Now that he has committed, Favre's all in

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 19, 2010 - 6:13 AM

Now that the quarterback's silly summer drama is over, we can enjoy watching the tortured artist play football.

Brett Favre took eight questions during his news conference Wednesday. He spun those eight questions into 33 minutes of Storytime with Grandpa.

Without prompting, Favre reminded us that he set a million records; won a Super Bowl while Dan Marino and Jim Kelly didn't; and played amazingly well last year despite undergoing arm surgery.

He reminded us that his teammates love him like no other quarterback, and that fans love him and traveled to see him and bought billboards in Hattiesburg to profess their devotion.

Yes, according to Brett, Brett is pretty amazing. The golfer Phil Mickelson wears a nickname on the PGA Tour that Favre could borrow. Cleaned up for public consumption, it's DIGJAM. As in, Darn I'm Good, Just Ask Me.

After Favre caused heads to spin and ears to bleed on Wednesday, his coach, Brad Childress, took the podium at Winter Park and said that a Favre conversation may start with deer hunting, but "by the end, he's a vegan.''

As well as being the Hamlet of Hattiesburg, Favre is the Sultan of Circumlocution.

At the end of his presser on Wednesday, Favre even tried to shock us by saying this will be his last season.

Then he put a hand to his temple and asked, "Did I just say that?''

He is the George Lucas of interviews. He produces wildly entertaining shlock, none of which is believable.

Do you really believe he wouldn't have played football this season if not for a visit from three teammates? Correct answer: The visit sped up his timetable by about six days.

Do you really believe he knows that this will be his last season? Correct answer: Sure, just as he was certain last January that he would never play again.

Do you really believe that his return had nothing to do with money or the ability to skip training camp? Correct answer: The Vikings didn't pay him up to an extra $7 million on a whim, and Favre didn't just happen to show up after the Vikings left Mankato.

Hidden in his 33-minute dissertation on himself was one sentence of pure, insightful, simple truth.

"I don't want to fail,'' he said.

That, you can believe.

That one sentence lends context and credence to his annual bouts of indecision. The man fears failure. That makes so much more sense than an ironman fearing a supposedly sore ankle.

I had a chance to interview Favre one-on-one last winter. He was charming and expansive, emotional and ... worried. Always worried.

He worries about his legacy. He worries about his football reputation. He fears failure so much he is likely to stay in on a Friday night studying an upcoming opponent's third-down-and-7 pass defenses on his laptop.

It seems there is only one decision he is capable of sticking with since he started flirting with retirement about eight years ago: Once he commits to a football season, he is all in.

That, you can believe.

Wednesday was the day we stopped following Favre the brooding flip-flopper and resumed our interest in Favre the future Hall of Famer.

The former is untrustworthy, and unworthy of our attention. The latter is fascinating.

Even if his summer charade left you flinching every time you hear his name, you should appreciate the way he thinks and plays the game, and you should realize that in 2009, Favre became the most compelling Viking in franchise history. Who else comes close? Who else approaches Favre's historical importance, rampant charisma and sense of drama? Who else starred on both sides of the Vikings' most important rivalry? Who else combines such pathos and joy?

Now that Favre's silly summer drama is over, we can enjoy watching the tortured artist play football.

No matter what you think of him, admit it: You won't be able to take your eyes off of him.

Jim Souhan can be heard at 10-noon Sunday on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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