With less than two minutes left in the NFC divisional playoff game, and the Minnesota Vikings commanding a 27-3 lead over the Dallas Cowboys, Head Coach Brad Childress decided to go for it on fourth and three yards deep in Dallas territory.
It seemed like a logical decision with the Vikings already up big.
You figured they would hand the ball to Adrian Peterson for a three-yard run and then take a couple of knees to ice the game. But in a move that defied football logic, and spit in the face of good sportsmanship, Brett Favre slung an 11-yard touchdown pass to Visante Shiancoe. The pass screamed to the football world, “the old man still got it!” Silver-haired Favre celebrated his fourth touchdown pass of the game, chest bumping lineman and slapping coach Childress five.
To the Cowboys however, what initially appeared to be a classy gesture turned out to be a self-serving ego boost. The Vikings didn’t kick the field goal, but instead Favre and Childress kicked the Cowboys when they were down.
Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking barked at Farve as the quarterback trotted to the sideline. Forgoing the expletives, Brooking probably said something along the lines of, “what was that for?” One may find himself asking Favre the same question a lot over the past two seasons, first when he came out of retirement to quarterback the Jets and then again when he signed with the Vikings.
Honestly, what more does Favre want?
Is it money? Yeah, right. Favre owns one of the richest contracts in football history. In 2001, he signed a 10-year $100 million dollar deal with the Packers that was supposed to be a “lifetime contract.” Alright, he didn’t earn all of that, but throw in the pocket change he makes with the Wrangler jean endorsements, and you have to figure Favre is pushing nine figures.
Could it be the pursuit of records? The only problem there is he has them all. Well, all of them that matter at least. During the 2007 season, Favre passed John Elway for most wins and Dan Marino for most touchdown passes. He’s padded those stats a little in the past two years, but the records he actually broke with the Jets and Vikings range from obscure, the most four-touchdown games, to over-hyped, most starts ever by a quarterback, to just plain treasonous, first quarterback to beat all 32-teams in the NFL.
Did he come back to play the game he loves? That answer doesn’t seem right either. So much has been written about how Favre is rejuvenated and playing like a kid again. This past week every sports Web site was talking about how he danced with his teammates to the American Idol song “Pants on the Ground.” In reality though, look at what’s being edited out of the fairytale. Immediately after the win, you’d expect Favre to be beaming with excitement. Instead when asked how he felt in the Dallas post-game interview he said, “I’m tired.”
It must be because he wants another Superbowl, right? This could be the answer for why he is continuing to return to football. In Favre’s retirement speech, the first one that is, he said the next year would only be a success if he lead his team to a championship. But one could argue that even that wouldn’t make the past two seasons worth it.
When Favre retired in 2007, he had everything a quarterback could ask for: three MVPs, the all-time record for touchdown passes as well as passing yards and a Superbowl ring. Most importantly, Favre had left a legacy. Green Bay was ready to build monuments for its venerated play caller. Men named their first born after him. To be called “the next Brett Favre” was the ultimate term of endearment.
As Green Bay General Manager and Head Coach Mike Sherman said in 2001, “no player in the NFL identifies or is more closely linked to a specific team like Brett Favre is to the Green Bay Packers … I do not think there is a player in the NFL that experiences a relationship with the fans like Brett Favre does.”
Sure, he’s just two wins away from a second Superbowl ring, but what if Favre loses?
Are two more Pro Bowl appearances and another 55 touchdown passes and 700 completions worth tainting the Green Bay legacy with purple?
Wouldn’t Favre’s fairytale career have ended better if the old gunslinger had faded into the sunset as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time?
Wisconsin is now filled with betrayed fans that once marveled over his accuracy but now scowl at his treachery. Monument blueprints are in ruins, and in schools across Wisconsin, boys named Brett are jammed into lockers.
As for the Favre name, let’s just say it doesn’t mean what it used to. When someone calls you a “Brett Favre,” they probably mean some of the four-letter words Brooking screamed at Favre.