Favre looks like he’s coming home!

“Stay tuned for breaking news from the Minnesota Vikings today on Brett Favre’s possible return. Visit the Vikings.com and Officialbrettfavre.com for more information.”

These are the words currently on Brett Favre’s official website. The man himself has arrived in Minnesota, and a private jet has taken him, Jared Allen, Ryan Longwell and Steve Hutchinson to Winter Park. It looks like Favre Watch may finally be over for another year!

I’ll try to keep as up to date on this one as possible, but it is my bedtime already! Otherwise Adam at the Vikings Gab is also on the case!

Exclusive Interview* With Brett Favre

The mouth of the horse is here! And by horse, I mean Siver Fox. And by here, I mean in my mind. Yes, in honour of recent news stories which may or may not have been based on nothing but here say, I’ve decided to unleash my previously unreleased/unimagined interview with the one and only Brett Favre.

Me: Sooo, Brett, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal. How’s your summer been?

Brett: Yeah, it’s been okay. I’m a grandpappy now so I’ve been spending some time with the kid, trying to impart some of my wisdom. Lil Parker Brett is a future hall of famer, mark my words on that one. Last week he even drew out an I-38-Sweep play in spaghetti hoops, but I intercepted his meatball before it reached the end zone, ha ha ha.

Me: So has Parker told you he wants to follow in your footsteps?

Brett: Not yet, I’m still waiting to hear on that. Parker keeps making noises which I think sound like “I’ll let you know in my own sweet time.” But I’ve bought all the gear just in case, and should have hung up my boots by the time the 2028 draft comes along, so I’ll be waiting at Radio City Music Hall just in case he decides to show up.

Me: And what about you? Any news on this coming season?

Brett: Oh yeah, I’ll be back unless my foot falls off… aaarrrrrgggghhhh!

Me: You okay there Brett?

Brett: Yeah I’m fine. I mean my foot just fell off, but I’m alright.

Me: So you probably won’t be playing next season then will you?

Brett: Did I say that? Well never say never, that’s what I always say. Nah I’ll probably still be back. Just need to get this thing re-attached. Say, can you hold on a sec while I send a text?

Me: Sure. Do you mind me asking who it’s to?

Brett: Yeah, it’s the guy who paints the fences at Winter Park. He was just asking if I knew any good jokes. Right all done. Next question…

Me: So do you ever get tired of people asking you about your retirement?

Brett: What retirement? Who said anything about retirement?

Me: You know, what with your foot falling off, and the story which just broke about you texting people at the Vikes that you are going to retire?

Brett: Oh that! Yeah, I’ve decided that I should call time on everything. It’s been a great year, but I’m getting on a bit now and just want to sit back and enjoy life.

Me: And how do you think the Vikings and their fans are going to react to this news?

Brett: What news?

Me: You retiring?

Brett: I’m not retiring.

Me: Oh, but I thought you just said…

Brett: I didn’t say anything. That was Shank. Next question.

Me: Ooookay. So what are you looking forward to next season?

Brett: Beating the Saint. Beating the P*ckers. Rubbing Chilly’s beard for good luck. Slapping Jared. Singing to Percy before he goes to bed. And then, once I’ve lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, prank called Aaron Rodgers, and put a potato in Tahi’s tailpipe, I think I’m going to call it a day.

Me: I didn’t realise you called the scum, P*ckers too?

Brett: Everyone calls them the P*ckers.

So there you have it, and by it, I mean nothing, apart from some cheap laughs perhaps.

* The above interview, is entirely fictitious. Any similarities with real people or events are purely coincidental, and a result of cunning satire.

Favre and Falsification

There are times when I hate the press. I really hate them. I appreciate they have a job to do, but sometimes they are just parasitic vultures, who love to pounce on any scraps they can find and then try to pass them off as caviar.

And now, 2 days after the Favre’s Textgate scandal, I am reminded once again of how flawed the press system is, and why so many are going out of business as the blogosphere continues to grow. At the end of the World Cup, I read an excellent article on Three and in about the terrible television presentation by British broadcasters during the World Cup, and what I particularly agreed with was how the old guard of bitter and cynical journalists need to be replaced by positive and enthusiastic bloggers, because viewers are sick of pundits moaning incessantly, rather than conveying their passion and enjoyment of the sport, and getting behind their team. It’s a great article and I suggest you read it.

