The Favre Effect: Thoughts and Notes on the Chain Reaction
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Brett Favre retires, comes back, retires...what? You've heard already?
Well, I guess it isn't really a surprise.
What is a surprise, however, is how quickly the media has taken to Favre. Again. Three weeks after...ahem...retiring, Favre signs with the Vikings, to the tune of a year for up to $12 Million.
That's serious loot for a 40-year-old QB who has a known shoulder injury.
That's not what this article is about, however. Without much fanfare, Favre has just laid the final brick in the 2009 season. It is THE story of the offseason because of what happens from here.
This is your guide.
1. Committed to Winning?
As Ross Tucker pointed out in his column on SI.com, this sends a message to the Vikings; we are committed to winning, and we don't care how. The unraveling of an organization may have just started.
As Eric Mangini can attest, this Favre mistress can be a bitch. Did Minnesota just become a favorite in the Super Bowl? That remains to be seen.
What I do know, however, is the revenue boom the Vikings just got from No. 4. In a bid to build a new stadium, this grizzled, country-bred QB might just be the ticket.
That cannot be stressed enough. In this world of CBA lockouts and rookie holdouts, one has to wonder how much do the Vikings think of Favre, and how much did they expect in terms of returns on their investment?
It is now being widely reported the Vikings will part ways with their one-time QB of the future Tarvaris Jackson. There is now no clear long-term option at QB, unless the Vikings are secretly banking on John David Booty, who has yet to see an NFL snap.
So we're to believe the Vikings were willing to part ways with their handpicked QB, locker room credibility, and in some cases, fan loyalty for a season with an injured relic?
The paper trails says otherwise.
2.The Xs and Os
No one should argue that Favre needed training camp. It's possible that he would not have participated anyway because of his shoulder. He knows the offense like the back of his hand, we've been told numerous times by ESPN.
Anyone who has witnessed a bad offense, like...for example...a Bears fan, can tell you it doesn't matter how well you know the offense if you cannot execute it.
The progression of Favre's shoulder is absolutely paramount. If the Vikings got Favre circa Week 9 of 2008, you'd be stupid to argue the merits of the move.
However, the reality is the Vikings got Favre, circa 2009, and that Favre is the one whom Thomas Jones said should be benched for the good of the team.
The upside is obvious. Less defenders in the box, more rushing yards, better offense, better team.
Favre, the turnover machine.
Anything that takes the game out of Adrian Peterson's capable hands is a horrid mistake. Being down 17 or 21 points will do that simply by way of circumstance, not to mention it's stupid to play ball control offense when you're trailing.
The key is finding a balance and limiting Favre's turnovers. Darell Bevell has just become the most important person in the NFL. To ask Favre to manage a game is not only a mistake, but stupid.
3.The North as the Bread and Butter
The NFC North is now a QB division.
I'll take "things I never thought I'd write" for a thousand, Alex.
The NFC North now has the juiciest match-ups, the best story lines, and the most anticipated games.
What has always been a historically close division is now a crap shoot. Lose a division game and you could be out of luck come January.
Common fans might actually care about the Bears-Packers rivalry now. Every football enthusiast in the Milky Way Galaxy will be watching that Monday Night Football where the Minnesota Favres take on the Green Bay Thompsons.
Suddenly, it looks like the Vikings aren't the only ones cashing in on Favre...
4. The Right Call?
As much as I've trashed Favre and the Vikings, I have to say: I don't think they could say no.
As I pointed out earlier, from a business standpoint, it's almost flawless. From a football standpoint, it's relevant, fresh, and exciting.
Face it, Favre is great for the NFL. What other player commands his own ticker on ESPN and can take over every sports page in America?
Much like the Jay Cutler move, from the merits alone, I don't think anyone, as we sit here in August, can really say the Vikings did wrong.
I do believe, however, in the long run, this is going to be a franchise turning moment, the effects of which will trickle out, and identify the Vikings as the new Redskins.
Their credibility as an organization will fall in the eyes of players who seek the same commitment from the team as they expect from themselves.
Players will ask "If they did it for Favre, what's to stop them from completely discarding me at a moment's notice?"
It's a legitimate question. Remember, this is a team that drafted just half of their 2009 starting lineup. Only two have tenures longer than five years.
How's that for commitment?
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