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Favre needs time to consider future

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Neil Reynolds | 18:36 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I'll dig deep into the Super Bowl 44 match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints next week but suffice to say those offence-minded teams have the potential to serve up yet another dramatic shootout in Miami on 7 February.

This upcoming game has all the makings of a classic quarterback battle along the lines of Dan Marino and Joe Montana in the 1984 season showpiece game and John Elway and Brett Favre at the conclusion of the 1997 campaign.

Peyton Manning is gunning for his second Super Bowl ring in four seasons, while Drew Brees can put up fantasy football-like numbers at the helm of the Saints' attack.

But, while there is much to look forward to, I want to pause for a moment and consider the future of Minnesota Vikings quarterback href="">Brett Favre, who provided a snapshot of his entire career during the course of one game over the weekend - there were moments of brilliance, long periods of breathtaking courage and determination and, sadly, a turnover as he tried to do too much with the game on the line.

Brett FavreFavre has to decide whether he wants to postpone retirement for another shot at Super Bowl glory

Favre gave his absolute all. He left nothing on the field at the end of a heartbreaking 31-28 overtime loss that sent the Who Dat faithful in New Orleans racing to Bourbon Street for a celebration to remember (although most of them are probably struggling to recall their post-match activities).

The Saints adopted a 'hit Favre' approach to the game and they certainly achieved that goal. Favre took some severe punishment. It seemed like every passing play ended with him pole-axed on the floor with a defensive lineman or linebacker on top of him.

Favre suffered what looked like a serious left ankle injury in the second half - he claimed afterwards that he heard a lot of crunching in his foot - yet he hobbled around on one leg and ended the game with 310 yards and a touchdown to his name.

But the interception he threw to Tracy Porter with seven seconds remaining proved to be his last shot at victory.

A double time-out, 12-men-in-the-huddle catastrophe had left Ryan Longwell facing a 55-yard field goal to win the game. The Vikings needed a few more yards to get into scoring range. Favre rolled right on third down, scanned the field - which was relatively open in front of him - and the entire population of Minnesota screamed: "RUN!"

That is very easy to say from the comfort of your armchair or from the safety of the press box because it did look like Favre could have gained at least five or six yards. But this was a guy literally on his last legs. His entire body must have been hurting, he could barely walk let alone run and he was acting on pure instinct.

Put yourself in Favre's shoes. Would you have trusted your 40-year-old legs (one of which is damaged) or the arm that has thrown for more than 69,000 yards and 497 touchdowns?

I'm going with the arm every time.

Favre then made what has to be called an ill-advised pass. A quarterback should never throw late across the middle when rolling to one side of the field. That is usually lesson number one at quarterback school.

But it was the kind of throw that quarterbacks with strong arms often try to make because they feel they have the arm strength to complete any pass, even if it requires 100% accuracy through the tightest of windows. John Elway often rolled to his right and threw back against the grain over the middle - and it should be noted that he had only mixed fortunes at best with that type of throw.

Favre was trying to make a play for his team and felt his arm strength would bail the Vikings out. He was proven wrong but I find it hard to be too critical of the old warrior given the bravery he showed on the field at the Lousiana Superdome.

If blame needs to be passed around, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian can take their share. The Vikings fumbled way too many times, turned the ball over five times and probably left at least 20 points on the field. Had they avoided those turnovers, they might have won at a canter.

The question now is whether - for the second time - Favre's glittering career will end on an interception late in an NFC Championship Game?

I know people will start to sigh at the prospect of another few months of Brett Favre 2010 Watch, but such an important decision should not be rushed. I think that is one thing Favre will have learned from his recent flip-flopping.

He needs to take his time, make sure he knows what he wants to do and then make a decision and stick to it.

It would be hard to make up his mind right now. His body will be aching after a severe beating and he will be feeling down having come so close to the Super Bowl. By contrast, he cannot get too caught up in the excitement of the NFC title game at this time - he has to think ahead and gauge how he would feel to be trudging through a July training camp in 90-degree heat.

The games are the fun part for Favre and he may actually be buzzing from the heat of the battle right now, but practices and training camps are vitally important to a team's season preparations. The Vikings will hold mini-camp sessions in May and June and get together for preseason training in July and August.

