD.
The Favre era began with a divisional win on the road and fans dreamed of the possibilities.
"There are no guarantees about what's going to happen the rest of this year, but we're 1-0," he said. "I'm excited about the opportunity — not only for today but the remainder of the year."
In December, Favre was selected to play in his 10th Pro Bowl and his first as a member of the AFC squad. But Favre, diagnosed with a torn biceps tendon after the season, didn't play and was replaced by Titans QB and fellow graybeard Kerry Collins.
Even though it wasn't his best statistical season and his winter problems were well-documented, the Jets' signalcaller provided a number of highlights along the way.
When the Green & White exploded for 56 points in a Week 4 home victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Favre's six TD passes set a career mark and also tied him in the Jets' record book with Joe Namath.
"It's just one game," Favre said. "Don't expect six touchdowns every week, but we, as an offensive unit, should see and expect a lot of ourselves."
"He was just dialing it up and telling everybody, 'Hey, get ready. The ball is coming,' " said Cotchery, who was on the receiving end of two of those scores.
The Jets were on the move in November and they peaked during a 10-day stretch from Nov. 13-23. In front of a national stage on a Thursday evening in Foxboro, Mass., Favre (26-for-33, 258 yards, 2 TDs) was masterful in a 34-31 road triumph over the Patriots.
After a Matt Cassel last-second strike to Randy Moss forced OT, Favre responded by leading the Jets on a 14-play, 64-yard march that culminated with a 34-yard Jay Feely field goal. The Green & White won the coin toss and Favre made sure the Patriots offense never took the field.
With the impressive road showing, the Jets moved to 7-3 and into sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the first time since Nov. 19, 2001.
"There's no doubt that when we walked into the locker room after the game, we were on cloud nine," Favre said.
They reached cloud ten in Tennessee, trouncing the 10-0 Titans. The final was 34-13 and Favre was efficient, completing 25 of 32 for 224 yards and two TDs. His 10-yard connection to Thomas Jones in the opening quarter was the 500th TD (including playoffs) of his career.
"I'm not going to sit here and say we've established ourselves as the best team in football," Favre said. "All it says is I think we beat the best team in football today, definitely if you go by record and the way that they've played."
"Favre had a really good game. Give him credit," added Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. "We knew what to expect from him. He's a great player, and he beat us today."
But the clouds dropped rain on Favre and the Jets against the Broncos and they got caught in a month-long December downpour. The Green & White lost four of five, ending the season out of the playoffs with a 9-7 mark.
The 6'2", 222-pound Favre, who acknowledged in the season's final week that he thought something was wrong with his arm, had two TDs and nine INTs in action following that memorable "W" over the Titans.
"I'm disappointed, as everyone else in this building is disappointed. The opportunities that were presented to us, we couldn't have asked for a better opportunity," he said days before the Dolphins beat the Jets, 24-17, in the regular-season finale at the Meadowlands. "I'm disappointed because we didn't capitalize on that, as our fans are and as everyone else is."
Over 16 games, Favre completed 65.7 percent of his 522 throws for 3,472 yards. His 81.0 passer rating placed him ninth in the AFC and 21st in the NFL as his 22 TDs were matched by 22 INTs.
But the Jets also amassed the third-highest point total (405) in team history and their 48 touchdowns were the second-best TD mark in franchise annals.
Following the season, Favre revealed to Sports Illustrated's Peter King and ESPN's Ed Werder that he played down the stretch with the torn biceps and he may have played his final game as a New York Jet.
"I'm not going to make any excuses,'' he told Werder. "If I'm going to play, then I have a responsibility to play at a high level, and I just didn't get it done. I tried to be the best leader I could be, do all the right things, and as I look back, I have no regrets. I wish we would have gone farther, but I did all I could.''
"There are a million decisions that need to be made, and obviously Brett will be a huge decision," added new Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "He may make that decision for us. We'll look at that when the time comes."
A Favre decision was made today. After 18 years of driving on the fast and furious NFL highway, he drove the car into the garage, shifted the gear into park and shut the door for good.