Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fran Tarkenton Gives Brett Favre The Limbaugh Treatment

Fran Tarkenton, who was by far the most exciting quarterback in the history of the Minnesota Vikings and a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, evidently isn't too keen on the idea of the team bringing in Brett Favre. Now as far as I know Tarkenton is generally seen as a good guy, but he is definitely old school and I think a lot of what he said in that interview has to do with the fact that he thinks the NFL has taken a turn for the worse when it comes to the way they now put players on pedestals. I also think that loyalty is a big thing for him and he isn't happy at all about the perception that is definitely out there that Favre only wants to play for Minnesota to try to stick it to Green Bay, a team that he led into battle for 16 seasons. Still I don't think anyone saw this coming.

Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, appearing on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, said “it’s all about” Favre when discussing the subject and also had some interesting comments about NFL owners in general. Tarkenton, a resident of the Atlanta area, didn’t need any encouragement to go after Favre and was especially critical of how the future Hall of Fame QB has treated the Packers after playing 16 seasons in Green Bay.

“I think it’s despicable. What he put the Packers through last year was not good,” said Tarkenton, who played for the Vikings from 1961-66 and again from 1972-78. ”Here’s an organization that was loyal to him for 17, 18 years, provided stability of organization, provided players. It just wasn’t about Brett Favre. In this day and time, we have glorified the Brett Favre’s of the world so much, they think it’s about them. He goes to New York and bombs. He’s 39 years old. How would you like Ray Nitschke in his last year [playing for] the Vikings, or I retire, and go play for the Packers? I kind of hope it happens, so he can fail.”

Tarkenton might have been a little strong in his assessment of Favre’s play with the New York Jets last season. The Jets, who acquired Favre’s rights from the Packers during training camp, were 8-3 at one point but finished by losing four of their last five games and missed the playoffs. Favre retired for a second time after the season in part because of a partially torn biceps in his throwing arm that continues to bother him.

It’s interesting that Tarkenton feels so strongly about how Favre dealt with the Packers because when the Vikings traded Tarkenton to the New York Giants after the 1966 season he wasn’t on exactly good terms with the franchise. Clearly he sees this as a completely different situation.

“He told the Packers [after 2008 that], ‘I’m retiring,’” Tarkenton said. “They’ve got to move on. They’ve got to go through their offseason plan, their workouts, they go with the other quarterback [Aaron Rodgers], who is a good player, and then [Favre] comes back and says, ‘I think I want to play.’ … You build your team in the offseason. Everybody knows that. It’s about team. It’s not about Brett Favre. So he goes and runs up to the Jets, doesn’t even dress in the locker room with the players. Has a separate facility. Playing quarterback is about the relationships you have with your coaches, with your players, with your trainers, with your managers. How can you do that if you show up on gameday and you haven’t put the time in. And now he’s trying to do it again in Minnesota. And if Minnesota bites, God bless them.”

Asked what more the Packers could have done last year, Tarkenton said: “They did everything, but you get into a position, and I understand he’s been glorified so much. He’s been a great player, there’s no question about it, but it’s all about him. It is supposed to be all about your team. If you’re going to be the quarterback of your team, you need to be there in the offseason workouts in March and April. Peyton Manning’s there. Tom Brady’s there.”

Tarkenton was known for his scrambling when he played the game and Favre always has been considered a gunslinger.

“I think he has been a great flamboyant quarterback, but he has made more stupid plays than any great quarterback that I’ve ever seen,” Tarkenton said. “Look at his final game in a Packers uniform [the NFC title game in the 2007 season]. He blew that game against the Giants. He’s playing against Eli Manning, I love Eli Manning, but he’s still not a great quarterback. He’s not Peyton yet, or Tom Brady. He’s just a guy. And [the Packers] are playing at home, and they’re in a tight situation, they went to overtime and [Favre] throws the interception that allows [the Giants] to come back and win the game.

OUCH. Now the truth is absolutely everything Tarkenton said is pretty much spot on. But you just don't expect to see a Hall of Famer go all in like that on a guy who is almost assured his own spot in the Hall. I don't know if there is anything more to the story between Tarkenton and Favre but I can tell you the the criticism has got to sting. It will be interesting to see how Favre is recieved should the Vikings go ahead and pull the trigger.

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