Is Favre up to that physical challenge? Now he has signed for the Vikings, I don't see how he can rock up at the team headquarters in August and expect to play, as he did in 2009.

Those wishing to see one more season of the old master can take comfort from these facts - Favre is where he wants to be, he is in great form and he has unfinished business.

The Vikings were the team Favre wanted to play for all along when he left the Green Bay Packers. That was one of the reasons why he retired as a New York Jet last year.

And as he proved throughout the 2009 campaign, Favre remains one of the best pure passers in the game and someone more than capable of leading the Vikings' attack in 2010.

Finally, Favre will feel these Vikings are talented enough to go one stage further next season and represent the wide-open NFC in Super Bowl 45. He could be hungry to finish what he started this year.

When you take those factors into account - coupled with the fact Favre doesn't appear to have much planned for life after the NFL - it looks likely the future Hall of Famer will return for at least one more year in the spotlight.

But I also wonder how the Vikings get Favre through the off-season programme because it would clearly be best for all concerned - at least on a physical level - if he stepped onto the field about a month before the 2010 campaign kicked off.

If Favre says yes to a return, Vikings head coach Brad Childress will be more than happy to sort out that logistical headache.

You can watch Super Bowl XLIV, live on BBC One and online, and listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, on Sunday 7 February from 2250 GMT. (Available to UK users only).


  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting to me that the Saints D has put two legendary QBs to the same decision.

    My own view is that Childress will not want Favre for another season. He may wait to see if he could pick up say a Sam Bradford the draft (there's no sign of any team falling over themselves to get the guy who is comfortably the best QB on offer), or he may look at whether another team gives up on a veteran QB - and try to sign him up. Childress I reckon will be willing gamble on getting success with a less flashy, manage-the-game type QB. The key question is if the right sort of player is available.

    But even then, that doesn't mean Favre won't go somewhere else. I doubt it, but who knows. What price Arizona if Warner calls it a day?

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree, i don't think he will be there next year. The beating he took off the Saints will hopefully have made him realise that he should retire. He has been an terrific player, however i do not see the vikings having as good a season next year. They need to move on, because once Favre has gone they will be back to square one!! They needed a QB yes but now he has had his go at glory, and came up just short! He has had an amazing season but will be worse next if he stays everyone knows that. Minnesota move on look to the future and get a young QB. Favre, please retire and let the Bears get back to the top of the NFC North ;-)

  • Comment number 3.

    As a Vikes fan, Favre was great this season and helped take Sidney Rice up a level. That said, I don't think he can take us to the Super Bowl next season, and in light of that, we should start thinking for the future and draft a QB who we can stay with in the long run. Reunite Tim Tebow with Percy? There are questions about his mechanics, arm strength, and accuracy with the intermediate routes, but his ability to scramble and throw on the run will be significantly boosted by AP's ability to take away the pass rush.

    @miket Your Bears aren't going to the top of the NFC North, not with Jay "Picked Off" Cutler at least.

  • Comment number 4.

    @miket, I fear it may be a while before your Bears reach the top again. You guys cant even hire an OC at the moment, so there is no fixing that broken offense just yet.
    Also, I think the Packers will be alot more consistent next year, and with the youngest team in the NFL, and some of their talent they will be strong.

    Anyway, to Favre! The guy is a legend, he was battered all day long by the Saints but he played some great football; his interception was not a bad thing and in no way did it lose the Vikings the game; it was Peterson and all the fumbles that forced Favre into making plays; if they had held the ball as they had been taught no way would Minnesota been pushing the game with seconds left. The Vikings should have been out of sight by then!!

    I think Superbowl will be a great game! I am a fan of Manning, but because it is the Saints, I will be rooting for them, Not to sure on the outcome yet.

