Why? Because you just can't get enough, whether you think so or not! In the interests of making sure that we all get our Daily Recommended Allowance of Brett Favre(notes), Shutdown Corner was on the scheme to detail everything about the first four plays of Brett Favre's preseason. Four plays may not sound like a lot, but that's only if you're not on board with the true importance of any football involving Brett Favre. If you didn't understand before, we'll hope that the Minnesota Vikings-San Francisco 49ers contest on NBC's Sunday Night Football will help. Your co-pilots are Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, whose hard-bitten analytical neutrality is about to go right out the freakin' window. Ya ready? Me, too!
I knew this was going to be bad when Cris Collinsworth insisted in the pregame comments that the NFL is more interesting when Brett Favre's playing in it (an argument that reminds me of the "baseball is better when the Yankees are good" argument, which also makes me want to horf), and it went further downhill when NBC got sideline reporter Andrea Kremer (who knows far more about the game than she's allowed to let on) to treat a report on the plane trip down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi by Jared Allen(notes), Steve Hutchinson(notes), and Ryan Longwell(notes) to bring Favre back to the NFL as some sort of hard-hitting piece. The Favre-Fest that was Sunday Night Football started with a Vikings kickoff to the 49ers, which led to an "irrelevant" San Francisco series that ended in a touchdown, and then Collinsworth and Al Michaels started making with the Favre love.
A kickoff to Darius Reynaud(notes), a return to the Minnesota 30-yard line, and then Al: "This is the final tease of Brett Favre - he's really gonna play (after this commercial!) Favre started with a quick swing pass to the left side to Adrian Peterson. Peterson made most of the yardage, so of course, the replay was a slo-mo shot of Favre's ankle after he threw the ball. Drs. Michaels and Collinsworth wanted us to know what Brett was going through for us. "He said that Dr. [James] Andrews didn't give him an out - ‘You can play, Brett. You can do this,'" Collinsworth recalled. Gosh.
On the next play, Peterson went into the teeth of the 49ers line for a three-yard loss Then, a shotgun set after what was called a "muddle huddle", as we all get used to the fact that the umpire is now on the other side of Brett Favre (I'm sure that's just how it's explained in the rule book). On this play, linebacker Patrick Willis(notes) blasted through and sacked Favre on an A-gap blitz. Then, a shotgun draw to running back Albert Young(notes) on third-and-23, which resulted in an eight-yard gain. Nice waste pitch there, Coach Childress. Chris Kluwe(notes) punted on fourth-and-14, and Niners defensive coordinator Greg Manusky probably just got a letter from the NFL telling him that he ever blitzes Brett Favre again, he'll be deported to Lower Estonia. Collinsworth deems this a successful series because Favre got hit, "and now he can settle down." In other words, 49ers, that failed drive you just handed Brett Favre had nothing to do with you - it was all about Brett's nerves.
The question was, would he come back for the second series? That sack turned the odds the wrong way, and Tarvaris Jackson(notes) same out for the second series. This was blasted over by Michaels speculating about the relationship between Favre and Childress. But Brett Favre put that to rest in a way that only Brett Favre really could.
"Did we have some - I don't know if you'd even call them disagreements last year? Absolutely. But I consider that a good thing. I had memories of Ditka, and when Parcells was chewing out Harbaugh and Simms, and it seemed to work for them fairly well. I think he's done an excellent job. Will there be disagreements this year? I'm sure there will be plays where he's not happy with the way I execute them, and some of the things I do. But we're fine. I thought that article was totally ridiculous."
Al and Chris then put a glossy sheen on Favre, and Collinsworth ripped whoever leaked the information that Favre and Childress had a problem in the first place, claiming that the informer was the one who could rip apart the team. This took up the first three plays of the next drive.
Of course, what Collinsworth missed in his little rant was that the story, written by Yahoo's own Jason Cole, cited multiple unnamed sources. It's easier for Favreists if this goes a different way, but that's the way it actually went. Collinsworth thought it was admirable that Favre had a closed-door meeting with his teammates, asking them to keep everything in-house. Collinsworth made no mention of the fact that Favre later told ESPN's Ed Werder about that private meeting, which seems kinda counterproductive. Michaels then took a shot at the "unnamed source," completely ignoring that unnamed sources are very common in legitimate journalism.
In any case, that was Brett Favre's opening series, and it casted to type - a very little bit of football, a whole lot of ancillary gunk, and a cottage industry of media apologists. Tune in next Saturday, when the Vikings welcome the Seattle Seahawks to their dome, and this all begins anew. You're excited. I can tell!
- Brett Favre
- Cris Collinsworth
- Al Michaels