Tonight, Brett Favre opens his season with a Preseason matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. After all the hoopla that annually surrounds Favre's offseasons, football is here again for Favre.
The 40-year-old gunslinger is admittedly one of my two favorite players of all-time, yet I am even sick of his premadonna ways outside the field. While on the field however, I enjoy every minute of his kid like enthusiasm and endless determination to play every game on the schedule.
As he begins the quest on his twentieth season, I ponder if Favre can be what the Vikings need? He has butted heads with the Head Coach in Brad Childress which could be a detriment on this team, if not for the resolve I see in this veteran squad. He is another year older and we still do not know how his ankle is going to hold up. That being said, this is still Brett Favre and he will gut out a way to get through the ankle no matter the pain or the cost on his body.
Favre comes back after what would have been an MVP season last year were it not for Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Still, I ask myself if they are that much better with Favre at the Quarterback position heading into the 2010 season.
Before losing Middle Linebacker E.J. Henderson and having to replace him with Rookie Jasper Brinkley, the Vikings defense was rolling as much as the Offense. The great play of the Williams' along with the outside pressure by Jared Allen was pivotal in providing a crunch. Thus, allowing an ease in most games for the offense. Part of the game that had nothing to do with the Quarterback.
Still, with a slightly inefficient Adrian Peterson last year (By Peterson's standards) Favre took the Offense on his back and helped solidify Sidney Rice as an All-Pro Talent. He also was able to make great players out of Visanthe Shiancoe and the Rookie Percy Harvin.
Could these things have been done by Jackson or Rosenfels? Doubtful.
Tavaris Jackson had been Childress' Quarterback of the future, so the fact that Brad has been on his knees begging Favre to come back still shows their lack of confidence in Jackson to this day. The 2008 season in Minnesota, Tavaris would show flashes of an All-Pro Quarterback and then the next game he would remind you of Ryan Leaf. As straight faced as the Minnesota might be in their confidence in Jackson, I just don't believe in it.
Sage Rosenfels, the Former Houston Texans Quarterback also had shown flashes of being a great Quarterback in 2008. Then, he would end up folding in situations such as their Home Game against the Indianapolis Colts. With the game in hand, Rosenfels fell apart throwing two picks and fumbling twice after being up by 17 in the Fourth Quarter. Blowing the lead and turning the ball over twice more in an inconceivable 31-27 loss. Incidents of that exaggerated nature take the potency out of Rosenfels' sting.
This offseason there was a chance to pursue either Donovan McNabb or to a lesser degree Jason Campbell. While I believe McNabb is still underrated, and Campbell would be a solid fit, there still would have been concern over chemistry issues. Favre has won a title and can use that as background against opposing forces. Unfortunately for McNabb, he does not have this luxury.
A part of the equation we cannot forget is the great chemistry Favre created within the Vikings' organization. He came in and brought a spark with him. A spark that if not for a typical errant throw by Favre in the Postseason, would have led them to the Super Bowl. That spark must still be transferred over to this season and continued hopes of Super Bowl dreams stay alive due to his return.
With the two current backups not stacking up to Favre and the choice of not taking McNabb in the off season, it would make sense that he would be the pick of all Quarterbacks given. He has proved again and again that he can do the job at a high level. Just hope he doesn't have to score with the game on the line. The way he lost the NFC Championships losses to the Giants and Saints are just debilitating to watch even if you're not a fan of Favre.
Does he make that much of a difference? Yes.
Partly because the ownership put such a stake in Favre that they created an unnecessary hole for themselves that only could be filled by Favre coming back. Secondly, bad ankle or not, Favre is still a Top 10 Quarterback in this league. Lastly, Favre can be counted on to be there for every game that counts and he most importantly, he makes other players around him better. Just ask Sidney Rice.