    Neil, I know that this is not your fault, but the live text coverage and the articles on the bbc website following the game were not great; also the games played on Sunday were the Conference CHampionships and NOT the Super Bowl semi finals as indicated by bbc writers on this site! Have a word with them Neil!!!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    The handling errors from AP in particular robbed Favre of a possible fairytale ending to the season. He did enough to get the Vikings home who were badly let down by ordinary execution of football basics. The Vikings would be poorer without him, no amount of youth and zeal can ever replace that kind of experience, he led his team well. I agree Neil, Favre needs to take his time in making the decision. It'd be easy for us weekend warriors to say his time is up but we are all a long time out of any game we play. He should play on if he feels up to it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Morning all!

    with respect to Favre i think he will stay one more season in Miniapolis, but make it clear that this will be his last.
    If the vikings can further develop and enforce the running game (i'm looking at you Adrian Butterfingers) this will take a lot of the pressure of Favre having to attempt spectacular throws when he's under pressure.

    it's no secrect that a sound running game will help any QB from rookie to vet and i think this will be the key for the Vike's next year.

    i disagree with Mike and think the Vikings will be a strong team next year but only if they can keep defences on the back-foot with a strong running game.

    Another thing that the NFCCG and AFCCG have re-affirmed to me is that the standard of Officiating in the NFL is downright terrible at times and those who saw the full games will know what i'm talking about!!!

    Too many times in the regular and off-season the outcome of games has been decided by very questionable calls and even more bewildering reviews from the Booth.

    What is your view on the standard this year?

    sorry for the long post

  • Comment number 7.

    Im not jumping on the Vikings players because to be quite honest out of 5 turnovers Favre was directly responsible for 2 (He did throw 2 interceptions) and was partially responsible for 1 turnover. Also, do defenses not get credit for takeaways anymore?

    The Saints played old school defense and went after the old man; it was what every other team should have done this year but didnt. Favre showed exactly what he is..... an old QB at the end of his career.
    The Saints D-Line beat Favre into submission and in one desperate decision from Favre got what they deserved. I really can't even come to terms with how bad that decision is and because his name is Favre apparently its fine.
    It would be interesting to see what people would have said if it the games were switched and Sanchez was the QB in question and he made that throw.

    Now to next year, I said this would happen. What do the Vikings/ Childress do now?

    T. Jackson will most likely decide to leave because of the way he has been treated by the Vikes, unless they promise he is the starter which means Favre will have to officially decided to retire.
    That leaves them waiting on Favre and unfortunately the Vikes cant afford to wait that long; you say he should take his time but what about the Vikings. Surely they have to look at the future of the franchise and if T.Jackson leaves and Favre decides after the draft to retire they may find themselves with no QB..... oh I suppose they could put Rosenfels in as starter.

    If Favre comes back for one more year.

    Sunday showed Favre is there to be hit if you bring pressure and every team will blitz to try and beat him into submission. Also, as Mr Carlson said the other day; can the Vikings and Favre have a better year than this year? The Vikings maybe a better team with Favre but ultimately they still fell short of their goal and played outstanding all year.

  • Comment number 8.

    A bit defensive of the old master to be honest. Favre himself said he should have just run 3-4 yards. His ankle wasn't an issue. If you can roll out 6 yards easily, you can scamper for 3. I'm not saying he wasn't banged up. But you can hobble 5 yards pretty easily. Donovan McNabb played an entire game with a broken ankle.

    It was an awful decision. Simple as that. Throwing a risky throw from that position, or just go for a 55 yard field goal? It's quite simple. Throw it away. A pick can end the game for you there. The guy could have taken it home and won the game there and then.

    No way Manning, Brees, Brady, Montana, Marino, Starr, Aikman, make that throw. They all throw it away.

    Which is Favre's problem. He lets his heart run his head. It's always been his problem. Whenever he gets in a very high pressure situation, he just goes with adrenaline.

    Not that he's not one of the greatest ever. And that adrenaline has won him as many games as it has lost him.

    But he's not the guy you want, when your in a position where you have to play conservative!

    I think he'll come back. The guy has an ego the size of a house, and he won't want to go out like that. Simple as that.

    If fit, he'll come back into training camp again.

  • Comment number 9.

    Eddie George

    re: Bradford

    He's not viewed as the best QB in the draft by all. Jimmy Clausen may well go above him. It's the Mark Sanchez factor. Clausen is very similar to MS as in, he's completely pro ready, and a great leader.

    He has played a pro system all his college career, like Sanchez, and they are pretty sure he can play at the next level near the top end.

