Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Favre Decision Big For the NFC North

Posted on July 28, 2009 by Dean Hybl
It looks like Brett favre is retiring again and this time the team doing the crying is the Vikings.

It looks like Brett Favre is retiring again and this time the team doing the crying is the Vikings.

The unexpected announcement that Brett Favre will not be returning to the NFL wearing the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings should have Bears and Packers fans dancing in the streets. Suddenly, the NFC North rival Vikings have gone from potential Super Bowl contenders to a team in turmoil.

After three months worth of actions that clearly showed the lack of confidence Minnesota coaches have in their returning quarterbacks, they now must put their tail between their knees and make nice with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.

The dramatic shift in Favre’s mindset over the past few weeks is a dramatic final chapter (at least we hope it is the final chapter) in the longest running mini-series in the NFL “Will Brett Favre Play.”

When Favre opted for minor shoulder surgery in May it appeared that his decision had been made and he was getting ready for his return to the NFL. Ensuing rumors about plans being made by the Favre family made it seem apparent that the future Hall of Famer would be returning to the NFL for a 19th season.

However, evidently the tide started to shift over the last few weeks. According to various reports, a number of factors started to change the mind of the 39-year old Favre.

Whether it was continued pain in his arm, lack of full off-season preparation, a reluctance to live in a dorm during training camp (my personal favorite reason) or the realization that his body probably couldn’t withstand another full NFL season, it sounds like Favre is finally ready to live with the decision he has made several different times in the past.

You can’t blame any NFL player for trying to hang on to the lifestyle and thrill of the NFL as long as absolutely possible. Imagine nearing your 40th birthday and being told you can never do the thing that you have enjoyed the most (and has made you handsomely rich) ever again.

Even as his methods made him a lot of critics, Favre was determined not to make a final decision on his NFL future until his body was ready to give him the true scoop. Evidently, Favre’s body is finally telling him that it is time to hang up the helmet.

Hopefully, Favre will finally be at peace with his decision.

However, for the Vikings there is little hope that Favre’s decision will bring them any peace.

They now are the owners of a full-boar mess that is entirely of their own making.

Head coach Brad Childress knew from the beginning that there was a distinct chance that Favre was never going to take another snap in the NFL. Yet, he publicly and repeatedly declared his interest in Favre and through insinuation, made it clear that he didn’t have confidence in his current quarterbacks.

Entering his fourth season, Tarvaris Jackson is now re-elevated to his previous role as the starting quarterback for a team that many consider to be Super Bowl caliber at every position except quarterback.

Certainly, Jackson has been under-whelming during his 19 career starts, as the Vikings have posted a 10-9 record in those games. He has passed for 3,442 yards with 20 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 76.5.

It looked for a time in 2007 like Jackson might be emerging as an NFL standout as he led the Vikings to an 8-4 record in 12 starts. However, he struggled in 2008 and spent much of the season on the bench as 37-year old Gus Frerotte led the offense.

Even before the team started dancing with Favre, they brought in the more experienced Rosenfels to provide competition and depth.

In seven NFL seasons, Rosenfels has made 12 starts with a 6-6 record. Statistically he is an improvement over Jackson with a career completion percentage of 62.5 and passer rating of 81.2, but he also has seen only minimal action in key situations.

He is actually probably best remembered for the poor decision he made to try and run for a first down late in a 2008 game against Indianapolis. The result was a fumble that was returned for a touchdown as Indianapolis rallied from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to win.

Outside of quarterback, Minnesota is still a talented team and will certainly be a contender in the NFC North.

The offense will now be even more reliant on the running of third-year pro Adrian Peterson. After carrying the ball 363 times and leading the NFL with 1,760 yards a year ago, you can expect him to get even more chances in 2009.

Defensively, the Vikings allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL last season and were a respectable 18th against the pass.

That pass defense will certainly get a bigger test from the Bears new quarterback in 2009.

With Jay Cutler under center instead of Kyle Orton, the Bears are looking to be more dynamic offensively and put pressure on the pass defense of teams like Minnesota.

Last season it was the Green Bay Packers that spent the off-season in turmoil waiting to see if Favre would return. Now that they had nothing to do with the soap opera this time around they should also contend for the division title.

I guess it is a testament to Favre’s greatness that even though he last played a game in the NFC North in 2007, you can argue that he has been just as significant in shaping the division over the last two years as he was in his 16 years in Green Bay.

Leave a Reply

  • Current Poll

    Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
  • Post Categories

↑ Top