In today’s media, when someone is interviewed, they attempt to skirt the questions and make themselves sound ridiculously vague and confuse the public. Often times they just end up trapping themselves and giving away what they don’t want to give away. This happened to former Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, and future Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre last night during his interview with Joe Buck on HBO’s “Joe Buck Live.” A full transcript of the interview is available here, and there is video posted on The Viking Age here.
After a monologue by Buck and some small-talk between the two of them, Buck gets started right of the bat:
Buck: Do you plan on playing in the NFL next year?
“Um, maybe. (audience laughs and claps.) I am considering it.”
Well that’s everything we already knew. For the last five-to-eight years, Favre’s whole career has been one big “maybe.” Are you returning next year? “Maybe.” Are you retired? “Maybe.” It’s a word we’re all used to hearing coming out of his mouth. But for those of you who would lost interest right away, Favre does not do a good job of keeping that maybe fresh in your mind.
Buck: You’ll have in Minnesota something you haven’t had in your career, a running back that’s a superstar? Great defense, a line, a lot to like with the Vikings.
“…But in that situation, knowing what is expected of you, knowing your team, knowing as long as we can run the ball, and complete passes when needed, we should be pretty good.”
The maybe is now nullified. He’s coming back people. The kicker is that he uses the pronoun “we.” He’s not even part of the team yet and he’s already talking as if he’s on the team. If there’s some Packers fans who have their heads so far up where the sun don’t shine, they need to take them out and look and believe: Favre will be a Viking. It’s not what Packers fans want, but it’s what’s happening, and the Packers defense will have to gameplan accordingly. Right here, the interview could be over as what we expected him to avoid, is right out there in the open now.
But he still had some more things to talk about during the 10-minute interview. He talked his arm, the golden chariot of his career. The main thing that has to be 100% for him to come back is that arm. If the surgery works and he feels good, he’ll suit up in purple and gold next year. If it doesn’t, he won’t. Or at least that’s what he says. I’d say that even if he doesn’t feel 100%, he still gives it a go. That’s been his attitude his whole career and I don’t see him changing it now for one or two more years. Additionally, Favre said that Vikings coach Brad Childress did not impose a deadline on Favre to attend OTAs. Gotta love ESPN right there. Favre said that Childress wanted him up there to be with the team and check out the team at OTAs and not participate, but Favre declined, citing a media circus as the main reason he didn’t attend. Hmm. I thought he loved those.
Next, Buck brought up Fran Tarkenton‘s recent comments on Favre before dropping the question a lot of people had bouncing around in their heads:
Buck: Do you worry about tarnishing your legacy in the league by retiring twice and coming back twice?
“I think the 16 years I spent in Green Bay speaks for itself.”
“I’m trying my best not to fuel the fire, even though I am. This is the first time I’ve spoken…”
“I’ve had so many people tell me, one in particular, Coach [John] Madden, that, it’s simple yet true: When you’re gone and you’re away from this game, you can’t go back. Maybe as a coach you can, but you just can’t go back.”
That’s the response we were pretty much expecting. To me, his legacy is tarnished as I will never think about him in the same way again. Instead of Super Bowl XXXI coming to mind, seeing him on NFL Network arriving in Green Bay and New York will stand out. And obviously him in purple will standout as well. I’m sure time will change some of that, but for now, it’s safe to say his legacy is tarnished in the fact it will be hard for people to think the same way about him again. But as a player, it’s still there. He’s got the touchdown passes. He’s got the yards. He’s got those interceptions too. The last quote confuses me a bit, but I feel like he’s saying he never really walked away from the game, even though he “walked away” twice, one time tearfully, one time not so tearfully. So if he never actually left, is he still coming back?
Now he goes for somewhat of a jugular on Packers fans:
Buck: Your legacy in Green Bay? Run on to field in Lambeau with a purple 4 on your chest. That’s a knee to the gut of the people of Green Bay.
“I don’t know what to tell them. Vince Lombardi went to the Washington Redskins when he left. And his name’s on the trophy. We give that trophy out every year. I don’t hear too many people say, ‘That damn traitor. He went to Washington.’”
JSOnline writer Greg Bedard fired back for all Packers fans via Twitter (@Greg_A_Bedard):
Favre invoked Lombardi going to the Redskins to explain how he’s not tarnishing his legacy in GB. Uh, that ain’t the Vikings.
Buck said there was time for one more question. Something about the fishbowl of Green Bay compared to living in New York … ?
“As I got older I cared a lot less about what was going on outside of football. I went to meetings. I went to practice, I came home, me and my youngest daughter, we’d go over to the stadium in Green Bay, we’d ride scooters around the concourse and no one was there. It was great. I would go huntin’ come back, go to the stadium. I mean, I’d do it all over again.”
“And I’m at a place where I’m at peace.”
I want to ride a scooter around Lambeau Field. But that’s besides the point. Favre sounds serious about what he’s going to do and what he wants to do, and he’s going to do it. It’s time to start looking at him like Brett Favre, opponent, not Brett Favre, back-stabbing ex-quarterback. And when November 1 rolls around, we’ll be ready to boo.