Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Try to fool me a third time, and the next article I write is going to be an explanation why nobody in their right mind should believe you.
Now that the LeBron James media frenzy has finally died down, Favre had the national spotlight all to himself when Jay Glazer reported this morning that the 40-year-old quarterback was informing teammates that he intends to retire. Unsurprisingly, he is also reporting that the Vikings are willing to offer Favre more money to come back this year, as well as more time to make his decision. This is yet another example of the Vikings' willingness to inconvenience themselves and acquiesce to Favre's every whim.
It's bad enough that Minnesota coach Brad Childress publicly berated running back Adrian Peterson for missing mandatory camp, yet has allowed Favre to use uncertainty over retirement to avoid offseason activities for the past two years. But now it's gotten ridiculously out of hand. He has 13 million reasons not to retire, is in phenomenal shape, and is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career. All of the speculation about retirement is merely a ploy to add yet another dramatic chapter to The Legend of Favre once he returns.
Of course, this drama is nothing new for Favre. When he decided in 2008 that he wanted to play again, the Packers decided that they had had enough of Favre's yearly indecisiveness, and they were going to move on without him. They kept him on the reserve/retired list, and when Commissioner Roger Goodell mandated that the Packers activate Favre, they refused to grant him his unconditional release so he could play for the Vikings, and they traded him into the AFC. Unfortunately, Favre has fallen into the laps of enablers ever since then. The Jets' then-head coach Eric Mangini was so ecstatic to have Favre on his team that in the middle of the season he gave his newborn son the middle name Brett. When Favre's injured bicep led to a late-season collapse, Mangini was fired and Favre asked to be released so he could "retire as a Packer". To the surprise of nobody, instead of retiring as a Packer, Favre decided to play as a Viking, where Childress and Co. engaged in the previously-mentioned bending over backwards to keep Favre happy.
Favre is an incurable attention hog, but he alone isn't responsible for this ongoing saga. The Legend of Favre is an intangible product on a barter market of sorts. He provides us with entertainment and gossip fodder, and in return we provide him with the attention he so desperately craves and needs. Like all products, this is subject to the laws of supply and demand. If the demand for Favre's product weren't so high, he wouldn't receive so much attention from it. We're to blame. It's easy to bash the media for devoting such an extreme following to Favre's every move, but Favre articles are consistently the most heavily commented-on pieces on any site. There's a reason for that. Any Favre-related story is guaranteed to attract a ton of attention because of the seemingly insatiable demand for news about him. If ESPN were to grant him a one-hour primetime special called "The Indecision" to announce whether he's returning to football or not, it would probably set ratings records.
So when Jay Glazer, who possibly has more NFL sources than any other writer in the industry, hears that Favre's telling teammates he's not coming back, can you blame him? He's simply doing his job and providing fans with what they demand. Although Favre, his enablers, and the media are all partially responsible for The Legend of Favre, if we want to find the real culprit, we must look somewhere else.
The mirror. - Hank Koebler, IV
Hank is a sports journalist attending the University of Missouri's school of journalism.
Check out these other stories.....