From the archives comes this incredible video of Green Bay Packers Brett Favre, Don Beebe and Frank Winters going Trick-or-Treating at head coach Mike Homgren’s house.
Armed with a troop of children, and wearing masks so the ol’ ball coach couldn’t tell who they were, Favre (wearing Beebe’s #82 jersey), Beebe (wearing Favre’s #4) and Winters (dressed as Jason) are sadly turned away because the Holmgrens had already given out all the candy they had … which is normally grounds for a proper egging and TP decoration.
It gets pretty awkward when Holmgren nearly shuts the door on the children, only to be let off the hook when he finds out who is behind the masks of the adults on his porch. Holmgren then promises the kids – who at this point will accept money in lieu of candy – to bring candy into work the next day to give to their dads to bring home. And everyone enjoys a big laugh.
Ahh, the innocence of the mid-90s.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, FOLKS!
Brett Favre won his first game as offensive coordinator for Oak Grove High School of Hattiesburg, Mississippi last night, unleashing his troops for a 64-6 stomping of Sumrall, their unsuspecting opponents.
As you can tell from the photo above, Favre seems to be settling into his role as a coach quite nicely, tearing into an official after a blown call like he’s been doing it for years. And based on the lopsided score, it seems that the 3-time NFL MVP’s offensive game plan for the Warriors did the trick too. With the win, Favre continued his personal streak of debut victories, having won his first starts with the Packers, Jets and Vikings as a player.
ESPN’s Ed Werder visited with Favre and spoke with the ole’ gunslinger about the challenges of his new position. To his credit, Favre genuinely seems to not want to be a distraction to his players, and is trying to be “just one of the guys”. And of course, Favre is bringing his trademark child-like enthusiasm for the game, which must be a blast for these high school kids to be around.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Today, the NFL announced that the New Orleans Saints were engaged in a “pay-for-performance” system from 2009-2011, including bounty payments for injuries to opposing players.
According to a league memo, 22 to 27 Saints players participated in the program that was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (now with the St. Louis Rams), and with the knowledge of head coach Sean Payton. Apparently, during their recent championship run, the Saints had specific payments of $1,500 for “knockouts” and $1,000″ for “cart-offs”, with escalating payments for playoff games. Sometimes, the incentives for less violent plays like interceptions or touchdowns, but the bounties occasionally came with specific targets attached to them, like Kurt Warner and Brett Favre.
The other big name at the center of all this is linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who reportedly plunked $10,000 on a table prior to the 2009 NFC Championship game versus the Minnesota Vikings, saying “this goes to the guy who knocks out Brett Favre”.
And while it may not come as a surprise to many in the game that bounties like this still exist, this is going to be an absolute nightmare for the Saints, and particularly Williams, who reportedly ran a similar bounty program during his time the Redskins defensive coordinator, from 2004-2007. For his part, Williams issued a lame apology, that rings wildly hollow when you realize that Williams has been guilty of this practice for no less than seven years, and probably with every team he’s coache with in the league:
“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints,” Williams said. “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”
Yeah, good luck with that Gregg. It’s no secret around the league that Williams has had some questionable coaching tactics, and with the league’s increasing effort to decrease injuries in the game, this whole bounty thing isn’t exactly the look Roger Goodell was going for. Knowing Goodell, the hammer is going to come down on both the Saints and Williams, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams suspended for a long time – if not banned from the game for life – to make an example out of him.
One thing’s for sure: this is an unqualified bombshell, on par with the Patriots’ Spygate, and could quickly turn into the story of the NFL’s off-season. Williams has been a coach in the league with no less than six teams over the last twenty years, so look for even more tales of similar pay-for-performance programs to emerge, indicting even more of the NFL’s Boba Fetts.
National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson cites an NFL source in reporting that the Minnesota Vikings plan to call in Washington quarterback Jake Locker for a private workout Tuesday.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has been vocal about finding a quarterback in this draft, but at the No. 12 spot, they could be out of the running for Auburn’s Cam Newton or Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert.
Locker, however, remains an intriguing possibility for the Vikings–much better than the aged Brett Favre, back on his farm tilling soil. The 6’3″, 231-pound Locker is a mobile passer, running the 40 in 4.50 seconds at last month’s NFL scouting Combine, to go along with his 35-inch vertical and a 9-7 broad jump.
It time for a new start in Minnesota, and it has to excited Vikings fans that Frazier is turning out to be a good organizer and an honest leader who has buy-in. Clouds loom in the distance in Minnesota, with their problematic stadium situation problematic–and Los Angeles positioning itself for a team.
The Los Angeles Vikings? I have a problem with that. This is one of the NFL’s storied teams.
You have to wonder if they’re gunning for Newton–it could be in the works. Some don’t even have Newton in their top 10, but falling right into the Vikings’ lap.
