They’re at it again: the gossip mongers in the media, bound & determined to make life miserable for Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.
It was summer 2009 when the bogus “reports” began to surface.
ESPN started the campaign when it claimed Vikings’ coach Brad Childress had given Favre a deadline to report to training camp. Both Childress and Favre denied the story but the damage was already done: Viking players and fans had begun to get antsy.
This was followed by the now infamous “schism” alarm sounded by ESPN’s Adam Schefter once Favre arrived in Minnesota. While the network tried feverishly to sell the story, it never had legs. Every Viking to a man simply passed it off as so much gobbledygook.
Some of the responses were classic.
Best of the bunch came from All-Pro DE Jared Allen. If Favre is the inspiration and Peterson the power then Allen is the purple passion of this Vikings’ team.
When asked about the so-called locker-room “schism,” Allen stated: “I don’t even know what that word means. I thought it was an STD when I first heard it and I’m like, whooooa! We preach abstinence around these here parts!”
This summers round of Favre falsies kicked-off with a story from local guy Judd Zulgad (Star-Tribune) / AP. The “report” claimed that Vikings’ brass and several players received text-messages from the iron-man QB indicating his decision to retire.
If the report wasn’t downright dis-information (SOP for your shadier government agencies and political campaigns), then it was gossip so unreliable that no self-respecting teenage editor would’ve published it on their high school web-page.
Favre denied the texts, no one publicly claimed receipt and his friend Ryan Longwell was dumbfounded by the story. The only apparent contact was Vikings’ TE Visanthe Shiancoe whose hearsay put him smack-dab in the middle of the feeding-frenzy.
Next came the “report” from Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports (8/18) claiming Favre and his teammates are distrusting of Brad Childress and his offensive scheme.
It’s not the un-named sources for Cole’s claims that are disturbing. Anonymity is a staple of the news profession. It gives cover to vital sources who might otherwise remain silent.
Rather, it’s the pattern of Favre reporting since 2009 that’s troubling: supposed sources who can’t be verified, propping-up dubious storylines that the sports media accepts straight away and then hypes as if the reported claims were handed down on tablets.
When interviewed on NFL Network Cole offered up this reason for the distrust he claims permeates the Norse camp: the offense… it‘s “not working.”
Not working? Did Jason see the 2009 NFL season? Even with seven turnovers the high-powered Vikings’ offense was still just one coin-flip (or 12-man penalty) away from the Super Bowl in last seasons NFC title game.
And then there are Peter King (SI.com / “Childress Has No Regret After Begging Favre Back”) and the Florio kids at Profootballtalk.com (“Rosenfels Behind Favre-Childress Tension?” / 8-23). End your title with a question-mark (?) and you can write just about anything you want today.
I’m not surprised King would shill for the Packer elite. Like his co-worker Don Banks (SI.com) he’s a closet Packer-backer. Fine enough.
But to rely on greenhorn analyst Ted Bruschi (“I’ve lost respect for (Vikings) team”) to further the fiction that Chilly kowtows to Brett is over-playing the hand. Ted is a card-carrying Favre-basher and Belichick-berater. Sadly, it’s a persona that’s become all too common on NFL Live.
The good…the real…the firm news for Vikings’ fans is that the team appears unified and generally un-fazed by the falsies and beat-down articles. The bad news: due in part to Brett‘s Green Bay glory, the Packers still have a lot of backers in the media, even in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.