    Bradford is way way riskier. He has an average arm, and has just come off majot surgery to his shoulder.

    Whats more, he's never played in a pro system. Just spread offences. As in, just sat in shotgun, with 4 receivers and a tight end on the field all the time.

    The difference between college and pro game is that in college they are only allowed to rush a certain amount of blitzers at you.

    So they generally don't bother with huge protection from running backs, full backs and tight ends. They are just used as out and out pass catchers.

    So guys like Bradford just sit in shot gun, and have about 5-6 guys to throw at.

    In the NFL you can rush up to 8 people at any time. You can send 8 blitzers. 4 line men. 1 running back. 1 full back. 2 tight ends. That's what you'd need to cover that level of rush! And it still wouldn't be enough, as a lot of guys need to be double teamed.

    So when they move to the NFL they realise that they have to handle way more blitzing, and have way less targets to hit. In essence, they have to be a lot more accurate, and have a lot quicker release to play in the pro game.

    That's Tebows problem. He's not that accurate on the deeper routes, and has the slowest release since Byron Leftwich. That's why they worry about him. How's he going to stand up to 6,7,8 man blitzes

    Either way, both Bradford and Clausen will go top 10. They may well both go top 5.

    No chance Minnesota will trade up that far.

  • Comment number 10.


    Don't agree. Bears had the worst offensive line in the league, no running game, and no targets who could get open. It's not a great offensive combination to find yourself in.

    The Bears have holes like most of the 0.5000 teams and below, but you know this league well enough. It only takes a good draft, or a couple of good free agents to go from worst to first in any division.

    They hired Cutler as he's a perfect system fit. Nobody throws a deep ball like Cutler in the league. Not even Manning or Brady.

    It's the run and gun formation. Suck them in with the run, and then go over their heads with the deep throw. That's what they are going for.

    If they give him a decent deep threat, and a line, he'll be a very good NFL QB again.

    Just look at the drop off from Kyle Orton playing for Denver and Chicago. He had a worse QB rating than Cutler last year in the windy city.

    A heck of a lot of a good QB is a good line.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm already sick of this story. This is the third year running that Farve is trying out is Hamlet act. "To retire or not to retire, that is the question". People are already tired of it. Especially since his "feels" are little more than a melodramitic act designed to get attention. The problem is, over here, media networks will give him attention especially ESPN who absolutely Loves "The Farve Watcg" as there bazillion or so analysts have already speculated on his future. No body really believes Farve is going to retire. No body and yet, at this point most people want him to go away. We're tired of his act. Take it somewhere else. Please and leave America alone.

  • Comment number 12.

    I also agree that a consideration for Favre will more than likely be the fact that the Vikings won't be as strong next year.

    They were maybe a team right at the top of their potential. Everything was there.

    There offensive line really started to struggle in the second half of the season, and cornerstones like Bryant McKinnie guarding his blind side, may well be past it.

    Not that they won't be a winning team, but he may well consider the fact that it will be an uphill struggle next season to win it all

  • Comment number 13.

    As for superbowl - last point!

    I was a bit worried watching Brees on Sunday. He had definite "rabbit in the headlights" syndrome in a big game.

    The guy looked plain nervous, and played pretty poorly. When the game was on the line, he just about came through, and made some completions. But he threw a lot of really bad balls. Lots of over throws, under throws. Even simple plays, he was throwing out a wobbling, rock to his guys.

    In over time, two wide receiver drops, were a direct result of him throwing a bad ball. They were wobbling so much, that they couldn't make the WR play.

    When a WR gets a throw down the middle they need a very tight spiral. So they can gain control as quickly as possible. As they realise that they will almost certainly get hit by either a corner, line backer or safety in the air.

    He was chucking up bricks all night. And he was very very lucky that the Vikings weren't able to finish chances. The Saints could have lost that game by 14 points the way he played.

    You know. Brees won't be the first future HOF QB to go into a Superbowl, and realise that playing under this pressure is a COMPLETELY different ball game. Jim Kelly as a recent example. Even Elway struggle with the pressure of the big game for a long time.

    That's why I back the Colts. I'm convinced Brees is possibly going to go into the SB and play the same way. Good but not great.

