Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf made the first important step toward repairing his damaged franchise by firing coach Brad Childress on Monday. Now, does the absentee Wilf have the guts to pull the cord on legendary quarterback Brett Favre? Sorry, commissioner Roger Goodell, you don’t get a vote on this one.
Wilf would certainly be doing the league a big favor by cutting Favre, ending the need for Goodell to impose any discipline on the quarterback and concluding the league’s investigation of the whole Jenn Sterger/Favre sex-texting episode.
On a side note, two NFL sources said in the past two days that NFL director of security Milt Ahlerich is expected to be done with his investigation within a week, handing the white-hot baton to Goodell for what could be one of the most difficult decisions he has faced in what is becoming the Era of Personal
Wilf would be wise to save his team and the league the embarrassment of dealing with the Favre situation by simply telling him, “Hey, it’s been fun, but not that much fun.”
In the span of less than 11 months, the Vikings have gone from the brink of making the Super Bowl to being the NFL’s most compelling soap opera of 2010. Heck, even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably looks at the Vikings these days and says, “Man, we got nothin’ on them.”
Chilly hates Favre. Favre hates Chilly. Team pulls off a stunning trade for Randy Moss(notes), but Moss hates the caterers while professing his undying love for the Patriots. Chilly hates Moss. Chilly gets rid of him without telling the owner. The owner talks to the players.
And all that was before the season was half done.
Get me Steven Spielberg. This is better than the script for “Saving Private Ryan.”
Unfortunately, football is dramatic enough on its own without having over-the-top personalities provide added distractions. While the Vikings are mathematically still in the playoff race and fueled by the temptation of names like Favre, Percy Harvin(notes) and Adrian Peterson, they are emotionally on their way to the NFL draft. Those names are little more than fool’s gold for the soul.
This team needs to calm the situation. Getting rid of Childress, a guy who failed to recognize that players didn’t respect him as a football man and didn’t have the sense of humor to improve the situation, is a fine first step.
Now it’s time to rid the environment of Favre, a guy who is no longer fueled by the desire to show up Green Bay. Vengeance isn’t a good emotion with which to push yourself because there’s an inherent risk of self-destruction. In this case, Favre pushed himself out there one too many times, blowing up an entire team.
Now it’s time to go and Wilf should show Favre the door.
Why Wilf? This is not a job for the likes of team vice presidents Rob Brzezinski or Rick Spielman. It’s not a job for interim coach Leslie Frazier, whose tenure and talents shouldn’t be obscured by dealing with the legend of Favre. This one is on Wilf, who must show his players that he’s in charge and is going to start running the ship rather than continuing to operate a Minnesota franchise from his New York offices.
To say that Wilf has been out of touch with his team is like saying political pundits Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are out of touch with journalism. They couldn’t reach it with an industrial tape measure. Wilf needs to recapture his team. This is the same man who was so disconnected that he gave Childress a contract extension before the end of the 2009 season even as players were allegedly laughing at the coach behind his back, knowing that the season was more a reflection of Favre’s career-best campaign and a lot of lucky breaks.
Now that Favre has reverted to the worst parts of his game – throwing interceptions the way winning slot machines spit out coins – he has also become unmanageable. On Sunday, his blowing off of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in such a demonstrative way smacked of complete disregard.
How do you think Harvin, a guy who has already had at least one argument with Childress, is going to deal with the coaching staff the rest of the season if he sees Favre getting away with that?
The bottom line is that Favre’s presence runs to the core of the team. When he’s at his best, it’s all good and you ride the wave. When he’s at his worst, it’s a tsunami. There is no controlling it. You just wait for it to end and assess the damage. What the Vikings need to assess right now is whether Tarvaris Jackson(notes) is the answer at quarterback or whether their first-round pick should be spent on a quarterback like Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett or Andrew Luck.
They need to also give Frazier a clean slate because, by all accounts of the players, he’s the real deal, a coach with a clue. Yeah, interim guys don’t usually work out long term, but Frazier may be the exception to the rule.
And he has a chance to be that exception if Wilf is able to rule his team instead of kowtowing to Lord Favre.