Thursday, May 7, 2009

ESPN and Favre....Again

This place was, believe it or not, once primarily a football site, and I'd like to take a minute to address some ESPN schlop about the rumors that Favre will play this year for the Minnesota Vikings, while I'd love to put it as eloquently as Big Daddy Drew of Kissing Suzy Kolber, I'm just going to break down this article by Gene Wojciechowski entitled "Brett Favre is considering a comeback, and he's still worth watching." His quotes in italics.

I know what some of you are thinking about this Brett Favre-in-The Color Purple-scenario: He's animal crackers, he's almonds and cashews -- nuts, he's absolutely lost the football laces to his mind.

Ho Ho! Not at all what I'm thinking. Is Brett insane? No, not at all. Greedy? Absolutely. Does he have an incredibly delusional sense of self importance thats been reinforced over the last ten years by fawning media yuppies while his career has continued a never ending death spiral with just one outlier in 2007? Without a doubt. Does he probably lie awake at night terrifed to contemplate walking away from the game because he can't find validation without Peter King writing every fucking week about his legend like its a Norse Saga? Yes. (But really, he could still retire for good and Peter would find away to praise him every week).

And even though I'm the resident ESPN defender of all things Favre (with the exception of those Wrangler commercials, the ones in which male models try to block for Favre in a pick-up football game), I understand where you're coming from on this. You've had it with the multiple retirements, the comebacks, the waffling. You want him on a riding lawnmower in Mississippi or in a television booth come September. Anywhere but in an NFL uniform and in a huddle, right?

The resident defender of Favre? Does that imply that someone, ANYONE on ESPN actually criticizes The Gunslinger? If so where has That guy been since about 1998? Is he chained up in a boiler room next to the guy who tried arguing that Major League Baseball has Central and Western divisions as well as Eastern? And I don't want Favre in a television booth in September. I don't want him in a television booth at all. My God. Can you imagine the hypocrisy of Brett analyzing the play of other quarterbacks? Is he going to criticize the decision making of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or any of the other bajillion quarterbacks that have a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than him? That will be laughable.

But one person's Favre fatigue is another person's possible quarterback answer. And that person is Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, who at least owes it to himself and his team to kick the tires on the No. 4-mobile.

I don't know whether the 39-year-old Favre has another season in him, but I'd like to find out. Because for all the Favre-related complaining and eye-rolling by his critics and skeptics, the NFL is more interesting with him than without him.

Brad Childress may care about what he owes to himself, but he sure as shit doesn't care about what he owes to his team. If he did, he wouldn't have reached in the second round a few years ago to grab Tavaris Jackson out of Alabama State. He wouldn't have allowed Brad Johnson on a football field. Ever. He wouldn't have waffled between Jackson and GUS FREROTTE last year. Hell, there are a thousand ways to improve the quarterback position. Childress has spent three years pissing on all of them because clearly his time as the Eagles offensive coordinator allowed him to learn from Andy Reid all of the ways to abuse the quarterback position. And No. The NFL is not more interesting with Brett Favre. Its not. The average football fan is sick and fucking tired of Brett Favre news. We will change the fucking channel every time they break into a separate game to show us another of Favre's career milestones that are cheap and hollow because they've come at the expense of crippling two franchises and a third soon to come. If the sports media knew Anything about how to maintian their viewers interest they'd chain up King, Madden, Collinsworth and every other broadcaster who can't keep focus enough on a game between the Bears and the Buccaneers without finding some fucking way to mention Favre. I can't WAIT to hear every single comparison Jay Cutler gets to Favre. It was so much fun with Grossman the first time around. Until the media tore him apart for poor decision making.

Can he still play? Until a torn right biceps tendon affected his arm strength, it looked like he could. The New York Jets won five more with Favre as their QB than they did a season earlier. Favre stunk it up down the stretch, but he wasn't the only Jet with an odor. It was a team of finger-pointers -- some of them anonymously pointed at Favre -- who played the convenient blame game.

Oh yes. The torn bicep. Favre was hurt! You can't blame him! Granted, he'd never actually take time off to heal an injury when it might affect his precious Iron Man streak. This reminds me of the thumb injury he had in 2003. Whenever he gashed a team for 300 yards, well, aww, shucks, ya know, the thumb don't really affect me all that much. Then when he laid an egg and lost to the godawful Lions on Thanksgiving the tv cameras zoomed in on the splint every fucking time they had the chance in order to subconsciously plant the idea that "IS NOT BRETT FAULT! HE HURT THUMB!!!" and of course Brett blamed his "bad grip" right after the game was over. The truth is the Jets improved primarily on the play of both their defensive and offensive lines because of pickups like Alan Faneca and Kris Jenkins. Also, some of them weren't pointed anonymously at Favre. Thomas Jones came out and said he should have been benched. God Bless Thomas Jones.

Old or not, the Green Bay Packers thought he could still play a season ago -- just not for them. But that didn't stop Packers management from inserting a poison pill clause in Favre's Jets deal. Trade him to a team in the NFC North -- home of the Packers, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Favre's original post-Green Bay choice, the Vikings -- and the Jets would owe Green Bay three first-round picks.

