I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but a very famous athlete signed with a different team last night. Perhaps you heard something about it? Since you're reading a sports blog, I'll safely assume that you've been the recipient of an all-out audiovisual assault by every imaginable media outlet in the country about LeBron James bolting for the Miami Heat on national TV last night. I didn't think it was possible, but LeBron and Cleveland topped Jake and Vienna from The Bachelor as the messiest, most disastrous nationally televised breakup of all time only three days after the
fame whores reality TV stars had claimed the title. (Side note: My fiancée made me watch Jake and Vienna on Monday night. I'm not sure what was more uncomfortable: watching that or learning that Denny Green's son was just charged with child pornography. Both of them made me want to take a "Crying Game"-style shower.)
Hmm...a legendary athlete stabbing his insanely loyal fan base in the back in an unnecessarily drawn-out and humiliating fashion...that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Well it should, because the last guy that did it is now our quarterback!
That got me to thinking: who pulled the bigger a-hole move by leaving his team? Was it LeBron James reducing the Cavaliers to a complete smoldering garbage fire? Or was it our very own Brett Favre when he joined Green Bay's arch rival last summer? There's only one way to find out--an old-fashioned "Tale of the Tape" breakdown! But in this case, we'll just call it "Tale of the Hate". Let's break it down by eight different categories and find out once and for all who crapped on their former team more:
Relationship with his former team's front office: We simply must start here after Cavs owner Dan Gilbert went all angry message board poster on LeBron last night. I appreciate that the owner is passionate about his team, but...just wow. Name calling and outlandish guarantees, all in Comic Sans font? Simply amazing. I was embarrassed for Gilbert and it's practically my job on this site to call athletes names and make poor predictions. Meanwhile, we know that Favre's tumultuous relationship with Ted Thompson of the Packers was a big reason he signed with the Vikings as the ultimate "eff you" to Green Bay. Under normal circumstances that would be good enough to win, but not after Gilbert's priceless breakup letter. Advantage: LeBron.
The condition of the team after he left: This one's easy. Favre felt pushed out of Wisconsin because the Packers had Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings. Even as a gigantic Packer hater, I'll concede that Rodgers has been a very good NFL quarterback. Although Favre and Minnesota beat the Pack in both meetings last year, Green Bay still qualified for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Cavs are left with Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, and other mediocre players that will definitely leave Cleveland competing with the Timberwolves for a better lottery pick in 2011. Blechh. Advantage: LeBron.
Fan reaction after he joined the new team: When Favre joined the Vikes, lots of Packer fans were pissed at Brett. But lots of fans blamed the front office and still root for Brett. When James joined the Heat, pretty much every Cavalier fan on the planet was pissed at LeBron. Advantage: LeBron.
Uncertainty surrounding his decision: This story is filed under a category called "Favregeddon". We have an entire category devoted to the will-he-or-won't-he nature of Ye Olde Gunslinger. Do I really need to say more? I know there was a ton speculation about where LeBron was going, but at least he had the decency to schedule when he was going to make the decision instead of dragging it on for months. Advantage: Favre.
ESPN absolutely beating us to death with asinine stories and rumors about the aforementioned uncertainty: I thought Favre had this category locked up for all eternity, but I was wrong. With Favre, the four-letter posted Rachel Nichols up in Mississippi. With LeBron, they had analysts on call in six different cities. The coverage for LeBron was definitely more intense, but I have to give points to Brett for sheer longevity. Too close to call here. Advantage: Push.
Press conference telling the world he's leaving his team: Kind of apples and oranges here since Brett was technically retiring, although 97% of the world knew better. Favre seemed genuinely upset about leaving Green Bay--he squirted some tears and everything. James coldly stated in a one-hour special that he'd be "taking his talents to South Beach". Ouch. Advantage: LeBron.
How he performed against his former team: This is incomplete since LeBron obviously won't play the Cavs for a few months. But until James goes for 40 points and mercilessly picks his old team apart both at his new home and in his old stadium (entirely possible, likely even probable), Favre has this one in the bag. Advantage for now: Favre.
Success with his new team: As if a legend leaving wasn't hard enough on a fan base, it's even worse seeing him succeed in a different uniform. Favre had arguably the best season of his illustrious career and beat the Packers twice, but it ended just how Packers fans hoped it would: with a game-ending interception in the biggest game of the year. It's hard to see how the Heat won't make it deep into the playoffs with their all-star lineup while the Cavs are left floundering in the cellar, but we'll have to see how the season unfolds. Advantage for now: Push.
And there you have it--with a record of 4-2-2, King James is the new King of Stabbing a Fan Base Directly in the Heart. Congratulations on your unprecedented dick move LeBron; it truly takes greatness to break one of Brett Favre's records.
Do you guys agree that LeBron wins, or do you still think Favre's antics will never be topped? Vote in the poll and let me know in the comments.
Who screwed over their former fan base more?
Brett Favre (276 votes)
LeBron James (1412 votes)
1688 total votes