Favre Foolishness

The biggest news story in the state today won’t be found on the Daily Globe’s front page, but that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the Brett Favre signing.

I’m 99.9 percent certain that Favre’s return to the NFL and joining the Minnesota Vikings will play out in enormous headlines on the front pages of Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. Heck, it may make other front pages of other Minnesota dailies, too.

Here, however, there’s plenty of news going on in our own backyard. Favre can stay in the sports section. Besides, hasn’t this guy got enough attention from his long-tired, will-he-or-won’t-he act?

I mean, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t believe a word that comes out of Favre’s mouth anymore. Three weeks ago, Favre said he wasn’t coming back to the NFL, explaining he “didn’t feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable.” This statement came after an extended tango with the team that left most fans longing more for an end to the dance than anything. And, of course, there was Favre’s retirement from the Green Bay Packers after the 2007 season, followed by his un-retirement and less-than-stellar season with the New York Jets.

I can’t pretend I know what it’s like to walk away from something I’ve done my entire life. And Brett Favre is certainly not the first professional athlete to retire, then come back — how many times did Michael Jordan do it? Favre, however, seems a little more selfish than others of his ilk. The prolonged nature of the retired-or-active-player storyline, and now the ex-Green Bay star’s agreement to play with the archrival Vikings, give an ego-based appearance, I feel.

Favre’s career in a Packers uniform was legendary, and he was arguably the most popular player in that franchise’s storied history. Now, he’s slinging arrows for the enemy. Some have suggested that Favre’s sole reason for coming back with the Vikes is the chance to send a message to the Pack by going 2-for-2 them in regular-season games, including a win at Lambeau Field. I don’t think this far-fetched at all, yet why would Favre feel he needs to prove anything to the Packers? He retired, the Packers made subsequent plans for their future, and then he wanted to come back after those had plans had already been made. Why should he be bitter about that, really?

It should be said that there a couple of good things about Favre putting purple over his pads. For starters, he’ll be better than Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson. He’ll also sell plenty of tickets and, probably, merchandise.But will he take the Vikings to the Super Bowl? I think the bigger question is whether his health will hold out for an entire season — or, after a few sub-par performances, he’ll retire yet again. Vikings fans — even Gov. Tim Pawlenty was borderline euphoric Tuesday — should not be overly optimistic. Given their beloved team’s history, they should know better.

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