He’s doing it again.
And I doubt anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the NFL is the least surprised.
Quarterback Brett Favre- one of the greatest figures in the history of the game, owner of a number of (good and bad) records and a productive player even in his relatively advanced age- is allowing, stoking and/or orchestrating much flapping of gums and gnashing of teeth regarding a leaked text message saying that he is calling it quits.
Truthfully, I was a little hesitant to write on this subject.
My primary concern is whether the redneck wonder will be facing the New Orleans Saints at the league’s regular season kickoff at the very venue of the most infamous play of his storied career.
Secondly, by the time you read this, or by the time I’m, finished typing this, Favre might have definitely declared his intentions. Not that such a promulgation from number 4 is necessarily etched in stone.
A Favre-less Viking squad would be a less formidable opening challenge for the Saints as they strive to “start strong” in their quest to make it a Two-Dat in 2010. Not that Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota’s number two QB, is a pushover. He’s just not Favre.
On top of an improved Saints defense, Jackson, who attempted a grand total of 21 passes in the 2009 season, will have to contend with a crowd that will be hyped up from the unveiling of the World Champion banner in the Superdome. Think a noise level around that of the 2006 Dome-coming game against Atlanta.
Jackson might want to borrow little Baylen’s ear-muffs.
But back to reality.
As of 6:52 PM CST these are the facts (or well-reported rumors).
1) Sources told ESPN that Favre texted teammates that he would not return.
2) Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said that Favre had sent text messages to his fellow/former Vikings though he had not received a direct message from the quarterback.
3) Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who would not admit having received the text message, said he would not believe that Favre has retired until it became official.
4) Vikings head coach Brad Childress has charitably described the situation as “fluid”.
A more cynical view of the situation is that it seems likely that the Vikings organization is in on the gag as they obviously know something, though they’re not saying anything.
Naturally Favre could put an end to all of this speculation with a public word, but has not. And even if he had, Favre could just as well utter a different word the next day.
But that said, it must be awful to be a Vikings fan right now. To their credit, the northern variety of the purple and gold faithful looked past the pass that ended their deep playoff run. Some even paid for a billboard showing number 4 some love and expressed hope he would return to the team for the 2010 season.
Watching the Favre-retirement rumor game is yet another reason why Saints fans should appreciate Drew Brees beyond bringing the Crescent City its first Lombardi Trophy as I don’t think number 9 would do this to Saints fans.
I have no pity for the Vikings organization, which knew precisely what they were getting themselves into when they signed Favre. And maybe they know he’s coming back after all.
For a team whose odds of winning the Super Bowl literally shift with Favre’s presence, the Vikings players and coaches seem to be taking his quasi-announcement in stride.
Having watched Favre cry “wolf’ twice before, in addition to digesting the conflicting retirement hints he has sprinkled in between, I’ll believe he’s not playing in the 2010 season after Super Bowl XLV.
I don’t care if he misses pre-season; I don’t care if he misses part of the regular season.
If Favre is willing and the Vikings want him, they’ll make whatever accommodations necessary to have him in the huddle.
Beyond taking some perverse pleasure in watching this play out (maybe he was jealous that “The Bron” was muscling in on his trademark career move media kabuki?), two other things could be attributed to the latest round of speculation: one, Favre’s ankle has not fully healed yet necessitating an indefinite delay and two, Favre is like a nine year old addicted to his Playstation and dreads the thought of going to camp.
Having been burned by two opposing “no shows” last season (DeMarcus Ware and Dwight Freeney), Saints coach Sean Payton should ignore the hype until the week before the season opener and prepare his team to face Favre on September 9th.
Note: As of 7:26 PM CST, Favre is still semi-retired.