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Say It Ain’t So, Brett 01/24/2010

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
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While it was not all his fault, the ending was classic Favre.  To be fair, Favre had his Vikings on the cusp of the Super Bowl with less than 30 seconds left.  It was 3rd and 15 

Favre is left to ponder what if after his last pass is intercepted

 at the New Orleans 38 yard line.  Ironically, the Vikings had been moved out of field goal range with a 12 man in the huddle penalty just seconds before.  Those five yards probably made any field goal attempt difficult.  Now, Favre had to make something happen.  He took the snap, and Saints pressure forced him to roll to his right.  He appeared to have running room.  All he needed was 5 to 10 yards, call time out and put the game on the leg of Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell.  Then it happened.  Something came over Favre.  Sure, he was hobbled with a bad ankle, but he could have run the ball,  instead, he chose to throw the ball, across his body and across the field.  Mortal sins for an NFL quarterback.  The Saints intercepted the pass, killing any chance for the Vikings to win in regulation.  It was the third Viking turnover in the 4th quarter.  

New Orleans won the coin flip and took the ball to start overtime.  Favre and the Vikings never got the ball back.  The Saints drove down the field and converted a 40 yard field goal to win the game and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in their history.   They will take on the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl in Miami in two weeks.   The Saints came into the game as the best offense in the league, but it was the Vikings who moved the ball up and down the field all night.  The Vikes out gained New Orleans 475 yards to 257.  But Minnesota turned the ball over 5 times.  There is plenty of blame to go around, but it is the last pass by Favre that will stay with him.  

Flash back 3 seasons ago.  The Green Bay Packers were tied with the New York Giants in overtime of the NFC championship game.  On the second play of OT, Favre threw 

Favre's last pass as a Packer is intercepted in OT of the NFC championship game

an interception.  It was the last pass he threw as a Packer.  The Giants kicked a 47 yard field goal and then went on to win the Super Bowl.  Disheartened, Favre retired from the game, but the thought of that last pass haunted him.  Two teams and another retirement later, here we are again.   After all the drama, the two retirements, the trade to the Jets and signing with the Vikings, Favre faces another off-season retirement decision with that last, terrible interception on his mind.  Perhaps it is karma.  The demons are back.  Probably worse than ever.  Perhaps this is the way Favre was ment to go out.  I don’t know.  I do know that he deserved better in this game.  After all the drama  of the past 2 seasons.  After tarnishing his reputation, morphing from The Gunslinger into The Diva, after all the crap in New York and the agonizing courtship with the Vikings, Favre and Minnesota should be in the Super Bowl.  What was he thinking with that last pass?  Surely a 19 year veteran knows not to throw that ball.  So now, instead of going out in glory, Favre will have to live with that last pass gnawing away at him.  Will he retire?  Probably.  Will he come back again?  Well, we will not know that for months.  Here comes another off-season Favre watch.  Will he?  Won’t he?  How many twists and turns this time?  No one knows yet.   

Why didn’t he just run the damn ball!!!????!!!  

Favre walks off after he throws a pick late in the 4th quarter of the NFC championship game. Will this be his last pass ever?

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Formation Flying 01/18/2010

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There is a surprise entrant into this years NFL final four.  Indy, Minnesota and New Orleans, no surprise.  But the New York Jets?  Who saw that one coming?

In winning at Cincinnati and then at San Diego, the Jets got some help.   Shane Graham of the Bengals  and  Nate Kaeding of the Chargers were a combined 0-5 in field goal

Shonn Greene scores the clinching TD

 attempts.  These two kickers were among the most accurate during the regular season converting a combined 87% of their attempts all year.  Heck, even drawing the Chargers at all was a stroke of luck.  San Diego flamed out once again.  I am frankly tired of hearing about how great the talent is on this team.  Their coach is a joke and this team of entitled prima donnas again shot themselves in the collective foot with inopportune penalties at the worst times.  Despite having great talent, San Diego has never sniffed the Super Bowl with Norv Turner calling the shots, and they never will.  They fade away when the pressure is on.  There is no discipline on the team.  Kicking a challenge flag and getting your team a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty when you are in the red zone and  trying to make a comeback?  Are you kidding me?   Grow up, Chargers.  They are, again, the ‘best team not to make the Super Bowl’ this season, coming into the playoffs on an 11 game winning streak and finishing one and done in the post season.  Good riddance.

