Ah, here we are again. Once again, on the Tuesday before the Vikings second preseason game football just got a lot more interesting because Brett Favre unretired (yes, again) to play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings (yes, again). There were months of speculation, there were rumors, there were dire predictions and there were lots, and lots of jokes—but here we are once again, with Brett Favre.
I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to think I could write about this with a template. All the important stuff would stay the same, I could just change the dates and some of the details. In fact, I strongly considered simply reposting the piece I wrote last year about Favre’s signing. However, on rereading it, I discovered that, even though the pertinent details about Brett Favre were more or less the same, my opinion about him had undergone at bit of a change.
Turns out, a year ago I wasn’t quite sold on Mr. Favre. In my defense, his year with the New York Jets was not the sort of thing that would ignite Super Bowl dreams. But his 2009 season with Minnesota Vikings made me a believer. I remember the moment with almost crystal clarity when I was watching the Vikings play and suddenly realized I was screaming, “Yeah, go Brett! Go Brett!!!” I stopped mid-scream I was so surprised. The real kicker (yes, the pun is intentional) was that it was still preseason. He endeared himself to me, a hardened cynic, just that fast. Good thing he doesn’t sell Amway.
So yes, this season I’ve already planted my skeptical Scandinavian butt firmly on the Favre bandwagon—I staked out my seat early.
But for as much as things seem the same, with Favre swinging into Minnesota just one day shy of the day he arrived last August, there are a lot of notable differences. Probably the biggest difference is that both Favre and his teammates have a better idea of what they are getting from one another. I honestly do not care how many millions of dollars the Wilfs throw at the guy, Brett Favre is worth every penny on several levels. Here are a few of them.
- Good to great. Having Favre under center immediately elevates the Vikings offense from good to down right dangerous. The guy reads the blitz like nobody I’ve ever seen, adjusting on the fly, and audibling out of doomed plays—and that was before he was 40-years-old. Now, with 20 years of experience, there is nothing he hasn’t seen. That kind of knowledge is invaluable and enables the offense to take advantage of situations that might otherwise have cost them.
- “Do or do not. There is no try.” Brett Favre is like Yoda**, he really is the Jedi master who brings out the best in his teammates. I can’t tell you how many times last year I read or heard about Favre sending Harvin or Rice a text telling them about some film they should watch because he thought it would help them. He operates like an extra coach helping to develop the young players on the team. When you consider the youth of most of his offensive weapons it’s apparent that that is the kind of investment that can benefit the Vikings for years to come. The gift that keeps on giving, if you will.
- Cash money. Brett Favre means money. Period. People are excited about getting to see him play and they buy tickets which means no local media blackouts for the Minnesota faithful and it means that those attending the games are buying concessions, spending money in the merchandise tent, and patronizing local businesses before the game. Not only that, his jersey is still one of the top selling jerseys of all NFL merchandise—his name on gear is like a direct line of revenue. And, if he propels the Vikings to another winning season, it helps the Wilfs gain greater traction for new stadium discussion with the Minnesota legislature. This guy equals cash for a whole lot of people.
- I want it all and I want it now. With the current Vikings roster you can’t swing a cat without hitting a Pro Bowler. The Vikings are thick with talent, but some of that talent is aging and thinking about retirement, like Pat Williams. We have heard the dread term “rebuilding year” so often that it is almost hard to believe we’re in a year where the team is built, but it is built—and it is built to win now. I include coaches because Leslie Frazier (probably) will be a head coach somewhere next year and some of the staff will likely go with him. With the Vikings current player and coaching roster Favre isn’t the star, he’s part of the mother-freaking constellation.
Well, it was several months in the making, but I have to say, I think I like Brett Favre’s 2010 arrival in Minnesota may lead to an even better season than last year. Don’t burst my bubble.
*Just in case you’re curious how suspicious I was a year ago https://chinspeaks.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/favre-fest-is-all-thanks-to-his-daughter/
**I have a deep and amazingly geeky affection for Star Wars (but only Episodes 4-6, the others suck) so I assure you that I’m not using this comparison lightly.