Here are the numbers $16 million and the philosophy of "All we need is a veteran guy to manage the game" have yielded after eleven games and one play in game 12:
Brett Favre, 12 games, 2446 yards, 60.4 percent completion, 203.8 yards per game, 10 touchdowns, 18 picks, and 6 fumbles, 5 lost.
Here are the numbers put up by a couple other quarterbacks in the league on teams with far less total offensive talent than the Vikings. These are not the big name guys everyone knows about but young guys who were either given the starting job and never looked back or patiently waited then played well once finally given the opportunity. Take notes, Wylf family.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo) 10 games, 2386 yds, 58% comp, 238 per YPG, 20 TD, 11 INT, 2 fumbles lost.
Shaun Hill (Detroit), 9 games, 2206 yds, 61% comp, 245 YPG, 13 TD, 11 INT, 1 Fumble lost.
Chad Henne (Miami) 11 games, 62.1 % comp, 2621 yds, 238 YPG, 12 TD, 15 INT, 0 Fumbles lost.
Alex Smith (49ers, BENCHED) 7 games, 59.1 % comp, 1554 yds, 222 YPG, 9 TD, 9 INT, 1 fumble lost.
Josh Freeman 12 games, 58.4 % comp, 2442 yds, 203.5 YPG, 16 TD, 6 INT, 1 fumble lost.
The significance of this list is that none of these guys have started as many games in their careers as Favre has years in his, except Alex Smith who has never started a full season, and who is included to show how the numbers that got him benched are still far better than those Favre has put up in 2010. The worst of this list, Henne, still has two more touchdowns and eight less turnover than Favre, just to put his performance this year into perspective.
Fans always have to hear the "NFL is a business..." argument when one of their favorite players is benched or traded. This shows how ineffectively the business of the Minnesota Vikings has been run this year. The Jim Mora exasperated quote "Playoffs?!" comes to mind. With the Vikings all but numerically out of the playoffs this year, it is a mystery that ANYONE, inside or out of the Vikings organization, would try to generate even ONE logical reason Favre should play another snap this season, much less make it a debate. From a business standpoint, benching the NFL's ultimate iron man is the only logical thing to do. He will not be back next year. A large percentage of the members of the current roster will. It is time to make a hard, NFL style business decision and start looking towards the future.
Since Daunte Culpepper went down, and never fully recovered, the Viking have been torturing fans year after year by bringing in quarterbacks past their prime to "manage the offense" because the rest of the team was good enough to get them to the Super Bowl. That strategy has been proven wrong, year after year after painfully promising yet ultimately disappointing year. The business, and that strategy, is bankrupt. Instead, the Vikings need to do what the successful teams in the league have done which is draft your guy, go through the growing pains of a rough year or two and hope for the best. Several guys not on the above list such as the Mannings, Roethlisberger, Brady, Flacco, McNabb, Ryan, Rodgers, Cassell, Schuab, and a few others were all given the job, better or worse, at one point early in their careers. None of the above quarterbacks, including the Super Bowl winning ones, were great in their first year or so. But none of them were ever benched or benched then started, benched then started, then benched again in favor of an older quarterback who could manage the game. These guys all learned on the field, playing the position, and learning from their mistakes. Seemed to work out for those teams. If nothing else, each of the respective teams associated with the above mentioned quarterbacks can go into the offseason confident in knowing that they at least have their guy behind center.
Some Vikings fans are still bitter at TJack for that pick six in Philadelphia in the playoffs a couple years ago. I submit that had he played all 16 games that season, instead of six due to Chilly getting cold feet and throwing inGus Frerotte, he may have had the experience to know not to throw that pass. TJack has never been given the opportunity these other quarterbacks were granted. Perhaps due to a lack of faith shown by his supposed biggest supporter, Chilly, perhaps due to a lack of immediate success, which is rare in the NFL, or perhaps because he did not progress as quickly as expected, TJack has always been thrown under the bus. Favre needs to sit the rest of the season and let TJack either throw himself under the bus or prove he is the man. He has put up with enough over the past four years that he at least deserves a four game audition.
Either way, with the season basically finished, the organization has NOTHING to gain by allowing Favre to play the remainder of this season. No emotions here, just business as usual. Regardless of whether TJack plays well enough to win the job or poorly enough to guarantee his position as the number two guy, in Minnesota or elsewhere, the Vikings will know for certain where to go in the off-season. As always, there will be a crop of underachieving free agent quarterbacks that should be passed on as well. Except Vick. If Philly lets him go, I would cheer myself hoarse as Leslie Frasier’s plane left Minnesota, headed to the Northeast. Minnesota has to abandon the search for the ultimate game manager and invest in a guy that has more years in the NFL in his future than in his past. As a fan of the beloved Purple for more than twenty-five years, I can say with all certainty that I would rather risk the chance of a tough year or so with the quarterback of the future than have to suffer one more year banking on a guy who’s time has clearly past.
Again, no disrespect for what Mr. Favre has done in his career, especially last year. Honestly, no hard feelings. It's just business.