In the days of the 24-hour news cycle it’s easy to lose memory of great sports plays as they get washed out into the sea of ESPN, but Favre’s winning play last week versus the San Francisco 49ers was so (add your own effusive adjective) that even his fans from his days as a Green Bay Packer were warmed to the core, as pretty much all football fans were; and those Wisconsin cheeseheads were some kinda pissed off about Favre playing for their pretty purple rivals.
In the early 90s I went through a major transition when I was forced to recognize that Michael Jordan was indeed a greater basketball player than Magic Johnson. It wasn’t until Jordan and the Bulls ripped the hearts out of Lakers fans in 1991 that I put Magic’s #32 jersey to the right side of the proverbial mantle, and accepted that Jordan’s #23 jersey belonged in the center; in my older age I can’t reason how anybody can be considered greater than Bill Russell with his 11 NBA Championships.
Favre’s amazing play (I’m sure you can find it on youtube.com if you haven’t been beaten over the head with it enough already) didn’t lift him above my choice for Greatest Quarterback of All-Time, Joe Montana, but Favre did wrestle the title of Most Theatrical Quarterback of All-Time away from Broadway Joe Namath…and he didn’t even have to sport a full length fur coat like Namath did.
Favre will be 40-years-old on October 10. That fact certainly adds to the many elements of the overall story, but the greater potential story obviously lies ahead during the real Minnesota months when our friend Hawk reigns supreme over your butt, and mine. So where will the Vikings be when Mr. Hawk is in town? I don’t imagine that many Vikings fans have forgotten the 15-1 season of 1998 that fell short of the whole nation’s expectations, in that their super-powered team did not reach the Superbowl.
The Vikings have two players, in Favre and running-back Adrian Peterson, that both have their names shuffling around in one of those lottery ball machines as the winner of the “Greatest of All-Time Contest” at their respective positions. Add to that the heralding of the Vikings defensive unit, and you have a similar sort of expectation as seen in 1998; though obviously the 1998 experience serves as the perfect coolant to over-inflated expectations.
Expectations can wear on one person, much less a whole football team and organization. Thus, there is an absolute need for calm leadership in order to guide the ship through the certain choppy waters that lie ahead. And so once again, all roads lead back to the center of the theatrical football universe, Brett Favre. Favre has been to two Superbowls, and was victorious in 1997. Favre holds many of the forefront records of quarterback performance, but it is his experience as a deal-closer in the Superbowl that brings the most hope to the Vikings faithful. Getting within shouting distance of a Superbowl is not the Vikings problem, but getting the Superbowl to holla back with an invitation is.
If Favre can pull-off a Superbowl appearance, maybe even a Superbowl win, especially while donning a pretty purple helmet, then many, including myself, will have to rest their cases for the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time.
For those who aren’t football fans I would recommend cheering for the local economy through cheering for success in this whole whirlwind, purple, sporting saga. Wow! Brett Favre can even stimulate the economy! Is there anything he can’t do?!
I’ll say it again: Brett Favre and Prince; in full length fur coats, standing in a Run DMC pose. Even if the Vikings don’t make it to the Superbowl, that photo would make it all worth