Brett Favre: 5 Reasons Why He'll Be Back in the NFL in 2011
Brett Favre himself said before he ever took the field in 2010 that this season would be his last. He was emphatic.
He said that 20 seasons was something he could have never predicted, that an even number sounded about right to end on and that his last hurrah with the Minnesota Vikings was largely thanks to a feeling of obligation to his teammates.
Favre also said that he didn't think he had anything more to give to the game following his near-miracle 2007 campaign with the Green Bay Packers.
He proved himself wrong after he was traded to the New York Jets in 2008, where he started the season with 20 touchdowns (including his first-ever six-touchdown game) and helped the formerly inept Jets to an 8-3 record that had people in the Big Apple talking Super Bowl.
Then after a shoulder injury severely affected his play and led to a 1-4 slide to end the season, he further expressed his desire to retire.
That all changed again when Brad Childress and the Minnesota Vikings begged him to come join them for a run at one final title, where Favre again came back and put up a season even more miraculous and unbelievable than his final season with the Packers.
Lured back by teammates and the possibility that the magic could last one more run, Favre again returned this season, only to see it end much like his 2008 fiasco with the Jets, only much, much worse.
With such a disappointing NFL and fantasy football season, what's there to think Favre will continue history and actually come back for a 21st season? Well, history would be the key word here, but there's more to it than a trend starting roughly four seasons ago. For the five reasons, read on.
1. Brad Childress Is Gone
Favre rejoined the Vikings in 2010 despite not always agreeing with former head coach Brad Childress.
In fact, many would argue that the "schism" that existed in the Vikings locker room almost derailed Minnesota's magical playoff run in 2009, and it was only a matter of time before it shook Favre and the organization to their core.
Well, they were right. Favre and Childress never truly saw eye to eye, the season started badly and it really was all downhill from there.
However, it appears very much like Favre has a friend and confidant in interim coach Leslie Frazier, and many speculate that if Frazier can close out the season on a high note, he has a very good chance at returning as the team's head coach in 2011.
That's very possible even if the team doesn't finish strongly, and if this happens, Favre could think about returning, knowing that he'll finally have a full season in Minnesota with a coach that has better control of his players, makes better decisions and will freely let Favre be Favre.
Frazier returning next season may not mean for sure that Favre returns, but maintaining some kind of consistency with the coaching and keeping a guy Favre is openly a fan of (and likewise Frazier of Favre) would definitely help.
2. Whether He Admits It or Not, There's Still Something to Prove
Favre says in nearly every press conference that his "career speaks for itself" and that he has "nothing left to prove." Either he firmly believes that and wants us to as well, or he's trying to talk himself into believing it.
I agree that Favre's career stands on its own without the last two seasons in Minnesota, but I find it hard to believe that he truly believes he'll be "going out on top," or that ending his career with a season as disappointing as this is something he's 100 percent okay with doing.
The only question is, does Favre believe that what he has left to prove is something he can actually prove? Or more importantly, is what he has left to prove worth returning for another season?
Many in Minnesota speculated before Favre returned this past offseason that Favre could actually play two more seasons, making 2011 his final run at a Super Bowl.
With the way the 2010 season has gone, some might suggest that Favre needs to come back to prove one last time that he still has it.
We saw it in flashes in 2010, but with so many injuries, bad pass protection, poor play-calling and Favre's own mistakes, all the good things were easily drowned out by the bad.
Favre will contest he has nothing left to prove, but if he doesn't return to rectify a season gone horribly wrong, all that will be proven is that he ran out of gas and couldn't finish the job.
He doesn't have to prove his career was great or that he was a great success for 20 years. He doesn't have to prove he can still sling it and win games. But whether he'll admit it or not, he may want to.
3. The Vikings Are Still Not Far Away from Being Contenders
Minnesota made the mistake of going into the 2010 season with basically the same exact lineup on both sides of the field that they had in 2009.
Going back into the fire with Favre, contrary to popular belief, was not part of that mistake.
Not beefing up Favre's pass protection, finding a proper veteran replacement for the departed Chester Taylor, improving the secondary and fixing the hole left by an injured Sidney Rice were.
Many of those non-calls and non-moves can lie on Brad Childress, but either way you look at it, the Vikings weren't seriously ready to make a strong run with the same exact team they had the previous season.
However, despite there being moves that still need to be made, this team at its core is still extremely talented and one that can easily compete for its division and even a Super Bowl.
