Monday, November 1, 2010

Anti-Favre commentators once more get it wrong

In a game where all the naysayers like Jimmy Johnson and Mike Ditka were blasting Brett Favre for “putting himself above the team”—and not vice-versa—by playing with two fractures in his ankle, Brett Favre performed like we (at least we who are not consumed with a feeling of “betrayal”) have seen him play for 16 years in Green Bay. When he was at his lowest ebb, when “knowledgeable” commentators left him for dead, he arose from the grave and put forth an inspired performance, as if he had to “prove” himself all over again to the doubters; not surprisingly, the naysayers had very little of substance to say after the game—or avoided discussing the ignorance of their prior views altogether. Of course, everything is relative; Favre did—thanks to the best pass protection he’s had all year—have the best game of the season, but in a losing effort on the road against arguably the best team in the NFL this year, the New England Patriots. The Vikings were able to move the ball against the Patriot defense, but a failed fourth down run from the goal line, and a pass that went in-and-out of Percy Harvin’s usually dependable hands and into a Patriot defender’s, proved to be the eventual difference between a win and a loss. Adrian Peterson started out well, but he was mostly a non-factor in the second half, and glass-half empty Randy Moss was a non-factor the entire game—despite claiming he had all the “inside” info on the Patriots. Favre kept within coach Brad Childress’ “system” throughout the game, and largely due to his consistency kept the Patriot offense off the field for the greater part of the game. Unfortunately, the Vikings’ defense broke down at key moments, and failed to record a quarterback sack for the third straight game—after leading the NFL with 72 sacks last year.

Favre also recorded another item to his ever lengthening injury résumé: stitches to his jaw which knocked him out the game late, and a probable concussion. This did not occur, however, before he passed yet another career milestone—becoming the first quarterback to throw 10,000 career pass attempts, to go along with becoming the first to 70,000 career yards and 500 TD passes. With or without the instituting of an 18-game schedule, Peyton Manning will no doubt pass those numbers if he remains healthy; nevertheless, it is interesting to note that in 39 games after the Packers’ management tried to force Favre into permanent retirement, he has thrown for more than 9,000 yards and 62 TD passes, which are pretty good numbers for most quarterbacks.

Minnesota still has nine “winnable” games left to play, and when Sydney Rice returns, the Vikings may not need the perpetually discontented Moss—who was apparently waived for his most recent inflammatory remarks—and whose only useful “contribution” had been to be a decoy for opening up opportunities for the play-making Harvin. It was surprising how many Moss apologists there are out there, but the fact is that Moss is not a player you can depend upon; he might wow people with a big play when he is “engaged,” but when he isn’t—which is more often than not—he is his own worst enemy.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Comcast decided to pull the plug on Jenn Sterger’s show on Versus, “The Daily Line,” due to “anemic ratings.” Admittedly, the shows’ ratings were not as bad as Chad Ochocinco’s “reality” show, but then again, its producers had to pay four people to host the “Line.” It is obvious that Sterger and her manager felt they needed to raise her “profile” to improve ratings for the show, but wanted to test the waters by going through a “third party” to see the reaction to the allegations against Favre. Although a majority of the media predictably portrayed Sterger as a victim of “sexual harassment,” a few in the sports’ media declined to play moral paladin—particularly given the basis upon which Sterger had attained her notoriety; the general public, meanwhile, was less sanguine about assessing the relative “merits” of Sterger’s case against Favre. Furthermore, Sterger’s failure to resolve the issue quickly (she wanted a “proper” resolution) eventually undermined her case, since in order to appear desirous of attaining the all the “facts,” the NFL was forced to talk to Sterger’s former friend, Allison Torres, who as I mentioned in a post last week, gave investigators “context” which could only be interpreted as making Sterger appear to be the tawdry tramp; Favre wasn’t the only “celebrity” and “star athlete” who for some reason fell under the “spell” of Sterger’s particular “charms.” Sterger will attempt to mitigate the damage her “friend” did to her “reputation,” and try to portray herself as a “victim,” but she can only come-off as self-serving; indeed, if anything it was her avarice that undermined her case. Even a media constantly in search of white female “victims” cannot bail her out of this reality.

As much as Favre’s reputation may be tainted from all the on-field, off-field activities we’ve seen this year, the one undeniable fact is that no player in the history of the game has been the subject of fascination as has Favre. When his career is finally over, that will be a biography I can’t wait to read.

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