Monday, December 27, 2010

Vikings playing a season within a season, and other thoughts

Is Brett Favre “selfish” to want to finish out the season on the field? Consider something that all the pundits have not: The Vikings are currently playing a season within a season—Les Frazier’s season. Frazier is coaching for a job next year. He needs to win—now. That’s why he said from the beginning that Favre was his starting quarterback. He remembered Tavaris Jackson throwing balls ten yards out-of-bounds—during practice. He knows that Joe Webb isn’t ready.* He’s not one of those “nattering nabobs of negativity”—about the only useful thing that ever came out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth—who say the season is over and Favre should just disappear and good riddance. Frazier knows that TJ wasn’t his best chance to win now, or Webb. It’s Favre. If Favre is upright and his head is right, he will play, not just for his “legacy”—didn’t we see him jumping up and down like a kid after throwing that TD pass against the Bears?—but for his coach. Now, is that “selfish?”

The Favre Era is coming to a close, so I have to move on, which means back to the Packers where I belong. I’m happy as hell that the Seattle Seahawks are not my team. You should have seen the incredulity of people in the break room where I work who watched Matt Hasselbeck daintily tippy-toe into the end zone early in the Tampa Bay game, while Buccaneer players just stood and observed the pitiful sight; they didn’t even try to tackle or even touch him. And then old Matt just fell flat on the ground, with a hip injury, or something. And in came Charlie Whitehurst. Last week, fans were chanting his name; if this had been a home game, they’d be chanting for I don’t know who, because I don’t even think the Seahawks have a third-string quarterback.

Anyways, last week I mentioned that I was impressed by Packer back-up quarterback Matt Flynn’s performance against the New England Patriots; he apparently has another admirer—Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers had his first 400-yard regular season game against the New York Giants (Favre can thank Eli Manning for practically clinching the league lead in interceptions this year), although neither Favre or Rodgers between them have matched the Packer single game and single season yardage records set by Lynn Dickey (another piece of trivia: Norm Van Brocklin's NFL record 554 yards passing in one game is 59 years old and counting). In post-game comments, Rodgers joked that he was playing for his job after he observed what Flynn did against the Patriots. It’s hard to judge by one game, but the genius Bill Belichick’s team nearly suffered a startling loss to a mere back-up making his first NFL start. Rodgers, we can presume, was only partly joking; he has been subject to injury in the past, and Flynn seems prepared to step right into his shoes. The Seahawks might think about trading Whitehurst to Green Bay for Flynn, but I’m sure Packer management isn’t quite as dumb as the Seahawks are.

*Post-game comment: Did the fact that the Vikings beat the Eagles with Webb as quarterback mean I'm wrong? No, it just means that the Vikings were playing like it was Tuesday, and the Eagles still thought it was Sunday.

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