That was my first reaction.
Brett Favre is returning to the Minnesota Vikings. For the second straight summer, he is swooping in as conquering hero to “have fun out there” and lead his team to playoff glory. The fact he is returning should not come as a surprise. Brett Favre is the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns, interceptions, consecutive games started and un-retirements.
The man’s employment status was a touchstone for many NFL fans in the latter half of the previous decade. His “will he/won’t he” flip-flopping raised questions of what Packer fans actually meant to Favre, and what his offseason actions meant to his legacy. In the middle of his third consecutive year of un-retirement, I believe the American sports fan has finally accepted that this uncertainty is part of the Gunslinger’s character, for better or worse. He is a player bound for Canton when -if – he can pull the trigger on a lasting retirement.
While the rest of the country leans toward ambivalence, joyful Viking fans can place their Tavaris Jackson jerseys back into storage. The nice thing about finally coming to accept Favre as indecisive is that his comeback is limited to a purely football issue. And in football, Favre remains relevant.
He had perhaps his best statistical season in ’09, and minus a characteristically boneheaded interception that killed Minnesota late in the NFC Championship game against New Orleans, was the offensive MVP for the Vikes. Favre has certainly earned the right to return, the right to be courted by a planeful of teammates begging him to come back. With no. 4 behind center, Minnesota plans to contend again for a trip to the Super Bowl.
I’ll be in the stands for the Vikes’ home opener against my Dolphins (sorry, born into it) on Sept. 19, and the game will be more exciting for Favre’s presence. His crazy, heroic, and questionable throws are still viable, despite what I said last year before his return (and I’m eating those words now). It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Vikes in the Super Bowl, winning it or losing it because of Favre.
In the meantime, his crazy, heroic (for Vikes’ fans) and questionable returns to the game will be met with that “meh” reaction. Alert me when the regular season starts, and Favre does something that’s not half-hearted: throwing the ball.