Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: May 8, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — Just when you thought it was safe to finally put your Brett Favre No. 4 jersey into the closet until his eventual enshrinement in Canton, the NFL’s greatest flip-flopper is up to his old tricks.

I knew after enduring last year’s three-month long melodrama where the former Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback and his former team threw endless amounts of mud at one another over his “perceived” retirement and return — eventually ended with Favre playing in a strange New York Jets uniform for the 2008 season.

That any retirement talk after Favre’s one season on Broadway was too premature. Sure Favre said at the end of the 2008 season, “My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.” But just like rain showers and the yearly NFL Draft, come spring you knew the NFL’s biggest gunslinger would get the urge to play football once more.

Favre and his sidekick, agent Bus Cook, always said that No. 4’s motives to play were always for the “love of the game” and NFL’s fans, but who are they trying to fool. Once again, Team Favre is trying to orchestrate his off-season plans to a new destination for selfish reasons.

First they weaseled their way off of the New York Jets retired/reserved list by indicating that the graybeard quarterback “might” comeback, which would have wrecked the J-E-T-S salary cap before they could sign first round draft pick USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Then once free from a place Favre never really wanted to be – just ask some of his teammates from 2008 – the NFL’s newest free agent quarterback backed off his statement of, “I am done playing football for now” quicker than you can say, “Jack-Sprat”.

Not surprisingly, with his new freedom to join any of the league’s 32 franchises, Favre set his sights on the nearest neighbor to his once beloved Green Bay Packers, the hated Minnesota Vikings. It is no secret that many people around the NFL believe that the Vikings and their embattled head coach Brad Childress are a quarterback away from a deep run in the playoffs- lost in the 2008 Wildcard Round to the Eagles.

Even despite acquiring former Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels this off-season, everything is surprisingly pointing to the Vikings also being intrigued with Favre. Things are progressing so well that Childress and Favre are rumored to having secret meetings at undisclosed locations.

You don’t have to be a “genius” to know that the odds are now over 60% that the 2008 NFC North Champion Vikings will soon have Favre under center. I can hear Favre “The Humble” talking now how the Vikings believed in him, that reuniting with coach/friend Darrell Bevel is a dream come true and that he is the missing piece to the Vikings making a run to the Super Bowl.

But c’mon graybeard as great as a player you are – Just ask John Madden, who always gushes over him (3 MVPs, every passing record imaginable, and 2 Super Bowls – winning one) – your ego is the size of your home state of Mississippi. Trust me when I say, Favre wants to be in Minnesota purely to stick it to Packers GM Ted Thompson, who dared not to bow in front of the American Icon. Even after one year in the Big Apple, Favre’s animosity and bad blood from his ugly divorce from the Packers after 17 years still haunts him.

He wants to play so badly against the Packers on Monday Night Football October 5th in primetime that he will say or do anything to convince Vikings head coach Brad Childress, GM Rick Spielman, and owner Ziggy Wilff that he is the man to take them to the “Promised Land”. When of course Favre is only blindly thinking about the two weeks where he gets to face the Packers in a 17-week marathon type season.

The Vikings need to take a step back, so they can think long and hard about “who” they are thinking of letting in their midst if they sign Favre. He is no longer the “Awe-shucks” passer that took the NFL by storm in the 1990’s making throws no one else would dare attempt and becoming an icon in Wisconsin and living rooms everywhere.

He is an injured (torn biceps), inconsistent, and bitter quarterback, who is not the same player he was ten years ago. Favre and the Vikings maybe fooled with a strong running game led by All Pro running back Adrian Peterson and a highly defense ranked defense that former three-time MVP could become John Elway circa 1997.

That year at 37 years old, Elway turned back the clock playing with grit and determination in leading the Broncos to a 31-24 Super Bowl win over Favre’s Packers. But Elway was not joining a team for the first time and he had borderline Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis in his prime carrying the majority of the load.

There are many factors working against Favre from joining Elway and Earl Morrall (led 1972 Dolphins to Super Bowl at age 38) as veteran quarterbacks, who led their teams to Super Bowl wins. Besides an unhealthy focus on revenge of the Packers, there is the pertinent matter of an arm injury, which according to The Journal Sentinel is a “significant tear” of the right biceps tendon. The injury is said to be so severe that it will require arthroscopic surgery that could sideline Favre until training camp. To me the biggest obstacle to Favre joining the Vikings is his play.

Lets face it, last year he started out on fire winning 8 of 11 games, but down the stretch it was a totally different story. Favre threw NFL-high 22 interceptions and the Jets limped home with a 1-4 record including a terrible season-ending home loss to the Dolphins that knocked them out of the playoffs.

In the Week 17 loss, Favre was not very good (20-40, 233, 1 TD, 3 INTs) and most apologists will blame his effort on his arm injury, but maybe Father Time was finally catching up to the NFL’s version of John Wayne. At the postgame press conference after the Jets’ season-ending loss, Favre looked beleaguered and just plain old as some of his teammates wondered in the lockerroom if the would have had a better chance if former Jets and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington was still their triggerman.

The Vikings are better off letting younger quarterbacks Rosenfels, Tarvaris Jackson, and John David Booty fight it out for the starter job than bringing in an aging Favre. Maybe the 2008 season was an aberration before a great year like when ‘the legend’ stormed back from a terrible 2006 season to almost being named NFL MVP in 2007.

But even the greatest players sometimes can’t see the end before it comes – all you have to do is put in a tape of an old John Unitas playing for the Chargers or a creaky Joe Namath wearing a Los Angeles Rams uniform at the end of their careers.

My advice to Favre would be to let go of what might have been and gracefully accept that your playing days are over. I am hearing that there are some lucrative commentating jobs waiting for him and at almost 40 years old (B-day October 10th) with a body that is breaking down, it is time to start another challenge.

But you know Brett Favre…the ultimate gunfighter will have to go out with his guns blazing, so stay tuned.