May 6: Don't bring this circus to town

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2009 - 2:17 PM

By coaxing Brett Favre out of retirement, the Vikings would see ticket sales and media attention rise. But his divisive presence and equal-opportunity passes won't win a Super Bowl.

If the Vikings want to sell tickets, they should sign Brett Favre. If they want ESPN to build a base camp in Eden Prairie, they should sign Brett Favre. If they want to coax John Madden (or is it Frank Caliendo, I can't tell them apart anymore) out of retirement, and have him park his Winnebago at Winter Park, they should sign Brett Favre. If they want the Metrodome to become the petri dish in which the most interesting experiment in the NFL is conducted, they should sign Brett Favre.

There are lots of good reasons for coaxing a future Hall of Fame quarterback out of retirement. As long the Vikings don't think one of them is an aging Favre's ability to propel his team to the Super Bowl, then, what the heck? Sign Favre, watch the fireworks, and understand that this January, Favre might wind up looking all too much like a cross between Brad Johnson and Tarvaris Jackson.

Favre is the supermodel who maxes out your credit cards. He is the sports car that wipes out your bank account. He is enticing, and he is captivating, and he is trouble.

He drove the Packers bonkers. He left a locker room filled with angry ex-teammates when he left the Jets, who seemed quite happy to essentially trade him for an unproven Mark Sanchez.

He played brilliantly for the Jets for half a season last year, before almost single-handedly destroying their playoff chances with his vintage irresponsible throws.

Favre would give the Vikings a much better chance of selling out a home playoff game this year, and not much more of a chance of winning that game.

Look at Favre's postseason history. He won one Super Bowl, with a superior Packers team -- the same number as Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson.

One reason the Packers were so eager to hustle him out the door is that they didn't think, at his advanced athletic age, they could build a Super Bowl winner around him.

Ignore Favre The Myth -- the guy running around in your head throwing behind-the-back passes for 80-yard touchdowns -- and pay closer attention to Favre The Man.

Favre compiled a passer rating of 81.0 last year. (Tarvaris Jackson's, for the sake of comparison, was 95.4.)

In three of his past four seasons, Favre has failed to throw more for touchdowns than interceptions. He threw 22 of each last season while playing for a pretty good team.

Favre faded badly down the stretch last year, throwing two touchdown passes and nine interceptions as the Jets went 1-4 over their last five games to fall out of the playoffs.

As a Packer, after 1998, Favre went 3-6 in playoff games, throwing 16 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions. During that time he lost home playoff games to Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper and Eli Manning.

Remember that killing interception Jackson threw against the Eagles? Favre -- the new, old Favre -- does that all the time.

If you want to win the Super Bowl -- and the Vikings are talented enough at almost every position to entertain such thoughts -- Favre is not your guy.

Bringing in Favre would also force Childress to sell his soul. Whatever you think of him, Childress has turned the Vikings' locker room into a much more professional and functional place. Favre would likely bring his prima donna act to Winter Park. That might not become a problem if he wins, but if he loses, it could split the roster.

Childress has shown increased flexibility the last year or two in accepting challenging personalities, enabling the Vikings to take a chance on Jared Allen (who was phenomenal last year) and Percy Harvin (who instantly upgrades the 2009 offense.) When the challenging personalities belonged to veteran quarterbacks, though, Childress wound up alienating Brad Johnson and Gus Frerotte.

Childress demands restraint and attention to detail from his quarterbacks. We have no idea how he'd react to one of Favre's underhanded lobs to a tightly covered receiver. The relationship could last minutes.

Childress has also demanded his players buy into the offseason program. That became a point of contention with Matt Birk and Antoine Winfield. To sign Favre, the Vikings might have to move their practice facility to Mississippi.

Sign Favre? Sure, if you want to be entertained, if you want to see a spectacle. If your heart is set on a Super Bowl victory, you better keep buying that tear-resistant face paint.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. jsouhan@startribune.com

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