In 1992 two monumental things happened for two of the greatest institutions in America. Jay Leno became the host of The Tonight Show and Brett Favre became the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Ironically, their careers have been very similar. They both at times had very good ratings (quarterback and Nielsen). Favre throws a lot of interceptions. Leno tells a lot of bad jokes. And both quit their jobs only to want their jobs back. The difference is NBC obliged and the Packers didn’t.
The two guys, Conan O’Brien and Aaron Rodgers, that took over their jobs also have a lot in common. They both have offensive lines (although watching how many time Rodgers got sacked this year, his is more offensive). They both are raw with bright futures given a chance.
“Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to.” Those were some of the classy words that Conan O’Brien left with us in his closing monologue on Friday night as he signed off for good from The Tonight Show. If those words are true then who could blame Jay Leno for wanting his job back as host. The same could be said for every quarterback dreams of being the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and, for 15 years, Brett Favre got to.
Here’s a question: What if FOX was the New York Jets? It was rumored at the time that if NBC let Leno go then FOX would have made a serious offer to put the host at 11 o’clock. You will recall that the Jets were the team that gave Favre a job when the Packers said “No”. I think it would have ended up about the same way. Jay would start off strong then about midway through the season eventually pulling up lame on bad jokes and unfunny bits.
Favre has gone on to have a great season with the Minnesota Vikings taking them all the way to the NFC Title Game. I’m sure Leno will do about the same. Facing a backlash at first for being wishy washy then pulling his same routine of lofting softball questions to A list stars and the audience will eventually come back.
Favre’s last pass of the game (career?) Sunday night was an interception. I hope Leno was watching because remember what else O’Brien said in that closing monologue, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.” Leno wanted his old job back. Judging how the comedian and “The Old Gunslinger’s” careers have mirrored each other, he might not get exactly what he thought he was going to get.
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