Sunday, January 31, 2010

Favre: The Sucker Punch

I'm pretty sure I've never ever written anything positive about Brett Favre on this website. I'm just not a fan, essentially for three reasons: (1) Favre extended his career past its natural limit (or so I thought) to break the career passing records of my favorite player of all-time, Dan Marino; (2) the media lauded Favre far far beyond what his on-field play warranted; (3) the annual Favre Retirement Show got old several years ago. Past Interference doesn't dispute Favre's a great player. But surely the countless postseason meltdowns of the past decade should have clued everybody in that Favre's just nowhere near being a contender for the greatest quarterback of all-time.

But PI now admits that Favre's play in 2009 necessitates a reassessment of (some of) the negative words previously posted on this blog, at least in regards to reason one above. After observing Favre's play the last few years, especially down the stretch last year, a ton of people thought the guy was finished. And PI was among that ton. But that ton was clearly, emphatically, demonstrably wrong! Favre posted perhaps the best season of career, at age 40 no less. Dude shut up all the retirement advocates especially the Green Bay management team that got rid of him. Nobody can now dispute that Favre, even at 40, remains one of the league's best quarterbacks and that he was right and everybody else was wrong when he insisted he could still play. Favre knew Minnesota was the perfect destination for him and you have to give him credit, he shrewdly managed to work the system to make that happen.

More credit accured after the Vikings convincingly demolished the Cowboys in the divisional playoff round. Favre stood just one game away from returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years and a Super Bowl ring to cap a great season would have to put him back into the Best Ever conversation right?

I watched the NFC Championship with no real rooting interest but as the game went on PI began to gain new appreciation for Brett Favre. I couldn't help it. Despite taking tremendous punishment Favre kept making big third down throws. I guess the Saints strategy was to pound Favre into the turf but it wasn't working. Sure he was hurting but his team was dominating in yards and first downs. Watching Favre pick himself up over and over after another brutal hit while throwing great pass after great pass for another first down was truly unbelievable. What can I say? He earned PI's respect. Just an amazing performance for anybody. But this guy is 40! The only real problem was this strange football allergy they developed. Favre himself threw a pick but it should have been nullifed after a cheap shot on his lower leg. And despite all the mishaps Favre had the Vikes just shy of field goal territory as the game entered his final minute. His recent past was about to wiped from our collective memory. And then...

Well, we all saw it. The bad play calling, the 12-men-on-the-field-blunder, and then, the piece-de-resistance, Favre's pick. Despite his unmatched history of critical interceptions he might have topped himself with this one. An absolutely inexplicable throw. A horrible horrible throw. All he had to do was just stumble forward for a few yards and his kicker might have pulled it off. I don't believe any of Favre's prior season killers ever prevented a game-winning kick attempt. Nor did they come for a team that had never won a Super Bowl. A true never-to-be-forgotten-as-long-as-they play-football disaster for Minnesota fans. So what do we conclude? Is throwing horrible INT's at the worst possible moments something encoded in the guy's very DNA? Is that possible? Apparently he can't help himself. I just can't believe I didn't see it coming. I thought this time at least, at that moment, the Vikings had the mojo. That Favre had the mojo. He was still playing well. He knew what he had to do. And then he threw a pick anyway!

Favre suckered me. I thought he was going to pull it off! How did I not see it coming? I admired the grittness and the toughness, ignored the very real history and consequently never saw the inevitable ending coming. Favre's season ended the only way it could. If he wants to come back for another year he should come back but he's never going to win another Super Bowl. He can't overcome his fatal flaw. I should have known that. I blame myself.

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