To be frank, I thought Brett Favre was a washed up, crusty quarterback whose desire to play in the NFL for yet another season was just plain stupid and a waste of time. I couldn’t stand his waffling mentality going into this season as he sat out most of training camp only to come out of retirement to play for the Vikings to basically get back at his former Packer team. I thought he should stick to his Wrangler Jeans commercials. But now, after last weekend’s last minute win against the 49ers, he has completely proven me wrong.
Uncle Brett, who turns 40 in a few weeks, belongs on the football field – plain and simple. If you missed it, with 1:29 to play in the game and down by four points last Sunday, Favre took the Vikings from its 20-yard line down to about the 49er 33-yard line. On third and three with 12 seconds to go in the game, Brett – in a backyard-style play – scrambled to get away from the rush and slung a pin-point rocket to the back of the end zone to receiver Greg Lewis, who was able to snag the ball and get both feet in bounds to win the game with two seconds left.
This play was as high-drama and exciting as any play I have seen since John Elway completed “The Drive” back in ’87. Brett’s ability to move out of the pocket and stay away from a game-ending sack was enough to impress me. If he got sacked, time would have run out and the game would have been over. Done. So he was able to move his feet like a 25-year-old and then, to put the ball where he did in the back of the end zone was also unbelievable.
It’s not like Lewis was wide open by any means. He was well covered by the 49ers defender and the ball was thrown at the tiniest of targets. Lewis deserves a ton of credit for not only catching that ball where he did but also to have the frame of mind to get his feet down in the inches he had to work with.
“That was pretty amazing by him to make that catch, and stay inbounds,” Favre told SI.com after the game. “He just made an unbelievable catch.”
An interesting side note to this play is the fact that Lewis was picked up late in the preseason after he was cut by the Patriots and was inactive in the first two regular season games in Minnesota. In this now infamous play, Lewis went in to give receiver Percy Harvin a one-play break. As it turns out, Lewis was in the right play at the right time.
“I guess it was my lucky day,” Lewis said.
Back to Favre. I really scratched my head when the Vikings decided to pick him up three wins ago. It was obvious Favre was using the Vikings to get back at the Packers. And it was obvious the Vikings were using Favre to increase ticket sales in this fledgling economy (Guess what? It worked). I could not believe that winning games was a part of the Vikings’ or Favre’s decision making earlier this year. Now that the Vikings are 3-0 and playing damn good football, I guess there were some other motives that I didn’t believe were true.
I guess when a team needs a miracle, you pick up Brett Favre for his football magic. No matter how many interceptions he throws in a game or how dinged up he seems to be, if a team has a remote chance of winning, you want Brett in the game. He has the old-boy magic to make the play for a win. With 42 fourth-quarter comebacks, why not have him in the game, even if he isn’t good at times? I get it now. I really do.
As the Vikings go forth this season and Brett inevitably starts to frustrate his fans with four interceptions in a game, they’ll just have to ride that storm out. Brett has proven to me, and a lot of other skeptics, that he is better on the field than off the field, behind a camera.