Before the Vikings completely unraveled, they were facing arguably the toughest 2010 NFL schedule and going against tough defenses on the road. Their losses early in the season came against eventual playoff teams (likely) in close losses to the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and New York Jets, just to name a few.
While Minnesota didn't win any of those games, as inconsistent as the entire team played, they were still in almost all of their games through the first nine weeks, at least marking them as a very competitive team.
With the coaching change, some key additions and changes, Favre could return to a revamped Vikings team that still possesses one of the best running backs in football and a receiving corps that should still present Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice as big-play threats.
4. The Streak Is Over
Favre has previously said in many past interviews that the end of his record NFL start streak could likely mean the end of his career. Then again, he's said the same thing about winning one last Super Bowl, and he's said both countless times.
While there's a strong possibility Favre really does mean what he says about the streak ending, the halting of his record streak at 297 consecutive starts actually could work in favor of a return.
Favre entered the 2010 season with one main concern: that he wouldn't be able to complete the season.
He was concerned with how his body would handle a 20th season of the rigors in the NFL and began the season with an ankle that was still at less than 100 percent. He proceeded to acquire several other injuries throughout the season and was arguably never fully healthy.
Without a long playoff run in sight, Favre could take a step back, relax and get fully healthy. With no major injury ending his season (as long as his shoulder injury doesn't do just that), Favre will have more time than he's been used to to get fully recovered.
On top of that, the pressure of having to continue the streak would not hang over his head, and if he suffered an ailment in the next season, he could simply sit out a game with no pressure or expectation of feeling he had to force his injured body onto the field.
It wouldn't be quite like seasons past, but Favre could play more freely knowing that the huge number was no longer counting upwards.
5. The Pressure Is Gone
Let's face it—as courageous and heroic as Favre has been throughout his career, he's never been a fan of the mounting pressure.
Every year that passed in Green Bay following his lone Super Bowl victory in 1996 carried expectations of a playoff appearance at the minimum, a battle for the division crown and a Super Bowl run.
Favre battled with this pressure for years and came up short every time. However, the pressure only continued to grow. It's not crazy to think Favre and the rest of the Vikings felt this same type of pressure entering 2010 and simply didn't perform up to expectations.
With a disastrous season removing the Vikings from many experts' 2011 preseason Super Bowl favorites, Favre could come back knowing he'd have one last chance to prove everyone wrong, without any real pressure on him and the team.
Naturally, the goal is to always win the Super Bowl, but with the Vikings not regarded as being in the equation, Favre could play more relaxed than ever and give it one more shot with the Vikings slightly under the radar.
6. The Wild Cards
Thought we were done at five reasons? Well, there's actually quite a few more reasons for Favre to return, although they might be considered to be on a smaller scale.
Here's a list of a few things Favre might have on his mind, or at least many people will speculate on, in regards to a possible 2011 return.
1. Clearing his name and image in regards to the Jenn Sterger allegations
Favre has clearly been bogged down by this all season long, and with this out of the picture (supposedly), he can truly concentrate on one last final run without any off-field distractions.
2. Padding the stats
It's unlikely Favre really would play another season just to add to his already gaudy numbers, but it can't be something he never thinks about either.
3. The love of the game
Pure and simple, few NFL players play the game like Favre or love it as much as he does. He craves Sundays, competition and the thrill of winning. All other arguments aside, it's still not ridiculous to think this one aspect of the game could lure him back for one final try.
4. The money
Favre has loads of money, so this isn't all that realistic, but it's one extra perk of being a professional football player.
5. Favre loves his teammates
He was considered a bit of an outsider in New York, and that probably had something to do with the fact that New York was never his first choice to continue playing. However, with Minnesota, he has good chemistry and relationships with most of the players and has a team of talented players that have his back.
In addition, Favre may want to take another crack at a title run with his team entirely intact. He had to work through the first 10 weeks of the season without his top target, Sidney Rice, while missing out on a lot of practice time with Percy Harvin battling migraines.
One last run with a completely healthy and refocused team of players he loves to play for is just one of the many reasons Favre may not be ready to call it quits just yet.
6. He may not even play in Minnesota
Here's the real kicker: if Favre truly does retire, Minnesota moves on and then a major injury to a star quarterback has a team (or several) calling him for his services. Favre has always said he can totally give his all on Sundays, but the practice and meetings are what bog him down. If he does retire, he could still return in the middle or end of the season to help a new team.
Will Favre continue to play games with the media, or is he done for good?