Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is that Madden or Caliendo?

Things are getting goofy on the Favre watch front. Sometimes you can't tell if it's really John Madden saying something, or Wisconsin's own favorite John Madden impersonator, Frank Caliendo, doing a bit. Take, for example, Madden's comments in an interview Tuesday evening on the "NFL Total Access" show on the NFL Network: "It just sounds like to me that if he's going to play -- and again I haven't talked to him, I've just listened to him -- it sounds like he may be setting himself up to be traded. He would probably want to play, but he wants to play with a team that has a chance to win. The Packers really don't look like they are going in that direction right now, so maybe he's talking about another team."

While noting that Favre repeatedly has said that he wants to end his career as a Packer, Madden added, "But I wouldn't be surprised if there was a trade. There are a number of teams that could use him. . . . There are a lot of moving parts in this that could include the draft and could maybe include Brett Favre."

So, is Madden making one of his patented non-sequitur "bam-boom" comments, or is he on to something? Jim Irwin, who was one-half of the long-time Packers' play-by-play radio team with former Packer receiving great, Max Magee, does an occasional call-in from his retirement in California to his former radio station, WTMJ-620 in Milwaukee. He was asked today what he thought about Madden's comments. Saying that he had seen that interview, Irwin said the thing he noticed was that it appeared as if the interviewers had been prepped to ask that question, and given Madden's almost immediate response perhaps Madden was the one who told them to be sure to ask him about this Favre trade issue. Irwin pointed out that Madden is not one to toss comments or opinions like this out there lightly, that perhaps he knows something or has heard something the rest of us haven't.

One telling factor as to whether Favre will retire or not, according to Madden, is whether or not he is getting ready to play: "The older you are, the sooner you have to start getting ready. So I think that's going to be a key. Is he starting to get ready to play?" This is what's come to be called in some parts of Packerland as the "tractor watch." Is Favre out on his lawn tractor? Or is he working out? That could be a good indicator as to whether ol' #4 will be back or not.

And as for that Favre trade gossip, Packer fans aren't buying it. Here's the latest poll from the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the subject:

John Madden said he would not be surprised if Brett Favre was traded. Do you think the Packers will trade Favre?
No (85.6%)
Yes (14.4%)
Total votes: 1,515