1. The Brett Favre/Brad Childress saga is over and the Vikings are ready for the playoffs
Oh, those Wednesday press conferences. Cue the violins. Sing Kumbaya.
Please. I have an island to sell you in the Caribbean if you believe that nonsense. "Chilly" says it’s over. Favre says it’s over, while still pointing out faults of others and making excuses for himself.
We have only just begun. It’s a bust all the way around.
For the record, in what will be considered a major upset special to my readers, viewers, and listeners, I actually side with Favre Sunday night.
It was asinine to consider taking Favre out when the score was 7-6 in the third quarter. I know the protection was terrible, but Favre gives you the best chance to win.
But then, in the ensuing days, you have reports of other problems. Are the changes at the line of scrimmage, the run/pass options, the root of the issues? Does Favre want to run the offense his way?
Brad, are we paying attention? This has always been Brett Favre’s world and why we warned you against signing him.
When you picked him up from the airport, was this not discussed. Favre demands influence on the offense. He did it in Green Bay and New York — doing his own thing! Brad, I know you told the news media on Wednesday that Favre was "extremely true" to the offense. You would be the first coach to say that.
I really think that this Childress/Favre division is going to help derail the Vikings from making the Super Bowl. It has been obvious all week that the pair isn’t close to being on the same page.
Some will say, "here goes Schein again on Favre." Well, sure. But I’ll back it up. I’m not a hater. I would prefer the label of a truth teller. Brett Favre is about Brett Favre. And that press conference mumbo jumbo on Wednesday proved it again.
I get your e-mails all the time. I take your phone calls. I’ve been called a Brett Favre killer and critic. I’d like to think of myself as a realist. I’ve seen how he treated the staff in Green Bay with total disrespect, wavering and waffling even before the 2008 season about whether he wanted to play, thus preventing free agents from signing with the Packers.
We saw how he lied to Green Bay in ’08, telling them he was done, letting them draft two quarterbacks, once again eschewing Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school and offseason program, only to suddenly want to return.
We saw how he alienated his teammates in New York and played miserably while making excuses down the stretch with the Jets. And we talk about his knack for the pick. Credit Favre for not tossing an interception in November. But in the last three games, he has thrown more picks than touchdowns, reminiscent of his slide last December.
Really, what did Brad Childress expect? A totally rosy ride? Did he pay attention the last few years? Brad picked him up at the airport, drove him to the facility and let the newbie call him "Chilly." Don’t you think the message was sent early that this is Brett Favre’s football team?
And seriously Coach, did you really think that Favre was going to keep the problems in-house? He loves the microphone and will find a way to keep a story going. The QB’s press conference on Wednesday made me laugh. Favre takes responsibility, but then makes excuses and throws people under the bus. It was classic.
Brett Favre was right. He shouldn’t have been taken out. And because he runs the Vikings, Favre stayed in.
How can anyone really be surprised?
Then you factor in Adrian Peterson’s disappearing act in the last two road games, Percy Harvin’s injury, E.J. Henderson being done for the season and the suddenly leaky defense.
The Vikes aren’t going anywhere. And Wednesday’s so-called press conferences truly convinced me of that point.
2. Minnesota made a mistake giving Childress an extension
Now this is a bust.
Vikings fans are killing Childress like the Packers fans used to kill Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson. But all this Favre business aside, see the forest through the trees here. Childress has done a great job overall with this team. The extension, which came earlier this year, was justified.
3. Phil Rivers is a better MVP candidate than Chris Johnson
The two offensive stars will square off on Christmas night and I can’t wait.
While Johnson is a legit leader for offensive player of the year with his 1,730 rush yards, Rivers is the superior candidate for MVP (currently third on my list behind Peyton Manning and Drew Brees). Rivers has just nine picks against 25 touchdowns. Rivers has thrown for 3,891 yards and has been amazing in the clutch while carrying the Chargers during their nine-game win streak.
There’s a legit debate in Tennessee over whether or not Johnson or Vince Young is the MVP of the Titans in the second half. There is no debate why the Chargers are where they are.
4. Kyle Orton is the Comeback Player of the Year
There are some great candidates, ranging from Cedric Benson to Carson Palmer to Mike Sims-Walker.
But this is a boom. Orton has 17 touchdowns against just eight picks. Not too bad for a guy who couldn’t beat out Rex Grossman. And Denver’s winning. I thought the Jay Cutler deal would set Denver back for years. I need to stay consistent and vote for Orton.
5. The Jets and Giants will both miss the playoffs
So much for my daydream in October about a New York Super Bowl. That worked out well. While the dream is still alive, this is a boom.
The Jets need Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore and Denver to lose. It’s possible. But the Jets need to beat Indy. I just don’t see it.
The Giants can beat Carolina, but it won’t be easy. Neither will the Week 17 game in Minnesota.
I think Dallas will beat Washington and Philly. I think Green Bay will dominate Seattle, and Kurt Warner might not play in Week 17.
6. Washington will compete with Dallas
This is a total bust. The pathetic effort of Jim Zorn’s team on Monday night was a total embarrassment to the NFL, and captured brilliantly by Mike Tirico. The Giants punched them early and Washington totally gave in. Washington has no fight left. The Cowboys have too much to play for. And we have to suffer through another ‘Skins game on national television.
7. The Ravens should win in Pittsburgh
This is a boom. Mike Tomlin confirmed to us Tuesday on Sirius NFL Radio that he opted to kick the ill-timed onside kick because of how poor his defense was playing.
Baltimore is clearly better on defense, running the football, and on the offensive line.
8. Antoine Bethea is a first-team All-Pro safety
This is a BOOM!
Ed Reed hasn’t had a legendary Ed Reed season. Troy Polamalu has been hurt. Darren Sharper and Bethea have been the best two safeties in the league this year. All Bethea does is make plays. He has 90 tackles, four picks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a number of pass break-ups. And he does it in crunch time.
Bethea told us this week on Sirius NFL Radio that he has been under the radar his entire life, so it doesn’t bother him that Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, and heck, even injured safety Bob Sanders get all of the attention.
Welcome outside the shadows now, Antoine. You’ve earned it.
9. The Bucs lost by winning last week
This is a boom.
Now of course, you credit the players and coaches, especially young Josh Freeman, for going out and beating up Seattle. Players don’t care about the draft and they never should. They should always try to win.
But I understand the Tampa fans saying, "We can’t even lose right!"
Ndamukong Suh is the first overall pick in the draft. One general manager told me, "He’s Richard Seymour, only better."
Now St. Louis is in the driver’s seat. Only Tampa. Only Tampa.