Two reasons why Brett Favre and the Vikings won’t win the Super Bowl

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings runs off the field after their 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Even though his annual retirement dance has long become an absurd spectacle, I’ve always maintained that Brett Favre can do whatever he wants.

Play. Don’t play. Sit on your tractor. Take pictures of weird people at Wal-Mart – I don’t care. Who am I to say when an athlete’s time is up? It’s not my decision.

With that in mind, no, I don’t think that it’s a mistake that Favre has decided to come back. Regardless of whether or not you’re entertained by his offseason antics or he makes you want to give yourself an at-home lobotomy, there’s no question that he can still play. And play at an elite level, for that matter.

But will he lead the Vikings to a Super Bowl? I think there are two distinct reasons why he won’t:

1. His Health.
Two years ago, Favre suffered a biceps injury and it played a huge role in sinking the Jets’ playoff hopes in the final month of the season. Last year, he made it all the way to the NFC title game, but he suffered a nasty ankle injury (the same ankle that required surgery in the offseason), which was one of the factors in the Vikings’ demise. Say what you want about Sir Fickle, but the man is a warrior. He’s never missed a game throughout his career and I suspect he never will. But at 40 years old, does anyone really think he’s going to stay healthy enough to lead the Vikes to the Super Bowl? Granted, no player is healthy by about Week 10 of the season, but they’re not 40 years old either. Let’s just play the trends here; the last two years an injury has sunk his team’s Super Bowl hopes. So let’s make it a third this year.

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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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If the Vikings lose on Sunday, would signing Favre have been a waste?

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t just sign Brett Favre in the offseason: They jumped through every hoop and hopped every hurdle in front of them in order to acquire the ageless one, including alienating Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson in the process. (And while I can’t prove it, I also fully believe that Brad Childress sold his soul in order to sign Favre as well.)

That’s why if the Vikings lose this Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys, signing Favre would have arguably been a waste. A team like Minnesota doesn’t subject itself the way it did this offseason to sign a 40-year old quarterback to lose in the second round of the playoffs. It signs a 40-year old drama queen because he’s worth it and to ensure that the team is going to have a shot at winning the Super Bowl.

Okay, so there are no sure things in pro football. Signing Favre didn’t guarantee anything for the Vikings, but they knew that they were a legit passing attack away from being a Super Bowl contender and so far, suffering through Favre’s drama this offseason has been worth it.

But if they lose this weekend, then they would have accomplished nothing. Favre isn’t going to play forever (uh, I think) and the Vikings’ window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl has been shrinking since Week 1. If they lose to the Cowboys, then the Vikes will have won precisely the same amount of playoff games with Tarvaris Jackson under center last year: Zero.

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