If Favre retires, was signing worth it for Vikings?

Before their win over the Cowboys in the Divisional Round two weeks ago, I proposed the question of whether or not signing Brett Favre was worth it for the Vikings. Now that Minnesota has been knocked out of the playoffs and the annual Brett Favre retirement dance has begun, I’m proposing a similar question.

If Favre does decide to hang ‘em up this offseason, was signing him for one year worth it for the Vikings?

Had they lost to Dallas, I would have empathically said “no” to the above question. The Vikings won the division and reached the playoffs with Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson in 2008. So for all intents and purposes, had they lost to the Cowboys the Vikings would not have improved under Favre and therefore, his signing would have been a waste. After all, Minnesota didn’t jump over all the hurdles to sign Favre last offseason just so they could win another division title and be bounced in their first playoff game. And had he retired after a loss to Dallas, the signing would have looked even worse.

However, my stance has changed after the Vikes advanced to the NFC Championship Game because that meant they did improve with Favre under center. They weren’t knocking on the door of a Super Bowl last year with Jackson at quarterback and although we’ll never know, I highly doubt they would have reached the NFC title game with Jackson or Sage Rosenfels this season.

So yeah, the signing of Favre was worth it in my eyes. Did they sign him in hopes that he would advance them to the Super Bowl? Of course they did, but 30 teams fail to reach the Super Bowl every year and 28 of them didn’t get as far as the Vikings did this season. They knew they were a quarterback away from making a legitimate run and they did what they had to do in order to sign one of the best in the game.

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Bradley: Favre is the most overrated athlete of our time

Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fighting words for Packer fans:

Which is this: Brett Favre is the most overrated athlete of our time.

Favre isn’t the greatest quarterback ever. He’s not even in the top 10. He’s 20th all-time in passer rating, 17th in completion percentage. Yes, he’s No. 1 in yardage and touchdown passes, but he’s also No. 1 by some distance in interceptions. Put it this way: If you added Peyton Manning’s and Joe Montana’s INTs together, you still wouldn’t match Favre’s massive total.

To Favre’s legion of admirers, he wasn’t just a quarterback but The Embodiment Of Football Itself. He was tough and he was daring and he got really excited and he played on the frozen tundra for the old-school Packers and … OK already! But he wasn’t the best quarterback Green Bay had seen — Bart Starr was better — and to me he wasn’t as good as the guy who nearly won a championship with the Arizona Cardinals.

That’s right. Kurt Warner. Who has won just as many titles as Favre, who has been to more Super Bowls, who has a better career completion percentage and a higher passer rating and a lower interception percentage but who had the misfortune of playing most of his career for the wrong Midwestern team in an unfrozen dome.

Unlike down-home Favre, Warner has never been seen as a real man’s man — no Wrangler ads — and hasn’t inspired the breathless adoration that John Madden and Peter King and every voice on ESPN lavished on Favre. Warner is considered a really good quarterback who throws a pretty ball and seems serious about his religion and has a talkative wife. Favre, as we know, is viewed as an icon.

I fail to see what commercials have to do with this argument, but I think Bradley was trying to drive his point home by playing to Warner’s good-guy persona.

What’s overrated in sports these days is the overrated statement itself. It’s not enough to sit back and enjoy a guy’s career, we have to pick it apart and compare it to every other player’s career in the history of the game. Favre didn’t play in Starr’s era, so you can’t compare the two. Peyton Manning has had the opportunity to play in the same offensive system since he was a rookie and Montana had Bill Walsh to learn from. If we’re going to compare things, you have to account for all variables – not just the ones that make your argument (i.e. stats).

Brett Favre might be overrated in the fact that his numbers don’t compare to other quarterbacks who aren’t viewed as a God. But to generally say he was an overrated player is a massive reach.

Does Favre still want to play for the Vikings?

Dennis Dillon of Sporting News.com is pondering that very question:

Brett FavrePardon me for being skeptical, but I can’t help wondering if there’s a hidden agenda here. Is Favre, 39, really hanging it up this time? Or is he clearing a path for a return with another team — like, for instance, the Vikings?

In a sense, Favre has had a symmetrical football career. He played 16 years in Green Bay, sandwiched between a beginning bookend year in Atlanta and a finishing bookend year in New York.
What does he have left to accomplish?

He is a three-time NFL most valuable player. He went to two Super Bowls and won one. He owns numerous NFL passing records, and he certainly will be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

But somehow, I can’t help but think we haven’t seen the last of Brett Favre. I get the feeling he’s not ready to close the book on his football career. Don’t be surprised if he comes back for a 19th season.
After all, there’s no limit on the number of times he can retire.

I truly believe Favre just likes new challenges at this point in his career. He was done with the Green Bay thing, so he tried the Big Apple. That wasn’t entirely to his liking and for some strange reason there seems to be a notion that he has a desire to play in Minnesota. Maybe he has some strange hard on for walking into Lambeau Field as a member of another team just to see how Packer fans would react. Or maybe he wants to see a fan base like Minnesota cheer him after years of despising him.

Whatever his reason, I’m with Dillion – something tells me Favre isn’t done.

Brett Favre tells Jets he’s retiring

According to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen, Brett Favre has instructed his agent Bus Cook to notify the Jets that he is retiring.

In an e-mail to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Favre indicated he had no regrets about finishing his career with the Jets rather than with the Green Bay Packers franchise he represented for his previous 16 NFL seasons. He specifically praised Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, team owner Woody Johnson and fired coach Eric Mangini — and even mentioned Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes, both of whom were publicly critical of Favre after the team’s collapse in the final month of the season prevented the Jets from making the playoffs.

While Favre did not directly broach the subject of the team simply releasing him so that he might have the option of signing with another team such as the Minnesota Vikings, a source said that Cook informally discussed the option with the Jets. The Jets respectfully declined that option, the source said.

The retirement decision should not have surprised the Jets even though the team had publicly encouraged Favre to play another season. Favre informed Tannenbaum before the Super Bowl that he was leaning toward retirement. At some point within the past week, Favre told Cook to inform the Jets that he wanted to retire without fanfare and that the team could make the decision public at its convenience.

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but we’ve all been down this road before. In fact, we went down this road last year only to have Favre pull an about face and say he wanted to play again. Maybe he does want to officially hang it up with the amount of pain he had to play with at the end of the season last year. Or maybe this is his way of sneaking out the backdoor only to return again in a couple of months.

Nobody knows what’s going through his mind right now. If he is done, hey, it’s been one of the best rides for Packer and football fans alike and Brett was one of the best. He gave a lot of people a lot of great memories, but let’s hold off for the next couple months and see how this situation plays out before assuming he is officially retiring.

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