What a breath of fresh air Jets QB Mark Sanchez is.  When asked after the game about the win, Sanchez went on and on about the

Jets rookie QB Sanchez is now 2-0 in the playoffs

offensive line, and the game plan, and the head coach, and the offensive coordinator, and the defense, and the running backs, and the receivers, you get the point.  He even actually said that it was not about him.  This is a rookie?  It was great to see someone subjugate his ego to that of the team. In contrast, 19 year veteran (and Minnesota QB) Brett Favre was asked about the Vikings win and he came back with how great it was to be in the conference finals, but that of course it was more important to him and “it means more to me (Favre)  than to anyone else in this locker room.”  Yeah, because lets not forget that it is all about Brett, all the time.  

Speaking of rookies, how about the running of Shonn Greene.  The first year back out of Iowa broke off a 53 yard TD dash with just over 7 minutes left to give the Jets a 17-7 lead and provide the cushion for the 17-14 victory.  Greene finished with 125 yards rushing for the game, following up his 135 yard, 1 TD effort against the Bengals in round 1 of the playoffs.  The Jet defense shut down the Charger offense, and held running back  LaDanien Tomlinson to 24 total yards on 12 carries.  The Jets face the AFC top seed Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game next week and will have an uphill climb.  But it was great to watch a TEAM of players who believe in each other, believe in the game plan, believe in preparation and give credit team mates and coaches.  The Jets made us remember that football is a team game, despite what Favre may think.

Chargers QB Rivers walks off after yet another San Diego playoff meltdown

viKINGS 01/15/2010

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The time has come.  This is the reason that Brett Favre manipulated his way into Minnesota.  The journey begins now, and is a 3 game or bust scenario.  All Favre wants is another chance on the NFL’s biggest stage.  All Vikings fans want is to once and for all get the big game monkey off of their back.  All in all, not much to ask for.

We will not explore again all the events that brought Favre to Minnesota.  Lets just say that this journey has tarnished his reputation, and nothing short of a Super Bowl

The Vikings are looking for their first Super Bowl appearance since the Purple People Eaters lead teams of the 1970's

 victory will put the luster back on Favre’s career.  He is a Hall of Famer, to be sure, after he stays away for 5 seasons.  But two years ago he would forever have been known as the gunslinger.  Now, unless he can reach the mountaintop once more, his legacy will be that of the diva.  Just another self-centered manipulator who could only win the big game once.  That fact seems to get lost in all the Favre hype.  He has only led his team to the Super Bowl victory once, defeating the Patriots in SB 31, and becoming one of the biggest favorites to lose the big game in dropping SB 32 to the Broncos.  Favre could have been remembered as one of the greats to win once.  With luminaries such as Steve Young and Joe Theisman.  But the self-centered manipulation of the past few years will drop him into the likes of  Doug Williams and Jeff Hostetler.  Good signal callers to be sure, but not names that come up in any conversation about all time great QB’s.  Two years ago, Favre would have been in that conversation unequivocally.  Now, his name will elicit a “yes, but….” in the conversation.  The gunslinger turned diva needs a return to the top.  It is going to be an uphill climb.

