Welcome back Packers fans to what I call, “The Packers Multiverse.” If you’ve been following along with each episode, you’ll know that I take a piece of Green Bay Packers history, and twist it a little, or a lot. Along this journey, we will be traveling to different Multiverse’s where decisions or outcomes were made different. Does it turn out better? Or does it turn out worse? We can only find out by entering, The Packers Multiverse.
The Patriots Trade for Randy Moss
During the 2007 NFL Draft, there were two teams that were looking to make a trade with the Oakland Raiders for Hall-of-Fame Wide Receiver, Randy Moss. Both the Packers and the Patriots had expressed interest but were un-willing to meet the Raiders high asking price. Both teams had declined sending the Raiders a second and third round pick for Moss. New England initially offered a sixth-round pick, while Green Bay offered a fifth. Moss also had some stipulations on joining the Packers. Quarterback Brett Favre had to commit to at least 2-3 more seasons before retirement. Which he agreed to. So, the Packers believed they had Moss in the bag.
But late at night, the Patriots changed their tone and offered the Raiders a fourth-round pick for Randy Moss. Raiders owner Al Davis reluctantly accepted. Randy Moss would now become a Patriot without the Packers even having a chance to rebuttal. In fact, the Packers found out they missed out on the trade through news sources the next day.
Moss then went on to have a career resurgence in New England posting career-best numbers with Tom Brady. Meanwhile, the Packers were one game short of the Super Bowl the next year before Favre retired, un-retired, and was traded to the New York Jets to give way to Aaron Rodgers. Moss played a total of about 3.25 seasons for the Patriots before returning to Minnesota on a trade to coincidentally, unite with Favre at last. The success was minimal though and Moss was then shipped out of Minnesota a month later.
But what if the Packers did land Randy Moss for that 5th round pick? Or what if they were allowed to sweeten the deal sending a fourth and a seventh?
We now visit the Multiverse where that indeed happened.
The Packers Trade for Randy Moss
On Day 2 of the 2007 NFL Draft, it was announced that the Packers had made a trade. They shipped their fourth-round pick this year, and their seventh-round pick next year to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for WR Randy Moss. After the Patriots made a last-minute effort to up their offer, Raiders owner, Al Davis had called GM Ted Thompson to offer him a chance at rebuttal. To which Thompson upped his offer to 2007’s 4th and 2008’s 7th round picks. Davis accepted.
The Packers now had one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the league. Randy Moss joined the likes of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, new rookie James Jones, and Ruvell Martin. Packers nation was a little taken back by the arrival of a player who had just mocked-mooned them as a Viking only two years ago. But knowing the success Moss could bring them, most were ready to get on-board.
2007 saw an absolute explosion from the Packers passing game. Favre threw for a career-high 4,800 yards and 51 touchdowns. It was close between Moss, Driver, and Jennings, but Randy Moss saw the majority of those passes amongst the receivers. It was a career resurgence for not only Moss, but Favre too. The Packers cruised to an unprecedented 15-1 record and secured homefield advantage for the playoffs.
The Packers then met the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. It was rough sailing for the Pack in a very cold game, but behind their heated passing game, they pulled off the win 27-20 and advanced to Super Bowl XLII to meet the New England Patriots. The Patriots were a strong team, but they were just no match for the Packer’s offensive juggernaut and the Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLII.
Despite his second Super Bowl win, Favre remains true to his commitment to Randy Moss, and stays for the 2008 season with no question of retirement.
Aaron Rodgers wants out
Aware of the commitment Favre had made to stay on another 2-3 seasons with Randy Moss, Aaron Rodgers began voicing his displeasure during the 2007 season. He kept it quiet, but the Packers management knew that Rodgers would not stand to sit for the 2008 season. They agreed that if Favre elected to stay, they would trade Aaron Rodgers.
Having this knowledge before Free Agency and the Draft gave the Packers an advantage. Any QB-needy team knew that the free agent pool was dry and their only chance was the NFL Draft to get a decent new signal-caller. Even then, it wasn’t very intriguing with the only high QB prospect being Matt Ryan.
As a result, the Baltimore Ravens decided to take a swing on the guy that sat behind Brett Favre. They traded their 1st round pick to the Packers for Aaron Rodgers. With this pick, the Packers decided to trade up and select QB Joe Flacco. This was a bit of a surprise, but with Favre more than likely heading in to his final season, if not second-last season, the Packers needed a new QB of the future. What better time to do it when the Packers still had another 1st round pick to use on another potential offensive weapon.
Aware of the fact that Randy Moss and Donald Driver weren’t far from retirement themselves, the Packers then drafted WR Jordy Nelson. They also picked up Tight End Jermichael Finley in the 3rd round to make up for the departed Bubba Franks. The Packers were ready to defend their Super Bowl Championship and be ready for the future after that as well.
The 2008 Season
The 2008 Packers were then more of the same. The Offense was a juggernaut once again leading them to a 14-2 record. The Packers had a rematch with the Giants once again in a frigid NFC Championship and were once again victorious. In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens were led by previous Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers to the Conference Championship as well but fell just short to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Super Bowl XLIII saw the Packers defeat the Steelers in a close game 31-28. This ended up being it for Brett Favre. Favre retired in the blaze of glory he desired, holding on to three Super Bowl rings. Randy Moss as well, satisfied with this conclusion to his career, hung up his cleats as well.
Joe Flacco then took over as Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. He had success, but struggled to make it passed the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs. After five years at the helm, Flacco was able to finally take advantage of all the weapons at his disposal in the 2014 season as the Packers advanced to the Conference Championship game vs the Seattle Seahawks. They were victorious and faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49 and went on to win a very close game 30-24.
After this though, Flacco began to fizzle out causing the Packers to look for a new QB two years later in the 2018 offseason. In the 2018 draft, the Packers selected QB Lamar Jackson in the first round to eventually replace Joe Flacco.
This multiverse saw Brett Favre win two more Super Bowls and ride off into the sunset. Joe Flacco then led them to another Super Bowl around six years later. Packers fans though also had to watch Aaron Rodgers backed by Baltimore’s defense, win two Super Bowls after his departure. It was almost an even trade though. Now the Packers have Lamar Jackson who’s poised to win a few more, while Rodgers is on the tail end of his career in Baltimore.
There is a chance the trade of Moss could’ve brought the Packers lots of future success. What happened after this success is pure wishful thinking on my part. I’m not so sure Flacco would’ve won a Super Bowl without the Baltimore Defense, but Flacco also didn’t have the weapons Rodgers had during those years. So, maybe with a better supporting cast and a QB guru like Mike McCarthy, Flacco would’ve been better. Regardless, we still got to see winning football in Green Bay, and that’s always good.
Until we meet again in the Packers multiverse, Go Pack Go.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.