Former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf recently shared a brilliant anecdote with Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin, detailing the pains he took to convince the franchise's community-owned executive committee that it made sense to trade a first-round pick for an unknown and unproven Falcons arm named Brett Favre.
"Some people have told me, 'You know Wolf, all the years you were in that game, eventually you were going to get one right.' But I believed in him. And that was my selling point to the committee -- who he was, what he was going to represent. I told them, 'We trade for this guy, and everything will change.' And by God, that's what happened."
Wolf became fascinated with Favre long before that 1992 trade with Atlanta. Previously a front-office assistant with the Jets, Wolf had Favre ranked as his No. 1 player in the 1991 NFL Draft and unsuccessfully attempted to trade up for him. New York was without a first-round pick, though, leaving Gang Green to only watch as the Falcons grabbed Favre at No. 33 overall.
Fast-forward to Dec. 1, 1991, less than a week after Wolf was hired midseason as general manager of the Packers. In his first game with the team, Wolf found himself in Atlanta, fawning over Favre's arm in pregame warmups. The quarterback wouldn't play a snap of live action that day against the Packers, but Wolf was sold, pulling off the trade two months later.
"Would the other GMs have done that? No. He was the only one that was going to do that, and I'm thankful for that," Favre told NFL Films, saying of Wolf: "When I was struggling early in my career, he called me and he said, 'Look. I've got a lot invested in you. And I believe that if you go down, I go down. You're our guy.' And I needed that."
"Anytime a franchise gets a player like Brett Favre, that's rare," Wolf said. "Just think about what he did, changing that organization from a loser to a winner. In all my years -- I spent 38 years in the NFL -- I've never been around a player who did for a team what Brett did for the Packers."