Anyone who knows anything about the NFL will tell you for all intents and purposes, pre-season football is crap. If you like to watch a handful of veterans and a lot of rookies and free agents bang into each other to win a spot on your favorite football team, it’s great. Otherwise, it’s unwatchable.
Which doesn’t mean there still can’t be a few moments of fleeting satisfaction mixed in.
Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings came to town to play the San Francisco 49ers. Nothing particularly special about it. The vets on both teams would play a quarter or two, but mostly the game was just another try out for a lot of guys who will be going back home in a few weeks having failed to be among the last cuts to make the team.
However, this was also the first game since Brett Favre ended his annual “am I coming back or not?” ritual. NBC was in full “let’s swing on Brett’s nuts” mode. They talked about Brett before the game. They talked about Brett during the game. They interviewed Brett during halftime. They interviewed Brett again during the third quarter while he was standing on the sidelines.
They were then bringing Tony Dungy into the booth to (guess what?) ask him about Brett Favre. Dungy was to be followed by Rodney Harrison whom I presume would also be asked what he thought about Brett Favre’s nuts. Were they smooth to the touch or rough and stubbly like Brett’s perpetually stubbled face?
Having had quite enough, I had muted the sound long ago. A man can only take so much slurping and sucking before he must say “ENOUGH ALREADY!”
So if the pre-season Favre worship was intolerable and the game itself meaningless, why am I even mentioning it?
Because even if a game that doesn’t count, means nothing and has real importance, it’s still great to watch the NFL’s version of Touchdown Jesus get his dick knocked in the dirt.
The moment of sweetness came during the third of the only four snaps Favre was scheduled to take that night. He stepped back and two 49er linebackers, Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes blitzed up the middle and slammed into the grizzled graybeard like two 18-wheelers squashing a terrified deer.
BOOM! Down goes Favre! Sacked for a 10-yard loss. Punt on the next down. Good night and thanks for showing up. Now drag yo’ tired old ass back to the sidelines to watch the rest of the game with a ball cap on. Welcome back from the rocking chair, grandpa.
Last season Favre built upon his legend with a last-second touchdown pass to beat the Niners. Willis hadn’t forgotten how badly that loss stung and used his brief time on the field to personally deliver that message .
Willis may be the best young linebacker in the league. The 49ers are paying him like he is and learning from a Hall of Famer in Coach Mike Singletary can only enhance his chances of joining his coach and Favre in Canton one day.
There’s no revenge in the pre-season. The 49ers are favored to win their division. The Vikings are favored to make the Super Bowl. Those are two entirely different expectations.
Willis and the 49ers would love a chance to square things with Favre during a game that matters. The two teams don’t play during the regular season so the only way that can happen is in the playoffs. It remains to see if Favre wants any part of that kind of action.
Is this petty on my part? Should I not take so much satisfaction from something that means so little. Does it make me a hater? Fine by me. Sometimes I’m just an evil Black man. What can I say? It may be a superficial thrill but I get one every time I see the holy hell get beat out of the most overrated and overpraised athlete ever to step on any playing field of any type .
If that seems a bit exaggerated, so is the legend of Brett Favre, the Football Messiah. A little dose of humility dealt out to him every so often is a good thing.
It feels good too.