From this awful World Cup coverage, my attention was then drawn to day-in, day-out stories centred around Arsenal’s captain, Cesc Fabregas, as the media in both Spain and England decided to have a competition to see who could come up with the most stories based around an “unnamed source close to the player” in an effort to unsettle him and Arsenal, and help Barcelona sign one of the most coveted players in world football. The trouble is that it all gets a bit tiring after a while, there are only so many “unnamed sources” you can read about before things start to smell very fishy indeed. And worse than this was British papers printing articles that supported the exploits of a Spanish team, rather than backing up the British side.

Perhaps this explains why my blood boiled when I watched Chip and Judd’s roundup video this morning on the Tribune’s website. Now let me start by saying that I appreciate how difficult Favre is to cover. He’s very elusive, and loves to throw the media the odd curveball to keep them on their toes. I also appreciate that the press are in a bit of a fix at the moment, they need to sell papers and get online ad revenue because times are very tough. But this does not excuse the reporting of stories that are damaging to the team these guys are meant to represent, and I think this Favre text story has backfired on them a bit. Now before I go into full rant mode, I just want to say that I do enjoy most of the work from the Star Tribune and the team lead by Chip and Judd. They are very close to the team, give excellent coverage during the season, and I do think that they broke this story believing that it was true (which it may be), but I think this time they may have shot themselves in the feet by reporting on something detrimental to the Vikings and their fans.

Okay, I’ll start by paraphrasing the key points of the video… First off the pair are sticking by their guns that Favre did send text messages to the team, despite Favre’s denial yesterday, but once again they reveal nothing about their source, or how they’ve verified the claims. They then go on to point out that Favre likes to mess with the media, and is lying. Then some bla bla bla about Favre’s absence from Training Camp possibly annoying some of the players who might not think it’s fair that the Silver Fox is at home playing football with high school kids. Then they move onto the key point for me. Then there’s their take on the 24hr news coverage around Favre, and how it’s left readers confused and frustrated (I’m guessing with them). They say that the Favre camp and the Vikings camp aren’t always truthful, and that they need Vikings fans to use their common sense when reading news stories on the team. Don’t blindly follow the Vikings they say, apparently there are fans who just wanna believe what they hear. They then say that they have worked hard to build up sources within the teams, and there is no doubt that Favre sent those text messages.

Sorry but this all sounds like they are trying to justify their actions to a group of disgruntled fans who are sick of hearing stories which seem to have no basis. There could well be a source, and a reliable one at that who broke the story to the Tribune, but because they have not offered anything apart from their word that the source is reliable, they have left many of us feeling very pissed off. And while they mention that both the Viking and Favre camps tell lies, they say nothing on themselves, and I’m afraid that the press are not infallible, far from it. And how dare they tell fans how to read the news! I’m sorry but it is your responsibility to report things truthfully and reliably (which often means going beyond basing a story off just one source). Yes, we should use common sense when we watch or read the news, but sometimes it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction, especially when there are stories coming 24 hours a day from places that need to make money and who cite someone who we as readers cannot verify. We rely on them for our news, but we don’t have the access they do, so we need them to be honest rather than arrogant.

But more than that, we need them to fly the flag for the Vikings. Let ESPN or one of the other big sports networks run with stories like this, because they have no affiliation to the Vikings. But knowing how important Favre is to the team and how much most of the fans admire him, they should have showed some control rather than running wild with the story, because it left many of us, me included, fearing for the future of the team. And I think they need to acknowledge that their release of this story left many readers this way, or worse in a state where they started slagging off the team, and a player who could still come back for another year wearing the Purple.

Instead of jumping on the team, they need to get behind them. If stories like this come along, they should really try to verify them beyond just the anonymous source, if they can’t get through to Favre (they couldn’t), then hold the story for a day or two before they have the truth or a more verified version of it.

