I hate saying it, but it may finally be time for the Minnesota Vikings to bench Brett Favre.
After yet another embarrassing loss to divisional rival Green Bay 31-3, I believe it is in the Viking's best interests moving forward, to begin playing backup Tavaris Jackson for the remainder of the regular season.
Many people wondered who would last longer in Minnesota: head coach Brad Childress or Brett Favre. On Monday, owner Zigy Wolf fired Childress, replacing him with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier as interim head coach. I once thought that Brett Favre gave the Vikings the best chance of winning this year, but through 10 games, the 40 yr old QB has thrown 17 INT's, the most of any QB in the NFL. With almost zero chance of making the playoffs this season, I wonder whether or not Leslie Frazier will start to receive heavy pressure from ownership to make the position switch at QB.
Forget Brett Favre's NFL record 295 consecutive games with a start, forget about the $16.5 million they paid Favre to come back for his 20th season.
The Minnesota Vikings will want to find out exactly what they have at the quarterback position for the future, and they need to find out where Tavaris Jackson fits in their plans. This is certainly Brett Favre's last season in the NFL. No more fake retirements. No more switching teams. There will be a new QB under center wearing the Purple and Gold in 2011.
Many draft experts project the Vikings drafting a QB with their first pick in next year's draft, some believe it may be Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker. Whatever the case, Zigy Wolf and the Minnesota Vikings will need to make sure that they don't have a quarterback on their current roster capable of becoming the face of the franchise. That is why they must find out now if it isn't Tavaris Jackson.
Tough Day for Terrell?
Terrell Owens went through a awkward process that many NFL players experience each and every weekend. Owens played against his former team. The suddenly upstart Buffalo Bills won their second consecutive game on Sunday, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 49-31. Having just been through a failed experiment in Buffalo last season, there must have been a lot of emotions going on inside of T.O. I've been through the drill myself.
After I was cut by the New York Giants in 2005, I was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers weeks later. In my first game as a 49er, we played the Giants at home. Talk about a weird feeling. I remember looking across the sidelines and seeing all those familiar faces. Eli, Tiki and Amani. Coach Coughlin and the rest of his staff. The Mara and Tisch families (our owners). And now they were the enemy on game day. I remember warming up before the game, not sure if I was allowed to go over and talk and laugh with some of the guys. After all, the 49ers had given me a second opportunity, a chance to prolong my career in the NFL. Surely I couldn't' betray them by fraternizing with the opponent before the game.
I remember experiencing so many emotional hills and valleys over the course of the game. I would find myself sub consciously cheering for my friends when they made a big play for the Giants, but then also hoping for one of them to make a mistake, or turn the football over, because I wanted my team to win! On the flip side, it was an odd feeling cheering for my teammates, because most of them were total strangers, whom I had only known for about five days.
It was also strange playing in Candlestick Park (then called Monster Park), a place where I had only played once before as a member of the Giants back in 2002. That game was a horrible memory for me, because we lost a wild card playoff game to the 49ers, after giving up the second biggest lead in playoff history!
After our game with the Giants in 2005, I was finally able to meet my friends at midfield, and laugh about the game, like we always used to do as teammates. Some of my favorite pictures with my teammates are from that game. Players and coaches playing against a former team, is a reality that happens each and every week in pro sports, and I bet it never feels any less awkward.
Childress out in Minnesota
I can't say I'm surprised by Brad Childress' firing this week. He had a 40-37 record as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and while his teams had been steadily progressing over the first four years of his reign as head coach, his team took a major detour this season.
Childress has been criticized for many things this year, including his inability to communicate with his players, as well as making abrupt decisions too often (ie cutting Randy Moss following a loss to the Patriots). Childress was critical of Brett Favre earlier this season following a defeat at the hands of Green Bay, and he was also reportedly involved in an altercation with second year wide receiver Percy Harvin during practice a few weeks ago.
One thing a head coach can not afford to do is lose his team. Wade Phillips found that out a few weeks back in Dallas. After losing to division rival Green Bay 31-3 this past weekend, the worst home loss in Brad Childress's tenure as head coach, Vikings owner Zigy Wolf decided to finally pull the plug on his head coach.
When you consider all of the different variables, and factor in everything that has happened this year with the Vikings, it's hard to feel surprised.
Now that week 11 is in the books, it's time to start looking at potential MVP candidates. While you can never look past players such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, there is another quarterback who is deserving of this year's honor, but he plays for a team that is only .500!
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is very quietly having an unbelievable year, as he is currently the most efficient passer in the NFL. Rivers has completed 65% of his passes, for a league leading 3,177 yards and 23 TD's, and you could argue that he's been able to accomplish more this season with less.
Rivers no longer has LaDanian Tomlinson in his backfield this year, and he's been playing without wide receiver Vincent Jackson for the first half of the season, due to Jackson's hold out. Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeil has misses several games, and Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates has been battling injuries, and didn't even suit up against the Broncos Monday night!
Still, Rivers continues to show outstanding leadership as the Chargers have now won three in a row, and look poised to make a run in the second half of the season. Many detractors of the "Rivers for MVP" campaign will point to the Chargers 5-5 record, but remember, this is the AFC West! While the Kansas City Chiefs are currently in the lead of the division, it is still wide open, with so much football left to be played.
I look for Rivers to continue putting up big numbers down the stretch of the regular season, and who knows, if the Chargers are able to put some more wins together, it could be Rivers who brings home the hardware this year.