Thursday, July 23, 2009

Favre's "Anguish" Smacks of Damage Control

You've probably already seen it, but apparently, Brett Favre is in "anguish" over his decision whether or not to return to the NFL.

With Minnesota Vikings players scheduled to report to training camp in less than a week, Brett Favre remains anguished about whether he should come out of retirement and join the team. That decision, according to sources, has become more difficult in recent days because of the efforts of Vikings players including Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson, all of whom have now begun calling and texting Favre in an attempt to convince him to become Minnesota's starting quarterback.

"If it weren't for the involvement of the Vikings players directly telling Brett they want him on their team, I think he might have already decided against playing again,'' a source said.

A source said that Favre is beginning to feel a sense of obligation, not only to Vikings players but to a coaching staff that has been recruiting him since the moment the New York Jets released him in April. According to sources, Favre has been communicating regularly with Vikings head coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was Favre's offensive coordinator in Green Bay for three seasons.

Now, I'm the first to question "unnamed sources" when it comes to Brett Favre, as we've certainly had our share of unsubstantiated breaking news over the past several years. But while some of the folks at ESPN are seeing it as a possible emotional breaking point for Favre (and others (particularly Packer fans) are seeing it as a ray of hope in the ongoing drama), this kind of news release is likely one thing: a PR move to make an upcoming decision seem as if it was actually one he didn't want to make.

The most surprising notion in all of this would be: my God, he's just NOW deciding to listen to a PR guy??? Now, mind you, I'm not on board with the torches and pitchforks as many other Packer fans are: I think last summer was a crucible that was fueled by all parties involved. But I will easily concede this about Favre: the theory that he would take "the high road" following his retirement is pretty much shot to pieces.

Not that he has to, and it sure has made for good headlines for places like ESPN. But, Favre really has thrown a match over his back as he goes over bridges leading out of Green Bay, seemingly unaware of (or uncaring about) the fans he's left behind. He's made comments (reported second-hand from last year) in the Jets locker room that he's out to get Ted Thompson, the GM that let him go.

Many loyal Packer fans have interpreted that as that he is out to get "The Packers", and others have gone as far to believe he is out to personally dis Packer fans. I don't buy into that, but you can sure see how people can come to that conclusion.

But even moreso, you have to shake your head at how Favre has allowed that conclusion to continue to spread like wildfire. I've long believed he's had the wrong people in his ear for quite a while, people that don't understand the delicate politics that come with being prominent in the public eye. That may be Southern Belle Deanna, his buddy Bus, or any other of the folks who like to keep him believing that he's above it all.

But, as that July 30 deadline approaches, there's been a palpable feeling of acceptance of the inevitable, and for many Packer fans, that means essentially "hating" Brett Favre for wearing purple and gold. The negative sentiments have been there since last summer, but ever since he announced he was considering coming out of retirement, it is completely clear that Favre wants to be a Viking, and the vitriol is running a fever pitch.

I don't think this latest rujmor has anything to do with his health, nor do I think it has to do with money. It has to do with damage control, that finally, somebody figured it was time to tell Brett, "Hey, you should probably make it look like you don't really want to play for the Vikings."

Come on. "Anguish"? The only reason he will force himself to play for the Vikings is because Adrien Peterson is begging him and he feels "obligated" to do so after Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell have tripped all over him this offseason? Childress is on his last legs in Minnesota, and Bevell did little more as Favre's quarterback coach in Green Bay than to ask him how he wanted his coffee each morning.

The message the Favre camp is trying to send is that he really doesn't want to play for the Vikings, but he may have to. You know, out of obligation. Loyalty.

I'm not sure exactly what kind of reaction he would expect to be getting from the Packer faithful, but I doubt it is going to swing their opinion too much. Far too little, far too late. And far too insincere.

But maybe it will get more sympathetic play on ESPN and the other national feeds. But, anguish or not, I think this almost insures Favre is going to announce his return with the Vikings next Friday. Anyone have an extra ticket for the Viking game this year?