Maybe this whole article is naive, in fact I know it is, but for me the newspaper of a team should not spread gossip, especially when it can damage the team or just upset the fans, leave that to the big networks who cater to everyone. Like team specific blogs, papers like the Tribune should always endeavour to be positive about the team (like they were after the NFC Champ game last season), and in the case of the past two days I think the Tribune have found out what happens when they aren’t.

Agree, disagree or are you just totally lost in my ramblings? Comment and tell me! And Chip, or Judd? If you are lucky enough to read this, know that I still love you both, but you won’t be getting an invite to my wedding. And Brett? I’m still waiting for your RSVP, I even left a box saying “I’ll let you know the day before” just for you!

As the Favre dust settles… lay off the sauce.

Isn’t the press a wonderful thing. Sometimes the slightest pin can drop and suddenly there is a stampede. Which is what it seems happened yesterday. This morning, as things get back to normal, and those that forgot (myself included) that we are still in a time of Favre Watch, are now able to pick through the pieces of yesterday and try and figure out what the hell happened.

It all started with the Star Tribune breaking a story which was later “confirmed” by Associated Press, that a confidential source (who I’m calling Mr Sauce) at the Vikings said Favre had told teammates he wasn’t coming back. Then NFL.com jumped on this and every writer on the books had their say on the matter. One of the writers, Steve Wyche claimed a source at the team confirmed these reports (in this case it was Mr Sauce’s cousin, Timmy Sauce), but then Steve Mariucci is saying Favre’s told him that he isn’t ready to retire yet, saucy!

So, who to believe? Or is it just the case that they are all blowing hot air? Personally I’m not a fan of this style of journalism, where sources are not named so stories cannot ever really be confirmed. The media loves to be led down roads that go nowhere, purely because it sells. But I don’t have a friend called Mr Sauce at the team to feed me information, or even a friend who legally had his name changed to “Confidential Informant” who can make stuff up just to give me something to write about, so all I can do is look at what is being reported and try to figure out what is guff and what is gold. Either that or get into conspiracy theories, but I’ll end up writing several thousand pages on that and never really go anywhere…

The main piece of concrete(ish) news this morning comes from our old friend, Visanthe Shiancoe. Last night he said:

“He told a couple guys on our team he’s going to retire… He hasn’t told me yet. I’m going to check my phone right now, but it hasn’t been said publicly yet so I don’t know what to believe.”

So some second-hand news there, but note that he isn’t saying which players have been told, and that he hasn’t heard anything himself, but at least Mr Sauce seems to be out of the equation, unless Shank is Mr Sauce in which case we’re all doomed. But…. stop me if I’m wrong, but Brett making a muted and staggered announcement about the potential career just doesn’t seem like his style. I heard a few people joking yesterday that he might setup a Will He/Won’t He, Lebron Style, ESPN special where at the end he’ll piss off the whole of Cleveland, but really this does seem a lot more likely than what appeared to have happened yesterday. I’m expecting a fanfare, jets overhead, and Rush Limbaugh’s head on a spike when Favre finally calls it quits, any less and there would always be the nagging feeling that he’ll turn up on Week One expecting to start.

The only other news on the whole situation comes from our lovely friend Judd (*shakes fist and bellows* JUDDDDD!) Zulgad. Apparently our other friend Mr Sauce (or in the case of this article the whole Sauce family, “sources” = sauces, get it? ehhhh? come on work with me? is this thing on?) says the Vikes are going to lure Favre back with a combination of money (and extra $7mil), blackjack and hookers (actually forget the blackjack and the hookers, I just wanted to quote Futurama). Very exciting *yawn*.

In other news, a source has just told me Favre is coming for another year. A family source who doesn’t want to be named, can’t be contacted, has no phone, no email, no name, and if you shine a light in it’s direction it suddenly disappears. Reminds me of a famous Theologian called Anthony Flew and his parable of a Gardener. Oh yeah! See what I did there? Theology + Vikings news! POW! Okay, I need another cup of coffee. See you all tomorrow for more fun and frolics, especially if the Sauces rear their apparently invisible heads.

– Just skip to about 45 seconds in, this kid rocks!

