Childress rumors Favre from the truth?

By Lou DiPietro  |   Friday, May 08, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

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Just when you thought it was safe, rumors run rampant that for the second consecutive year, Brett Favre wants to rescind his retirement and return to the National Football League -- this time with the Minnesota Vikings, the team he originally pined for last offseason.

If this is at all even close to true, well, don’t say we didn’t tell you so.

OK, that’s unfair, because it’s not like this should surprise anyone. But as John McMullen and I posited a few months ago, it’s just another childish step in the disturbing fall from grace that is Favre’s legacy.

McMullen’s analysis was particularly prescient, as he said the following:

“The Minnesota Vikings need a quarterback and by all accounts, Favre wanted to play in the Twin Cities last season. The Packers, however, wouldn't allow Favre to jump ship to the NFC North rival Vikings and inserted a poison pill into the deal when they let him go to Broadway.

So, if you are Favre, why not play a year in the Big Apple and then angle for an outright release?”

The sad part? This is about 95 percent accurate, with the only missing piece being Favre actually signing with the Vikings.

Apparently, reports that Vikings head coach Brad Childress would be going to Mississippi this week to meet with Favre were untrue, as Childress was spotted at Vikings team headquarters Thursday morning. The Vikings have no official comment -- even though Favre is technically a free agent so they can say whatever they want -- but the fact that Childress is in Minnesota is very telling.

And you know what? He should stay there. Because in two short years, Favre has gone from a seemingly selfish, still-likable future Hall of Famer to a completely selfish, petulant coach killer.

Yes, this is the perfect situation for Favre. . . but not for the Vikings. Of course, because Favre has proven in the last few years that he really doesn’t care about anything but himself, it’s not surprising that this scenario has already popped up.

After all, take a look at the Vikings right now. They’re in turmoil, even after a 10-6 season that saw them capture the NFC North championship. Childress himself has been under fire for a couple years now; even though he was the offensive coordinator for Philadelphia’s most successful span in franchise history, he bears more resemblance to Sesame Street’s Mr. Noodle -- seriously, Google Mr. Noodle and look for yourself -- than he does an effective NFL head coach.

Tarvaris Jackson is clearly not the answer at quarterback; to analogize using two of Childress’ former signal-callers, he looks like Donovan McNabb one day and Doug Pedersen the next. The guy they brought in to challenge him, Sage Rosenfels, is the dictionary definition of “capable backup.” He’s never going to be a superstar -- or even very good -- as a starting quarterback, but can handle himself well enough to win a game here or there as your No. 2. This isn’t even to mention the fact that their receiving corps was one of the weakest in the NFL (which is why they drafted Percy Harvin) and the guy that led them to most of their 2008 success, Gus Frerotte, was released when the Vikes traded for Rosenfels.

All that said, bringing in Favre is a bad idea on a few levels -- and worse, they don’t even need him.

For one, there’s a durability issue. I know, saying that about Favre seems almost comical, but the guy is 40 years old. His streak of 269 straight starts is impressive -- it’s second all time behind Jim Marshall’s 270 -- but he suffered a partially torn biceps last year that destroyed him down the stretch. Even if he’s in peak physical shape, how much does he have left? Quarterback is a demanding position for young, healthy players; how many more years could Favre truly have left? Two, maybe three at most? That doesn’t really help anybody.

Secondly, there’s a motivation issue. Forget that Favre jerks everyone around year after year with this retirement deal; the fact is that he wants to play for Minnesota simply to stick it to the Packers. But as Skip Bayless pointed out on "ESPN First Take" earlier this week, the Vikings only play Green Bay twice a year. What about the other 14 games? Is Favre going to care, especially if he beats up on the Packers twice? Both Vikings/Packers games happen in the first half of the season -- suppose the Vikes are 4-4 heading into their bye week, but have beaten up Green Bay at least once? Will his concentration wane?

And finally, there’s the current situation the Vikings are in. Frerotte will never be confused for a star NFL quarterback, the receivers weren’t very good and Childress’ team hates him by all accounts -- yet the Vikings still won 10 games in 2008. While it’s understandable that thinking a guy like Favre will push the Vikes over the top to win now, consider that they have the league's second-easiest schedule on paper. Sure, the Lions will be better, the Bears have Jay Cutler and the Packers can’t be as bad as they were in 2008, but the Vikings also play Cleveland, Cincinnati and the NFC West this year.

On the third point, you’d think the Vikings would learn something from Favre’s unfortunate accomplices last year, the New York Jets.

The Jets were just like the Vikings last year. They were an up-and-down team with a muddled quarterback situation. The front office was losing faith in its head coach, and everyone believed that bringing in a future Hall of Famer to shore up their biggest weakness -- even if he was 39 and on the downside of his career -- would be the thing they needed to finally get over the hump.

Six months later, the Jets were 9-7 -- yes, a marked improvement over 2007, but they still missed the playoffs. Favre’s injury down the stretch crippled their offense, Eric Mangini was fired, and the Jets had to trade three picks, three players and their dignity to Cleveland to move up and draft Mark Sanchez. Meanwhile, the guy they jettisoned for Favre, Chad Pennington, had a career renaissance in Miami and helped turn a 1-15 team into an 11-5 division champion.

Smart men learn from their mistakes, but truly wise men also learn from the mistakes of others. If Vikings owner Zigi Wilf is a truly wise man, he’ll stay far, far away from Brett Favre.

And if he doesn’t? Well, Mangini hooked on in Cleveland, Pennington looks better than ever and the Jets did manage to get Sanchez, so I guess there’s hope for Childress, Jackson and Rosenfels yet.

Too bad there’s no hope for Favre’s self-respect.
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About Lou DiPietro

Lou DiPietro is an accomplished freelance writer who is fascinated with all things sports. In addition to his duties at RealFootball365.com, Lou contributes to TheBleacherReport.com and Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine, and has been featured on "The Sports Buffet with Matt West" on 1080-AM ESPN...
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