    Manning has been there, seen it, and done it. And the Saints don't have a good enough D to stop him putting up 350 yards and 2-3 touchdowns. No one does.

    The question is whether Brees can live with him. I think not.

    This is how the colts win. They get a lead, and then just spend the rest of the game blitzing you. They use their points cushion as blitzing insurance. As they know they can score themselves at any time. They risk you scoring, to get turnovers, and force mistakes. As they know that if you get within 7, they can just go out and score themselves whenever they want.

    The whole superbowl will be whether Brees is able to handle the occasion and match Manning early.

    If the Saints fall behind by say 14, it's all over

  • Comment number 14.

    i agree that the O-line needs to be upgraded and with the high draft pick i dont think it will be anyone from the april event so Childress is going to have to go shopping for a LT in the FA market; if (IF) he can do this and get someone to fit that hole then Favre will be offered more protection and would be sorely tempted to stick around for another year.

    As said earlier i don't think the Vikings will be worse next year as they have the solid foundation to build upon unlike Chicago who seem to have no direction at all; the Packers still wont offer anything next year as they need a couple more reciever's and a whole new offensive line to keep Rogers from IR

  • Comment number 15.


    Appreciate your insight on the draft, and agree that the Vikes won't trade up for a QB because of the questions against this year's vintage (aside from the generic questions against college QBs).

    Where I disagree is on your view that Bradford and Clausen are both top-10 picks. I think there's a real possibility either could slip well down the draft, and I don't think Minnesota would pass up on a Bradford - who provided the surgery was a success, has a pretty decent arm.

    The guys at right now have Bradford at 26th going to the Cards, and Clausen not in the first round. Tebow, also, nowhere to be seen, but that I can understand because his mechanics are so horrible.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Packers still wont offer anything next year as they need a couple more reciever's "

    The packers need more receivers? With Driver, Jennings, Jones and Jordy Nelson and the TE Finley I think receivers is the last thing they need. The pack need to get better on the O-Line and find a running back to help Grant.
    Also they could do with a little bit more help on the defensive side and find a way to effectively use Kampman in the 3-4 or trade him.

    As for the Vikings being better; that depends on what a couple of the veterans on the defense decide to do. If Pat Williams and Winfield decide to retire and the Vikings fail to resign Edwards (DE). The Vikings may find the stellar defense is starting to get a few holes in it that need filling.

  • Comment number 17.

    Completely agree with Raven Defense @16

    The Pack need some OL upgrades, particularly to jump-start their running game. Can't figure if the defense needs fresh faces or better scheming, but they clearly got to avoid the couple of blow-out losses they suffered to the Steelers and Cards.

    Overall though that's a good franchise right now, with a young roster.

  • Comment number 18.

    For me the Vikes have been a better team this year under Favre, I didn't have this view back in August and I thought Jackson was treated poorly by the franchise but that's the decision they took and with the benefit of hindsight it was the right one.
    Favre did (as far as I'm aware) sign a 2 year deal so he is contracted for next year, of course he can walk away but experience has told us that a few months on the couch usually leads him to changing his mind.
    So what of the Vikes ? I kinda get the impression they put all their eggs in the 2009 basket, Jackson is likely (and should) walk, if Favre retires they're left with Rosenfels who is capable but unlikely to make them superbowl contenders.
    AP isn't getting any better and his frequent fumbles are alarming, he's still an awesome back but mistakes are costing his team.
    If I was a Vikes fan I would be thinking we have to get Favre to play next year or we struggle.
    The likes of Harvin and Rice are exciting talents, could Rosenfels or Jackson for that matter get the best out of them ? Probably not.
    Favre or bust for me

  • Comment number 19.

    Aaron Roger's Packers will be in the Super Bowl next season. Brett who?

  • Comment number 20.

    @16 Ravens, just read your comment and wondered why you were busting me...then i re read my coment, what i meant to say was the only thing the Pack dont need is more recievers! (d'oh) thanks for catching that ;)


    keep that Buccaneer curse alive ;p

  • Comment number 21.

