Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gone too Favre this time.

So Brett Favre's officially a Viking. Most of the football talking head universe is rejoicing. Minnesota fans seem to be generally hopeful.

I'm disgusted. Brett Favre? Gag me with a spoon.

The man is the biggest freaking prima donna behind center today. He's well past his prime. Talking heads who worship the ground he walks on have in their minds the Brett Favre of 8-9 years ago: the 30 year-old Brett Favre who was one of the 5 best QBs of all time. Unfortunately, this Brett Favre is the 39 year-old version, and he's a washed up journeyman living off of his past glory. He's almost like the Kevin Costner of the NFL.

I suppose that comparison is a bit unfair to Favre, a 3-time MVP and the all-time leader in touchdowns and passing yards (and interceptions). Costner made a few good films (The Untouchables, Field of Dreams, and [if you have trouble distinguishing a chick flick from a sports film] Bull Durham), one excellent film (Dances With Wolves) ... and that's it. He followed that up with a series of clunkers, but somehow his name was always bandied about with the Pacinos and DeNiros during the 90s.

Similarly, Favre put up 7 decent or good years ('92, '94, '98, '01, '03-'04 '07), 3 excellent years ('95-'97), and 8 sub-par or crappy years ('93, '99-'00, '02, '05-'06, '08). He was personally responsible for killing his team's chances at least twice in the postseason (his 6-pick game against St. Louis in '01 and his inexcusably lame duck overtime interception against NY in '08), he lost at least a dozen games over the past 8 years or so by gambling on throws, and he single-handedly killed the NY Jets' '09 season (part of the reason they only kept him for 1 year). As time has gone on, his gambling has gotten worse -- along with his skills. His ego, however, has never been bigger.

Members of the Jets have gone on record saying that Favre's oversized ego and prima donna habits sabotaged last year's team. Members of the Packers have described Favre's anti-team habits (like requiring his own private dressing room) and the negative effect they had on the team over the years. We've seen how his increasingly shoddy play lost games for Green Bay and the Jets.

Despite all this, Favre is still largely lionized by the sports media. John Madden had a massive man-crush on him (which he partially transferred to Tom Brady towards the end of his career). Most color commentators and sports casters do too. Favre can do no wrong for them.

Witness ESPN's Keven Seifert, who praises the Viking's signing of a washed-up Favre by saying that the model Minnesota was pursuing -- a hellacious defense, a superior running game, and a game-managing QB -- doesn't win championships. Someone should tell the 2000 Ravens, the 2002 Bucs, the 2006 Steelers, and the 2008 Giants about that -- I don't think any of them got that memo. (This is the kind of nonsense that Favre-worship leads otherwise-intelligent-and-competent reporters to engage in.)

Unfortunately -- despite the hero-worship of the Kevin Seiferts of the world, Favre will do a lot of wrong for the Vikings. Minnesota needa a competent QB who knows his limitations and will work within the system to succeed. Favre fulfills the first condition, but manifestly fails the last two. The one thing we know about Favre is that he doesn't -- that he can't -- work within any system that doesn't allow him to gamble. We saw that in Green Bay under Mike McCarthy and Mike Sherman. We saw that in New York last year. We will see that in Minnesota this year. Count on it.

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