No, former Packers quarterback Brett Favre did not return to the NFL in 2010 because his undeniable love of the game, or the fact that he was coming off his best ever NFL season statistically, or because his Vikings were one ill-fated, across-the-body throw in New Orleans from making their first Super Bowl in over 20 years.
It was much simpler than that.
In his latest segment of an interview with NFL Network’s Deion Sanders, Favre revealed his true motivation for playing his 20th NFL season in 2010. Favre returned because of the money.
“First of all, the money was too good,” Favre said.
Sanders responded by thanking Favre for “being honest” in his response.
“I hate to say it’s about money,” Favre continued. “But I felt the money was a lot — great.”
Look, this if far from a “takedown” piece—as Aaron Sorkin’s Will McAvoy would call it—of Favre. Unlike many Packers fans, I have very little in terms of ill-will towards Favre, and I’d much rather put the time period after 2008 behind the fan base than continue to dwell on the fractured relationship.
And to admit that taking somewhere near $20 million (Favre signed with the Vikings in the summer of 2009 for two years, $25 million, but re-worked the deal to push most of the money to 2010) was a big factor in his ultimate decision isn’t exactly the worst act in the history of the world. A precious few of us can even fathom turning down $20 million if it was presented to us.
But for a quarterback who was critically acclaimed for his “just having fun out there” style, and his unshakeable love for the game of football, Favre’s comments to Sanders make the former Packers quarterback seem a little disingenuous, to say the least.
Truth be told, Packers fans are probably used to coming to terms with some of Favre’s disingenuity over the recent years. For most, the proverbial light has been shed on the former golden boy of Green Bay.
The NFL’s holder of most career quarterback records didn’t stop with the money. Using his revisionist glasses, Favre appeared to be foresee the Vikings’ eventual collapse.
Favre was brutally honest about his opinion of the Vikings’ chances in 2010, despite coming off a 13-3 season in which Favre threw for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions and had the Vikings just one bad decision from Favre away from the Vikings playing the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV instead of the Saints.
“But the guys, I kinda felt like, even though I knew it was gonna be next to impossible (to repeat 2009) — I wouldn’t tell them (that) – Sidney (Rice) and Jared (Allen) and Big Hutch (Steve Hutchinson) and Adrian (Peterson), they were like, ‘Hey, unfinished business.’ And I just knew that it probably was finished, but I did feel like if I didn’t try it (I’d regret it),” Favre said.
Favre even considered the birth of his daughter’s son as a precursor.
“I don’t know too many grandpas that have had a lot of success leading us to the Super Bowl,” Favre joked. “I knew this wasn’t going to end good.”
Despite the worries, however, Favre did return, and he subsequently suffered through the worst season of his NFL career. The Vikings won just six games in 2010, and Favre threw just 11 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. He was beaten and battered, and he eventually snapped his iron-man streak of consecutive games started at 321.
The Packers beat Favre twice, including a thrilling early-season game at Lambeau Field in which Favre threw a pick-six, and once again in Minnesota when Aaron Rodgers laid a beat down on the old man in front of his Metrodome crowd.
In his last ever game—a start at TCF Bank Field in Minneapolis against the Chicago Bears—Favre lasted just seven throws and the Vikings lost, 40-14. Favre (concussion) wouldn’t take another NFL snap.
Instead of going out with a bang, Favre went out with a whimper, a limp, a headache. And then his former backup, a player he hated GM Ted Thompson for bringing in behind him, went on to win MVP in Super Bowl XLV as the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And the decision for Favre—a golden boy in the media for reasons exactly the opposite of this—came down mostly to money.
Love him, dislike or loath him, that reality is a sad one.