Super Subplots: The NFL's "Other" Issues

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings adjusts his helmeti against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Now that we're over one quarter of the way through the NFL's agonizingly slow two-week wait for the Super Bowl, the storylines of the big game are beginning to pick up steam.

Some of them are legitimate. 

"Will the Colts mix up their defensive coverage to compensate for the Saints' offense?"

And others are, well, a bit more of a stretch.

"Paradise Lost: The Inside Scoop on Jim Caldwell and Shoelace Repair."

Yet every year, at about this time, there are inevitably other burning issues and questions that permeate the league, albeit somewhat under the radar. 

Any other week and said issues would be front-page news and no doubt the topic of endless 24-hour coverage. 

This year, however, the non-Super Bowl topics aren't quite as clandestine. 

Here is a look at a few, in no particular order.

The Brett Favre Saga

For the better part of the past decade, January kicks off the annual Favre Watch. To put it in "will he or won't he" terminology would quite frankly be selling it short. 

This is becoming high drama, indeed. Some find it entertaining, others find it mind-numbingly annoying.

But any way you slice it, it's something that folks can't help but watch—kind of like a car wreck.

So, what will Favre do this year? Last Sunday's debacle notwithstanding, the man did have a great year with the Vikings. It begs the question, which barometer will he look to in determining whether or not to call it a career?

Will he look at the whole season (good), or will he look at that last game (horrendous). Granted, what his body and family tell him will also factor largely in his decision as well.

But considering the combination of the facts, it will surely be tempting for him to come back. Not only can he still play, but his team will largely remain intact next season.

Perhaps the bigger question is how many times he will take to make his final decision. If he sticks to his guns after the first press conference—whatever the actual announcement is—it will be surprising.

Is Kurt Warner Done?

Like Favre, Warner is on a team that is not only solid, but getting better. In addition, it will be hard to walk away from $11 million next season.

Then again, it's not like the man is hurting for money, either. But, the fact remains that he too can still play, and he's in a pretty good situation.

However, Warner, the consummate family man, has also suffered five concussions in his storied—and spotty—career. X's and O's and glory aside, he has to look to his health.

Unlike Favre, his decision should be a bit more easy.

In the end—his press conference is this Friday—the smart money is that he'll retire.

What Were the Buffalo Bills Thinking?

A short while ago, the Buffalo Bills, having a doozy of a time finding a head coach, settled for Chan Gailey.

The reason I use "settled" there should be obvious. For starters, no one else in the league—active or otherwise—seemed to be interested.

In addition, when considering Gailey sports somewhat of an unimpressive resume, and well, things only look to get worse in Buffalo.

It'd be one thing if the Bills actually had a quarterback.

Or an offensive line.

Or good morale.

But a retread coach with minimal talent is seemingly a recipe for disaster. Time will tell, however. 

Remember, a certain AFC East team a few years ago hired an unimpressive coach who had a ho-hum, pedestrian record with the Cleveland Browns.

That team was the New England Patriots, and the coach was Bill Belichick. I'd say it worked out well for them. 

Where Will Donovan McNabb Land?

It's still an "if" at this point, and it could become a bigger one, considering that Eagles' coach Andy Reid would like to keep him around. 

Like the Favre saga, McNabb is seemingly done in Philadelphia every year about this time. Yet, every year he comes back to lead them to the playoffs.

So, we'll see. 

But if he does go, however, most are saying that Minnesota would be good...if Favre retires.

Other viable candidates include the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals.

With the Browns, the need for a quarterback is obvious, even if he's not the one for the future. Plus, their new GM, Tom Heckert, worked with McNabb in Philly for years, so a play for him wouldn't be surprising.

And regarding the Cardinals? Like the Favre situation, it all depends on what Kurt Warner does. But he would be a good, veteran fit, especially since Matt Leinart is still relatively unproven. 

At this point, the Cardinals are good now; they can't wait for a QB to develop. 

Those are a few of the main non-Super Bowl headlines, though not necessarily all of them.  

Pete Carroll is getting settled as the Seahawks coach, the NFL is admirably advancing their health protocol with concussions and cardiology, and of course there is the inevitable free agency speculation. Then again, these are issues that have been ongoing and are not necessarily brand new.

That said, who knows what else may transpire in the next week and a half.

There is still a Pro Bowl to be played, and Chad Ochocinco is in town, after all.


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