It's always calm before the storm.
I know, I know. Let it die already. Brett Favre this, Brett Favre that. Sexts, lies, and videotape. I get it. Most people either think Favre is old news, or really badly want him to be old news.
Well, after a reporter made a small, quick mention of the utter possibility of Favre landing in Carolina for 2011, the Favre Watch has opened up yet again. True, he's 41 and got beaten to a pulp in his second year in Minnesota, and it really does seem like he's done for good this time, but still, this is Brett Favre we're talking about here. You can't just dismiss the notion, even if the notion does stem from a weightless rumor.
The rumor isn't fact. It's just a couple sentences floating around the internet, building up a little steamless hype, getting Favre-backers antsy, and fueling the Favre-hate fire for the rest of the NFL faithful that aren't as keen on those "he's just a kid out there" antics.
Me, I love him. I won't deny it, not even for a second. Scandals and horrible "going down in flames" 2010 aside, I truly believe Brett Favre still has some game (and life) left in that 41-year old, battered body.
And I've got some logic at my disposal. No, I won't be running my mouth about some "top 10 potential suitors" for Favre's services in 2011 (wait until summer for that one), but I will take a look at a few reasons why you can't completely ignore even the most ridiculous of Favre rumors.
1. It Felt Like This the First, Second, and Third Time
Is Favre coming back in 2011?
Let's face it. People close to Favre possibly had some doubt, and his biggest fans held out hope, but after his first retirement, most people really didn't contemplate Favre returning.
However, he did, and we all know how that turned out.
Then after he and the Jets went down in flames (foreshadowing), he still came back the next year to join the Minnesota Vikings. After coming one bad pass away from capping his illustrious career with one more Super Bowl ring, Favre returned for yet another year (despite many critics saying he would not), only to, once again, go down in flames in two out of three years (three out of three if you're just being a cold, heartless jerk - I'm looking at you, Saints fans).
This is a two-parter, everybody. Not only have we seen Favre fall mightily two times before, only to rise to the occasion again, but we've also seen the retirement dance, now done in three different fashions.
So, there goes your strong argument that his (arguably) worst season ever should keep him from coming back. Because people said he was done after New York, and he still came back and proved them wrong. Who says he can't do that again? Tons of experts and fans alike, probably, but when you think about it, that's just the kind of motivation Favre needs/wants for another go at it.
2. 2011 Doesn't Have to Be 2010, and Favre Knows It
Favre isn't speaking on retirement or coming back. And even if he's pondering it, he won't confirm anything until the last possible moment. However, one of the biggest factors that could end up deciding another return would be if Favre thought he would have as terrible of a season as he did last year. If he was going to return, he'd have to believe that 2010 was a fluke, and that he can overcome the odds at 41.
If you look at 2010 without bias, Favre never really stood a chance. Pick your excuses, because there's about a million of them.
From Favre's ankle, to the brutal schedule, to Sidney Rice's injury, to Brad Childress's inept coaching, to the locker room schism, to the off-field shenanigans, to Randy Moss, to the horrible offensive line, and so on. Really, those are arguably more facts than excuses. The point is, Favre won't be attempting another run in Minnesota. That experiment failed. The team is moving on, and one way or another, so is he.
But if Favre thinks his fortune could change with new scenery like it did in the transition from New York to Minnesota, then he could seriously contemplate one more season.
Ultimately, 2010 was marred in scandal, injuries, and poor play all-around in Minnesota. Favre has to have some sort of belief that 2011 couldn't possibly be as bad as last year.
3. He's Still Got It
If Favre comes back, where will he go?
You can call him washed up all you want, but just about every time someone has said Favre doesn't have anything left, he's come back and shown us we all need to quit our psychic classes and get a real job.
Even when we thought he was done in Green Bay, he still put a magical season together in 2007 and played some of the best football of his life. And while his stint in New York ended badly, he started the season hot, throwing 20 touchdowns in the first 11 games, whilst leading the Jets to an 8-3 start.
After he slowed down and the Jets missed the playoffs in 2008, people said he was done again. Favre answered by joining with Minnesota, putting up quite arguably his best season ever, and leading the Vikings to a division crown and a trip to the NFC Championship.
Sure, his 2010 return ended about as badly as it could have, but if he came back in 2011, you'd have to at least open up to the possibility that a Favre with something to prove isn't a guy you really want to bet against.
To add to the point, while Favre dealt with several injuries over the course of the season, he still had some magic to dispense, most notably in his 400+ yard outing against the Arizona Cardinals, where he got the Vikes' to overtime and eventually helped them win the game.
Even in his last game of the season, he looked sharp against a good Chicago Bears defense, zipping passes (including a touchdown) before being knocked out of the game for good.
4. He Has Nothing to Lose
Favre tried and failed in New York and Minnesota. His goal will always be to win the Super Bowl if he decides to return, but if he does return in 2011, the pressure will be far less than it has been over the past three years.
When he joined New York, he was somehow the missing link that was going to push a formerly 4-12 team to the Super Bowl. Then he joined Minnesota, and the Vikings were automatically Super Bowl bound.
Now, those Carolina Panthers rumors don't hold much weight, and a Favre sighting in Carolina shouldn't have Panthers fans dreaming of raising Super Bowl banners anytime soon. However, if Favre were to return again in 2010, he'd likely be going to a team that isn't an elite contender (as most of them have stability at his position), and he'd simply be able to play football and do the best he could to help that team reach the playoffs.
His streak is over. There's no longer the pressure of breaking it or extending it. The off-field scandal is over and his image is already as tarnished as it's probably going to be. His Iron Man persona was tainted, and now people look at him as frail and finished.
Maybe, and then again, maybe not.
It's true that prior to 2010, we never saw Favre go down with an injury and miss any games. But before 2011, we never saw him answer back to that kind of situation, either.
5. This Isn't an Ending Fit of a Legend
Favre doesn't have to win the Super Bowl to "go out on top". Sure, he's said it countless times before, but I'm also telling you it right now. Everything he's done speaks for itself. He's a legend, and he always will be.
But he's also one of the most competitive and egotistical players we've ever known. It's not in his make-up to shrug off his final season as no big deal when everyone else views it as a mistake and utter disappointment.
Knowing Favre, it has to kill him that his final game was spent on the sidelines of a loss in Detroit. He has to hate his 11 touchdowns to 19 interceptions. He can't like his passer rating from 2010, all the injuries, his streak ending, or the off-field drama that affected him, his family, and his teammates.
He can't be truly "okay" with his career ending on such a sad, sour note. If he is, then he's simply not the Brett Favre we all know.
I'm not saying Favre is a coward or his career is rendered as incomplete if he doesn't come back. If he's done, he's left a hell of a mark, and he's the type of player that will probably never be replaced.
What I am saying, however, is that it's not in his character to stay down and listen to the count. Even if the cries and screams of fans begging him to get back up are growing weaker by the day, something still tells me Favre has enough talent, motivation, and drive in him to give one final answer.
And if you're a true NFL fan that is disgusted by the NFL Lockout process and anything else going wrong in the league these days, you should be able to put your biases aside for one more year, shrug your shoulders and say, "Okay, Brett. Let's see what ya got".
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