Vikings Using Favre to Play Political Football

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.</p><p> Friday&rsquo;s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I&rsquo;d ever attended that didn&rsquo;t involve a Hall of Fame induction.</p><p>I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a case study in exactly where we&rsquo;ve arrived in professional sports.</p><p>The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.</p><p>Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?</p><p>It&rsquo;s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre&rsquo;s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre&rsquo;s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.</p><p>But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?</p><p>It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.</p><p>No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings&rsquo; facilities.</p><p>You saw that, didn&rsquo;t you? Helicopters followed Childress&rsquo; black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?</p><p>I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.</p><p>The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.</p><p>Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He&rsquo;s a political football. He&rsquo;s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.</p><p>Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.</p><p>The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.</p><p>It&rsquo;s so freaking obvious that I&rsquo;m embarrassed I didn&rsquo;t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.</p><p>No doubt, Wilf and Childress hope Favre helps the Vikings reach the playoffs. But that&rsquo;s not their primary mission. They turned over control of the franchise to Favre because he can complete the Hail Mary pass necessary to get a new stadium.</p><p>Of course it sets a terrible precedent. I know very few great athletes who believe they need training camp or much practice at all to perform at a high level. Everyone believes they can just wing it. They&rsquo;re that good.</p><p>Favre played like an old man Friday. The Vikings accomplished very little in the two series he played. Backup Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and led two touchdown drives. No one in Minnesota is ready to argue that Jackson should lead the Vikings.</p><p>But what happens if Favre struggles during the early part of the regular season? Minnesota&rsquo;s locker room is going to fracture. The players in the locker room will see Favre for what he is, a piece in a stadium project, someone with very little respect for the game.

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.

Friday’s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I’d ever attended that didn’t involve a Hall of Fame induction.

I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.

It’s a case study in exactly where we’ve arrived in professional sports.

The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.

Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?

It’s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre’s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre’s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.

But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?

It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.

No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings’ facilities.

You saw that, didn’t you? Helicopters followed Childress’ black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?

I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.

The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.

Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He’s a political football. He’s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.

Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.

The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.

It’s so freaking obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.

No doubt, Wilf and Childress hope Favre helps the Vikings reach the playoffs. But that’s not their primary mission. They turned over control of the franchise to Favre because he can complete the Hail Mary pass necessary to get a new stadium.

Of course it sets a terrible precedent. I know very few great athletes who believe they need training camp or much practice at all to perform at a high level. Everyone believes they can just wing it. They’re that good.

Favre played like an old man Friday. The Vikings accomplished very little in the two series he played. Backup Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and led two touchdown drives. No one in Minnesota is ready to argue that Jackson should lead the Vikings.

But what happens if Favre struggles during the early part of the regular season? Minnesota’s locker room is going to fracture. The players in the locker room will see Favre for what he is, a piece in a stadium project, someone with very little respect for the game.

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.</p><p> Friday&rsquo;s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I&rsquo;d ever attended that didn&rsquo;t involve a Hall of Fame induction.</p><p>I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a case study in exactly where we&rsquo;ve arrived in professional sports.</p><p>The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.</p><p>Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?</p><p>It&rsquo;s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre&rsquo;s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre&rsquo;s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.</p><p>But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?</p><p>It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.</p><p>No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings&rsquo; facilities.</p><p>You saw that, didn&rsquo;t you? Helicopters followed Childress&rsquo; black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?</p><p>I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.</p><p>The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.</p><p>Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He&rsquo;s a political football. He&rsquo;s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.</p><p>Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.</p><p>The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.</p><p>It&rsquo;s so freaking obvious that I&rsquo;m embarrassed I didn&rsquo;t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.</p><p>No doubt, Wilf and Childress hope Favre helps the Vikings reach the playoffs. But that&rsquo;s not their primary mission. They turned over control of the franchise to Favre because he can complete the Hail Mary pass necessary to get a new stadium.</p><p>Of course it sets a terrible precedent. I know very few great athletes who believe they need training camp or much practice at all to perform at a high level. Everyone believes they can just wing it. They&rsquo;re that good.</p><p>Favre played like an old man Friday. The Vikings accomplished very little in the two series he played. Backup Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and led two touchdown drives. No one in Minnesota is ready to argue that Jackson should lead the Vikings.</p><p>But what happens if Favre struggles during the early part of the regular season? Minnesota&rsquo;s locker room is going to fracture. The players in the locker room will see Favre for what he is, a piece in a stadium project, someone with very little respect for the game.

