Monday Night Favreball reaches a new low
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 22, 2008
The only thing more insufferable than the Cold, Hard Football Facts newsletter (sign up here!) is watching ESPN cover a Monday Night Football game with BrettFavre in the line-up. (For the record, it's always one word, BrettFavre, in ESPN parlance – cap tip, JoeSportsFan).
In a typical Monday Night Favreball broadcast, ESPN's entire crew – pre-game, in the booth or on the sidelines – mentions BrettFavre what seems like every other word.
But they went below and beyond the call of BrettFavre duty during last night's Jets-Chargers game. The ESPN pre-game crew essentially wrote the gameplan for the Jets, demanding with each breathless word that coach Eric Mangini let BrettFavre "fling the ball" all over the field so that BrettFavre can "have some fun." (In the eyes of ESPN, BrettFavre has cornered the market in fun on an NFL field).
Mangini apparently caved to the pressure, with disastrous results.
Favre threw the ball 42 times last night, while the Jets attempted just 13 rushes. The result was typical of any time BrettFavre, the most blindly worshipped QB in history, is asked to carry a team, let alone a new team: the Jets suffered a 48-29 defeat to the previously winless Chargers, one of the worst losses of Mangini's head-coaching career.
That's what happens when the coach follows the gameplan advocated by the guy who wrote "Just Give Me the Damn Ball!" after his 1-15 rookie year in the NFL.
BrettFavre played his entertainingly ineffective "gunslinger role" to perfection. He threw three TD passes. But one first-half pick was returned for a TD and another, also in the first half, gave the Chargers a short field, which they promptly cashed in on with another TD. You're talking a possible 28-point swing in the second quarter alone. At least two other BrettFavre passes were thrown into the hands of Chargers defenders but were dropped, many other passes missed the mark badly, and at one point BrettFavre wildly tossed an underhanded pass at nobody, as he was being taken down for a sack.
As it became apparent that the Jets would lose, the broadcast took on the tone of a funeral procession, with the booth crew of Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony "Joe Chardonnay" Kornheiser lamenting the fact that Favre was sucking so badly. After all, if BrettFavre isn't having fun, than neither can Kornheiser, who at one point professed his "love" for BrettFavre.
But maybe the tone of the broadcast changed when the Jets fell behind because the guys at ESPN knew this little factoid:
"Jets QB Brett Favre has NEVER (our emphasis) won a game in which his team trailed by at least 14 points," according to an NFL.com report this morning.
(CHFF edtior's update: We've got tons of mail about this NFL report already this morning and are trying to confirm or refute its accuracy. From what we understand so far, Favre has never brought a team back from MORE than 14 points down ... but we'll have more info as we figure out what happened here. "Official" NFL data is usually very accurate.)
BrettFavre killed Packers teams for years with his costly mistakes. As NFL.com reported, his ability to produce comeback victories is limited. And as you'll see below in a stunning and new Cold, Hard Football for the ages, BrettFavre-led teams rarely win when he's asked to carry the load.
You would think all of these factors, all of these disfiguring scars upon the BrettFavre legend, would have tempered the enthusiasm for BrettFavre that ESPN has had in its Monday Night Favreball broadcasts. It didn't. You would think ESPN's crew might recognize that 89 other guys were in uniform last night. They didn't.
Here are some of the verbal lowlights from last night's broadcast, as ESPN reporters fully engorged themselves on BrettFavre's manhood on the sidelines, in the booth and from the pre-game studio in Bristol, only to be disappointed as BrettFavre fell impotent in a big game yet again. To set the record straight, we pry off the puckered lips of the ESPN broadcast team with a steely speculum of Cold, Hard Football Facts (in italics below).
ESPN math: Three INTs = "leadership"
Early in the pre-game broadcast Steve Young tried to bring some sanity to the proceedings, saying that quarterbacks don't just come into a new team and start flinging the ball around 40 times a game.
Stuart Scott reacted as if Young had just drop-kicked the family puppy: "Brett Favre can't fling the ball around 40 times a game?!!," he demanded angrily, his one good eye bugging out of his head.
CHFF: Young was right. BrettFavre is 160-94 (.630) in the regular season over the course of his career. But in games in which he throws the ball 40 or more times, he's a pathetic 26-43. BrettFavre is also 0-4 in the playoffs when asked to throw 40 or more times, or a combined record of 26-47 (.356) when asked to carry the load. In other words, nearly half of Favre's regular-season losses, yet just one-sixth of his victories, came when he was asked to carry the load. To put Favre's numbers into perspective, consider that Tom Brady is 17-8 (.680) in games in which he passes 40 or more times (including 4-1 in the playoffs). The notion that BrettFavre carried the Packers all those years is, in stark, irrefutable terms, complete bullsh*t.
