At least for this week, Brett Favre cannot be blamed for global warming, the economy or armed conflict in the world. Perhaps he can be blamed for not being able to will his team to victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. I don’t think the Vikings will have a first down the entire second half. It was all his fault; Brad Childress insists on his “system,” meaning giving the ball to Adrian Peterson even when he isn’t functioning. He had a run of 20 yards, and a couple more for 5 yards. Then it was 13 carries for 11 yards. Why don’t they go into the no-huddle offense that worked against Arizona last week, when you know the “system” isn’t working? Is that what this is? Another pass intended for Peterson intercepted just after Harvin was knocked out of the game following a fumbled kick-off that was reversed on review. Peterson fell down running the route. That play is under review. Play upheld under review. Oh the horror, the horror. I have to go back to work now…I’m back. The Bears didn’t score after the last turnover, the Vikings are on the move, sort of. A shot of all three of last year’s starting receiving corps sitting on the bench, all injured. The big tight end, Visanthe Shiancoe, is now the “deep threat.” Favre throws deep to Shiancoe, and is intercepted for the third time. Damn, but life bleeps. I think Favre should retire now. What’s the point? Even if Sidney Rice does decide he’s not too sore to play, it’s too late in season for him to have much of an impact; Bernard Berrian—who did have his only productive game this year last week, helping Favre to his career best 446 yards—has otherwise been a nonfactor even without that groin injury that he “aggravated” during pre-game warm-ups, and Harvin re-injured his injured ankle. Highly unlikely he will be on the field next week against the Packers. Favre may not have the “magic” of last year, but he hasn’t had a healthy receiving corps this year either; you can’t win with practice squad guys, which allows teams to key on Peterson and neutralize him, like the Bears did.
Anyways, the Vikings defense has taken some heat for lack of sacks, and they are on pace to have half of last year’s total (and half of those came against Arizona) but otherwise it has been consistent with last year. Yards-per-game is about the same as last year, as have been the relative dearth of takeaways. At the midway point of the season, the Vikings’ takeaway total of nine was only worse than two other teams, but is not much worse than last year’s total of 24, which was in the bottom third of the NFL; the Vikings were the only team with a plus takeaway ratio that forced so few, mainly because Favre threw for a career low seven interceptions. With Favre’s turnovers galore this year, that weakness is only now more apparent.
As for the offense, Favre’s age and injuries is only a part of the team’s problems; after all, the Bears only scored three points on the ensuing possession following the Favre turnovers, and his yardage performance against Arizona should indicate that against a bad defense the Vikings can move the ball up and down the field at will. The Vikings were at the half-way point 11th in total offense (Green Bay is only 16th), but unlike last year they have had an inability to put points on the board. For the Vikings to have had any chance to repeat last year’s performance, Favre had to be as near flawless as he was then. The major difference is not, as many would suggest, that Favre is just playing terrible, and making terrible mistakes. Childress said after the loss against the Packers that just punting the ball was OK, except that the Vikings would be doing an awful lot more of that if Favre wasn’t being his usual “reckless” self—especially with that porous offensive line. Watching the Bears game, I never thought the Vikings were going to win it; with two starting receivers out and the other on a gimpy ankle, Favre—as he has been for most of the year—forced to do that dinking and dunking, but in this game the fourth and fifth-stringers were not getting separation even on the quick short routes, or dropping or juggling away easy catches. Favre was continuously forced either to try to laser the ball in tight places or throw the ball away. If the Vikings had any chance, Favre had to take chances, or they wouldn ’t be able to move the ball at all. As pointed out before, Peterson was a non-factor on the ground, and given the lack of receiving depth, the 53-yard touchdown pass to Harvin in the first half (before he was knocked out of the game) was example of Favre taking the chance to make something out of nothing. When it works, it is a great play that only Favre can make; when it ends in an interception, it’s a “bad” decision.
Speaking of bad decisions, Jenn Sterger did finally talk to NFL investigators. Her lawyer claims that she handed over “substantial material,” which several tabloid media outlets translated as “overwhelming evidence.” My guess is that Sterger presented a bunch of “material” that will give investigators a headache to sift through to determine if quantity equates to quality. I wonder if investigators asked her to explain why she was such an avid collector of male body parts sent to her from “celebrities” and “athletes” over the years (as Allison Torres testified to) and why they would feel comfortable doing that. They might not have done this if they knew that Sterger was going to store these on her computer for years. Why would she do this? For she and her friends personal amusement, as she originally told Deadspin? For a tell-all picture book? Or for extortion, just in case she her career was going into the hopper, as it is now?
