When you think of NFL cliffhangers, Brett Favre has to be the master. If you were to put Brett Favre in an afternoon soap opera, I can assure you that he would leave you on the edge of your seats waiting and wanting more from the upcoming episodes.
Maybe Favre could play a grandfather in the show, or maybe he could be wise and stick to the profession that has granted him millions of dollars and a few Wrangler jeans commercials in the span of a 20 year period.
Whichever route Favre chooses to take, it seems that another older player in the NFL is also following the same path. His name is Ed Reed, or as you may know him "the guy that has picked your quarterback off on more than one occasion."
In 2009, both Brett Favre and Ed Reed were among the premier players of the NFL. It is well documented that both are highly talented, and funnily enough one specializes in interceptions, while the other is just prone to throwing them.
Aside from that, the similarities between these two stem far and wide in the NFL. When you think of Ed Reed and Brett Favre, you don't automatically think of injury, but given that both are in the later stages of their careers, we all knew that sooner or later the impact of the game was going to take a toll.
So with Ed Reed just having successful hip surgery, and Brett Favre preparing to go under the knife, which player is more vital to their team?
Ed Reed is one of those from a rare breed of players that can just make an impact whenever he plays. Given he only managed three interceptions last season, it was clear from about midway in the season that Ed Reed was noticeably tired and injured.
With this said, looking over Ed's career stats it is easy to find that he has managed a career high of nine interceptions, along with countless touchdowns and forced fumbles.
The thing that Ed Reed brings to the Ravens, though, isn't just his ability. Ed Reed is now a well established veteran player in the NFL, and when considering a top ranked defense such as the Ravens, Ed Reed has taken on the semi leader type role with Ray Lewis exceptionally well.
Last season, Reed did miss a few games prior to his final week return in 2009. Injuries were present, and as a result the Ravens were labelled with question marks left, right, and center in regards to just how stable they were without one of their more experienced safeties.
Once Reed did manage to return, he guided the Ravens on the right path in the playoffs, even if they did only manage one win over the New England Patriots.
Thinking of the Ravens defense, an obvious case could be made for Ray Lewis. A dominant and outspoken linebacker is nine times out of 10 going to overshadow a more quiet but complete safety, and therefore people seem to view the Ravens defense as Ray Lewis'.
Although this may be the case, Reed is certainly vital to Baltimore's defensive scheme. If you asked Baltimore fans how they felt about Ed Reed possibly retiring three months ago, I can assure you that the answer wouldn't have been positive.
Luckily Ed Reed is set for 2010.
Ah, ol' No. 4, where to start? Well, it's safe to say that Brett Favre has established himself as a Viking.
Much to the dismay of Packer fans, Brett Favre is comfortable in purple. He is throwing well, he is locating receivers well, and above all else he is posting win after win on the board.
In Brett's final game of 2009 against the New Orleans Saints, he really didn't look his usual best. As a Packer fan, when Brett Favre threw that last minute interception, I knew exactly how Vikings fans felt after losing in overtime.
Now to hear that Brett Favre needs minor ankle surgery, could be the final nail in the coffin, but we will have to wait and watch this story unfold.
The biggest issue with Favre, may be fear. Surely it is daunting going under the knife, knowing that 18 years of brilliance lays in the hands of a few surgeons and doctors.
The other mental issue is of course confidence. Will Brett Favre hesitate on that swollen ankle should he return in 2009? Or will he treat it like his rehabilitated shoulder and test it to the extremes?
These are all questions everyone is dying to answer, but simply can't. However, the Vikings are the ones that may be left with egg on their face should Favre retire.
A grandfather now, and not much else to gain out of the league, if Favre does retire Minnesota may regret only drafting quarterback Joe Webb, instead of a potential prospect such as Tony Pike or Jimmy Clausen.
Judging Brett Favre's expected or unexpected return is like winning the lottery—it is a massive gamble. No one knows for sure, and we're not all that sure that Favre totally knows himself.
But one thing is for sure, the Vikings need Favre. In a tough division like the NFC North, a quarterback is simply everything. Green Bay has one, Chicago has one, and Detroit potentially has one. If Minnesota doesn't, we may be seeing a big "9-7'" posted at the end of the season.
The obvious answer to this question is of course Brett Favre, but that is no reason to exclude the fact that Ed Reed is more than just important to the Baltimore Ravens.
Big plays are needed from both of these men in the regular season, and unfortunately father time may play against them. A hip injury is tough to come back from, and the same could be said for an ankle injury.
The bottom line is, if Ed Reed did retire, the Ravens could still quite possibly survive. If Brett Favre does retire, the Vikings simply may not. Fortunately for Baltimore, they have their answer. Minnesota doesn't. Let's hope we find out soon.
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