If Favre’s retirement ‘news’ is to be believed – 5 Reasons to be cheerful

So Favre is allegedly on his way out and the “official announcement” will be soon. But regardless of the validity of this “news” story, here are 5 reasons why the Viking Nation should hold no fear, regardless of whether the Silver Fox comes back or not… and yes I know in my post below I said I’d keep schum on any other Viking matters around our #4, but the “news” (and I use that word lightly) has got the purple juices flowing again, and I just can’t help myself, so here we go!

1) Adrian! The best running back in the league. Forget Chris Johnson, All Day took us to the playoffs in 08, and he can do it again. He’ll have more time on the ball and hopefully renewed focus to hold onto the pigskin like his life depended on it. His yardage may have been less last year but that was only because Favre could pass. No Favre would equals a Peterson focussed offence, which will scare the buggery out of pretty much every defence in the league.

2) Young blood! Toby Gerhart backing up All Day, and Percy coming off a stellar rookie season will be a joy to behold, and Chris Cook will beef up the secondary so we’re less vulnerable in the air.

3) Sidney Rice! Now the whole league knows this man can catch, and it means T-Jack or Sage or even Brett now have 2 very potent receivers at their disposal, with Berrian looking to bounce back after a disappointing 09.

4) No pressure? This may seem a little far-fetched, but without Favre, the Vikings won’t be expected to do a great deal in 2010. The P*ckers and Bores will be the ones carrying all the pressure with big players and overblown wage bills, while we can just get on with playing great football, and in case you had forgotten, we have a fantastic team which is still capable of winning it all. And with Favre? Well I think you already know just how good we’d be.

5) We are the Vikings! We are The Purple! We have the greatest fans, the greatest players, the most ferocious stadium in the whole of the NFL, and a certain little defence which loves to send helmets flying on a weekly basis. So show your horns and get behind the team!

Listening to Chilly’s presser at the moment, and the word is still very much “Mum”, nothing to confirm or deny Favre’s retirement. Business as usual it seems, so let’s just get back to the waiting game, and enjoy another wonderful chapter in the chronicles of Favre Watch.

And a special shout out to the “Anonymous Source”, and all the wonderful fabricated stories you’ve given us over the years. Just when I thought you’d had your fun pissing off Arsenal over Fabregas, you now decide to torment me over Favre

The dream it seems, ends here… Favre will retire

It’s been a very long time since my last post owing to a very slow offseason and a very busy summer with both work and wedding preparation. But I knew that the one thing most likely to bring me back into the blogging world was the Silver Fox.

Sadly however, it’s because of the news that is starting to come out of Minneapolis, reporting that he’s told Chilly he’s not coming back for another season because his ankle just isn’t healing as well as it needed to in order to play for another year. The original Star Tribune story is here but has taken 5 mins to load so far which suggests this is pretty big news, and not an overly belated April Fools joke. Either way a presser is scheduled for later today which I fear will call time on the career of one of the game’s greats.

Now, knowing the history of Favre and his retire-unretire-reture-unretire way of life, there may still be a glimmer of hope for him staying on to lead the team, but I’m not clinging to it, more holding my pinkie lightly to it. But it’s too early to say anything else right now at risk of making a fool of myself. So I will wait till tomorrow to make further comment. All I will say now is that if this is it, it’s been one hell of a ride, but we’ve gotta get our sh*t together for next year and move on. If it’s not, I’m going after Judd Zulgad armed only with a spoon!

Disney’s Next Film will be… “The Super Bowl Grandpa”

Starring Ben Stiller as Brett Favre, Lindsey Lohan as Brittany Favre, Alec Baldwin as Brad “Chilly” Childress, Will Ferrell as Jared Allen, and Brett Favre as Obi Wan Kenobi.

A lowly farmer (Brett) from a small town dreams of being a quarterback in the NFL, but needs to stop roping calfs for a living if he is to realise his dreams. Then one rainy night on his way back from a manure silo, he stops to pick up a hitchhiker (Jared) who got lost on a boar-hunting expedition. The pair immediately form an unlikely friendship, as the farmer teaches the hitchhiker in the ways of calf roping and spear throwing. Then at the end of a summer of butt slapping, hot wings and helicopter-tactical-nuke-fishing, the mysterious hitchhiker reveals himself to be none other than Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings, and he invites the intrepid farmer to join him in Winter Park for the Preseason Drills.

