Despite my love of Detroit, The Lions and the Tigers (and the Chicago Bears—oh my) are to blame for Brett Favre’s comeback success this season. No wizard of odds would have favoured the Brett Favre quarterbacked Minnesota Vikings as the team of the year in the National Football League.
The Detroit Tigers—a baseball team—may seem a strange recipient for Favre-bashing, yet their stunning collapse at the end of the regular season allowed the pesky Minnesota Twins to sneak back into contention. If the Tigers had been able to clinch the American League Central, baseball fans would have been happy to say goodbye to the biggest eyesore of a baseball stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome . Next year, the Twins are moving to the outdoor Target Field, though the Vikings are going to continue playing in what should have been only a football stadium. The Twins and Tigers ended the regular season tied, and of course, the Twins had home field advantage for a one-game playoff.Traditionally, the baseball season ends on a Sunday, so sudden-death playoffs are scheduled on the Monday. However, the NFL already booked the Metrodome for the Vikings Monday Night game against the Green Bay Packers. Because of the Tigers’ ineptitude, the Metrodome hosted two huge games in a row. Favre playing his former team for the first time was already a big story, but the baseball playoff being pushed to the Tuesday made it even bigger. The Minnesota teams won both games, yet the Twins were much easier to cheer for, especially after Favre refused to acknowledge the difficulty of facing the team for which he played for 15 years. He might as well as have been playing the Detroit Lions, for all the emotion he demonstrated.Placing the Favre blame on the Detroit Lions seems to make sense, especially because it would be the first time in a while that the Lions were on the receiving end of anything. Last year, as a member of the New York Jets, Favre sat down with Lions coaches for over an hour before Detroit was set to play the Packers in the second week of the 2008 NFL season. Favre was kind enough to donate his time, to give the Lions a scouting report. This would have been fine if he was retired (which he often was), or if he played for Lions, but Favre had an upcoming game of his own. In the end, the Lions lost to the Packers, 48-25.Just for the record, how did Favre’s team, the Jets, fare in Week 2? They lost 19-10 to the New England Patriots in their first game featuring Matt Cassel as their quarterback—the same player that had not started a game since high school. Naturally, the Jets missed the playoffs last year. Favre seems to have developed a knack for screwing over teams other than the Green Bay Packers.But what about the Chicago Bears? What role did they play in the Favre saga? Well, that will wait until they play their upcoming games against the Favre and the Packers. On paper, the Bears should be tearing up the NFC North. But the Bears have been a middling team at best this season, despite getting a new quarterback of their own, Jay Cutler—the pride of Santa Claus, Indiana. Yet it has not been a jolly year for Cutler. He has already been sacked more times than all of last year with the Denver Broncos, and he has seen his quarterback rating drop 10 points. Perhaps if they were a better team, the Vikings would have some internal competition, and Favre would choke under the pressure.Cutler’s got it easy compared to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers who was sacked an astounding 43 times through 10 games—and Favre’s replacement to boot. In all of Favre’s last season in Green Bay, he was sacked only 15 times. It’s not like Da Bears managed to win the NFC North last year when Favre was missing the playoffs in New York.Last year, the division was won by—you guessed it—the Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback of the future, Tarvaris Jackson, finally came through for the Purple and Gold, leading the Vikings to the playoffs on the last day of the season. Now that Favre has been brought in, Jackson takes a seat on the bench, forced to sit behind the legend. It is the Aaron Rodgers story all over again.It’s still not clear what the Green Bay Packers management did or said to Favre to make him so bitter and hell-bent on revenge. What is known, is that despite having almost all the quarterback records, the consecutive games streak, the comebacks, being 40, and seeming like a good guy in There’s Something About Mary, Brett Favre is now the enemy. Even though a lot of bad guys seem to be winning the championship—Kobe, A-Rod, Crosby—the Vikings have never won the Super Bowl, and Favre, for all of his career accolades, has only won once. The MVP of that game, Super Bowl XXXI, was kick returner Desmond Howard, who naturally, played at the University of Michigan, and ended his career with the Detroit Lions.