Sports Story of the Year?

It could be: Brett Favre’s return from his second retirement to quarterback the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, that may be a parochial view. But it’s been a long time since I was much of a pro football fan, and I’ve never really been a Vikings fan even though I live in Minnesota. For just about anyone–even my wife!–the story of a 40-year-old Hall of Fame quarterback’s return to greatness is irresistible, especially when the QB is Brett Favre.
Fan opinion was decidedly mixed when the Vikings signed Favre near the end of training camp. Shows what we fans know: after today’s 35-9 win over Seattle, the Vikings are 9-1 and Favre is having a season for the ages. He is currently the top-rated passer in the NFL, and after today’s game–four touchdown passes, no interceptions–he has 21 TD passes against only three interceptions. If he were to continue that pace through the end of the season (unlikely), it would be the best TD/interception ratio in the history of the NFL. Along the way, Favre has made stars out of players like Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe.
What has most endeared Favre to Minnesota sports fans, however, is not his gaudy statistics, his seeing-eye passes–after surgery on his right arm, he once again can fling the ball with anyone–or the vast experience that allows him to find the open receiver, sometimes after changing the play at the line of scrimmage. No: what Minnesota sports fans (and, I suspect, his teammates) like best is that Favre is–how to put it?–a little bit crazy. He plays with an abandon that makes you wonder how he can possibly make it through a season. After this year’s first game, the league fined him for an illegal block on a defensive lineman. Who knew a quarterback could be dangerous to a defensive tackle? A few games later, he completed a long pass and then sprinted 40 yards downfield, where he threw a block on an All-Pro linebacker. When the play was over and Favre and the linebacker were both lying on the ground, the linebacker sat up and said, “What the **** are you doing down here?” That Favre has not only survived 18 seasons but holds the NFL record for most consecutive games started can only suggest that he enjoys some special protection of Providence.
Favre may even save the franchise. The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires after 2011, I believe. The team has no intention of signing another lease at the Dome, and until now, at least, the taxpayers have had no desire to finance a new football stadium. (The “love boat” incident was the last straw in that regard.) Most observers have assumed that after 2011 the team would move to Los Angeles or some other, greener pasture. But that could all change now: if the team makes a serious run at the Super Bowl, inspired by an aging quarterback who plays with the sheer joy of a 12-year-old boy, the franchise might well survive.
That would be good. It’s hard enough trying to explain what “Lakers” have to do with Los Angeles, let alone “Vikings.”
PAUL adds: Fan opinion was decidedly mixed on the signing of Favre, as John recalls. However, Power Line had little doubt it was a good move.


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