The Vikings have not won an NFL championship since Bud Grant lead them to the league title in 1969.  For those of

Will former Packer Favre help the Vikings finally hoist the Lombardi trophy

you who are too young, that’s  pre Super Bowl.  The long-suffering Vikings fans watched their team drop 4 of the first 11 Super Bowls, and have not been back to the big game since 1977.   Not exactly loveable losers, the Vikings, in fact, have 26 playoff appearances since they joined the NFL in 1961, including 18 division championships.  But the first decade of the 21st century has been their worst decade so far.  After their playoff appearance in 2000, the Vikings made the playoffs only once until the 2008 season.  The Vikings won the NFC North in  ’08 for their first division crown in 8 seasons.   They had a good defense and one of the best running backs in the league in Adrian Peterson, but were lacking an established QB.  Coach Brad Childress had worked with Favre when he was a coach with the Vikings hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers.  Childress tried to land Favre a season earlier, but did not get Favre to the Twin Cities until this season.  Now, with a second consecutive division title in hand,  the Viking fans are rooting for perhaps their most hated rival to lead them to the promised land.  And you thought politics made for strange bed fellows. 

In Favre, they found an egocentric 40-year-old who has developed the habit of late of melting down the stretch.  He did it at the end in Green Bay.  He did it in New York.  In Minnesota, the Vikings started 11-1, but finished 2-3 down the stretch.   All is not bleak, however.  The Vikes secured the # 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.  That gave the Vikings a first round bye, and guarantee that they would play no cold weather games during the playoffs.  Their two NFC games will be in domes (theirs or New Orleans) and the Super Bowl, should they get there, is in Miami.  Still, the Vikings have pinned their Super Bowl hopes on a quarterback who has a  3-7  record in his last 10 playoff starts.  He has 16 touchdowns in those 10 games, but he also has 16 interceptions.  Now, the Vikings are looking to him for 3 straight playoff wins.

Anything short of the Super Bowl will be a failure of the Favre experiment for Minnesota.  The diva may need a victory in the big game to once again become the gunslinger.

Diva North 12/23/2009

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There is an icy cold wind blowing in Minneapolis.  Oh, and there is a winter storm brewing, too.  The Twin Cities are forecast to be covered in 20 inches of snow by Christmas.  Perhaps the wintry mix will cover the latest icy chill in the Vikings locker room.  Old man winter has nothing on the icy blast of the Diva.

The Diva is back.  Chilly is a great nickname for the Vikings head coach Brad Childress.  Not only did the Diva, Brett Favre, put him in his place on the sideline when

SI trumpets that Favre is going out on his own terms. He is on his third team in three years having retired twice so far

 Childress had the audacity to suggest Favre come out of the game early Sunday night, he then had to crow about it to the media afterwards.  Apparently it was not enough that his teammates know that Favre is in charge, the Diva had to announce it to the world.  What other explanation could there be for the Favre comments since the game?  I know that the Diva is the best quarterback ever, and that Minnesota should kiss his arse every day for the gift of him, but, come on.  This guy has won ONE Super Bowl, and that was over a decade ago.  Then he followed that performance up with a dud against Denver the following year, becoming one of the biggest favorites to ever lose the big game. 

I know that Green Bay did him wrong.  Never mind the fact that HE retired, then cried when Green Bay moved on.  I know New York did him wrong, then revealed that the meltdown in the Meadowlands was due to an injury.  What will be the excuse if the meltdown currently under way in Minnesota continues?  He can not blame Childress.  Nope, he took care of that last Sunday.  There is no doubt that Favre is in charge in Minnesota.  Word came today that Favre and Childress had a “good talk” and that things are fine now.  Apparantly Favre has decided that taking his coach publicly to the woodshed was enough to set Chilly right.  Minnesota is Favre’s team.  What about AP?  Adrian Who?  There is not enough time in a 60 minute game to give the rock to Peterson.  Never mind that the Vikings are undefeated when AP has 22 or more rushing attempts.  Nope, no AP.  This is Favre’s team.  All Brett, all the time.

The Diva has spoken.  It will be interesting to see if he can lead this team to the Super Bowl.  Anything less will be a failure of the Favre experiment.