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Two tweets, a few hours apart, one of them farrrrrrrrrrrrrrr less definitive than the other, both from ESPN Milwaukee host Gabe Neitzel in regards to Bus Cook, Brett Favre's agent. Aaron Rodgers, remember, is likely out until December with a broken collarbone. Would the Gunslinger be interested in keeping that seat warm and helping the Packers make it back to the playoffs?
Talked with Bus Cook this morning. Assured me that Brett Favre is retired. #Packers— Gabe Neitzel (@gneitzel16) November 5, 2013
In a follow up w/ Bus Cook: #Packers have not reached out to him. He hasn't spoken to Favre, and doesn't know if the team tried to reach #4.— Gabe Neitzel (@gneitzel16) November 5, 2013
RandBall: How do you and the rest of the crew dress up a game like this that looked so much better on paper before the season started?
Michele Tafoya: Sometimes, and I’m not just saying this … sometimes it’s the game you don’t expect and looks really bad on paper, those end up being the better games. I have a couple reasons the Vikings might just help us out and make it a decent game. They’re all very frustrated. They had the big team leadership meeting this week. They feel like they’ve had the best practices of the season by far. Christian Ponder has had an opportunity to sit and think and watch and think, "Honestly, how much worse can it get? I’ve been benched. Let’s go, I’m going to do this now." You have all these factors, and you have a really banged up Green Bay team. It could be more interesting than people think.
RB: Let’s say Adrian Peterson has a monster game and he’s a post-game interview Sunday night. At this point, do you bring up the tragedy involving his son from a couple weeks back?
MT: I would think at this point, no. It’s been discussed, he’s dealt with it. I talked with him on a personal level about it (Friday) just briefly, and I think at this time – not to sound callous -- it’s no longer relevant to the game situation. I think the bigger picture for Adrian and the whole team is his health and is he feeling like he can explode. If he does, then how we have a story.
RB: This is your 20th year in Minnesota. Does that sound weird?
MT: Yeah, I started covering the Vikings for radio in 1994, and gosh that sounds like a long time. It’s totally weird. It speaks to the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve been in Minnesota for 20 years out of my life, and when I got here I thought I was going to be one year and done. I’m a California girl and I thought there was no way I could take the weather here. When I reflect on it, I think, "Wow, a lot of great things have happened." I met my husband, we had our son, we adopted our daughter. We made a home and a life here, and I never would have guessed that 20 years ago. … I think if I listened to a broadcast from back then, I would just be cringing and running for the door. I know so much more now and have found so many ways to grow and prepare in this job. But what it also comes down to, is you think 20 years is a long time … and it is, but it isn’t. It’s a flash.
RB: A discussion of female sideline reporters often descends into Internet slideshows of the 10 hottest ones. How do you reconcile that part of the business, as it pertains to appearance vs. substance?
MT: That’s an issue that still really bugs me. … I know what my strengths and weakness are. My strengths are never going to get me into the hottest sideline reporter thing. I’ve come to accept that. I guess I’ve decided to just play up my strengths, as a strong journalist – that I think I know how to do my job well and I work well with my colleagues and we collaborate and try to do the best job we can possibly do every single week on this show. That’s all I’m left with. … And people have said, "Why are women relegated to the sideline," but I feel very valued down there.
RB: How soon do you start prepping for a game and does flex scheduling late in the year throw a wrench into your typical prep time?
MT: I take it week by week. Every single week, you stay abreast of the headlines league-wide so nothing catches you off guard. I watch the standings and know the teams I’m going to be covering, but as far as getting embroiled in a game that’s a week-by-week proposition. … As you said, it’s 12 days (with flex scheduling). And one thing that’s been a big asset for me my whole life is that I’m a quick study. When we have to shift on the fly, it doesn’t bother me. We all have to do it. It’s not a big deal. I just hope that wherever I’m going is warm.
