Brett Favre may have caused more anguish for Chicago sports fans than Jim Edmonds, but … (Sun-Times file/AP)
Obviously, if you were to poll Cubs fans, the vast majority would admit that in retrospect, the Edmonds pickup was well worth it. Anyone who hits two homeruns in one inning against the White Sox is bound to be embraced by Cubdom — even if he did spend most of his career tormenting the north siders as a Cardinal.
But one could make the argument that Favre has hurt the Bears to a greater degree as a Packer than Edmonds hurt the Cubs as a Cardinal.
I’ve certainly not been above this paradoxical mind set. When he first came to the Cubs, there was a bevy of anti-Edmonds clamoring throughout the newsroom. I called shotgun on the ‘We don’t want Edmonds’ bandwagon. But now I’m perfectly happy that he proved me (and my fellow Friendly Confines nay-sayers) wrong.
Meanwhile, I’d love nothing more than to see the memories of Steve Fuller and Jim Harbaugh honored with Brett Favre donning a No. 4 Bears jersey.
So what’s the disparity?
On the surface, these two athletes are very similar: Both are ironmen of their respective sports. Both are proven winners. Both are 38 years old. They’re roughly the same size: Edmonds listed at 6’1″, 212; Favre at 6’2″ 222. Edmonds was once synonymous with Cub killer. Favre has a 22-10 record against the Bears (12-3 at Soldier Field).
Are we more apt to welcome Favre because Edmonds spanked us with stone-faced arrogance while Favre did it with a touch of class and a smile?
Is it because the Bears have made it to a Super Bowl more recently than the Packers while Cub fans can only salivate with envy at the Cards recent World Series victory?
The big criticism when Edmonds came to the Cubs was that he wasn’t his old self. He was no longer the diving, driving, hustling, muscling brut that he once was. Well, he’s still not the Jim Edmonds that prompted Missourians to dub him Johnny Baseball. But in the winter of his career he’s found his niche, and it’s going to be an extremely important niche moving forward: Role player.
Favre’s coming off an amazing season. It was a season that was the culmination of years and years of working within the same offense with guys he knew incredibly well and trusted implicitly. A move to any team is going to be uncomfortable. A season playing with a leaky o-line is going to be an extremely short one.
Favre’s not a role player, and he never could be. He’s commander and chief. El Capitan. And if he comes to the Bears, he becomes El Capitan of El Titanic.
But Chicagoans love a good story. Ours is a city built on legend … upon big shoulders, if you will. Cub fans embracing Edmonds … that’s a great story. And Favre to the Bears … that’s a thing of legend.