Did Childress know which buttons to push?
Didn't it seem at least somewhat remarkable that Brett Favre's un-retirement allegedly began with a phone call from coach Brad Childress on Monday?
As you know, it was exactly three weeks ago that the legendary waffler had told the Vikings he was not coming back. What gave Childress the sense that anything would be different now? Does Childress know Favre THAT well? Perhaps.
If you simply take Favre and Childress at their word for how this evolved earlier this week, it's interesting that Childress simply initiated the conversation by asking Favre if he'd seen the game (against Indianapolis) from last Friday night. Favre's response was to dissect the action and talk football, which quickly led to the suggestion of playing this Friday.
How did Childress know, after no (apparent) communication with Favre, that this was the "window of opportunity" for that call? Perhaps "Chilly" simply knows Favre all too well.
Quite frankly, it was obvious from the mood on the practice field in Mankato during the early days of training camp down there that Brett Favre would always be only another phone call away as the season began. The pressure to step up and stand out was clearly on Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.
Neither player did that during training camp, and although it appeared Rosenfels had made the move forward in the team's first preseason game, there were still plenty of nuances to maximizing the details of Chilly's version of the West Coast Offense that were still missing.
All it took was for Favre to see those same things when he watched the game to visualize clearly what he could possibly add to the equation.
Childress hasn't always been on the same wavelength with all of his players, but he is clearly dialed in with his new quarterback.
According to Adam Schefter, now of ESPN, Favre's two-year deal with the Vikings calls for $12 million for 2009 to be paid in three four-year installments. One will be paid this season, another in March and the third not until 2011. The contract also includes guarantees only up to $6 million for skill and injury. So if he's released or gets hurt, the Vikings would only be on the hook for $6 million.
It really is a low-risk, high-reward deal for the Vikings.
"I really have no interest in what Brett Favre does," Tarkenton said on Sirius NFL Radio earlier Wednesday. "He kind of lost me a few years ago by retiring and unretiring and here and there. I asked a few friends here, maybe 10 or 12 people we were out with last night, I said, ‘What do you think about Brett Favre going back to the Vikings?' You know who cared? Nobody."
Well, the 10 or 12 people with whom Tark was dining last night must not be Viking fans, so they probably don't care. But judging by the scene at Winter Park yesterday, there is some interest in the topic, Sir Francis.
Tarkenton went on to call the situation with Favre a circus. "It's an absolute circus, and it takes away from all the other things that are going on with the Vikings, with the NFL," Tarkenton said. "We're getting ready for a football season and this is a circus and I just have no interest in it."
It takes away from all the other things that are going on with the Vikings, with the NFL? Huh? You mean the riveting training camp battle between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson that was captivating the entire league?
Tarkenton also said that Packers fans "have every right to be outraged," adding, "I think you're going to have Packer fans burning the No. 4 Favre Green Bay jersey."
There are multiple generations now of Viking fans who don't even remember Fran Tarkenton. What if the team had given John David Booty his old college number, 10, instead of number 9? Might have been fitting given Fran's personal disdain for Brett Favre.
As reported here earlier, yesterday was like none other when it came to ticket sales for the Vikings.
The Vikings' vice president of sales and marketing, Steve LaCroix, said on Tuesday afternoon the Brett Favre signing had already generated 2,000 season-ticket sales and 6,000 single-game ticket sales less than six hours after his signing. By 10 p.m., that number had risen to 2,500 season-ticket sales and 8,000 single-game sales.
With a typical single-game ticket running about $80 or more each, and a base package for season tickets starting at $740, according to the team's website, the Favre signing stimulated the Vikings economy to the tune of about $2.5 million in less than the first 24 hours alone. Add to that royalties from jersey and other memorabilia sales and it was a pretty solid day for the marketing folks at Winter Park.
"Brad Childress, in my mind, has lost every ounce of credibility he ever had within that locker room," according to ESPN's Mark Schlereth. "You think Tarvaris Jackson, you think Sage Rosenfels, you think a lot of the guys in that locker room trust anything that comes out of Brad Childress' mouth? I guarantee you they don't."
Judging by the handshakes and high-fives Favre received from several of the team's veteran leaders the moment he stepped onto the practice field, I don't think the players begrudge Childress one bit for making a move to improve the team they play on.
So while Chilly might have lost every ounce of credibility with Schlereth, I think he's still the same Childress with Steve Hutchinson, Ben Leber, Visanthe Shiancoe, et al.
Another ex-jock with an exaggerated opinion about the Vikings is former Pro Bowl receiver Cris Carter, who also suggests the move will undermine cohesiveness in the lockerroom.
Carter's own reputation as a player within the Vikings locker room should undermine his own credibility on assessing that factor.
He does make a good point, however, in suggesting that Favre enables the Vikings to expand their playbook further.
"Brad Childress only has probably 50 percent of the offense, maybe a little more than that, in with Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson," Carter said on ESPN. "Because he thought 50 percent of it was all they could handle. With Brett Favre in the offense, with his past history, with Brad Childress in Green Bay, being the coordinator there, they will have 100 percent of this offense and it will be very, very similar to the Packers offense that Brett Favre ran in the '90s."
Well, Childress was never actually the coordinator in Green Bay, but Darrell Bevell was, so he's essentially accurate with the analysis.
There will be no limitations to what Bevell and Childress want to do on offense now because of the quarterback. Indeed, the entire playbook is now at their disposal, with even Favre having to learn a few new wrinkles perhaps because of the addition of Percy Harvin and some ‘wildcat' formations and plays.