But Scott, in the most humorous exchange of the night, one indicative of the Old Yeller Fever that ravages the ESPN studios, quickly won over Young with his Socratic arguments.
Scott: "Brett can throw two or three INTs and not get down. That's what BrettFavre is."
Young: "That's leadership.'
Rumblin' and stumblin' in the studio
Nobody dishes out Favre hyperbole like Chris Berman, who was in rare form last night: "Favre has brought an infectious energy that has changed the dynamics in the swamps of Jersey." (We believe re-hashing Springsteen and Beatles lyrics each week is part of Berman's contract.)
CHFF: Favre's "infectious energy" has left the Jets at 1-2, which puts them pretty much on pace for the 4-12 record they had last year under Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington.
Then ESPN re-played that tired old BrettFavre montage we've seen before every Monday Night Favreball broadcast of the last 10 years: you know, BrettFavre looking for a hot dog on the sidelines, or BrettFavre otherwise hamming it up with coaches, teammates and officials.
Berman: "You can watch that stuff or the next 50 years. It never gets old. It never gets old."
CHFF: It was old five years ago, Boomer. It only seems fresh when it's placed next to your act.
Flash to Suzy Kolber on the sidelines: "In Green Bay, Favre never had to take a playbook home. Which is where all those great ad libs came from."
CHFF: In other words, Favre never prepared like a champion. As a result, you end up with "ad libs" like the 4 picks he threw in a home playoff loss to the 8-8 Vikings a couple years ago, or the record-tying 6 playoff picks he tossed against the Rams two years before that. Not trying to kill the mood here, folks, but we'll take the well prepared guy over ad-libbing BrettFavre any day of the week.
Then ESPN jumps to a shot of Favre coming through the tunnel toward the field.
Berman: "No conundrum here. Favre usually saves his best for priiimmmeee tiiimmmeee."
CHFF: Last time we saw BrettFavre in priiimmmeee tiiiimmmme was the NFC title game, when he couldn't produce a single first down in the fourth quarter or OT, and then threw a critical pick in the extra session that cost his team a shot at the Super Bowl for at least the third time this decade.
In fact, over the last two priiimmmee tiimme games, BrettFavre has completed 49 of 77 passes for 507 yards, 6.6 YPA, with 5 TD, 4 INT and an 82.5 rating. Not bad, but more than a quarter of those passing yards came on two plays: a short toss to Donald Driver in the NFC title game that turned into a 90-yard catch-and-run, and a 41-yard shot to Laveranues Coles last night.
ESPN writes the gameplan
Hanging over the pre-game broadcast was the fact that BrettFavre attempted "just" 26 passes the week before in a 19-10 loss to the Patriots.
Naturally, the salve on any wound in the eyes of ESPN is to consolidate complete control and power in the hands of BrettFavre. It's as if the pre-game crew is Congress, BrettFavre is the treasury secretary and the Jets offense is the U.S. banking system.
Cris Carter: "It's an unbelievable time for the Jets ...They're not taking advantage of it. You can't put the reigns on him. BrettFavre doesn't play like that."
Keyshawn Johnson: The Jets need to "unleash him to start flinging the ball."
Even CHFF hero Mike Ditka was overwhelmed by Old Yeller Fever: "This guy relishes this position. He wants to be in this position. You saw those catches the receivers made (in the montage). They (the receivers) are going all out for this guy right now. "
CHFF: New York's leading wide receiver to "go all out" for Favre is Jerricho Cotchery, who had caught just 4 passes (for 100 yards) through the first two games. (He did catch 10 last night, though.)
Ditka then made fun of former Jets quarterback Chad Pennnington.
CHFF: Pennington's Dolphins just hung 38 points on Bill Belichick's defense, and through three games under Pennington, Miami has already matched its win total of 2007.
Keyshawn Johnson: "Mangini was taking a page out of his years in New England: dink and dunk and play good defense. But now you got this brand new toy" (meaning BrettFavre).
CHFF: Maybe it's just us, but it seems that Keyshawn just made fun of the strategy the Patriots rode to three Super Bowl titles early this decade, and implied that first ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady was a dink-and-dunk passer (which he wasn't). As we just noted above, Brady often carried his team in the playoffs, attempting 40 or more passes in five of his 17 career playoff games, winning four of them. In either case, Johnson was essentially telling the Jets to abandon this winning strategy and employ a BrettFavre-centric strategy that last succeeded in Green Bay at the start of Clinton's second term.
Then came this sloppy exchange about BrettFavre and the Jets gameplan:
Berman: "They'll let it fly tonight. Don't you worry. They're not fools."
Tom Jackson: "After last week they're going to change"
Berman: "They're going to let it fly. San Diego is vulnerable on defense."
