You know, a guy goes on vacation for a couple of weeks with his family and he tries to ease back into normal life, and suddenly, all hell breaks loose.
I’m talking, of course, about the chaos surrounding the fate of the American Idol judges. I haven’t seen upheaval like this since the second season of The Facts of Life.
(Unnecessary sidenote: If you want to have a quality vacation, go to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA. There, and only there, can you see a bigger-than-life Bert—you know, of Bert and Ernie fame—singing and dancing to the Huey Lewis song, “Hip To Be Square.” It’s an unforgettable visual.)
OK, fine. I’m really talking about this whole Brett Favre thing. But I think I’d rather be talking about American Idol.
Look, I’m sick of Brett Favre. You’re sick of Brett Favre. My dog is sick of Brett Favre. I consulted my Ouija board last night and the spirit of Bruno Kirby told me he was sick of Brett Favre.
(He also told me that the “baby fish mouth” line from When Harry Met Sally...was totally improv.)
Yet trying to turn away from the continuing Brett Favre saga is a bit like trying to turn off a MTV marathon of Silent Library—impossible.
It’s nearly impossible to even write about it since by the time I finish this post, Adam Schefter or Chris Mortensen or even Howard 100 News will have the inside scoop on some new development.
But here’s what I know to be true right now: Favre is not retiring.
If he feels he’s healthy. And if the track and field team from his second cousin’s high school makes it past sectionals. And if McDonald’s brings back the McRib. And if his audition tape gets rejected by the producers of Glee.
And then only maybe.
Even though I, along with many other people much smarter than me, were completely surprised at the notion that Brett Favre would not come back to play this season, upon further reflection, I decided that retirement would indeed be the smart move.
Granted, he didn’t lead the Vikings to their first-ever Super Bowl championship last season. And yes, an ill-advised interception in the NFC Championship Game loss to New Orleans would stand as his final NFL pass.
But even the most ardent Brett Favre hater—and I have to believe those numbers are growing every day—has to give the man major props for how he played last season. In many respects—take away much of that final game and a below-average stretch in mid-December—it was a magical season for the grandfather from Mississippi.
And Favre has to know that magic is running out.
The Vikings’ offensive line is grossly overrated, overpaid, and was much worse in the second half of the season than even the Packers’ much-maligned unit. Their incompetence led Favre to take many a beating last season, particularly in that NFC Championship Game. Its weakness has caused Adrian Peterson to have to fight for every inch of yardage, which has led to his severe case of fumblitis.
I don’t blame Favre for having second thoughts about playing behind that unit again.
Defensively, the Vikings are still solid, but heading south. Pat Williams will be 38 this year. Antoine Winfield and E.J. Henderson are coming back from injury. Their safeties are weak.
Favre knows that he’ll have to put up more points than he did last year, which could prove difficult given Sidney Rice’s hip injury, Percy Harvin’s migraines, and Chester Taylor’s new Chicago residence.
Speculation on Wednesday centered on Favre’s threats of retirement being about money, a theory that gained immediate ground with reports that the Vikings had offered him $3 million more in guaranteed money and $4 million more in incentives to return.
For the Vikings, Favre is obviously worth the extra coin, particularly in light of Sam Bradford’s six-year, $78 million deal with the St. Louis Rams, and particularly in light of the fact that behind Favre, the Vikings have two quarterbacks that shouldn’t be trusted with managing Brad Childress’s DVR, much less his offense.
But why should Favre come back?
He doesn’t need the money. He proved to the doubters that after a subpar season with the New York Jets he can still play, and play at the level of the greatest quarterbacks. He exacted as much revenge as he could have—well, barring a playoff meeting that obviously didn’t happen—against Ted Thompson and the rest of the Packers organization by beating them twice.
And did I mention dude’s a grandfather?
As I said, I didn’t have a doubt until Tuesday that Brett Favre would return for his 20th season. I admit my confidence wavered some yesterday, but the longer this plays out, the more assured I am that he will be back. And, as all sports fans should delight in the opportunity to watch the best play as long as they can, I’m happy that it looks like he will be back.
But Brett—and given your penchant for indecisiveness, I really hate to ask—are you sure?
After all, I hear American Idol is looking for a few new judges...