In the latest episode of “As the Favre Turns,” our hero has turned down an offer to come out of retirement yet again to play for the Minnesota Vikings. From his comments, it is obvious that this was no easy decision for him. He acknowledges that Minnesota is the best fit available to him and it is clear he would really like to continue to play. So why say no?
Favre still has some top notch football left in him, but he may not have a full season’s worth. Last year with the Jets he was blowing away his doubters in the first part of the season. He threw 6 touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals in week 4 for goodness sake (something I keenly remember since my fantasy opponent started him that week…ugh).
Late in the season, though, the magic died. Favre averaged a dismal 55.4 quarterback rating over the last five games of the season. The Jets lost 4 out of those 5 games and just missed the playoffs.
Part of the reason for the decline in performance was a torn tendon in Favre’s throwing shoulder discovered by an MRI last December. Favre has since had surgery to repair the tear, and it seemed that everything was in place for a return to the NFC North. Although it is hard to be surprised by anything Favre does anymore, his announcement this week that he was not joining the Vikings came as something of a shock.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, though, Favre left the door open for a possible return. “I truly, truly believe it’s over. But if someone calls on November 1, who knows?”
Aside from the significance of November 1 being the date Minnesota goes to Green Bay to play the Packers, that date is more important for another reason: it is almost exactly the midway point of the season. Favre wants to play, but he may be concerned that his body cannot withstand a full 16 game season (not to mention pre- and possible post-season play).
Favre may be banking on the possibility that one of the league’s premier quarterbacks will have a season-ending injury sometime this year. Few teams with an elite passer on the roster have invested much into backups. If the Seahawks had the option to call up Brett Favre last year after Matt Hasselbeck went down, Seneca Wallace would have stayed on the bench.
Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Chad Pennington, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler. All play for teams that are likely playoff contenders and none have solid backups behind them. If one of those teams has racked up a 5-2 record by November and sees their star passer go out with a major injury, Favre will no doubt hear his phone ring. My guess is that he answers it.