It remains remarkable to me how the “mainstream” media continues to portray Sterger as a “victim.” Frankly, it just makes me nauseous just thinking about how Sterger expects “swift” action from the NFL—probably as swift as Comcast pulled the plug on her contract, probably for “character” issues as much as anemic ratings. It sounds to me that she wants “swift” action so she can hurry-up and sell her story before she runs out of money to pay her lawyer; I hear that Playboy is calling again, and since her career as a “serious” sports journalist is over, that seems the next step for someone whose career trajectory has based on selling her frame. It’s amazing how this sleazeball—who first claimed that she found all these “naked pics” and voice mails “fun to laugh at” with friends, now all of a sudden wants to play the moral paladin and justice-seeking victim.
There are a few people out there doing their homework, but only a few. Mary Ann Reitano of Bleacher Report wrote a three-part report on Sterger and her antics. “Who is Jenn Sterger?” To find out, Reitano states that her attempt to read Sterger’s blog posts over the years was an ordeal:
“To say that Sterger has a very high opinion of herself would be an understatement. Her posts focus more around what she does to keep herself in the mainstream of the sports pop culture than sports at all. If anything, the sports world is simply a backdrop for Jenn. Her lack of any sports analysis or even superficial commentary regarding the games she attended is very telling and she rarely references their outcomes…What we do hear about is all the “awesome people” she met, what a “great time” she had and an array of photos of her and “her fake girls” with anyone and everyone. She certainly is a walking photo-op.” Perhaps we can assume that what she means by “fake girls” are those with artificially-enhanced breasts, like the ones she has.
Sterger, despite the fact she has no talent for serious journalism, nevertheless is “her own biggest fan,” as revealed by these various references to herself:
“I call it like it is. I’m a brutally honest chick. I say what's on my mind: No B.S. No Drama. I hate girls who hate on other girls, especially people they don't even know. I hate overly vain individuals...I am a really vivacious person...just a good person...I’m the most loyal person you’ll ever meet...I’m loyal to a fault...I’m a pretend cynic...I laugh at my own jokes and swear people would find me a lot funnier if I had been born a dude. I'm an individual. I'm real. But most of all, I'm myself. You've never met a girl like me before and you probably never will.”
As I suggested in a previous post, when Sterger says she “hates girls who hate on other girls,” she’s just talking about girls who hate on her—not about her hating on other “girls,” like Erin Andrews. At any rate, I suspect that all the people who sent her “naked pics” of themselves” are probably wondering if someone like Favre isn’t safe from this “just a good person” and “most loyal person you’ll ever meet,” if they are next on her list. Reitano notes that this “good person” also derides all the “losers” using the worst pick-up lines “ever.”
Reitano also discovered this interesting tidbit: Sterger apparently deleted all her blog entries from August 12, 2008 to November 28, 2008—the entire period in which she was employed by the New York Jets. Very curious. One suspects that she might have said something in those entries that might not be “appropriate” to the current discussion. Perhaps some revealing comments that suggest a fascination with Brett Favre, perhaps? After all, as Retaino pointed out, Sterger also likes to talk about all the “awesome” people she allegedly knows.
There are other incongruities: Sterger, according to Deadspin, did not want to release the Favre voicemails and alleged pics, but eventually they “surfaced” from a “third party” for a price. Sterger allegedly has a degree in criminology from Florida State, but apparently it was no concern of hers that someone “borrowed”—or stole—the voicemails and pics off her computer and sold them to Deadspin without her knowledge and for personal own gain. Wouldn’t this be a criminal offense? Or more likely she gave them to another party to sell on her behalf, so that she wouldn’t be “tainted” by the connection. As Mike Florio commented, it had appeared that Sterger and her lawyer’s initial strategy was to “try to get Favre’s camp to offer a settlement without having to ask for it, possibly because asking for it could be characterized as extortion.” Florio went on to say that it appears that Favre called Sterger’s “bluff,” because he knows that “there’s nothing she can say that will lead to a conclusion that his conduct (whatever it may have been) was unwelcome.”
Meanwhile, the tabloid media (including Fox News and CNN) are wondering if this is the “end of Brett Favre’s Hall of Fame dreams.” As if he killed or raped someone, or betted on games. Commentators like Adam Schefter on ESPN still refuse to put the microscope on Sterger, for fear of being accused of being sexist and misogynistic.
It’s amazing how all these tabloid media sites are assuming the worst for Favre. I hope the NFL does the right thing and rule that Favre’s behavior did not conform with the moral standards expected of a married man, but otherwise that the evidence is at worst inconclusive that he had “harassed” Sterger, and at best apparent that Sterger engaged in a two-way “conversation” that she did not overtly discourage—and probably encouraged, given Torres’ testimony. Even if the league finds Favre at fault for personal conduct, if Sterger seeks legal action as some of the tabloid journalists say is “inevitable,” Torres (and others that might surface) would prove not only a damaging witness, but put Sterger in the light that most of the media (but not most of the public that has weighed-in on the ESPN and Fox Sports websites) has refused to shed on her.
What about Favre? He’s probably been living like a monk since this story broke; he has to answer to his wife and family, and not to the NFL, not to anyone who claims to be without sin and especially not to Sterger who used him just she used (or will use) many others in her climb to (in)famy.