But Brett, being a lazy ass farmer decides to stay on a look after his heard and care for his new-born Grandchild, Parker Brett (No, really? Parker? Like the coat? That’s like 2 last names for a name, and then there’s the poor kid’s last name). But then, one night, while he’s practising his American Idol audition, a young Jedi by the name of Obi Wan Kenobi comes to him and tells him that it’s his destiny to become the first ever Grandfather to win a Super Bowl.

And so Brett makes the journey to Minneapolis to join Jared and the rest of the Purple on their crazy adventure. Will Brett find that which has always been missing from his life? Can he overcome adversity and the media who say he’s past it? And how will he fare when he comes face to face with his biggest farming rival-turned NFL Quarterback Aaron Rogers (played by Tim Curry-with his Muppet Treasure Island accent)?

Hey! It could happen… shuh! And monkeys might fly out my butt! Sorry folks, but it’s a very slow news day today…

Friday morning and Favre says “Hai”, and Buy-one-get-one-free on the Metrodome.

FAVRE WATCH!!

Yes folks, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. After 2 and a half weeks of nothing, the Silver Fox has finally returned from the wilderness to make contact with us, the little people! Was this the moment that he finally declared he would be back for another year, back to lead the Vikings to the promised land?

No, of course not!

But he did send his thanks to the Vikings Nation and beyond for all the support he had last year. He said It was truly an amazing experience to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings this past season.” But, most crucially he didn’t give much, if any indication on whether he would be back.

Regardless of what the future holds, I want everyone to know that I will cherish the memories of the past year for the rest of my life.

My guess is still that he will be coming back, but the above statement in my opinion should be interpreted as a message to Vikings’ fans that he knows how highly we hold him in our hearts, and that he is going to take this into consideration when he does get around to making his decision. Or he could just be saying “No more bloody billboards!”

The second big story of the day is the suggestion by Reb. Paul Kohls that the Metrodome is sold to the Vikings for $1. This has news created quite a buzz within the Vikings’ community, but as the Pioneer Press points out, it is not the solution the Vikings really want. If this were to happen, we’d probably be hit by insane property taxes for one, and of course it is only a short-term solution to the main issue of securing the Vikings’ long-term future in Minneapolis. But money in the state is really tight at present, and with a potential stadium bill going as high as $870m with a much needed mechanical roof being added to the mix, maybe a short-term solution like this is what we need, at least until the money can be secured to give us a new home in the Twin Cities.

Our final 2 stories of the day concern 2 of our defensive players, and to be honest, neither are that exciting but here they are:

Jared Allen wins the PFT Alan Page Award from NBC Pro Football Talk.

CB Antoine Winfield will not need foot surgery according to Rick Alonzo of the Pioneer Press and will be back and ready for training camp in the summer.

Right, that’s your lot for the day. Coming up tomorrow will be part 2 of my countdown of the top ten moments from the Vikings last year.

So that’s it then? The Vikings enter the wilderness, Favre watch hots up, and there’s a smiling dog to cheer you up

So, the exclusive, yet sorry “Never Won a Super Bowl Club” is now one member lighter. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, 2010 Super Bowl Champions.

Okay now the niceties are out of the way, we can get on with day one in the offseason wilderness. We have a few stories to keep an eye on and help pass the time, the main one being the classic will he/won’t he over the Silver Fox. There’s also going to be some stories around both Warren Sapp and Bryant McKinnie who appear to be in varying degrees of trouble. After all that blows over, it’s draft time, and between April 22nd and April 24th the Vikings will acquire (hopefully) the players we need to sustain another Super Bowl campaign. And then there’s going to be another empty patch before the teams come back for training camp and then a totally pointless but nourishing 4 pre-season games. It’s going to be a very long summer indeed.

Now that the Saints are Super Bowl Champions, there’s already talk that we will be their first opponent as the first prime time game of the season. Our 50th year as an NFL franchise, playing the team that edged us out of the NFC Championship in a thoroughly heartbreaking game and went on to win the Super Bowl makes for the perfect headline, and if Favre comes back it could be an even bigger draw. If this game is scheduled, it’s going to make the build up to next season even bigger, and more nerve racking. We want revenge, we all want revenge! we want to beat the living hell out of all of them, especially Brees who escaped our O-Line, while Favre endured a beating which could still trigger his retirement. We owe them, and a win would re-galvanize the team in the wake of that crushing defeat. Basically what I’m saying is, bring it on!