The infamous Saints bounty program gave us the unforgettable line, "Kill the head and the body will die." This remains a sore spot in Vikings history, as it pertains to trying to take out Brett Favre in the NFC title game following the 2009 season. But if we have learned anything in the years leading up to that game, and now the years afterward, it is this:
You can try to kill the head of a Brett Favre rumor, but the body of that rumor will never die.
The latest, per ESPN's Adam Schefter: The Rams, desperate for a quarterback after Sam Bradford went down with a torn ACL, contacted Favre to check the 44-year-old gunslinger's appetite for yet another comeback.
Favre hasn't played since December 2010, but that didn't stop the Rams from reaching out to Favre's agent, Bus Cook.
One source familiar with the Rams' conversations said that if Favre took them up on their interest, "it could break Twitter."
Yet the man who famously wavered over whether to play too many times to count didn't waver this time. Through Cook, Favre told the Rams that he was retired -- actually, really, officially.
Favre was asked about the Rams' interest in an interview with ESPN 570 Radio in Washington on Thursday and made it clear he is not returning to the NFL.
"It's flattering, but you know there's no way I'm going to do that," he said.
This, of course, is where all Favre rumors start -- with leaked news, then a denial, then ...?
Granted, Favre is much older now than when he attempt his many previous comebacks. Then again, we've never been convinced this was really over. Why else would Cook talk about what great shape Favre is in earlier this year -- hey, we made a video about it! Research for that video armed us with the dangerous knowledge that Warren Moon, Steve DeBerg and Vinny Testaverde all started games at age 44 in the past 20 years.
What we think is this: Favre has no interest in going and playing for a 3-4 Rams team fighting an uphill battle in a stacked NFC West. We could only really imagine him going to 1 of 7 teams at this point: the Seahawks, 49ers, Saints, Chiefs, Broncos, Colts or Patriots -- basically the seven top Super Bowl contenders, if any of them ran into a season-ending QB injury.
Wait, better make that eight: We'll add the Packers to the list as well.
For now, Brett can keep riding that bike 30-50 miles a day and enjoying the good life. He always knows where that white horse is if someone really interesting gives him a call.
The NFL is at a saturation point when it comes to how its games are spread out over TV these days. There are Thursday night games, Sunday night games and Monday night games in addition to the regular Sunday afternoon menu. There is the opening week MNF doubleheader. Playoff games dip into Saturdays. On occasion, when a roof collapses, games are played on Tuesdays (OK, that's more an exception than a rule).
And now the NFL is floating the idea of a Thursday night doubleheader. They are officially denying it, but Jerry Jones opened his big mouth:
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said the league is discussing playing two games on Thursday nights, though nothing is imminent. ... He said, “We could easily have a doubleheader on Thursday. I don’t think that is out of the realm of thought, we haven’t set up how we will do it.”
Stop. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing -- like a dish of ice cream vs. a bathtub full of ice cream. (Bad example, that would be fantastic). Like imagine if new episodes of Breaking Bad were on 4 nights a week. You have other things to do with your lives (hopefully).
The balance is good right now. It's almost too much, but it's fine. You can pick up the Thursday night game at your leisure. The Sunday night game is usually a good matchup, and Monday Night Football gives you something to do. Two games on Thursday night? You're just dividing up the mediocrity and making me care less (not to mention making people panic that they've forgotten four teams instead of two when it comes to setting a fantasy lineup).
Just say no.
File this under "stories you never thought you would see."
All the same: kudos to Matt Birk.
Per the Baltimore Ravens web site:
It wasn’t long ago that Matt Birk was a 310-pound NFL center sporting a cut on the bridge of his nose and varicose veins.
Now just about eight months into his retirement, Birk is trying to become a model.
He’s lost an incredible 75 pounds and 10 inches from his waist. Frankly, he looks like he’s ready for an episode of “Baywatch.”
Birk is in the running to be the next Vi Model, which would feature him on the cover of The Challenge Magazine 2014 and turn him into the poster boy for Body By Visalus, a company that has the ultimate mission of ending obesity.
Birk needs votes to reach the finals of the competition, and fans have less than four days to cast their ballots here.
Look at that picture. Mind-blowing, right?