Minnesota Vikings

Brett Favre Played Like a Warrior, Not a Champion

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Brett Favre #4 of  the Minnesota Vikings reacts after taking a hard hit in the second half against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Ari HoringSenior Analyst IJanuary 25, 2010

Here is the scenario: Your team is tied at 28 with less than 15 seconds left in the NFC Championship on your opponent's 38-yard line and you’re the quarterback.

You roll out to the right and you have three options. Option A: You run for 10-15 open yards and put your field goal kicker in a much better situation. Option B: You buy time for an open receiver. Option C: You throw it across your body, the most frowned upon throw a quarterback can make.

You and me, like most quarterbacks, would have taken option A. A few idiots would have taken option B. However, only Brett Favre would have taken option C.

Even with all the mistakes, the fumbles, the bad play calls, the bad protection, the penalties, and everything else, the Vikings still were in position to win the game at the end.

That's why Favre's second interception was the worst mistake of all.

If Favre had refrained from letting out his old gunslinger mentality we all knew could come out at any time, he could have thought clearly and run the ball into the open space, giving his field goal kicker a much easier field goal attempt. 

I honestly feel bad for criticizing Favre after the game on Sunday, because he had one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen. Favre, 40, took more hard hits than almost any other normal quarterback could have taken.

He was beaten up repeatedly, but he kept getting up and didn't lose a beat. Once a defender rolled on Favre's ankle, I actually thought Favre's day could be done. However, once again, the greatest warrior in NFL history showed us he was of a tougher breed than everyone else.

I have never been a passionate Brett Favre fan. I generally despise his off the field antics, but I have always admired him for his toughness. Even so, I haven't been that upset over a game in a long time. Nothing can describe my feelings better than simply saying Favre deserved the victory.

The loss should be blamed on the Vikings coaching staff.

First, do they have a problem with Chester Taylor? Adrian Peterson should have been benched after hist first two fumbles, and Harvin, who fumbled as well, should never have been put in the game at running back.

If I were Brad Childress, seeing my team collapse before my eyes because of fumbles, I would have immediately inserted the sure-handed Taylor for the rest of the game.

Taylor is a very good running back, and Harvin and Peterson, especially of late, haven't been good enough to be worth keeping in the game. Mistakes in football do happen. Reggie Bush's fumble and Drew Brees' botched exchange with the center were two big mistakes on the Saints' side.

However, some of the Vikings' mistakes could have been prevented had Childress stepped up and kept Taylor in the game.

Second, why did the Vikings seem to settle for a 50-plus yard field goal at the end of the game? Once they got into 50-yard field goal range, they ran the ball on the first two downs, very predictably, for no gain. If we've learned anything this playoffs it's that settling for a long field goal can be costly.

Following this, the Vikings switched up personnel, and cost themselves five yards on a penalty for 12 men in the huddle, making the possible attempted field goal 56 yards. The costly interception Favre threw on the next play very likely would not have happened if Favre had known his kicker was in reasonable field goal range.

The Saints were not the better team on Sunday. The Vikings had a total of 475 net yards compared to the Saints' 257 yards. The Saints had a 25 percent efficiency rating on third down and could not move the ball in the second half. The Saints were given so many opportunities to punish the Vikings for their mistakes, but repeatedly failed to do so in the second half. 

Ultimately, despite this, the Saints are going to the Super Bowl, and Favre and the Vikings are not. 

Adrian Peterson has lost the glamour he has had the last couple of seasons, and needs to work hard this offseason to correct his fumbling problems and regain his mojo. If he doesn't, the running back who seemed destined to be one of the greatest ever likely won't be.

The worst part of the Vikings' loss is that we now have to hear whether or not Favre is going to be back for another season for who knows how long. If I were Favre, despite having a great team around me, I might just retire.

As tough as Favre is, I can't see him playing another season with that much effort at the age of 41.

Before the season, I said Favre's legacy had been severely damaged because of his off the field antics, and although he had no hope for saving it completely with Packers fans because of his betrayal, it could be saved with most of America with a Super Bowl win. I do believe there are still a lot of anti-Favre sentiments around the country.

However, despite not winning the Super Bowl, if Favre does not make this offseason all about him again, Favre's legacy will be somewhat saved.

Favre will never be the golden boy he once was perceived to be by the media. However, the truth is Favre never needed to be that guy. His legacy is that there has never been a tougher player in NFL history than Brett Favre, and he proved that this season.

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