I'd like to take a few moments reflecting on what it's like to be a lifelong, die hard, no holds barred Viking fan. For your entire life, you've lived and died with every Vikings win and loss. You've had to deal with incompetent coaches, diva players, and heartbreaking losses. Your teams most memorable moments of the modern era are Super Bowl losses, not wins. You are stuck rooting for a team that has almost been unable to build a new and desperately needed stadium. Worst of all, you're stuck in a division with two of the most historically significant football clubs of all time, and even though you have had 18 divisional championships (in the top 5 all time), you have never won the big game.
Whew, now that that exercise is over, some thoughts on the later game yesterday. As franchises, and personal bias aside, it would have been great for either team to make it to the Super Bowl yesterday. Both the Saints and Vikings certainly deserved to be there, and the game was kept close despite an inordinate amount of turnovers from a certain teams' star running back. A Colts-Vikings Super Bowl would have been just as exciting as a Colts-Saints one is going to be.
I've had some serious problems, however, with alot of the ways the game yesterday is being used. I've never been a Favre homer by any means, but I am certainly more in the camp of apathy. If there is a reason I dislike him, it's solely for the mass critique of Thompson and McCarthy that he brought upon the organization, rather than his desire to play elsewhere. From the start, I've been in favor of Rodgers taking the reins. If Favre wanted to continue playing, regardless of who it was for, that was his right.
For what it's worth, people still continue comparing Rodgers fumble and Favre's interception. I believe they are completely different scenarios, and not for choke value in either case. Since this is more a discussion of the game yesterday, I'm going to ignore the fumble that ended the Packers season, save for the fact that it's ridiculous to claim in any serious argument that Rodgers intentionally 'kicked' anything.
Favre's interception, on the other hand, was a perfect realization of his career in a nutshell. The entire game saw him getting beat up, taking hit after hit, and continuing to keep his team in the game. At times he played brilliantly, at times he looked like the 40 year old he is, and at times he looked completely clueless. The last play the Vikings ran brought about a familiar Favre, but to put this on a list of 'top Brett Favre chokes in the playoffs' is insane. The game was tied, there were some stupid penalties, and regardless of whether or not Favre had the ability to run 5-6 yards, a field goal is still no guarantee. He had to pass. If this interception is returned for a TD, I believe this is a different discussion entirely. The game was likely going to overtime regardless of whether or not the interception was thrown, and as much as I dislike Favre, it's not fair to blame the loss on him, and it's not fair or sensible for anyone to say Favre choked.
As a Packer fan, it'd be great if I could jump on the bandwagon, ragging Viking fans for Brett Favre, saying things like 'I told you so', enjoying the offseason with our division-mates safely in end of season meetings, but thinking about how Vikings fans must feel (and I'm talking die hard, life long fans of the Vikings), we'd be doing ourselves and them a disservice. Brett Favre didn't lose the game- the team did. The same team that looked unstoppable during the regular season and last week was downright mortal last night. The same 40 year old with endless energy and youthful vigor suddenly looked like he was Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. The team turned the ball over five times, and barely escaped having more, and it was enjoyable to watch.
With that, lets look forward to a great Super Bowl. The Vikings are reeling right now, and the annual Brett Favre decision festival is about to be in full swing. Let's not insult ourselves here and on the DN message boards posting idiotic comments about Favre 'choking'. It was really great to watch the Vikings lose, and to see Favre finally show some age, but I think it's fair to leave it at that. I can tell you from alot of browsing today that their main complaints after last night are the referees and tunrovers. At least one of those complaints hits a little too close to home.
Let's hope that Favre finally decides to retire. Not only will it leave us in prime position to win the NFC north consistently, it'll put an end to a career that's been exciting, beautiful, tough, and in the end- a bit sad.