With Brett Favre planning to retire, Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress has flown to Fran Tarkenton's home in Georgia in hopes of convincing the former Vikings star to come back for one more season behind center.
"He's been away for a few years, but he's really not that much older than Brett," Childress said of the 70-year-old Tarkenton. "I hope to sell Fran on this being the team that can get him his elusive Super Bowl ring."
Tarkenton holds every Vikings passer rating and led Minnesota to three Super Bowls, losing all three the last in 1977 when Favre was only 7 years old. But the former All-Pro reportedly has been working out with high school players.
"That's true," said Tarkenton. "I sometimes throw passes to my grandsons who are in high school. They're nice boys."
"Grandpa throws a football way better than all of the other grandfathers," said Danny Tarkenton, Fran's 15-year-old grandson. "I think it would be cool if he played for the Vikings. Then maybe he would make a lot of money and give me more than five bucks in my birthday cards."
Childress says he plans to make his pitch to Tarkenton this afternoon.
"I'll wait until he's up from his nap," said Childress, "when he's feeling fresh and vibrant and young. That's how I convinced Brett the first time."
The Tarkenton option has received strong support from Vikings players.
"I have never heard of him. Has he played football before?" asked Adrian Peterson. "Even if not, there's a strong chance he's better than Tarvaris and Sage."
In a ruling that will change the way NFL games are played, the league has approved a new, modified sudden death proposal. The proposal, which will take effect for 2010 season, stipulates that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre should get the ball at least once in overtime.
The ruling eliminates the nightmare scenario of an overtime game ending without the beloved QB having a chance to score.
“It’s something that we’ve been discussing for a long time,” said Competition Committee co-chair Rich McCay. “Far too many overtime games have been decided without Brett Favre ever getting the ball, and that’s unacceptable. People pay to see Favre play football, not sit on the sidelines while some nobody is kicking a 42-yard-field goal to ‘win’ the game, or while quarterbacks from other teams are playing.”
McCay said that last season’s Vikings-Saints playoff game, in which the Saints won in overtime after winning the coin flip, factored heavily into the decision.
“That game was a disaster. No game should end like that,” said McCay, "with Brett Favre standing there on the sidelines, useless, while the Saints are marching down the field to glory! Hello? What’s wrong with that picture? That should have been Brett in there. We all know that. The Saints know that. With this new rule, the big guy will at least get a chance with the ball, which is all he usually needs.”
Under the new format, if a team other than Brett Favre’s team wins the overtime coin flip, they can proceed down the field in the normal manner and attempt to score. If they do, Favre’s team will be given the ball one more time.
In games in which Favre is not playing, conventional overtime rules will apply. Or, if the schedule permits, team officials may dispatch a private jet to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to speak to Favre in hopes of convincing him to play for them in overtime.
“The new overtime format won't affect every game, every year,” said Titans coach Jeff Fisher. “But it does affect the most important ones: the ones Brett Favre plays in. Seeing him with the ball in OT is one of the biggest thrills in sports. And frankly, if my team is playing Brett’s team and we go into overtime and he doesn’t even get a chance to work his magic, I don’t evenwantto win that game.”
Surprisingly, every team in the league voted in favor of the measure, with several owners insisting that giving Favre an extra chance in OT was no big deal.
“Outstanding. Give him the ball,” said one owner, who asked not to be identified. “You know Brett: he’ll run out of the pocket, see a receiver triple-covered, think ‘I’m Brett Favre,’ and then hurl it across his body into coverage. If anyone should be against this rule, it should be Brett. It’s just going to make him look bad.”
It was the ending that everyone hoped for. Brett Favre, playing at age 40, in perhaps his greatest season, with the Super Bowl on the line, just seconds left on the clock threw the ball directly into the hands of an opposing defensive back.
"Thank you, sweet Jesus!" you yelled. Or maybe it wasn't you. It's hard to remember in all the delirium. But someone yelled it. Because something incredibly awesome had just happened.
The play still seems as though it was a dream. Like something that could only happen in a movie. The perfect ending. Too wonderful to be real. But it was real. It did happen. And it's the reason hundreds of millions of people love sports.
"In these tough times, these are the things you cling to, the things that give us hope," said President Barack Obama. "We often seem so divided, but today we all have something to celebrate. Brett Favre's interception. That selfish prick. Intercepted on the last pass he threw of the season. For the third year in a row. So awesome. So so awesome."
"We all now know what heaven feels like," said Pope Benedict XVI. "For that brief moment, and the 20 to 30 minutes after when we were still giving each other high-fives, we understood the joy of what the afterlife will be. Heaven is an eternity of Brett Favre throwing stupid interceptions across the field. And streets of gold, too, probably. But definitely the interceptions."
With Favre's storybook season now at a close, one question remains: can he write another chapter? Another book?
"I still have the desire to play," said Favre. "And I think people still have the desire to see me fail. We'll see what happens. But I don't know if I can top this. This was pretty magical for everyone who's not Brett Favre."
Why shouldn't this be the ad? Most people who buy Wrangler jeans eventually make them into jorts anyway.
NFL.com and FoxSports.com reported more than 8 million unique streams of their "Favre Cam" the online video feed of Brett Favre's every move during Sunday's Vikings-Packers game. But it was hours after the game ended that Favre Cam got its biggest traffic.
Fans who kept the feed running after the game ended noticed that the camera kept rolling on Favre even after he left the field, following him into the locker room, the shower, the postgame press conference, the team plane, his car on the ride home, and then eventually into his wife.
"I didn't expect that kind of access," said Vikings fan Kurt Lehman, who was glued to his computer during the Favre's lovemaking. "People were laughing at this Favre Cam concept when it was first announced. But they're not laughing now. For the first time in history, someone managed to combine two things millions of males love: sports and porn. And I commend NFL.com and FoxSports.com for doing it. It's an amazing achievement."
Traffic numbers for Favre Cam grew during the game but then dropped off dramatically after action ended. Less than a thousand were still watching when Favre got home and went upstairs. But when the sex began, those numbers multiplied as the original viewers quickly spread the word. Ten minutes later, as Favre finished with a clutch, late-coitus performance that brought his wife to orgasm, some 30 million were watching an Internet record for a single video stream.
Fox Sports CEO David Hill said he was pleased with the traffic numbers.
"This is all that we could have hoped for and more," he said. "But we're still working out the kinks. Ideally, we want to make it a profitable venture, where the viewer has his or her credit card charged to watch Favre have sex or use the bathroom. We can't give away this kind of stuff for free."
No matter the future, the production was a milestone for fan access.
"I've never seen anything like it," said former NFL broadcaster John Madden. "It was so easy to feel like you were there in the room with him. For example, I imagined I was his wife."
Favre, ever the showman, played to the camera pumping his fists or throwing his arms in the air when things were going especially well.
"He was like a kid in there," said Bears fan Bill Landry. "He made a lot of mistakes, yes. But he had so much enthusiasm. You could tell he really loved what he was doing. And while I'm not a Favre fan, I found myself rooting for him to come."