In a shocking development, the news broke today that Brett Favre will not be returning to Minnesota this season, but instead will retire.
Like everyone else, my reaction was, "I'll believe it when I see it." I still expect Favre to play this season. I think there's a chance he might wait a few weeks into the regular season before he returns. But I do think he'll play for Minnesota by week 4. Here are the primary reasons he'll return:
1) One more shot at a championship;
2) Two more chances (maybe three) to beat the Packers;
3) The chance to create more seperation from Manning with all the records.
The third reason may actually be the biggest motivator for Favre. He's a spotlight-loving narcissist and wants to hold on to his four major records - TDs, yards, consecutive starts and wins - for as long as he can.
But right now Manning is within 5 or 6 seasons of breaking each of those records. But as long as Favre keeps playing, Manning can't catch him. If Favre had retired in 2008 (er, stayed retired in 2008) Peyton would have broken the TD record by 2013. Instead, Favre padded 55 more TDs to the record, and now it'll take Peyton until 2015, and that's only if Favre stays retired for this season. Eventually Peyton Manning has to say "Screw the record books, I'm 42 years old, I'm calling it quits." And then the 4 major records are all safe for another 20+ years.
Along with those three reasons, I think Favre will play this season because he can't resist being on such a stacked team. Part of him knows that he can't possibly replicate the success he had in 2009, but another part of him knows that the Vikings are good enough to win 10 games even without him. It's basically a free ticket to the playoffs, and then all he has to do is win 3 straight and he's the Super Bowl MVP. Very hard to resist.
I don't think he's really retired, and neither do you, and neither does anyone.
But maybe for just one second we should ask ourselves... What if he really is???
How many games does Minnesota lose simply from starting Tavaris Jackson at quarterback? Does Green Bay win the division easily? Does Detroit have any shot at beat the Vikings sans-Favre? What about the fantasy implications? Is AP still a top 2 pick? Is Sidney Rice still worth drafting at all? Does Tavaris Jackson become a sleeper?
My answers to those questions are as follows:
3, yes, no, yes, no, no.
And that's all I have to say about that.