Author’s Note: This is Part 2 of a very long rant about Brett Favre. Click here for Part 1.
So yesterday I gave you all a little background as to why I have disdain for Brett Favre. Along the way I mentioned that I like Tarvaris Jackson a lot, and I, in my frustration with people constantly criticizing my favorite current Viking (that’s right) attempted to make a case that he isn’t as bad as people claim, and compared him to Brett Favre. Now, I can admit that I was perhaps a bit preposterous, and I definitely used the stats that favored Tarvaris, and perhaps didn’t tell the whole story. But I still have proven that Tarvaris has been making steady improvement from where he started, and I would like to remind everyone that we all knew (or at least should have known) that we were getting guy who was a project at the quarterback position when we drafted him. Childress wanted him, and so he reached by drafting him late in the 2nd round. This was not a top 10 pick that would then warrant expectations of immediate success. I mean, did this fan base get spoiled by Daunte Culpepper’s amazing ability to come in as a first year starter and lead his team to the NFC championship game, and think that Tarvaris was going to the same thing? Daunte was the exception, not the rule, and he was the #11 pick in the 1999 NFL draft. I’m just asking for fairness and realistic expectations. Now, all of this being said, I will admit that I have believed that this Vikings team that was built to win now, not later, except at the quarterback position, and I wanted someone that was more proven and battle tested to lead this team. I really liked the idea of Donovan McNabb, and I was tempted by Jay Cutler being available (but I never would have wanted him for what Chicago gave up for him), but I knew that Sage Rosenfels wasn’t the answer. So then when the Favre rumors heated up, I was against it because I believed that Favre had shown his true colors down the stretches of the previous two seasons, and he was done as a player in this league. I also will bring up that Favre has proven to be a bad character guy time and time again, and I didn’t want him in the Vikings’ locker room. And of course, the final part of me not wanting him was that HE PLAYED FOR THE PACKERS FOR 16 YEARS! He was the face of their franchise, he killed us plenty of times in the past, and I despise him for all of that! So then I can go into the saga of Favre coming to the Vikings. I honestly believe now, even though I wouldn’t for so long, that Favre and Childress had cut a deal way back in the spring that Favre wanted to play for us, but he didn’t want to go to minicamps or the majority of training camp because he’s old, and he didn’t want to work hard, and he’s so arrogant that he thinks all of that is beneath him. Favre then told Childress to play like they were trying to get a deal done all summer, and Favre would take care of the rest of the drama, which of course, he’s so good at and loves to attract all of that attention. I think Childress proved just how pathetic he is in this whole process as well, especially when he came here claiming he was creating a “culture of accountability”, but then he turned around and let a player call the shots on him, just because he was so desperate to get that contract extension. And then, Favre comes in, and with two days of training camp under his belt, gets the start in the second preseason game against Kansas City, and basically there was no competition whatsoever for the starting job. It was just handed over to Favre without proving a thing for this team.
Anyhow, on to my theory on how Favre has hijacked the identity of this team. Now with Tarvaris Jackson, or Gus Frerotte, or any of the other mediocre quarterbacks like Brooks Bollinger or Kelly Holcombe as our starting quarterback, we knew that Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, and our running game was the strength of our offense. Our o-line would face 8 man fronts, and defensive schemes made up to stop Adrian Peterson, and were absolutely begging us to throw the ball down the field. Some of those games Tarvaris could make those 3-4 big throws that he needed to for us to win, and sometimes he didn’t. But we were almost always in the game with a good chance to win thanks to tough play from our defense (last season, at least), and the offensive line just being determined to give Adrian the chances to make big plays. Our offensive line just put the challenge on themselves to get a good push at the line of scrimmage and no matter how many men they saw in the box. So Favre was supposedly brought in to make the big throws that each game saw, that Tarvaris wasn’t consistently making. In game 1 at Cleveland, everything went according to plan. Our offensive line dominated the game and Peterson had 180 yds and 3 TDs, and Favre had to make a limited number of important throws. Game 2 was the Lions game and it didn’t take a lot from Favre to beat them either. Game 3 saw us face a decently tough defense in San Fran, and the offense overall didn’t play very well, especially Brett Favre. He threw an interception, and he almost threw a pick 6 near the end of the game that would have cost us the game, but on the final drive, he was spectacular. And of course, we all know the miracle ending. And with that fateful toss and catch to Greg Lewis, everything changed. All of sudden everyone was on board, save for a few fans like me. The schism talk was history. Childress lengthened Favre’s leash. Then the long awaited matchup with