It's been a tough decade thus far. One flake of snow becomes a small mound, then becomes a massive snowball, and before you know it, you have a mutating monstrosity hurling down a hill picking up more and more steam with each subsequent yard covered. That's kind of how January was for me. The month limped in the door with the heart-wrenching Bengals season flopping in the playoffs (check out my bitter analysis for more) and progressively had larger and larger dumps taken on it in the form of a towed car, blown muffler, general sickliness, ever-present relationship problems, and heaps of money lost, among other delights. With the NFC and AFC championship weekend, though, the world finally seemed to be righting itself and leveling off into a euphoric wonderland of congruity. Why did this happen? What possible explanation could there be for such a sudden turn of events? It's surprisingly simple. Brett Favre fucked up again.
Now, this is going to seem insignificant to the casual Brett Favre voyeur. I mean, how could the well-being of an entire month and even a fledgling decade be contingent on whether or not a 40-year old, Wrangler-slinging quarterback fucks up or not? Again, I have an easy answer. Brett Favre is a fuckup. He's not the 33 touchdown and seven interception quarterback you saw all season. He's not the 107.2 quarterback rating. He's not the fiery yet lovable leader of a multi-talented Minnesota Vikings team. Favre is a walking mistake, and he proved it again in the NFC championship game last weekend.
Throughout much of the second half of the Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints championship game, I was Internet-ing with the one-and-only Justin Bragg (you may remember him from such hilarity as our Karate Kid text-a-thon). Justin and I both carry a heavy disdain for Brett Favre, which I'll get to in a bit. Anyway, with the score tied at 28 and time winding down, Favre seemed to be driving the Vikings down the field for a shot at a winning field goal (they got as close as the Saints 33-yard-line). As the suspense mounted and Justin and I fetched razors from our medicine cabinets to slit our wrists with, we began toying with the idea of Favre throwing an interception and the Saints running it back for a touchdown. We figured that such a wondrous moment would result in both of our heads exploding from sheer elation and each member of the collective Vikings fan base vomiting simultaneously.
You see, Favre had a good season. As much as it pains me to say that, he did. He was placed in the perfect situation, supported by a well-oiled offensive juggernaut. This is no secret. Favre was a definitive cog in the operation but not the ignition key. It appeared as if he recognized this. For the most part, he shut his mouth and wielded his tools (Peterson, Rice, Berrian, Taylor, Harvin), while reaping the benefits in wins, stats, and media adoration. However, when the game was on the line, Favre felt like he was the one to make the play. He was the reason they were going to win. He was the team. And that's why the Vikings lost.
The interception was vintage Favre. Justin and I were being about as prophetic as we could be, calling a fumble or interception with each approaching play. But on third-and-15 from the 38-yard-line, the stars aligned. Under pressure, Favre rolled right and threw across his body into the middle of the field where he was picked off by the Saints' Tracy Porter. A sweeter and more predictable moment in sports, these eyes have never seen. I could listen to the KFAN play-by-play of the interception until my ears fell off. Paul Allen's reaction is absolutely priceless. For Justin and me, the entire season of badmouthing Favre had been salvaged because he did what he does best. Favre fucked up.
I'm often asked why I harbor such hostility for Brett Favre. Since starting this blog in late 2007, I've devoted several posts to him (check the archive), each revolving around his supposed retirement announcement and subsequent abduction of the football world's attention. Favre has loitered around the league in order to collect all of the quarterbacking records, including interceptions (done), give a middle finger to the Packers by succeeding with the Vikings (done), and win another Super Bowl (fail). He's been to the Super Bowl twice (1996-97), with the only title coming against Drew Bledsoe's New England Patriots over 13 years ago in '96. It's time for the old man to realize that when the playoffs roll around, he's much more the problem than he is the answer.
Favre is a notorious choker, which becomes more and more apparent each year as he chokes on following through with his retirement. The "gunslinger" mentality that has garnered so much lovable press just doesn't translate to championships. The media's enamored with the mindset because it can admiringly call him the "definition of a football player" and point out how much he seems to love the game, but it will always work against him, as this past NFC championship game illustrated so beautifully. Favre can put on the mask of a team player and supposedly respect the fact that he's part of the circus rather than the ringleader, but when the moment counts, he will feel the need to take over, and he will fuck up.
So, I guess I owe Brett Favre a huge thank you. When I levitated from my couch in some sort of loony ecstasy following the interception, I knew that all was right in the world again. The shitstorm that had enveloped the month of January had subsided, and I was able to sleep peacefully again knowing that Brett Favre fucked up. I can hardly wait to see the disaster again next season.