All right…so you’re an NFL team that has the best running back currently in pro football (Adrian Peterson) operating behind a bunch of road-graders on the offensive line, a few good passing targets (Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe) to go with a solid defense…but with the three-headed monster of Sage Rosenfels, Tavaris Jackson, and John David Booty competing for the starting quarterback position. In hopes of improving yourself from being a playoff team, to one that can actually make a long postseason run, you decide it’s time to go shopping for a quality QB.
Jay Cutler? Nope, take a pass on him and see him land at a division rival via a trade. Move up in the draft to take a potential franchise QB? No, why bother, especially when a speed guy/character risk (Percy Harvin) is available in the first round.
Here’s an idea: take yet another flyer on a guy who’ll turn 40 in October, a guy who’s already “retired” twice, a guy who faded miserably down the stretch of the 2008 season, leading his team to a 1-4 record and a spot outside the playoffs, throwing 2 touchdowns and 9 interceptions over that stretch. Oh, by the way, the guy has a torn biceps tendon–IN HIS THROWING ARM–on which he doesn’t want to have surgery, preferring to let the injury heal on its own. That means, coincidentally, he probably will be a no-show at your OTA and minicamps (which he’s always hated attending), but will show up around the time of training camp to great fanfare.
Where on earth could this possibly be happening? Why, just to our west, over in Minnesota, where the Vikings brain trust, or at least, the head braniac (a.k.a, Brad Childress, the head coach) will meet with that guy (a.k.a., Brett Favre) later this week at “an undisclosed location.”
I’ve got a better idea. Forget the covert activities…let’s get this whole circus out in full view of the public, under a big top (a.k.a., the teflon roof of the Metrodome). Seat Favre and Childress at a conference table located smack-dab in the middle of the turf. Hook the two of them up to microphones, pump the resulting gripping dialogue at ear-splitting levels over the speakers (just like at any Vikings game), promote the heck out of the “event,” sell some tickets and try to make some money! And, just for the entertainment value, each guy would have a man in his corner: Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would pace on the “team” side of the table, with slippery, aw-shucks agent James “Bus” Cook lurking on the other.
Of course, the entertainment value of the whole charade would be enhanced with Ragnar the mascot careening around the turf on his snowmobile and motorcyle during the proceedings. They’d definitely need the large, inflatable Viking ship rocking in the corner of the field (side note: why was that thing allowed to exist following the whole “Love Boat” scandal a few seasons ago?). The 57-member dance team would need to be on hand…doing extra high leg kicks any time Favre posed a question to himself and then answered it. During breaks in the negotations, music would be pumped through the PA system.
“Zygi Zygi Zygi can’t you see
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me
And I just love your flashy ways
Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid (uh)”
When Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty goes on record saying that he’d like to see Favre wearing a Vikings uniform, you know this whole thing has gone too far. Pawlenty proclaims it would be “a wonderful little salt to rub in the eyes of some of our Green Bay Packer friends.” Why Pawlenty’s own eyes are focused on football rather than on his own state’s many govermental issues is another question altogether…but I’ll let political bloggers tackle that one.
There’s a reason Pawlenty is on board…and why Zygi Wilf wants Favre in purple. Just follow the money trail: the Vikings with Favre as QB becomes one hot ticket in the Twin Cities and beyond. It generates more interest in the team, drums up more enthusiasm among the fan base, and sells more tickets. Therefore, it becomes more likely that Wilf will get his flashy way (a new stadium), which will allow him to generate even more revenue, a good chunk of which will wind up in his own pockets. The governor can do his part to push a Vikings stadium bill, then Pawlenty pockets political capital, by claiming he was the guy who helped save the Vikings for the good people of Minnesota…preventing a painful move to Los Angeles, San Antonio, or Las Vegas.
There’s always an interesting conundrum when it comes to pro sports: are franchises more interested in winning or making money? Part of me feels for the fans who tend to get taken along for a ride (buying tickets and merchandise, living and dying with their team), but then again, when you reach a certain point of adulthood, you need to see things as they really are.
There’s also a conundrum for those of us who cover professional sports teams. Do you want to follow a winning team (http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/44422517.html?page=3&c=y) or do you want daily doses of drama (http://www.twincities.com/ci_12302214?source=most_viewed)?
I won’t dispense any advice for Vikings fans (including my brother). You guys are on your own. If you want Favre, he’s all yours.
Nowadays, I live and work among an overwhelming majority of Packers fans, and to those that still shudder at the thought of seeing Favre wearing purple, I say this:
Let the guy go….he was a great player in the 1990′s…but that was a long time ago, when he was actually enhancing his legend. On this blog last year, I wrote “Favre only has to do what’s best for Brett Favre.” After the 2008 NFL season, and the umpteenth year of reports of Favre’s retirement/unretirement, I would think more people are realizing number four is really only out for number one.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on May 6, 2009