As mentioned in my mock, I just don’t see Ron Rivera passing up this opportunity to bring in a franchise-altering passer with the No. 1 pick in the draft. I expect Netwon to end up as the top pick in this draft–unless the Vikings offer all the gold inside the Metrodome and the head of Favre.
So the big news (at least at ESPN) this week is that Brett Favre officially filed his retirement papers … again. We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, so although we may have been fooled 2-3 times in the past, we’re simply not buying it this time. Let’s wait until about Week 12 of next season (assuming there is a season), and see if Favre hasn’t yet been tempted to return for one final run at the Super Bowl. Then we’ll talk.
In the mean time, making fun of Favre will be our modus operandi around these parts. Let’s face it, you’ll be getting more than your share of genuine Favre hysterics/worship elsewhere over the next 6 months. And fortunately for us, someone went out and made this parody of the famous LeBron James “What Should I Do?” Nike commercial, featuring a pretty good Favre doppelganger. It covers all the basics, from dong shots to the retirement fake-outs, along with this mantra from the ole gunslinger: ”completions are way more awesome when you force ‘em through triple coverage! Remember that!”.
Winners in Bold
Carolina @ Atlanta:
Carolina ends its mess of a season against the Falcons who are having a fine year. They say that John Fox might be tapped to replace Eric Mangini if he is let go in Cleveland. Something about that is wildly depressing and stinks of resigned mediocrity of the new normal: withering job prospects, no assets, low paycheck, massive debt from an education that gets you nowhere, and a marginal chance of your NFL team winning eight games.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland:
Speaking of Eric Mangini, his under-talented Browns take on the Steelers at home in front of the faithful. Many of us at ReadAndReact headquarters are firmly behind Coach Mangini and feel he deserves one more year to right the ship. The Browns have had a tedious revolving door of coaches and quarterbacks since they re-entered the league. Their fans at this point are listless and battered, wondering why they are being tested by God, and if he will ever show them mercy. I hope for all those toiling by the lake that the Browns absolutely destroy the Steelers this Sunday, that Holmgren looks deep into his extra large soul and decides to give Mangini one more year. Curses can’t last forever, even the biblical variety, and Mangini might be able to lead this team to the promised land yet.
Minnesota @ Detroit:
Here’s to Brett Favre for playing football one year too many. Here’s a toast for him being completely himself, whether that is leaping around the field like a 12-year old on a playground or giving a maddening self indulgent, self-serving press conference. It is rare these days for an athlete to show any of his true self, as he will be pillaged for any misstep, wrong turn of phrase, or even smiling on the sidelines by the press, blogs, and fans alike. Favre, unlike the other professionally programmed robots, happily unleashes his id upon us all and, though many times not likeable, it is real and honest. Here’s to one of the best moments of the season, of Favre making a surprise appearance, outdoors in a snowy stadium in Minnesota, leading a touchdown drive like old times, fans delirious, scripted like a movie. Then, as quick as it started, it sadly ends with his head bouncing off the frozen turf. Favre exits the league leaving fans with a lot of wonderful memories and conflicting opinions as he heads back to his ranch in Mississippi. Perhaps like Cincinnatus he waits for another team to call or maybe he just swims in bathtubs full of money or puts on his Wranglers and heads to the local high school and with joy on his face tosses pass after pass to high school kids running fade patterns, his shadow growing larger and larger as the sun sets red in the evening Mississippi sky.
Oakland @ Kansas City:
The league would be a better place if the Raiders were a better team. A win on Sunday would bring them to eight wins and forward on the road to respectability. Kansas City on the other hand is having a dream season, the fans enjoying every moment because they aren’t sure if it’s a dream or if it’s real.
Miami @ New England:
I like to think of Danny Woodhead as a loveable hobbit somehow pressed into service by the mad wizard Belichik. I imagine every time he gets the ball he screams in fear and is actually just running for his life, giants and monsters around every turn as he higgledy piggledy does his best to dash to safety. I like to imagine that after each game he goes to Tom and Gisele’s apartment and hops on the bed with his pals Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, happy to be alive as Gisele and Tom try on Uggs boots and read long letters from their old friend and leftist poet Randy Moss.
Buffalo @ New York Jets:
The Bills have been meanderingly interesting this year and the emergence of the Fitzmagic and his beard have galvanized a rust belt fan base and has inspired lonely men (and some women) in hunting cabins and ice fishing houses of upper New York to grow out their own beards in solidarity, and quite frankly for something to do. It has also inspired ReadAndReact to attempt to cajole the Amish Rifle to save his truly magnificent beard; please sign our petitionthat implores him that the world needs men with beards and he is a beacon of hope to us all. We also might create a petition to make the Jets go away. They are a wildly irritating clown show that needs to be taken down and shipped out of town.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore:
Speaking of clown shows, whether it was the poor coaching, play, or just a cavalcade of bad decisions in critical moments, this season has been an utter disaster for the Bengals. They face a typically well prepared and winning Baltimore team that could probably beat the Bengals with four guys from the practice squad and seven bottles of Gatorade.
