Imagine if The Network didn't exist and the Money Money 2020 album was released as a Green Day album in 2003. What do you think would have happened?
I think it would be a commercial failure and critically panned, regarded the "the album they lost their minds" and would alienate their core fanbase with such a radical change in sound and a sudden amount of silliness. I think it'd be hailed as their worst album by most fans and critics and when American Idiot is released in 2004 it wouldn't perform as well commercially because Money Money 2020 would have torn away alot of the respect their fanbase had for them. Maybe if they did a full tour and singles, etc in support of the album then American Idiot wouldn't have happened and the next album would have been released in 2006 or something.
But yeah, what happened is it was released as The Network and it's respected as a good fun side-project album. I enjoy it personally, but I can't help but think the reaction it would've had if it was released as Green Day.