If Favre and his sometimes knuckleheaded agent, Bus Cook (see Cook's comments comparing his client
Jay Cutler to Tom Brady and the Manning brothers), manipulated the circumstances to create a 2009 opportunity with the Vikings, then good for them. After all, the Packers manipulated the circumstances to limit Favre's playing opportunities in 2008. All's fair in trade clauses and retirement announcements.

Oh yes, the Packers still thought he could play. That's why Ted Thompson had been trying to pressure him into retirement from the day he got there and probably cursed the Gods for Favre's miracle 2007 campaign. And yes, the mean old Packers manipulated the circumstances for Favre to play. It was so unfair of them to seem shocked and upset when the greatest player in Packers history told them he was walking away only to return and demand a trade to their bitterest rivals. TEHY MANIPOLATED HIM!

Even if you can't stand the idea of another Favre unretirement, you have to admire him for working his way around a system usually stacked in favor of the teams, not the players. But however he got to this point, either by plan or accident, Favre could be a Viking soon.

Even though I hate making the usual "NFL players make too much money" argument, they do. Any system in which you make millions of dollars to play professional sports is stacked in favor of the fucking players. I'm not going to applaud because Favre's used the pressure of his legion of dopes to fuck the Packers three ways from Sunday, even if I wouldn't piss on Lambeau Field if it were on fire unless I was chugging kerosene.

The Vikings need a quarterback. They have enough of everything else to make a serious playoff run, but they don't have a quarterback who inspires anything else but yawns.
Tarvaris Jackson has potential, but we've been saying that for three years now. Jackson has never completed more than 59.1 percent of his passes in any of those three seasons. If the Vikings were convinced he was the answer, they wouldn't be chatting with Favre.

The same goes for
Sage Rosenfels, whom the Houston Texans traded for a 2009 fourth-round pick. As a backup and five-game starter, Rosenfels thrilled Texans fans with a 6-touchdown, 10-interception season. So now you know why the Vikings are talking to Favre.

I'm not going to pity the Vikings situation at quarterback. They've bumbled their way into that situation and its hilarious. But you know what's hysterical? Sage Rosenfels, for all of his turnovers, actually has a higher quarterback rating over the last three seasons than Favre does, and his 6 td, 10 int performance earned him a 79.5 rating, exactly 1.5 points lower than 81.0 Favre. Big. Fucking. Deal.

If the Vikes buy Favre an engagement ring, the team instantly becomes a better team. Not Super Bowl better, but maybe better than the 10-6 record they had a year ago while winning their division. Favre wouldn't cost them a draft pick. He probably wouldn't cost them what the Jets paid him in 2008 ($12.7 million). And he wouldn't be showing up in early August.

What is there to back this up? His 9-7 record with the Jets last year? There's no metric that proves the Vikings have a more talented core than the Jets did last year. Adrian Peterson is undoubtedly better than Thomas Jones, but the Jets still had a solid running game. The receivers on both teams suck, and the Jets defense was hardly worse than Vikings last year at 22 ppg vs 20 ppg, with the Jets actually generating far more turnovers, all while playing in a division featuring far better offenses, believe it or not, than the ones the Bears and Lions threw at the Vikings for four games last year. Also, I love the confidence of saying "instantly become a better team" followed shortly thereafter by "maybe better than the 10-6 record they had a year ago." Uh huh.

Schedule handicapping is dicey stuff, but for what it's worth, the Vikings open at home against Cleveland, travel to the Detroit Staffords, play San Francisco at home and then play, ta-da, the Packers on Monday Night Football on Oct. 5 in the Metrodome.
They play the Rams in St. Louis, Baltimore at home, then go to Pittsburgh, followed by a trip to Green Bay on Nov. 1. Think about it: Favre at Lambeau … in purple.

Then it's home games against Detroit, Seattle and Chicago, a road trip to Arizona, home against Cincy, away games at Carolina and Chicago (Dec. 28) and then home against the Giants.

Do the math because I can't. I have no idea how it will play out, but I'm guessing the rest of the NFC North would rather face the Vikings without Favre in the lineup.

Favre in his last 8 games against the Bears: 176/307, 57% Comp, 1,972 yds, 246.5 ypg, 6.4 ypa, 5 tds, 15 ints, 61.7 rating. He's also been sacked 12 times in those 8 games. I can't imagine any other quarterback I WOULD want in the Vikings lineup. Perhaps I should stop this argument right here.

If Favre is doing this to stick it to the Packers, then it's the wrong kind of comeback for the wrong kind of reasons. Despite their messy divorce, Favre and the Packers will forever be joined at the chinstrap.

But if he can still play, and compete, and win, then there's nothing wrong with another retirement reversal. Vikings fans won't mind; why should you?

I hope The Waffler returns. I hope he stays healthy. Most of all, I hope my plasma works on Oct. 5 and Nov. 1.

IF Favre is doing this to stick it to the Packers? IF? Is there any doubt? The guy hates Ted Thompson because he had the gall to see a declining player who hurt his own team as much as he helped it with poor decision making and he had the NERVE not to fawn and beg Brett to come back when he decided to retire. What he's doing now is malice, pure and simple, and I can not wait for his season to go up in flames and prove Thompson right once and for all. Also, the article by Drew I posted above should be proof that Vikings fans Do mind. Go away Brett, just fucking go away.