You may have noticed that we’ve remained quiet on the whole Brett Favre streak-ending saga up until now. That wasn’t unintentional. We figure you can find your fill of Favre news pretty much everywhere else on TV and the interwebs. In fact, you probably can’t really escape it right now.
But last night during the Vikings-Giants game, with the NFL’s ironman watching from the sidelines in street clothes for the first time since the first Bush administration, we couldn’t help but notice something. With all due respect for what he’s accomplished over the course of his career, last night Brett just looked old. With his hand purpled and his face & body showing the wear and tear of 297 starts, for the first time ever, the guy actually looks his age. It’s painfully clear – surprisingly, even to Favre himself – that it’s time to hang ‘em up.
And when the Fox cameras turned on the ol’ gunslinger during the waning minutes of the 4th quarter, it really helped put things into perspective. I mean, just look at this sad bastard:
With his hand firmly planted down his pants, the correlation to Al Bundy from Married With Children was too obvious. So we went ahead and obliged with the photoshopped banner pic … we’ll let someone else make the other obvious Jenn Sterger/cell phone pic cracks.
(Ed. note: This article was originally posted last week, but with the impending Monday night match-up on everyone’s mind today, we thought it deserved another look)
The word “rivalry” is tossed around a lot in the NFL. You hear announcers, desperate for market share, describe a pedestrian Seahawks-Chiefs tilt as a rivalry. Who’s buying that? Most “rivalries” unfold without so much as a breadcrumb on the line.
The history between the New York Jets and New England Patriots is a messy, entangled war by contrast. With both franchises notched at 9-2 atop the AFC East, you have to go back to the 1990 Monday-night meeting between the 10-1 49ers vs. the 10-1 New York Giants to find a late-season prime-time bout with equal appeal.
The lifetime record between these two teams stands at 51-50-1 in New York’s favor. Records aside, the Patriots are the Goliath, having dominated the last decade with three Super Bowl wins under the leadership of a once-per-generation quarterback talent in Tom Brady.
The Jets, after years of struggle, are at the threshold — but the long-time Jets fanatic is still haunted by ghosts: “When will the other shoe drop? When will the S.O.J.s appear from behind the Wizard’s curtain?”
A season sweep over the Patriots would send a statement league-wide: These Jets are for real.
UPDATE: Favre has been diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, but X-rays were negative, and HC Leslie Frasier said that Favre will still be the Vikings starter next week …”if he’s healthy”. It will probably be a while before they determine his official status, but by now I guess we know they’ll prop Favre up out there like Weekend at Bernie’s to keep the streak intact. So I guess we went and got all excited for nothing.
After starting his 297th consecutive NFL game, Vikings QB Brett Favre was knocked out less than 3 minutes into today’s contest against the Bills, and is not expected to return. Favre suffered a shoulder injury early in the first quarter after getting drilled by LB Arthur Moats. The play was a designed rollout on 3rd & 5, intended to get Favre out of the pocket. But when the ol’ gunslinger pulled up to try and extend the play, Moats came in at full speed to deliver a brutal blindside hit. It was a clean, textbook hit by Moats that sent the ball floating into the awaiting arms of CB Drayton Florence for the interception.
And after looking at the way Favre crumples to the turf, it’s hard to imagine the 41-year-old grandpa will be able to keep his consecutive start streak intact next week:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
¶ Quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre square off today during a season which has seen aging veteran passers struggle. McNabb is 4-2 vs. Favre, but has yet to face Favre post-Green Bay.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that Favre will start Sunday’s game in Washington despite battling what could be pneumonia. Favre told Werder that he required a steroid pack and an injection Saturday, and missed the first hour of team meetings because he couldn’t drag himself out of bed.
For his career, Favre is 70-of-118 passing for 802 yards, 4 touchdowns and 8 interceptions against the Redskins, according to the ‘Skins Twitter page. Favre hasn’t played at FedEx Field since 2004.
¶ Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports that Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian (groin) and cornerback Chris Cook (knee) are both inactive for today’s game.
¶ BTW, don’t assume we rate this Redskins-Vikings tilt a big deal. It’s not. What it is, is the meeting of two battered, lost teams — neither who have lived up to expectations this season.
¶ For my money, the game of the day is the Jacksonville Jaguars visiting the New York Giants, in what amounts to a solid test for both teams. The result will tell us a lot about both 6-4 teams as they fight for position in the playoff race.
¶ It will be interesting to see how the Denver Broncos respond today against the St. Louis Rams. The Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels were each fined $50,000 after Broncos’ video operations director Steve Scarnecchia violated NFL rules by taping a six-minute portion of a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough on Oct. 30, the day before the teams played each other in London.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK