Brett Favre: History Says Minnesota Vikings Should've Let Him Retire

John DurstCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on in the second half against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 11, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

During the third week of the 2010 preseason, I wrote this piece about the possibility of Brett Favre's return turning out to be a disappointment for all parties involved. It now appears, to the chagrin of Vikings fans, that I may have been right.

Five weeks into the season, the Vikings are sitting at 1-3 after a disappointing loss on Monday Night Football. The game sealing pick six that Favre threw at the end of the contest prompted me to revisit this article, and it appears to be even more relevant now than it was at the time I wrote it originally. So for those of you who missed it the first time around, here is what history said about this move.

Prior to the 2009 season, the Minnesota Vikings pulled out all the stops to get Brett Favre into the fold. He signed a two-year contract, and after last season it appeared to be a great move for the organization.

Brett lead the Vikings to the NFC championship game in 2009. The Vikings had a chance to win the game in overtime, but an interception on Favre's final pass of the game cost them a shot at getting into field goal range. They were edged out by the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in overtime. 

However, Favre's sensational 2009 campaign should be more of a cause for alarm than one for excitement.

Ever since the 2004 season, Brett Favre's career has been a veritable roller coaster ride of inconsistency. Going into 2005, Favre was coming off of a fine year. He compiled 4,088 yards, 30 touchdowns to 17 picks, with a 92.4 passer rating while leading the Green Bay Packers to a respectable 10-6 record.

But in 2005, he didn't fare quite as well. He has always managed to throw for a high number of yards, but that year he threw only 20 touchdowns to 29 picks with a passer rating of 70.9. The Packers finished the season 4-12 that year. This marked the beginning of "Favre watch" as we know it now, as Brett Favre spent much of the offseason contemplating retirement.

He would return for a 2006 season that wasn't much better. Favre threw for nearly 4,000 yards again, but matched his 18 touchdowns with 18 picks with a passer rating of 72.7. The team ended the year with a record of 8-8.

Favre wouldn't spend nearly as much time on the retirement fence in the 2007 offseason. There were many all-time passing records at stake, and Favre was back. This time he did not disappoint.

The rejuvenated veteran threw for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns to only 15 picks, and had a passer rating of 95.7 (his highest rating since 1996). He lead the Packers to the NFC championship game, but threw a costly interception in overtime that lead to a New York Giants field goal. Many believed it would be the last pass that Brett Favre would ever throw in the NFL.

The offseason that followed would lead to Favre announcing his retirement for the first time. The future hall of famer claimed that he was just too tired to play football anymore. It looked like the end for ol' No. 4.

At the start of training camp in 2007, Favre told the Packers that he planned to return for yet another year. Unfortunately for Brett, the team had moved on with Aaron Rodgers as the starter. They even offered Favre $25 million to stay retired, but the quarterback had other plans.


The Packers let him out of his contract, which allowed him to sign with the New York Jets for the 2008 season. Favre lead the Jets to an 8-3 start, but fatigue and injury set in on the gunslinger.

The team would finish out the year losing four of its last five games, leaving them without a playoff birth and a record of 9-7. Favre threw for 3,472 yards (nearly 700 less yards than he had the previous year), again matched touchdowns to picks with 22 of each, and had a pedestrian passer rating of 81.0.

Favre would again walk away from football, and this time he seemed serious. Vikings' head coach Brad Childress was even denied by Favre personally when he went to visit Favre at his home in Mississippi. Still, the coach left the door open, and prior to the second preseason game of the 2009 season, Brett Favre would walk through that door. He signed with the team for two years.

With Brett Favre leading the team, they became the favorite to win the NFC crown and nearly did just that. Favre was amazing from the start. He put together one of the best years he's ever had.

Favre played brilliantly all season long. He threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns to only 7 picks, completed 68.4 percent of his passes, and boasted a passer rating of 107.2. It was easily his best season statistically since his mid-'90s glory days. However, after the aforementioned interception, people feared again that he had thrown his last NFL pass.

This left the Vikings team and its fans intent on getting him back for the second year of his contract. The team was still primarily intact, and they now had an entire season of experience under their belt playing together.


The Vikings franchise got exactly what they wanted. In the week leading up to the second preseason game of this 2010 season, Favre returned to the team. So, what could be better than getting Brett Favre back?

Not getting him back is quite possibly the answer. While he did play fantastic football last season, the fact remains that he hasn't had back-to-back successful seasons in more than half a decade. History tells us that there is a very real possibility that the Vikings won't experience the same sort of success that they did in 2009 again in 2010. They're already at the bottom of the division, just a half game up on Detroit in the cellar.

The Vikings have brought in WR Randy Moss, which appears to have been a good move for the team. He already caught his first TD pass since returning to the Vikings in his first game back, and was targeted numerous times by Favre in the contest vs. the Jets.

With Moss being the best safety valve in the league, so to speak, Favre will be able to go to him to get out of jams against weaker secondaries. Also, the NFC North appears to be in a state of turmoil, if not emergency. The Vikings still have a chance at winning the division, but it's going to take some hard work and even a little luck.

I wish Brett and all of the Minnesota Vikings nothing but the best for the remainder of their 2010 campaign. However, the 2010 season may prove to be summed up by one of the most famous quotes that history has given us: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."— George Satayana.