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Posted: Wednesday May 6, 2009 11:39AM; Updated: Wednesday May 6, 2009 5:27PM
Don Banks Don Banks >
INSIDE THE NFL

Brett Favre Snap Judgments: Fed up by yet another No. 4 flip-flop

Story Highlights

Enough with the monumental case of indecision; make up your mind

Favre can't seem to get past the Packers' decision to move on

Why do the Vikings need a broken-down, 40-year-old QB anyway?

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This is how Packers fans felt about Brett Favre at the end of the 2006 season. Think they feel the same way now?
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I couldn't sleep much last night. I just had too many Favre-related thoughts percolating on the brain. I found myself thinking I must record them in Snap Judgment fashion...

• It's beyond tiresome by now. Let's face it, it's sad and kind of pathetic that we're once again being sucked into another Brett Favre watch. What are we up to now, four, five summers in a row with the same basic storyline: Will he play or won't he? The indecision of the man has become as legendary as his football feats, and infinitely less entertaining.

There's always the pro-Favre faction that says he wants to play, so let him play. What's so bad about that? Not a thing. I say if he wants to play, let him play. But enough with the monumental case of indecision. Decide one way or another and stick with it for longer than three months.

For the love of Lombardi, make us believe just one time that you know your own mind, heart and body. Stop crying wolf and expecting us to come running the next time you open your mouth. Take a cue from John Madden and be sure the time is right to either walk away, or get back to work. Just figure things out in your own head before ever sharing it with a soul. Because we're all so painfully and obviously over the whole charade.

(More on Brett Favre, Lance Armstrong and other star athletes who couldn't stay retired.)

Sorry, but no one will ever convince me it's not all about ego at this point with Favre. The need for adulation and adoration -- he doesn't know how to live without either. Sure he loves the game. Most athletes do. But what keeps bringing him back is his utter lack of having any identity other than being Brett Favre, NFL icon. So many ultra-famous pro athletes have struggled with that in their post-playing career lives, but why has only Favre set a new standard when it comes to suffering separation anxiety from the only thing he has really ever known?

I theorize it has much to do with having been in the almost unique role all those years of being Brett Favre in Green Bay. There was no larger-than-life fish in a smaller NFL pond. What he meant to that particular franchise, with the corresponding size of his fame and celebrity, was unparalleled and unmatched. Favre's footprint in Green Bay was bigger and deeper than Peyton Manning's in Indy, and Tom Brady's in New England. In my book, it wasn't even close.

But Favre can't seem to get over the fact that things eventually changed for him with the Packers. The franchise decided to move on before he was ready. For so many years there was no difference between what was good for the Packers and what was good for Favre. Then one day, there was and he still can't deal with that reality. Thus, last season's fling with the Jets and now the latest flirtation with the Vikings -- and perhaps one last attempt to seek revenge against the Packers for the unforgivable sin of ever deeming to not need Favre.

• I've been pretty consistent in my view that Favre has somewhat tarnished his legacy in the past 10 months or so, starting with last July's blood-feud standoff with the Packers front office and coaching staff. Not a historic, infamy-laden, Pete Rose level of tarnish mind you, but just a recognition that the Favre of pre-July 2008 had pretty much the best possible relationship with a franchise and its iconic fan base as ever existed in pro sports. The Orioles and Cal Ripken Jr. come to mind, but the list is very short.

But now, thanks to his bitter divorce with the Packers and his roller-coaster ride of a one-season stint with the Jets, Favre's reputation has been impacted. Some Packers fans soured on him and his Favre-first ways. And some Jets fans -- and New York teammates -- in the end decided he wasn't really all he was cracked up to be, either.

But I can't wait to hear the Favre apologists make the case this time that his legacy won't be the least bit affected if No. 4 pulls on a Vikings jersey in 2009 and spends the season wearing a third different uniform in the past three years. While some Packers fans couldn't stomach the sight of Favre in Jets green, how many more of them will be repulsed by the visage of their former hero in Vikings horns? How many of them will be willing to believe Favre isn't being motivated by anything more than bitterness and a need for retribution?

It doesn't matter, some will say. It's just Favre wanting to play and finding a place to do that. I'm not buying it. Of course it matters. If he adds a Favre in Minnesota chapter to the Favre as a Jet chapter we already have there in our mental scrapbook, it'll further dilute the singular entity that Favre and the Packers were for so many NFL seasons. It doesn't undo all his greatness in Green Bay and his glory years as a Packer, but it gives us a sharp contrast of less-than-stellar memories to put there alongside them.

Favre as a Jet featured a big, hoopla-filled start and a sad, desultory finish: a head coach fired and some sniping teammates as he made his exit. It gave us the image of Favre secluding himself in his own private Jets locker room, not nearly as much a part of the team as we were led to believe. In short, it lessened him in the eyes of many.

So what will Favre as a Viking entail? Sweet revenge and personal redemption, maybe even a career-capping Super Bowl win back in the NFC North? Perhaps. But maybe just more of a peek behind the green curtain, and the further struggles of a 40-year-old quarterback who can't seem to find a high note on which to end.

• You know what really cracks me up about this latest twist in Favre's self-indulgence? Every time there's another Favre flip-flop coming on the retirement front, every veteran Favre-watcher in the media who had no idea what he was going to do about retirement the past five times feels compelled to tell us once again they have no idea what he's going to do this time.

Well, no kidding. Can we all just assume that no one knows what Favre is going to do at this point, given that even Favre doesn't know himself? Isn't that a tad obvious? The guy is incapable of making up his mind and sticking to it for an entire offseason. We get it. So why do the "experts'' feel the need to remind everyone of just how inaccurate they've been?

• Nice to see Bus Cook's name back on the news crawl at the bottom of our TV screens. Favre's longtime agent had been laying dangerously low after the whole Jay Cutler thing finally died down. I was worried maybe Cook was bored or something. But all is well in the world now that he has another quarterback client in the headlines. It just doesn't seem like summer's coming unless the words Favre and Cook show up in the same sentence of 15 stories a day.

• So let me get this straight: Favre still has a partially torn biceps in his throwing arm, hasn't worked out at all this offseason, turns 40 in October, and lost four of his final five starts last season, throwing nine interceptions, two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 55.4?

Yeah, I can see why the Vikings would jump all over him.

• Good thing the Vikings weren't guilty of tampering with Favre last offseason. See what good things happen when you play by the rules and wait your turn? You don't have to have discreet backchannel phone conversations. Your head coach can meet face-to-face with prospective quarterbacks at undisclosed locations.

• What do you bet that Greta Van Susteren is just burning up those phone lines trying to get one more ratings bonanza out of a sit-down with Favre? Hello, Bus?

• If Favre does wind up in Minnesota this season, who does Cook root for in those two Vikings-Bears games? I'd lean toward Chicago if I were him, because Cutler's next payday should be the mother lode. Which gets me wondering, what's three percent of a mother lode?

• Don't look now, but the Week 1 regular season features Minnesota at Cleveland in a 1 p.m. kick off. That could be fun. Favre versus Eric Mangini, the guy he helped get fired last Dec. 29.

• I can see it coming: Favre fatigue replaces swine flu as next pandemic scare. And there are no known vaccines, short of dropping ESPN from your cable package.

• Note to all those Vikings fans who are champing at the bit to run out and plunk down $80 for a purple-and-yellow Favre jersey: At least talk it over first with your cousin Vinny, the Jets fan in New Jersey. He's using his No. 4 to mop up oil stains on the garage floor these days, and saving up for that No. 6 Mark Sanchez beauty.

 
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