Surprise, surprise … Favre unretires againWe knew it, right? Ol’ No. 4, wooed shamelessly by the Vikings since his most recent semi-retirement, wasn’t going to hang out in Hattiesburg, Miss., all fall.
By: Louie St. George, Budgeteer News
We knew it, right? Ol’ No. 4, wooed shamelessly by the Vikings since his most recent semi-retirement, wasn’t going to hang out in Hattiesburg, Miss., all fall.
Brett Favre is a Viking.
The tough thing about writing a sports column for a weekend paper is that pesky mid-week deadline. It has to be signed, sealed and delivered (it’s actually just e-mailed) by Tuesday night. That’s more than three days between filing and when the column runs. Do you have any idea how many times Favre can retire in three days?
Call it a leap of faith, but this time — after a trio of veteran teammates traveled to Mississippi to make a final, desperate plea to the waffling quarterback — it appears Favre will lead the Vikes onto the field during the Sept. 9 season opener at New Orleans.
Tuesday, when Favre joined Steve Hutchinson, Ryan Longwell and Jared Allen on a private jet bound for Minneapolis, reactions ran the gamut from vitriol (Packer fans) to jubilation (Viking fans). Consequently, it made for some fantastic online reading.
Commentary penned by professional columnists proved thought-provoking and informative. Equally entertaining, however, were online message boards found on a pair of websites — those belonging to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Green Bay Press Gazette. Needless to say, each site portrayed a different theme (savior vs. traitor), and each exemplified how Favre’s decision was perceived among their respective readerships.
A sampling, starting with online comments found at StarTribune.com (with minor editing for clarity):
• “Packers getting some bad news today. Ditto Saints and Cowboys and Falcons….”
• “See you in Dallas [site of this season’s Super Bowl]!!!”
• “19-0. Here we come!”
• “PACKERS JUST GOT SLAUGHTERED! … Vikes win the division, Super Bowl or bust! … 22 returning starters, [it’s] ON! …
• “Dallas is not our destination. It is our destiny!”
• “Brett will lead Vikes to the promised land. No football player in America commands as much respect (and attention) as Brett Favre. Now that he’s decided to return to quarterback the Vikings again, it significantly increases the odds that this year, the Vikings’ 50th, will be the one [every] Minnesota fan remembers.”
And now, for a strikingly different reaction, comments from GreenBayPressGazette.com:
• “Memo to Brett Favre: Please go away.”
• “What do you find inside the Minnesota Vikings trophy case? COBWEBS!”
• “Hurry up, Viking fans. The bandwagon is filling up really fast! And that’s not being sarcastic!”
• “What a surprise! He’s been out of the news for a day or two.”
• “Welcome to Green Bay’s nightmare, Minnesota!”
And on it went as the story developed throughout Tuesday. Favre, like perhaps no other athlete of his era, sure can mobilize a team’s (or teams’) fans. His undeniable talent, gun-slinger mentality and dogged determination to never miss a game, combined with the fact that he has stroked his ego by “contemplating” retirement every offseason since 2002, breeds passion in even the casual football fan.
Many feel betrayed, many are thrilled — and still others abhor Favre’s seemingly never-ending appetite for attention.
Maybe he just doesn’t care. Either way, dating back to the spring, there was little doubt that Favre would be the Vikings’ starting quarterback in 2010.
This week, that became reality.
At least we think it did.
• Superior standout Joel Lindberg has committed to play Division I basketball for North Dakota State University. Lindberg, a sharp-shooting point guard, averaged nearly 22 points a game last season for the Spartans. He is entering his senior year.
“I just fell in love with North Dakota State and thought it was the right thing to do,” Lindberg told the News Tribune earlier this week. “I didn’t realize how much I would like it and realize it was the best situation for me. It’s nice, too, that I can focus on my senior season.”
• The first Friday night of the high school football season is Sept. 3.
• Rob Graff, the longtime men’s club lacrosse coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, stepped down last week. Graff led the program for 17 years and helped turn it into one of the finest club programs in the country. He will be replaced by assistant Frank Clark, who has been with the Bulldogs for nine seasons. Look for more on Graff in an upcoming issue of the Budgeteer.
• The UMD women’s soccer team is currently enjoying a pre-season training trip in Italy. The 11-day trip will include stops in Rome and Florence, as well as the Vatican. The Bulldogs will participate in three scrimmages and hold three practice sessions before departing for Duluth Aug. 25.
“This is a unique opportunity and learning experience for our student athletes to enhance their overall collegiate experience,” coach Greg Cane said in a press release.
UMD returns eight starters from a squad that went 17-3-2 in 2009.
Duluth sportswriter Louie St. George last wrote about UMD’s football program for the Duluth Budgeteer News. He can be reached via email@example.com.