I'm assuming you've heard the news. Who am I kidding, of course you have. Even Trappist monks in Belgium already know that Brett Favre will once again be suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Unless you've been on a self-imposed black out for the past 24 hours and managed to not watch TV, listen to the radio, browse the internet, read a newspaper, leave your house or talk to another living human being then you've undoubtedly been informed. And it would seem that's the way Brett Favre wants it. Why else does he let this charade go on year in and year out? I certainly understand how it could drive most
NFL followers Americans everyone batty but as a Saints fan, I've got no problem with it.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Saints opening night rematch against the Vikings just wouldn't be the same without Favre. Even though it comes in the first week of the season, it's the game on the schedule I anticipate most this year. Their last meeting in the 2009 NFC Championship Game is undoubtedly my greatest Superdome memory; September 9th is an opportunity for me to relive that magical night and attempt to capture those same feelings one last time. I want to witness another battle of epic proportions riddled with non-stop action and excitement that goes deep into overtime and has me on the edge of my seat for four hours, with the black & gold still on the winning end of course. No disrespect to the Vikings but I think this game would have seen a boring blowout by the Saints with Tarvaris Jackson taking the snaps.
A Saints victory just wouldn't be as sweet either if it didn't come at the expense of the old man. With Favre returning the game maintains its value as a true rematch. Can you imagine all the crap we'd have to listen to from Vikings fans rationalizing the loss and constantly claiming, "You're lucky Favre didn't come back! This game would have been completely different!" The Saints will be getting the best Minnesota has to offer so there will be no excuses this time when they lose...again. Even worse, think about the what would happen if the Vikings actually beat the Saints with Jackson. It would be insufferable.
Perhaps it will mean more national fan support for the Saints on Thursday night as well. As title holders, I am expecting more than the usual 'hating' from fans of all other NFL teams looking to take the champs down a peg or two. It's lonely at the top. But there is a large portion of the population who now despise Brett Favre and all that his three years of indecision have wrought. People like this guy. And that hatred might not allow them to ever pull for the Vikings, or any other team Brett Favre may play for in the future, meaning they support Who Dat Nation by default on Thursday night.
But I think it will be good for the Saints as a team as well. Instead of bombarding the team with media attention and over-hyping their first ever championship title defense almost five years exactly after Hurricane Katrina, some of that spotlight will now be diverted toward Favre and the Vikings. Forget being able to watch the game on TV with the sound on though. The non-stop Favre banter will make your ears bleed. The Saints have just been inched ever so slightly toward the back burner. Hopefully that will allow the team a better opportunity to focus on the task at hand. Perhaps it will help keep them modest and grounded.