Every time I think about Brett Favre’s retirement reversal I keep coming back to the story about his daughter. According to what Brett Favre told the Minnesota papers yesterday, after he let the Minnesota Vikings know that he wasn’t going to play for them he found his daughter crying. Turns out she wanted to see her daddy win just one more Super Bowl. So, because a 10-year-old girl wanted her dad to bring home another championship ring, Brett is back.
The story is touching and poignant in a Disney kind of way. In fact, it has such potential that I would be very surprised if a sports-minded movie producer wasn’t already in touch with Brett Favre’s agent Bus Cook to negotiate a script. Maybe they will be able to get Dennis Quaid to play Favre…
Maybe it is the surprisingly beautiful story quality, or the convenient timing that allowed Brett Favre to skip training camp, but I feel as if we are witnessing the football equivalent of Wag the Dog.
In case I’m being too obscure, Wag the Dog was a movie about how a political Mr. Fix-it recruits a Hollywood producer to stage a fake war in order to distract the public from a presidential scandal right before an election. I draw the comparison because the wonky timing of the events in this father/daughter football story is throwing me off. Brett Favre came upon his tear-stained ten-year-old on July 30. Those keeping count will note that he didn’t reverse his decision until August 18–after the much loathed training camp*.
I don’t know about you, but I’m detecting a delicate whiff of duplicity.
Isn’t it convenient that for those few holdouts who weren’t deliriously happy about him joining the Minnesota Vikings and giving the team a serious upgrade at quarterback, there is a touching story about him joining the team late, sadly missing training camp (aw shucks), all for the love of his daughter. Cue the orchestra.
I’m not disputing the fact that Brett Favre is a good quarterback. His record speaks for itself. What I don’t care for is feeling manipulated. In that sense, Favre’s record also speaks for itself.
Brett Favre is a competitor so I can only imagine how it must have chafed when he retired on low-notes the last two seasons. Getting beaten by Eli Manning and the Giants on his own, quasi-sacred Green Bay turf during the play-offs had to smart like a paper cut doused in lemon juice. But that had to be nothing in comparison to the hit his ego took when he came out of retirement to grace the Packers with another season of his playing only to find out the organization had moved on. Not only did they move on, they exiled him to the New York Jets and tried their best to make it impossible for him to play for any other team in the NFC North. When he retired from that debacle, he was beat up and just plain beat.
Yet, the wily quarterback from Mississippi is not one to be predictable. He asked for and was granted his unconditional release from the Jets, thus nullifying the poison pill contract that Green Bay tied to the trade. Then he got his torn biceps tendon surgically repaired. Finally, the guy trained several times a week to keep himself in NFL shape and got input from Vikings trainers on his post-surgery rehab and conditioning. But clearly, it was the tears in his little girl’s eyes that made him want to play again.
I don’t doubt that his daughter’s tears pulled on Brett’s heartstrings, but I suspect that the chance to stick it to the Green Bay Packers and end his career on a high note with one last Super Bowl run may also have played a role.
The Minnesota Vikings have a veteran heavy team built to win now, something refreshing for those of us who get tired of the “rebuilding year” line. The biggest area of uncertainty was whether they could count on their untried quarterbacks to lead the team through the playoffs. Like peanut butter and chocolate, Favre and the current Vikings team seem made for each other.
All my jibes aside, I like the story of Brett Favre deciding to play again to make his daughter proud**, even if I’m not completely sure things happened quite the way he says they did. It makes for a good story and builds a myth and sense of destiny about this season where everyone involved is looking for a come-back. But, in the end, only time will tell if this come-back story is better material for Disney or the Cohen brothers.
*Apparently, it is a well-known fact that Brett Favre does not like training camp. I’m rather surprised. What millionaire wouldn’t love slumming in a crusty dorm for a couple weeks?
**Incidentally, if this kid has an eye for football talent, then maybe the Wilfs and Childress should seek her input in deciding who the team should pursue in the draft and free-agency.