    I think its a pity that people are trying to lay the blame for the defeat in the hands of Favre, considering that his passing skills enabled the team to get where it did. Before he joined, the team had a good running game but not such a good passing game, so opposing teams had an easier job of countering.

    With Favre in the ranks, you have to be suicidal not to take anti-pass measures, which has enabled AP to have a very good running year; naturally the reverse statement would also apply. While its true that 3 of the turnovers in the game officially went to Favre, the fumble frankly wasnt his fault, and the first interception was when he was about to be poleaxed for the 10th time in the game, and probably it affected his concentration.

    Regardless of whether he comes back next year (and I hope he does, because he is painfully close to the last few records he could practically take) he should be applauded for his "iron man" qualities, hobbling back onto the field after being hammered all day long and keeping his team pushing forward to the end.

    When he finally does retire, and in a few years when people look back at the raw statistics, he will get the recognition he rightly deserves.

  • Comment number 22.

    JH... re this comment...

    Neil, I know that this is not your fault, but the live text coverage and the articles on the bbc website following the game were not great; also the games played on Sunday were the Conference CHampionships and NOT the Super Bowl semi finals as indicated by bbc writers on this site! Have a word with them Neil!!!!!!

    I actually don't have a problem with the Super Bowl semi-finals line... everyone involved with the NFL in the UK is keen to continue expanding the game to the masses. And the simplest way to do that is to call the games played last weekend the Super Bowl semi-finals.

    Let's face it, the games were semi-finals in which the winners would advance to the Super Bowl. And new fans coming across that link would have had a very clear idea of the games they were following. AFC and NFC Championship Games, in fact, sound like finals themselves to the uninitiated and do not necessarily indicate they are for a berth in a bigger game in the next round.

    I think hard-core, experienced fans have to live with those kind of headlines because we need to make the sport of American football as inclusive as possible. It can be a bit frustrating at times, but they're only words.

    As for the coverage itself, I followed some of the live text updates throughout the evening and thought they were absolutely fine. You would, of course, expect me to say that but I am also a long-standing fan of the sport who can get upset at times when someone comes across as not knowing what they are talking about. I never felt that for one minute over the weekend and I think with the live texts, double headers on 5 Live Sports Extra and highlights on BBC 2, the BBC should be commended for giving such coverage to the NFL.

    Long may it continue !

  • Comment number 23.

    "When he finally does retire, and in a few years when people look back at the raw statistics, he will get the recognition he rightly deserves."

    He has got plenty of recognition for his Green Bay days and if he hadnt bothered coming back we would now be looking back thinking wow what a player Favre was (I still look Madden 09 and wonder why he just didnt end it there). The last 2 years have just slightly tainted it for me.

    I hate the comment he should comeback to break the records. I hope Favre doesnt think like that because thats not what the game is about.

    Also, I think there is something very poetic about Favre bowing out with him throwing an interception on a poor decision. Favre has spent his career making ill-advised throws, on numerous occassions he has come through and been successful. As the saying goes "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Neil,

    Thank you for the response.

    I think from the level of your response, I came across as whining a bit too much! Honestly, not the intention.

    First let me say that, it has been a long time coming that the BBC has brought its American Football coverage to the fore; it has always been hidden somewhat. Of late your blogs have been very visible, and I will say your writing is superb; and written with great knowledge and enthusiasm.

    It may be that I have become too accustomed to your entries that I felt the coverage was below par.

    I have spent eight of the past ten years living in the US so of course my passion for the game became even greater once I had the access I did out there; now I live in the middle east and must rely on other sources, and, you're right, the approach to attract the non football nuts like myself is the right one

    I had no intentions of battering the BBC coverage, I am very grateful it is available, and your remark, 'Long may it continue' is spot on. Long may it, and long may you continue you work with this blog.

    Now the serious stuff, when are we getting your predictions?!?!

  • Comment number 25.

    JH... No problem - thanks for the feedback.

    Next week I will look at the Colts on Tuesday and the Saints on Thursday. In the 2nd of those blogs I will give my Super Bowl prediction but I am leaning towards Indianapolis.

    Unless you were referring to the Pro Bowl :-) I think it will end in a 45-45 tie... they'll play three periods of overtime, realise it's not worth it and give up!

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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