The Day After: Is Favre coach and QB?

You have to wonder right now if Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is having

second thoughts about giving Brad Childress a contract extension.

Isn’t Brett Favre the real coach of the Vikings? And

isn’t he the real reason the Vikings whipped the Packers

twice and won the NFC North?

And, finally, the best coach in Carolina Sunday night was

John Fox, but we all knew that before the coin toss. His only

regret this morning is wondering why he didn’t pull the plug

on his favorite quarterback, Jake Delhomme, sooner.

Ah, coaches and their quarterbacks. Every relationship is

different.

You would have thought, after watching the Saints get knocked

from the unbeaten ranks Saturday night, that the Vikings would have

played inspired football one night later. But that wasn’t the

case, and whose fault is that? The coach Favre casually calls

“Chilly” is No. 1, for not having them prepared and focused. The

players are No. 2 for simply going through the motions. The

Panthers, who had nothing to play for except pride, seized the

moment to tell the NFL world they aren’t as bad as their

record.

So in the middle of such a scene, Childress’ first move was

to bench Favre’s Pro Bowl left tackle Bryant McKinnie. Amazingly,

McKinnie was willing to take a seat for poor performance because he

was being run over consistently by Julius Peppers.

Childress’ next move was to bench Favre, wanting to protect

his quarterback’s 40-year-old body while also knowing that mobile

backup Tarvaris Jackson would have a better chance of escaping the

constant Carolina pressure. Even with a lead, Chilly knew his team

was really losing the fight. He simply wanted to save face.

But Favre didn’t come out of retirement to take a seat

in a 7-6 game. He came back to play and compete. You can rip him

all you want for being a flip-flopper on retirement, etc., but the

guy plays to compete. Is he head-strong? You bet. But like any

other player, he wants to prove that he’s the best. He wants

to win, knowing there are only 16 dances on the card.

But the only way you bench Favre in a situation like that is

by benching all your other important players like Adrian Peterson,

Jared Allen, Sidney Rice and Kevin Williams. The Vikings need all

their stars if they are going to reach the NFC Championship and a

true shot at the Super Bowl.

Chilly’s defense will be that Favre is 40 and fragile,

and that those players aren’t. But that isn’t how you

run a team. Which goes back to who is

really running this team?

I say Favre is right now. Every coach in American probably

hates me for saying that, but those are the facts. I don’t

know how Childress takes back control of the locker room while also

saving face. But he’s getting what he deserves. He’s

the one who drove to the airport to pick up Lord Favre this summer

and he’s the one who collected many millions off of his

quarterback’s exploits. The players can say whatever they

want the day after, but the whole world knew that before Favre

arrived the Minnesota locker room wasn’t wearing pro-Chilly

buttons.

To be honest, Chilly should be working harder on figuring out

how to find some running plays for Peterson that actually work. The

great back has been stuffed now by Arizona and Carolina, two

defenses that can’t be compared to the Steelers’ run

defense. It seems there’s a blueprint on stopping the

Minnesota offense right now, and Childress is responsible for the

game plan and deciding what will work on game day, right?

Or does Favre do that, too?

AFC Wildness

OK, we know that the Colts are perfect and

that the Chargers are sitting pretty.

New England holds the AFC’s No. 3 seed right now because the

Dolphins and Jets collapsed on Sunday. That was an awful loss by

the Jets, who dominated the Falcons only to lose in the final

minutes on a Matt Ryan fourth-down pass to Tony Gonzalez.

There are eight teams still technically alive for the

remaining two wild-card berths, and you want to like the Ravens and

Broncos — who are both 8-6 and in control — but how can

you really count on either one of those clubs?

The Ravens play in Pittsburgh next Sunday and the way the

Steelers rallied against the Packers, there apparently is still gas

in the Steelers’ tank. Plus, they hate the Ravens.

There’s no way of picking a winner here.

The Bengals could be free-falling after giving an extremely

exhaustive effort in San Diego amidst the Chris Henry tragedy only

to lose on a 52-yard field goal as time expired. One must assume,

though, if they split their final two games they will make the

playoffs because they are 6-0 in the AFC North and own head-to-head

tiebreakers against both Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

The Broncos are a scary proposition. They lost at home to

JaMarcus Russell and Charlie Frye, maybe the worst quarterback

combination in the league this season. That surely isn’t a

confidence booster, plus they have to play Philadelphia this week

and the Eagles can feel the Cowboys breathing down their necks. No

way Denver travels to Philly and wins. No way!

The Jaguars have a very good 6-4 conference record, which is

a positive when bracing for the tiebreakers. They also have some

offensive juice, but they could lose both of their cold road games

in New England and Cleveland. A split, though, may give them a

chance. Should they sweep, the Jaguars are a shoo-in in my opinion.

The Titans are the team that nobody really wants to see in

the playoffs. They have the explosive Chris Johnson and Vince

Young, and the defense is hardly awful. They catch a break by

hosting the Chargers on Christmas night and San Diego, although

17-0 in December under Philip Rivers, really doesn’t need to

win. Then Tennessee closes out the season at Seattle. The Titans

realistically could finish 9-7 after that ugly 0-6 start.

What’s Up With That?

  • Steelers coach Mike Tomlin dodged maybe the worst call ever

    by a good coach when Ben Roethlisberger tossed a winning

    touchdown pass on the game’s final play vs. Green Bay.

    Tomlin’s shocking gamble to go for an onsides kick with a

    two-point lead and four minutes left was worse than Bill

    Belichick’s infamous fourth-and-two in Indy. Tomlin claims

    he doesn’t live in fear of being judged. But had he lost,

    Steeler Nation would have been questioning him until the 2010

    season kicked off.

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  • The Cowboys can’t keep Nick Folk as their kicker.

    He’s missed seven of his last 11 and is a definite head

    case. Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips can’t entrust their

    season on his wildly shaky leg.

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  • The Buffalo Bills almost beat the Patriots at home. But their

    28th false start by the offensive line cost them a touchdown.

    Until they get an offensive line, the Bills are doomed.

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  • Bears GM Jerry Angelo refutes a report that Coach Lovie

    Smith’s job is secure for next season. Either Angelo

    doesn’t care for that reporter or Smith really is in

    trouble. The Bears are this season’s biggest disappointment

    if you believed that Jay Cutler is a better quarterback than Kyle

    Orton. Angelo and Bears ownership did believe that, too.

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  • How does Houston’s Andre Johnson catch nine passes for

    196 yards and fail to score?

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  • I don’t know what Josh Cribbs is really worth, but the

    Browns should give their best player – now with an

    NFL-record eight kickoff returns for touchdowns – a new

    contract ASAP.

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  • If Jim Mora wasn’t such a nice guy, wouldn’t we

    be screaming for his scalp? But nobody cares about the Seahawks,

    who were torched by the Bucs and rookie quarterback Josh Freeman

    on Sunday. Freeman now has eight touchdown passes and 14

    interceptions.