HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- It all started out as a pipe dream for Mike Tannenbaum.
The Jets general manager knew his team's chances of bringing Brett Favre to New York were slim, but he feverishly began making calls anyway. His cell phone became a constant companion as he tried to set up a conversation with the three-time MVP.
"My gut feeling for a long time was I just didn't think it was going to come to fruition," Tannenbaum said. "And then it really heated up."
Tannenbaum's persistence became an obsession, and it paid off when Favre finally gave in and agreed to discuss the possibility of joining the Jets.
"I was told by numerous people to at least talk to Mike over the last month," Favre said at his introductory news conference, "and, as I told him, the only reason that I wouldn't talk to him up until 24 hours ago was because I knew how I'd be convinced once I talked to him."
He was right. Hours after speaking with Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini, Favre agreed to leave Green Bay in a trade after 16 seasons and joined the Jets as their new quarterback.
"I've told the guys, 'I'm here for one reason: to help you win,"' Favre said. "I'll do whatever that takes and I hope it works out."
In an offseason in which New York made headlines by going on a spending spree -- more than $140 million -- unlike any other in franchise history, it was the unexpected acquisition of the rocket-armed Favre that suddenly boosted the Jets into true playoff contenders.
New York went from having a huge question mark at the quarterback position with Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens competing for the starting job to having a proven winner with the type of superstar aura last seen on the Jets during Joe Namath's glory days.
"I watched him all the time on TV when I was growing up," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "I never thought that I would be playing with him. A guy of his stature, you think he would be playing with one team his entire career. We were very fortunate to get him and he's playing with us right now."
He sure is, and Jets fans are excited. Over 30,000 of his green and white No. 4 jerseys sold within the first 48 hours of the trade. Training camp practices have been packed with people wanting to catch a glimpse of Favre zipping passes around the field.
"It's cool being out there on the field with him," tight end Chris Baker said.
The 38-year-old quarterback is coming off one of his most productive seasons, passing for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Packers. Once he becomes comfortable with the Jets' system, he's expected to turn an offense that ranked 26th into a regular scoring threat.