Brett Favre vs. the Green Bay Packers: The Final Chapter
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What a long, stranger-than-fiction trip it's been.
All signs indicate this will be Favre's last year and speculation is even mounting as to whether this would be his final game should the Packers defeat the struggling Vikings on Sunday, essentially eliminating them from playoff contention.
Regardless of what the future holds, there is a very good chance this will be the final time Brett Favre faces his former team.
In one of the most bizarre developments in professional sports history, the Packers and their longtime QB had to part ways. After Favre's memorable un-retirement entrance in August 2008 in Green Bay, the relationship ended in a divorce-like fashion where Brett had to move out and coach Mike McCarthy kept the house and the kids.
The Jets, serving as Brett's rebound team after a trade prior to the 2008 season, later released the QB after he retired, again. To no one's surprise, Favre "unretired" a second time to join the Packers' bitter rival, the Minnesota Vikings.
Similar to 2007 with Green Bay, where a motivated and focused Favre led the Packers to a 13-3 record, Favre also was the trigger man for the 2009 Vikings' 12-4 season—a season in which Favre and the Vikings convincingly beat the Packers twice on their way to winning the NFC North.
Does Brett Favre Still Give The Vikings Their Best Chance To Win?
Coincidentally, both of those seasons ended with losses in the NFC Championship Game with Favre throwing a late interception, costing his team dearly.
So, that pretty much brings us to 2010 and a 3-6 Vikings team versus the 6-3 Packers in Minnesota. Green Bay has already exacted some revenge of its own with a four-point victory over Minnesota earlier this season. Green Bay needs a win in this all-important division game to solidify its position in the NFC North and maintain their three-game win streak momentum after their week off.
Right now, I like Green Bay, as their offense looked sharp entering the bye and their defense has been playing at a high level, giving up only seven points total in the last two contests.
The Vikings, on the other hand, have been in 100 percent circus mode ever since three veteran players happily went to Mississippi to help convince a wavering Favre to return and play at least one more year. After all, they were so close to the Super Bowl last year, right? Oh, and a few extra million dollars, too, if that helps.
Favre appears to be tired and finally worn down. I admire his willingness to keep battling, but at this point, I think it's time to give it a rest. Next week, that is. In a statement not spoken in a few years, Brett Favre still gives the Green Bay Packers their best shot to win.
Right now he is the 31st-ranked QB in the NFL, with an alarming 16 interceptions and 6 fumbles. Virtually any other quarterback in the league would have sat by now. Not to mention the growing number of injuries that are surely having a negative impact on his play.
By no means do I consider the injuries an excuse. Favre and the Vikings (or at least Brad Childress) still give the company line and seem to believe Favre gives the Vikings their best chance to win. Well, they're wrong. And that's their problem.
It seemed to me a week off for a battered Brett Favre may have been a good idea for the home game against a weak Arizona team a few weeks back. A team that they probably could've beaten with Tavaris Jackson protecting the football and handing off to Adrian Peterson.
As it was, they had to make a furious comeback where the headlines talked about the Brett Favre comeback victory while somewhat ignoring his two early interceptions that helped put them in a hole. Maybe Jackson doesn't turn the ball over, runs for a few first downs to keep drives alive, Peterson rolls and they win easily.
Meanwhile, Favre mends his bones for the next week. But that couldn't happen and take away the streak that defines Favre more than winning now.
In a season including numerous injuries, too many turnovers and losses, and that embarrassing phone scandal, next week Favre should openly step down and invest all his energies into helping the backup QBs win football games. But we know Favre cannot and will not step aside in the face of his former team, and that appears to be good news for the Packers.
This final chapter should provide the ultimate closure for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Favre still has the ability to string together some plays, but it appears his immobility is limiting the play-calling, forcing him to make more pressing throws with shoddy line play allowing too much pressure.
The arm is still strong, but without the legs it's getting harder and harder to make the throws. The Vikings just aren't clicking on offense and the defense has been mediocre at best.
My modest advice to Favre and the Vikings would be to save a little face and take one for the team. Step aside, heal up and see if the younger, more mobile QBs might just have an advantage over you, finally.
A storybook ending? Not so much for Favre, who appears further than ever from that elusive return to the Super Bowl—a drought that now spans almost 15 years. He's incurred quite a bit of public relations damage on the way from the phone scandal stemming from incidents during his first season away from Green Bay with the Jets.
Not to mention the shrinking goodwill of many Packer fans that take his strong motivation to play against the Packers a bit personally.
The Packers, well they did OK after all. They moved on. That new guy that was hanging around near the end, yeah, he ended up moving in for good.
The Packers also met some new people like Clay Matthews with the help of an additional third-round pick acquired for Favre in the 2008 trade. That pick was used to trade up and select the current NFL sack leader in the first round of the 2009 draft.
They are currently hanging with a younger crowd and seem to be getting more and more comfortable with their new life.
Like any divorce, its just too bad they couldn't have worked something out. Because you know, deep down, they still love each other.
Maybe someday they'll make a movie out of it. Because you can't write this stuff.
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