November 23, 2010
"Monday Night Countdown" nearly turned into Monday Night Smackdown when ESPN analysts Matt Millen and Steve Young got into a heated argument live during the network's pregame show.
The beef began during a discussion about the firing of Brad Childress. Young made the point that if Brett Favre(notes) isn't benched in Minnesota, then he might as well be running the team. (The theory being that starting Tarvaris Jackson(notes) makes more sense for the future.) Millen disagreed with this statement. Vehemently:
A few thoughts:
1. That was a bit awkward. As Millen starts yelling, Young looks both amused and frightened. I bet Matt hasn't gotten that worked up since the receiver-heavy 2002 draft. As weird as that was, though, it made for good television. I'd rather have analysts giving opinions rather than laughing at one another for 45 minutes.
[Photo: Tense moment between NFL coaches]
2. Strange as it is to say, Millen isn't wrong. (You have no idea how hard it was to force my fingers to type that sentence.) Steve Young doesn't know what's going on in the Vikings front office or locker room. Nobody does, other than the people who are inside it. Sure, we'll hear reports that some players are upset that Favre is starting and others that say the locker room is behind the move, but those reports come from sources with agendas. The fact is, we don't know. So for Young to say Favre runs the team is a theory, nothing more.
[More details: Vikings fire troubled coach]
3. Millen is wrong, though. (That feels better.) For the same reason that Young can't know if Favre "runs the team," Millen can't know that Favre isn't running the team. It's his opinion that the Vikings determined Favre gives them the best chance to win. It could be something else entirely.
[Related: Brett Favre clashes with coach over play]
4. And if anyone should know about not knowing "what's going on in a freaking locker room," it's Matt Millen, former general manager of the Detroit Lions.
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