The Vikes Geek blog has run a story about the Saints win and how it could bolster the likelihood of Favre’s return. Running along the lines of, the Saints were better than the Colts, and we were better than the Saints (despite turnovers we ran them all over their pitch), Favre would be mad to pass up the chance to play with these guys again. We can therefore take some comfort in the Saints win… Now personally I’d have much rather the Colts won because I’m just plain bitter about losing to New Orleans, and they’re a dirty bunch of )(*&^%$$ £^*($&(£*£IO£( £&^%£”^ $!”£$”$ *****, but this is a positive way of looking at last night’s result. In time I hope I can come to share the same point of view. But until then, like many Vikings’ fans, I’m left to wonder what could have been had we managed to beat the Saints, rather than throwing it away, because let’s face it, we would have decimated the Colts.

There are more details emerging about Bryant McKinnie’s and his partying habits. Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald has an extensive report detailing the time he met McKinnie, along with a report on all the other shenanigans that out OT has been embroiled in. It is not a very shining report, and it does make me wonder whether this guy should just be gotten rid of, because he seems to care more about partying and spending $20,000 a night, rather than repairing his image.

On the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, there is a report on the Vikings’ low revenue stream and how some NFL owners are trying to dissolve the current revenue sharing scheme which sees around $15-20 mil being transferred to the Vikings’ from other clubs every year. Of course it is concerning that we need the money in the first place, but something which could see this disappear is surely a wake up call to get a new, higher capacity stadium built, and improve the franchise so it can compete financially with the rest of the NFL.

Rick Alonso, also from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reckons we are a strong team even without Favre.  He cites the fact that we would still have a high number of Pro Bowlers even if Favre left, and possibly Pat Williams too. Despite these potential losses, and Chester Taylor too to free agency, our key offensive players are still developing so the future is a bright one… So there’s more to be cheery about!

And that’s about it for today. The only thing left is FAVRE WATCH

After announcing it on the site last week, here it finally is: Brett Favre as the 2020 MVP!

KFAN radio in the Twin Cities have also launched their own Billboard for Brett campaign. Check out TheVikingShip for a pic… I’m now wondering if I should stick one up here in London, just in case Brett decided to vacation here.

And finally, in case the blues have got you by the short and curlies, and you can’t make it through; here’s a little something which might cheer you up… it’s a Japanese dog who really loves his owner:

All glory to the smiling dog

Super Bowl Sunday, and John Randle is honoured, Cris Carter still isn’t, Sapp’s in trouble, and a glimpse into the mind of Favre fans

Good morning Vikings’ fans. I have approx 10 minutes to write this blog today so it’s straight down to business!

And we start with a giant huzzah for John Randle. One of our legendary linemen of the 1990s has been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame! Randle was of course part of one of the greatest ever Vikings’ sides, and I’m not going to remind you of what happened to them, but sufficed to say, he was one of our finest and deserves every honour coming his way.

Rather puzzlingly however, our Wide Receiver from the same era, Cris Carter has been pipped at the post for the third consecutive year. All we can hope is that next year will finally be his, because he was a the life and soul of our offence during the later 90s.

In other news, Warren Sapp is in trouble with the po po, and has apparently been questioned in relation to a domestic violence case. Hopefully Bryant McKinnie won’t be standing in as his attorney.

CBS Sports have a brief end of season report on the Vikings. Of particular note are the stats around Chester Taylor, who is approaching free agency, and should be a priority for us to resign…

And finally, a faster than a speeding bullet edition of FAVRE WATCH

And today there’s an insight into the psychology of Favre fans, and why we just can’t seem to get enough of the Silver Fox.

And Charlie Walters reckons we need to hear from Favre soon. He thinks we could/should know by March 1st… so watch this space.

And that’s it for today. I’m going to enjoy a Super Bowl free Sunday.