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.

Friday’s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I’d ever attended that didn’t involve a Hall of Fame induction.

I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.

It’s a case study in exactly where we’ve arrived in professional sports.

The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.

Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?

It’s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre’s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre’s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.

But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?

It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.

No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings’ facilities.

You saw that, didn’t you? Helicopters followed Childress’ black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?

I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.

The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.

Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He’s a political football. He’s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.

Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.

The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.

It’s so freaking obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.

No doubt, Wilf and Childress hope Favre helps the Vikings reach the playoffs. But that’s not their primary mission. They turned over control of the franchise to Favre because he can complete the Hail Mary pass necessary to get a new stadium.

Of course it sets a terrible precedent. I know very few great athletes who believe they need training camp or much practice at all to perform at a high level. Everyone believes they can just wing it. They’re that good.

Favre played like an old man Friday. The Vikings accomplished very little in the two series he played. Backup Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and led two touchdown drives. No one in Minnesota is ready to argue that Jackson should lead the Vikings.

But what happens if Favre struggles during the early part of the regular season? Minnesota’s locker room is going to fracture. The players in the locker room will see Favre for what he is, a piece in a stadium project, someone with very little respect for the game.

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.</p><p> Friday&rsquo;s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I&rsquo;d ever attended that didn&rsquo;t involve a Hall of Fame induction.</p><p>I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a case study in exactly where we&rsquo;ve arrived in professional sports.</p><p>The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.</p><p>Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?</p><p>It&rsquo;s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre&rsquo;s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre&rsquo;s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.</p><p>But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?</p><p>It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.</p><p>No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings&rsquo; facilities.</p><p>You saw that, didn&rsquo;t you? Helicopters followed Childress&rsquo; black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?</p><p>I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.</p><p>The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.</p><p>Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He&rsquo;s a political football. He&rsquo;s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.</p><p>Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.</p><p>The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.</p><p>It&rsquo;s so freaking obvious that I&rsquo;m embarrassed I didn&rsquo;t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.</p><p>No doubt, Wilf and Childress hope Favre helps the Vikings reach the playoffs. But that&rsquo;s not their primary mission. They turned over control of the franchise to Favre because he can complete the Hail Mary pass necessary to get a new stadium.</p><p>Of course it sets a terrible precedent. I know very few great athletes who believe they need training camp or much practice at all to perform at a high level. Everyone believes they can just wing it. They&rsquo;re that good.</p><p>Favre played like an old man Friday. The Vikings accomplished very little in the two series he played. Backup Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and led two touchdown drives. No one in Minnesota is ready to argue that Jackson should lead the Vikings.</p><p>But what happens if Favre struggles during the early part of the regular season? Minnesota&rsquo;s locker room is going to fracture. The players in the locker room will see Favre for what he is, a piece in a stadium project, someone with very little respect for the game.

I left Minnesota on Saturday morning convinced that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre do not respect the game.

Friday’s Chiefs-Vikings exhibition was the first Chiefs preseason road game I’d ever attended that didn’t involve a Hall of Fame induction.

I canceled a trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just so I could be in the building when Favre made his Vikings debut. His last-minute return to the National Football League and our collective (media and fans) reaction to his re-emergence fascinates me.

It’s a case study in exactly where we’ve arrived in professional sports.

The games being played behind the scenes have taken precedence over the actual games.

Think about it. A 39-year-old quarterback hopped off a couch in Mississippi, flew to Minneapolis, practiced two or three times and started an NFL game. Why?

It’s a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level. We know Favre’s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre’s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back.

But why would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?

It has to be a business move. It has to be a public-relations ploy.

No different from Childress leaving a Vikings practice to personally drive Favre from the airport to the Vikings’ facilities.

You saw that, didn’t you? Helicopters followed Childress’ black SUV down the highway as the my-way-or-the-highway head coach delivered Favre to the Vikings. Why? Why is Childress hamming it up for the cameras?

I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.

The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.

Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He’s a political football. He’s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.

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