The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Give it up Chilly


When Mike Holmgren coached Brett Favre in Green Bay, he spent long hours trying to make Favre into what he's wasn't: a system quarterback who would follow the game plan. After Favre's improvisation won Holmgren a bunch of games, they finally had a meeting of the minds: Holmgren would call plays and Brett would execute them as long as they worked.

When they didn't... Brett called audibles, and won a lot of games. That was Favre in his 20s. Did Brad Childress really think Favre would change at 40, hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson and be happy to be a "game manager,'' a term that in some circles is a pejorative for NFL quarterbacks?

Right now, Childress has no choice but to accede to Favre's improvisation -- he brought Favre to Minnesota to win and that's what's happened.

Until the debacle in the desert -- a 30-17 loss in Arizona three weeks ago -- Favre was having one of his best seasons. And the Vikings looked like the best balanced of the NFL's good teams. OK, Peterson wasn't getting loose but that only helped Brett because opponents were loading the box, leaving Favre's receivers in single coverage. Now that Minnesota has played two bad games in its last three, that's more problematical -- Julius Peppers toyed with both sides of Minnesota's offensive line Sunday night and third-string quarterback Matt Moore exploited the secondary a bit.

What Childress called "a stream of consciousness'' discussion with Favre in Carolina about removing him in the third quarter in Carolina reinforces his somewhat goofy image. He knew what he was getting in Favre -- a quarterback who wore down even Holmgren; one who wasn't going to stick to game plans when he could improvise; and one who certainly wasn't going to come out of a 7-6 game to stay healthy. He didn't set a record for consecutive starts by worrying about injury -- he once played almost an entire season with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

But however Childress plays this disagreement he's going to lose -- except financially because of the contract extension Favre's play helped earn for him. He may even lose a first-round bye if his team continues to slide. That could mean a second-round game outdoors, perhaps in Philadelphia, where it's cold at this time of year. Despite playing for 16 seasons in Green Bay, Brett hasn't played well outdoors in cold weather recently -- certainly not as well as Eli Manning played in the NFC championship game at Lambeau Field two seasons ago.

So give up Chilly. You're not going to win an argument with Brett and he's your best shot at a title.

Yeah, it deflates a coach's ego to have a player bigger than he is.

But you knew what you were getting.

You even met him at the airport when he finally arrived in Minnesota.

That says it all.

You work for Brett. Not the other way around.

By Dave Goldberg  |  December 23, 2009; 10:58 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Green Bay Packers , Minnesota Vikings Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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this 'game management' thing is just a bunch of old guys trying to pretend that they have something to do w/ the outcome of a game. and, yeah, w/the way things have gone, too many of them have had too much opportunity to louse up what should be an athletic contest between two teams of athletes who each want to show everyone that they are the better 'team'. what more could you want running the operation on the field than a favre, a peyton, a brees, or a warner-or a mcnabb(when he feels like it)? the coach needs to supply intel and troops to the fray, while the guys on the ground duke it out. it's a skirmish, not a campaign; and those are not fought from some control room by old guys pushing miniature figures around a topo map with sticks.

Posted by: avanti77 | December 28, 2009 2:02 AM

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