Did Jets make playoffs with Brett Favre? Revisiting former Packers QB’s one-year stint in New York

Aaron Rodgers is hoping to snap the longest active playoff drought of any team in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL.

The Jets have not reached the postseason since 2010, when New York fell in the conference championship game to the Steelers, 24-19, in the second year of the Mark Sanchez era. Since Sanchez’s last season with the Jets in 2012, New York has had five different quarterbacks lead the team in passing yards, none of whom have managed to lead New York to the playoffs.

Rodgers is supposed to turn this thing around. The Jets have all the components. The offensive line is stout. The weapons are dangerous. The defense is deep. He feels like the missing piece.

It wasn’t long ago that the Jets viewed another Green Bay quarterback as the missing piece. Brett Favre had been toying with the idea of retirement for nearly two years, and eventually announced he would be stepping away from the game in March 2008. But Favre wound up deciding against retirement and returned, initially asking for a release before the team agreed it would be best to part ways.

With Rodgers ready for the starting role in Green Bay, the Packers decided to trade Favre. The destination? The Jets, whose quarterback tumult had led the organization to pursue a future Hall of Famer to provide some stability.

MORE: Revisiting the timeline, details of Aaron Rodgers’ move to Jets

How did it work out for the Jets back then? Here’s what you need to know.

Revisiting Brett Favre’s Jets career

Chad Pennington was just not getting it done in New York. The Jets had signed him to a seven-year, $64.2 million contract in 2004, but he consistently grappled with injuries throughout his career. He won NFL Comeback Player of the Year for his 2006 season, but was benched in 2007 after the Jets started 1-7.

At the end of the year, the Jets found a quarterback in the Midwest in search of a new home. New York sent a conditional fourth round pick to the Packers for Favre, and Pennington was released, ending his tenure with the Jets.

In his final year with the Packers, Favre finished second in MVP voting in his age-38 season, throwing for 4,155 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, while completing 66.5 percent of his passes, at the time the best of his career. He led the Packers to a 13-3 season, during which it reached the NFC Conference Championship, but fell to the Giants 23-20.

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The Jets didn’t exactly have lofty expectations in their first season with Favre. New York ranked tied for 10th in preseason Super Bowl odds, according to Pro Football Reference, with a preseason over/under of 7.5 wins. 

The campaign began by facing Pennington and the Dolphins in Miami, and Favre was solid, throwing for a pair of scores with 181 yards in a 20-14 win against Miami. The Jets struggled in the next two, however, falling to the Patriots 19-10 and the Chargers 48-29.

But Favre and the Jets turned it up from there. Favre carved up the Cardinals with six touchdown passes in a 56-35 blowout, and the defense stifled the Bengals in a 26-14 victory in Week 6 coming out of the bye. Favre disappointed in an overtime loss to the Raiders, but proceeded to rattle off five straight wins, beating the Chiefs, Bills, Rams, Patriots and Titans to soar to an 8-3 record, leading the AFC East at that point.

Then the wheels fell off. The Jets were dismantled in a 34-17 defeat to the Broncos, followed by a dismal passing performance from Favre in a 24-14 loss to the 49ers that saw him throw for just 123 yards. The Jets recovered for a late win against the Bills that saw Shaun Ellis return a late fumble for a touchdown to give the Jets the 31-27 win and stay in the playoff hunt. The Jets offense sputtered against the Seahawks in a 13-3 defeat before facing the Dolphins and Pennington in New York with an AFC East title on the line for the Dolphins 

The two teams went quiet in the first quarter before New York got the scoring started with a touchdown with 6:47 left in the first half. But the Dolphins struck quickly. Pennington connected with Tedd Ginn Jr. for a 27-yard touchdown with 2:18 left in the half, and on the Jets’ subsequent drive, Favre threw a pick-six to extend the Miami lead to 14-6. Jay Feely kicked a field goal as time expired in the half to make it a 14-9.

New York recovered a fumble on Miami’s first drive of the second half, and Favre turned the turnover into eight points with a touchdown to Leon Washington and a 2-point conversion to Jerricho Cotchery. But the Dolphins re-took the lead with a touchdown pass from Pennington to Anthony Fasano. Just over five minutes into the fourth, Dan Carpenter booted a 48-yard field goal to expand Miami’s lead to a full touchdown. Favre threw an interception on the next drive, and Miami drained nearly five minutes off the clock, ultimately leaving the Jets without enough time to come back in the 24-17 loss.

The Dolphins’ win sealed the AFC East for Miami over the Patriots, while the Jets dropped down to 9-7, missing the last wild card by two games and the AFC East title by a pair behind the Dolphins and Patriots.

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Favre retired at the end of the season, and the Jets officially released him from his contract. He wound up un-retiring and signing with the Vikings. During September 2009, it was reported he had sustained an injury late in the 2008 season with the Jets that the team knew of yet did not report, leading to the NFL fining the Jets.

Away from the Jets, Favre led the Vikings to the NFC conference championship, where the team ultimately lost to the eventual Super Bowl winning Saints. The Jets, in the first year of the “Sanchize”, reached the playoffs as a wild card team and made it to the conference championship game, falling to the Colts. It would be the first of back-to-back trips to the conference championship for New York.

The Jets’ first experiment of acquiring a veteran quarterback from the Packers didn’t exactly work out. Favre did not lead the team to the playoffs, and it wasn’t until the next quarterback arrived that New York returned to the postseason. Will Rodgers be different? The Jets will get their first glimpse of what he brings to the Big Apple on Monday, when they face off against the Bills.

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