Green Bay was upon us. The new look 3-4 Packers defense was confident that the old man couldn’t beat them, and they set out to stop Adrian Peterson first and foremost. Favre saw opening after opening in the porous Packers secondary, and he burned them badly. And I will admit, it felt really good. Now Favre was unleashed completely, and everyone saw how explosive our receivers could be, and nobody minded that none of our damage was done on the ground. After that, week after week Favre was no longer putting up modest “game manager” type numbers, but instead was having MVP type numbers, and Adrian was unable to get 100 yds in a game, or even 4.5 yds a carry. I started to think, “Favre is throwing the ball so well, why isn’t Peterson able to run for big gains? Shouldn’t it be easy since teams can no longer ignore our passing game?” And yet the results still weren’t coming in the running game, in fact, they were far worse than Adrian’s first two seasons. But people still didn’t seem to care because we kept winning. So, now that we have stumbled to the finish, losing 3 of 5, and backing into the first round bye, people have finally begun to worry a little bit. Well, here’s my take. From my football playing experience, and plus my hundreds of hours of watching the game over the years, I know that pass blocking and run blocking are two very different things, and it’s very hard to do both of them well. We used to run block very well despite facing 7 and 8 man fronts all of the time, but as Favre kept changing plays to passes, and Childress kept calling passes instead of runs due to the success, the line was doing a lot more pass blocking, and that became their new philosophy. They had become a sit back and absorb the blow for a pocket, pass-blocking first offensive line, and they had lost that tough, get off the line hard and push your opponent back five yards run blocking first mentality. I think it can be regained, but right now, the quick short throws have to be used to set up the running game, and I guess that’s what we’ll have to do going forward, because when Childress tries to ram the ball down people’s throats with his run on first, run on second offense lately, we end up with 3rd and 8 far too often. Now if way back in that Green Bay game, we had had T-Jack in, we probably would have been more patient with the run, and just like in the past, we would have worn them down over time, and Adrian would have gotten stronger as the game went on, like it seemed he did so many times in his first two seasons. We would have played a more ball control type game plan, and I believe we win that game, along with the first three games, and then the St. Louis game, and we’re 5-0 with Tarvaris Jackson at QB. We have plenty of momentum going forward into that tough 3 game stretch, and Tarvaris is more confident than ever. I don’t feel like breaking down every other game after that, but I said before the season started that this team would go 12-4 with Tarvaris at the helm, because he and Gus gave us a 10-6 record last year, and this year we were playing a much easier schedule, and we added Percy Harvin on offense. So basically everyone wants to anoint Favre as to taking us to some higher level of play, when none of this stuff matters unless he can get it done in the playoffs and a win a Superbowl. I don’t care about anything but a Superbowl with Favre at the helm. With Tarvaris, the Super Bowl is all I really care about, but I would accept a Superbowl or NFC Championship game loss because it would be a sign of improvement without throwing all of your eggs in one basket. We could come back the next year with him again. But if Favre doesn’t get us a title, and then he plays his flip flop game in retirement again to avoid minicamps and training camp, we’ll lose out on TJack because we’ll have no money to re-sign him thanks to the Favre and Sage contracts at the position, and he’ll demand a higher salary than Sage since he beat him out for the back up job, and if he just retires, Tarvaris may have left for a better situation by then anyhow since he’s a free agent, and we’re stuck with Sage Rosenfels. A player who has proven that he cannot earn and maintain a starting job after far more years in the NFL than Tarvaris. Anyone who thinks he is a better option than Tarvaris from a talent right now or especially potential for the future standpoint, is kidding themselves.
Now, there still remains the dilemma for me personally if Favre comes through in the end and we win the Super Bowl with him in there. I will be happy that we won. But it will be tainted. It will make me think forever that we had to sell our souls to finally win this franchise a title. Packer fans will mock us (probably out of jealousy) about how we couldn’t win the big one without their guy. I will have an empty happiness that is torn with feelings of disdain for that jerk #4 that stole this team from Tarvaris. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his vendetta against Ted Thompson. He doesn’t care that he broke the Green Bay fans’ hearts, and he doesn’t care about fans like me that truly love this team, and in that love hated the Packers and him the most, and didn’t want to see him playing for us. He cares about proving to everyone that he can still play at 40. And most of all, he loves the attention, and he wasn’t ready to give that up yet. Just leave us all alone after this season, Brett. Go be a good father and husband for once and spend time with your family. You were never a Viking and you never will be.