Okay, let’s play a game. I’ll ask a question and just feel free to blurt out the answer. Question: What stereotypical high school girl is Brett Favre most like? Wait, what is that? Tease you say? My thoughts exactly.
Since the start of Favre Watch 2009 when he asked for, and was granted, his unconditional release from the New York Jets he has been linked to my Minnesota Vikings. Actually, it started even earlier than that, last year when he was fighting with Aaron Rogers in Green Bay for the starting job and Green Bay exiled him to the Jets with all sorts of poison pill stuff attached to the trade so he would never ever play for the Packers’ divisional rivals the Vikings. Neener, neener.
And yet, here we are, less than a year later and Favre and the Vikings are locked in the sports equivalent of a romantic comedy—the kind where everyone knows that they will end up together eventually, but we keep getting yanked around with “will-he, won’t-he” questions just the same. If the guy was going to stay retired, then why did Favre bother asking the Jets for his unconditional release? If he wasn’t interested in playing again, then why bother fixing the torn bicep in his throwing arm—an injury that only seems to make itself manifest when he’s firing off an NFL-quality pass? If he wasn’t interested in playing for the Vikings, then why string the team (and media) along and visit with members of the Vikings coaching staff in Mississippi? Why practice with high school and college students 3 to 4 times a week to stay in football shape if the most strenuous thing he plans on doing is mowing grass?
At the moment, the Favre is saying that come July 30 he will have an answer for the Vikings. That would mean a lot more if it wasn’t for the fact that Vikings start training camp on July 31. One can’t help but notice that the timing makes absolutely certain Favre does not have to make any off-season promotional appearances before training camp.
A Vikings fan for the last three decades, if you had told me even two years ago that I would be waiting to find out if Brett Favre had signed with the Vikings I would have…well, I would have thought it so unlikely that I probably would’ve promised something really embarrassing. Fortunately for me, that didn’t happen. I laughed my ass off when he gave his tearful farewell at the press conference announcing his retirement. Like the French guys taunting Arthur and his knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I made several rude gestures and suggestions in the general direction of Wisconsin. Yet here I am, holding my breath waiting to find out if this 39-year-old buzzard has agreed to terms on a contract with the Vikings that is reportedly worth around $10 million for a year and is laden with incentives and guarantees.
And that is the other reason we know Brett will eventually quit with all the posturing and such about the strength of his arm. You don’t play hard to get indefinitely when you are a nearly 40-year-old quarterback being offered $10 million. It just don’t happen.
Last year I loved watching Gus Frerotte play quarterback for the Vikings. He was an even-tempered journeyman player in his late-thirties who had seen just about everything football could throw at him (yes, the pun was intended). And he was pretty tough too. Oh, and crazy too. Gus was a guy who almost played better when slightly concussed. Like the Hulk saying, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” Gus took traumatic brain injury as a form of motivation, making other teams not like him when he was concussed. The Vikings vs. Bears game at the Dome last year was the perfect example, he laid, probably unconscious, on the field for a while in the first half—long enough to make you hope his wife and kids weren’t watching and that he was well-insured. He finally came around, sat out a play, and then went back in to have one of his best games of the season. I think he may have thrown a few tackles in that game too. And yet for all that, you know the team wasn’t offering him $10 million. Shoot, for $10 million Gus probably would have played without his helmet and jockstrap if the Vikings had asked him to. And why? Because for an aging quarterback who loves the game, the chance to play as the starter for that kind of money is beyond rare.
Nope, Favre won’t hold out forever. Oh, I realize that he’s a future Hall of Famer and Gus isn’t, but between the draw of millions of dollars, the thrill of the game, having a offense that is just one quarterback shy of being a serious threat for a deep play-off run, and the joy of sticking it to his former team by signing with their divisional rivals, eventually this guy who made my team suffer for so many years will be wearing purple. Get on with it already—I need to plan my festivities for Favre-a-Palooza.