Sports

Commentary: Give Favre a break already

Well, this much we know now:

Brett Favre didn't come out of retirement to let someone else retire him. Even for part of a game.

Especially some bald, bearded guy who is less recognizable on an NFL sideline than one of Bill Belichick's hoodies.

In the aftermath, numerous people have criticized Favre for being selfish, childish and polarizing - as if these discoveries are new.

But you know what? We prefer a quarterback who wants to hold a football as opposed to a conversation. Maybe it's just us, but we think it's acceptable for a player to long to play.

So the great debate now is who's running the Minnesota Vikings, exactly? It's a moral and ethical riddle that this week has captured the sports world.

We have our own question in response: Seriously? Is this a real argument? One of the all-time greats or old Coach what's his name? Coke vs. Pepsi this isn't.

Who's running the Lakers, we ask? Phil Jackson or Kobe Bryant? There, it's a partnership, a pair of multiple title winners well into their careers combining for the good of the franchise.

This is professional sports, folks, grown-up business, even if the employees are running around in kids' clothes. The idea of the pro coach lording over a bunch of millionaires is as outdated as Tom Landry's hat.

The Vikings' situation included the coach, a man reportedly named Brad Childress, later exploding in an expletive-filled tirade. One of Minnesota's players called the fit of leadership "entertaining," entertainment probably not Childress' intent.

By contrast, there is no question today that Jackson and Bryant share the same basic goal. The fact they share illustrious credentials isn't a minor consideration, either.

Their titles might as well be president and vice president, and which one's which can vary by the game situation.

The arrangement works because there's mutual trust and respect, Bryant growing into his role after Jackson told everyone in a book about Bryant being a headstrong pain in the backside.

And have you ever seen Jackson walk? He looks to be on the verge of collapsing like a lawn chair. The guy knows about pains in the backside.

We're not sure if Childress ever has called one of his players a pain or if he's ever written a book. But we're certain his resume could be the postage stamp on the envelope that holds Jackson's resume.

Childress floated the idea of replacing Favre in the third quarter as the Vikings' offense was struggling and his quarterback was getting the arrogance kicked out of him. Favre disagreed with the notion.

Later, Childress described his sideline admission as a "stream of consciousness" thing, which sounds like something Jackson would say before describing how and why he founded the science of psychology.

By comparison to the Lakers' arrangement, Childress is more like Favre's caddie. The coach did, you might recall, even drive to the airport to pick up the quarterback after he agreed to become a Viking.

But, honestly now, is this really that big of a deal? Had Childress demanded that Favre come out and had Favre told him "Nuts to you, Beardy!" then, yeah, we have a major incident.

The story here seems to be that Favre, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and having another stellar season, thinks his team is better with him playing rather than standing. Stunning, huh?

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