CHFF: Well, they did let it fly, and they got a classic Favre performance: some nice plays sprinkled among critical mistakes, bad passes, poor decisions and a pretty bad loss. Maybe if Mangini didn't let the guys in the studio at ESPN write his gameplan, his Jets might be 2-1 right now.
All Favre, all the time
Typical of a Monday Night Favreball broadcast on ESPN is an inability to talk about anything without putting it into the context of Favre.
ESPN flashed to a shot of Jets RB Thomas Jones last night, prompting Berman to say: "High on the list of those happy to see Favre is Thomas Jones, who's already equaled his TD total of last year (one, said Berman)."
CHFF: Jones actually scored 2 TDs last year.
Berman: "Favre's presence could create more opportunities for Thomas Jones."
CHFF: Thomas ran the ball 310 times last year (four attempts shy of his career high) and caught 28 passes, the third highest total in his eight-year career. He's on pace for 261 rushing attempts and 37 catches this year – or 40 fewer opportunities than he had in 2007.
So Berman wholeheartedly supports the ESPN-approved gameplan calling for Favre to "fling the ball" all over the field ... yet believes this will create more opportunities for a 30-year-old journeyman running back.
They wanna kiss BrettFavre
Naturally, no Monday Night Favreball broadcast is complete without a gushing geyser of love from the female contingent on the staff, the sideline reporters. As was the case in the booth, even talk of other players comes out only in the context of how they relate to BrettFavre.
Michelle Tafoya: "The Chargers face BrettFavre tonight and that's going to be tough for them. A lot of these guys on this team love BrettFavre. "
Suzy Kolber: "When Favre came out, the Chargers fans went crazy."
Kolber: San Diego QB Phillip Rivers "grew up idolizing Favre."
Then there is one line that ESPN by-laws dictate must accompany every Monday Night Favreball broadcast.
Kolber delivered it without flinching, without any sense of irony: "One thing we know, Favre is going to have fun."
Is it kickoff yet?
Believe it or not, folks, that gushing Favre love was just the pre-game. When the broadcast crew of Tirico, Jaworski and Joe Chardonnay took over, it got even worse.
We tried to listen to all of it, but as the Jets fell behind and the incessant Favre talk continued, we finally had to tune out and watch a re-run of Porky's Revenge on the Retro channel.
But here are some of the gushing BrettFavre lowlights that spurted out of the press box.
Tirico, with a shot of San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson coming out of the tunnel: "He idolized Favre!"
Tirico: "BrettFavre and Monday night has a special ring to it."
Kornheiser: "Who is more affiliated with MNF than Favre?"
CHFF: Oh, we don't know, Joe. How about Roone Arledge, Pete Rozelle, Howard Cosell, Jerry Rice and the Raiders of the 1970s and 80s.
Kornheiser: BrettFavre "is the NFL's most preeminent rock star, the NFL's most recognizable face." Favre playing with the Jets "is like McCartney walking down the street, passing a band playing in the garage and asking if he can sit in." (Cue the obligatory Beatles reference that must accompany anything uttered by a Baby Boomer). "It's been a long and winding road."
Korneheiser, now gushing like a schoolboy on Christmas morning: "Rivers as a kid had four posters on his wall: Aikman, Marino, Montana and guess who the fourth one was?"
CHFF: We're stumped. Who?
Kornheiser, more breathless than Rosie O'Donnell shoving hot dogs down her pie hole while berating Elisabeth Hasselbeck and running wind sprints: "BrettFavre!!"
The greatest punchline, though, came from Tirico halfway through the contest, as he skewered the ESPN-promoted gameplan and the BrettFavre legacy, with all the detached irony of Post-Classical Panty-Dancing:
"The Jets are throwing more. San Diego has more points."
It was the only insightful thing we heard all night ... well, outside of Porky's Revenge.
Forearm Shiver: the CHFF Blog
- Wise Guys: Broncos, Patriots, 49ers Top Expected Win Totals In 2013
- Hockey Announcer Gone Wild: You Want To Party (Maybe) With This Guy
- Best Pass Defense Ever: Ronde Barber And The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video: Hot, Bothered And Handcuffed
- Sam Adams In A Can, Just In Time For Summer Drinking Season
- 'Cheeseheads' Reality Show Destined To Suck
- The 5.0 Club: Best Rushing Teams in NFL History
- Sieves: The Worst Run Defenses In NFL History
- 2013 NFL Schedule: The Year Of The Denver Broncos
- Boston, Sports, Patriotism And Terror
- Monsters of the Midway: We Need The Chicago Bears More Than Ever
- The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History
- NFL Crown Rule: Will It Dethrone Rushing King Adrian Peterson?
- Big Tease: 2012 New England Patriots And NFL's History Of Offensive Failures
- Epic Fail: The Wide Receiver Draft Class Of 2012
Must See Videos