Anonymous said...

I think he legitimately has doubts. I think he needs to feel completely confident that his arm will hold up the whole season and that's causing him to reconsider what he wants to do. I also don't read into it that he is setting it up to say he feels obligated to play but he doesn't really want to. If he decides he doesn't want to play, he likely won't be mentally prepared to make it through the season. That would be more damaging then playing in Minnesota.

As far as that's concerned, I don't know what the big deal is. Ted Thompson didn't want him there and eventually got rid of him. The Jets released him. He's a free man. He's not being a traitor by playing in Minnesota if that's what he decides to do. I think it's more pathetic that Packers fans have to label him a traitor for continuing to play. He wanted to remain in Green Bay all along but that wasn't an option. Now a potential Super Bowl caliber team wants him to play. I think that would be a tough offer for anybody to just pass up. As it is, It's possible to still be both a Favre fan and a Packers fan. I'm a Packer fan but I support Favre doing whatever he wants to do. He did so much for the Packers and Ted Thompson treated him so poorly on his way out that I can't get too mad at whatever Brett wants to do. While I won't cheer for Minnesota, I will support Favre (maybe Favre can play well but the defense can fail so Favre can be in a similar situation as Rodgers was with the Pack last season).

In my opinion, the fans who are so outspoken about him not playing for Minnesota are scared that he will come in and beat the Packers. Given the way the TT era has been in Green Bay, I think the Packers may be doomed against Minnesota this season with or without Favre.

C.D. Angeli said...

On your first point, Anon, I would respectfully disagree. I don't think there's been a point over the last several years where he has allowed news like this to sneak out as he pondered retirement/unretirement. As for the obligation point, well, it's kind of hard not to read that when it actually reads, "A source said that Favre is beginning to feel a sense of obligation..."
On your second point, however, I am in agreement with you. I think that if he wants to play the the Vikes, he should do it. Frankly, I felt he should have been allowed to do it last year when it was clear the Packers no longer desired his services.
My frustration with Favre at this point isn't with his "loyalty", but with his lack of ability to commit. I don't care if it is the Vikings or the Jets or an arena team...he should have signed on two months ago and committed himself to studying and working with his coaches and teammates, especially after he noted himself that he was at a disadvantage coming in late with the Jets last summer.
This continued drawing out of the process doesn't help anyone: the Vikings, Favre, or even the Packers.

PH said...

I will likely come off as one of the angry Packer fans you mentioned, but I feel deep down that the Vikings are handling this all wrong. When Brett is handed the keys to the kingdom, he feels like he's accomplished enough.

I really feel like if the Vikings came out and said "we don't want to wait anymore, it's over" he'd be there in a heartbeat because no one tells him no.

He'll anguish when teams are waiting on his word to come back or not, but as soon as a team moves on it becomes "give me my helmet or I'm playing somewhere else"

He comes off as fueled by a combination of spite and the heart of a competitor, as soon as someone tells him no or a disparaging comment, he will be there to prove them wrong.

Now this whole episode this last week was awkward. A story two weeks ago about a decision on the 30th made sense. Then a story calling for a decision by the 24th made no sense.

It really is interesting to see what PR moves are being made, and your pointing out that this could easily be the makings of an out later. Bad season? Well he was just pressured. Maybe we can debate this again next season when he's debating about coming back for the Browns or Buccaneers

David said...

I do not look at "Favre's anguish" as an attempt by Favre to appease Packer fans and look like he is reluctant to join the Vikings. Who thinks that would actually work? I think it may be a PR move ahead of the decision not to play. The general feeling out there the past few weeks was not IF Favre would join the Vikings but when he would join the Vikings. Favre had to knock that inenvitability down some and this "remains anguished" and "sense of obligation" leak is about doing just that. I think he has made the decision not to play and he has realized he is going to look like a total douche bag and this is some lame attempt to tamp down expectations that his signing with MN was a done deal.

David said...

Favre staying retired!!