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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Ol' Gunslinger and His Little Slingshot, 2

By now, I am confident that if you are reading this article, you are at least somewhat sports savvy. If you are, you would have to have been under a rock or related to an ostrich, with your head in the sand, to not know that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has been in the middle of an alleged scandal involving a former Jets sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger. To recap, Favre left voice messages for Sterger, asked her to "hang out" and "chill" and the Ol' Gunslinger sent text photos of his Little Slingshot to Sterger's phone...allegedly.
I'm not saying he should have done it, but I UNDERSTAND! 3
Beyond the sensational and sleazy tabloid-worthy speculation and innuendo, the allegations beg a lot of questions about how Favre's football career and public image will be affected. Favre is 41 years old, well past his NFL life expectancy. However, Favre has exceeded normal expectations throughout his entire career. Statistically, Favre had the best season of his career in 2009, at age 40. Through four regular season games, however, it is difficult to ignore that Favre's performance is far below what it was last season.

Favre has already thrown as many interceptions, seven, in 2010 as he did in all of 2009. By no means am I suggesting that the Ol' Gunsligner cannot put together a high octane season with superior production. The Vikings offensive dynamic (and the defensive dynamic of every opponent) changed drastically when Randy Moss was added to the roster. Wide receiver Sydney Rice, Favre's favorite target in 2009, is returning to the lineup very soon. Adding those to players to a team already stocked with Adrian "All Day" Peterson and Percy Harvin will make the Vikings offense an extremely potent threat.

Favre is, however, dealing with challenges that must be overcome. First of all, Favre entered this season coming off of offseason ankle surgery and, by his own admission, was not 100% coming into the regular season. Favre also recovered from shoulder surgery following the 2008 season. His passes, in 2010, appear to be missing his trademark zip and consistent touch that we have seen throughout his career. Favre, after last night's loss to the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, said that his arm felt "worse" than it did the prior week.

Minnesota has a 1-3 record. While the Chicago Bears may be an "inflated" 4-1, they are 4-1 (2.5 games ahead of the Packers) nonetheless. Green Bay, while struggling offensively, compared to 2009, is two games in front of the Vikings. Four games does not a season make, as the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were 1-3 in their final four games, including two losses to teams without winning records. However, it is easier to limp into the playoffs, in which a team can look forward to wiping its slate clean after week 17, than it is to limp out of the gate, looking up at all of your opponents, and not know if you will have a chance to play in January, no matter how much you improve.
The fact that she's wearing Laveranues Coles' jersey might have been a hint, Brett. 4
Jenn is as hot as a firecracker, but Deanna isn't exactly chopped liver. I think you may have gotten greedy, pal.
Favre has overcome such challenges in the past. However, he has not had to do so with the albatross of an NFL investigation, character questions, and what certainly must be additional tension in his home hanging around his neck. Favre, if anything, is the consummate on field leader of men. Except for his tenure with the New York Jets, which I feel confident in saying was nothing more than a means to the end of signing with the Minnesota Vikings, I am unaware of any teammate of Favre saying anything remotely unfavorable about him.  
Now Favre must contend with a constant barrage of media probing about Jenn Sterger. Teammates, even those he is closest to, are bound to ask questions. Only the most naive of those who are wet behind the ear would think that his Vikings teammates are not discussing this issue among themselves, even if behind closed doors. No matter how strong a leader Favre is and no matter how much intestinal fortitude he possesses, every person has a limit of outside stress that he can withstand before his professional performance is affected.

The Jenn Sterger situation, even in the worst case, does not appear to be as tawdry and sensational as the Tiger Woods situation. Favre, if the allegations are true, is guilty of making a pass (and exercising bad taste and judgment with a camera phone) at an extremely attractive and sought after young woman. One need not approve, but one (especially his and the NFL's target customers, straight men) can certainly empathize. Everyone makes mistakes. Every man has thought with his "little man" at some point in life, some more often than others. And it appears that there were no inappropriate relations between Favre and Sterger, regardless of what Favre's intentions may or may not have been.

In the end, this could be nothing more than a minor distraction, a blip on the radar of Favre's career. If, on the other hand, these allegations grow legs and more seedy information rises to the surface, it is not inconceivable that Favre's problems at home could mushroom, spilling on to the field and into the locker room. Penalties, including suspension, under the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy are not off of the table yet. Taking into consideration the added stress that the Sterger situation could exert upon Favre, the obvious stress of a slow start in a "Super Bowl or bust" season for the Vikings, and the inventory of physical challenges from past injuries, surgeries, plus the week-to-week brutality of professional football, there is nothing concrete to preclude Favre from  walking away from the game of football in the middle of this season. Should that happen, this embarrassing series of allegations will play a significant role in defining Favre's football legacy.

Time will tell, likely sooner than later. There may be an honorable, or at least a more innocent-than-appears explanation for what has been leaked to the press. Regardless, Favre's ability to handle any fallout from these allegations may be the toughest test of his 20 year NFL career.
I just thought some of you might want to take one last look before her 15 minutes are up. 6

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  1. In some pictures, she's attractive, in others...she's average. I'm wondering if she looks better in person than pictures. Also, I hope that my implants (when I get them) don't have that weird gap thing going on. I hate that crap.

    Anyhoo, as you said...time will tell. She hasn't lambasted him all over television and E! and TMZ and so forth. Yet.

  2. I don't think she is a very willing participant in this whole scandal. I think she showed someone (or probably a lot of people) and another party leaked it. In fact, I think she's come out and said that she'd cooperate with the NFL but, otherwise, she wants as little to do with this as possible.