There are a number of plausible motivations that might have caused Zygi to become interested in Brett Favre. Many have argued that the Vikings are a quarterback away from making a Super Bowl run, and Zygi may view Brett as the guy who can put the team over the top. Most owners would kill for the ability to make their team the talk of the league, and Zygi has accomplished just that in the past couple months. Also, for a team hounded by blackout concerns in recent years, inking Favre would certainly put asses in the blue seats of the Metrodome. And then there's the jersey sales that the addition of Brett would generate -- and I have no doubt that such apparel is currently being made.
But if you buy into any of those seemingly plausible explanations, you would be dead wrong -- at least, according to Michael K. Ozanian of Forbes Magazine. With a tip of the hat to Judd Zulgad, here's why Ozanian thinks Zygi has decided to make Favre his starting quarterback for the 2009 season:
The Minneapolis television station report that Brett Favre has just signed a contract with the Minnesota Vikings tells me that team owner Zygmunt Wilf wants to unload the franchise he bought for $600 million just four years ago.
The organization has been a laughingstock for the NFL and Wilf desperately wants to create some positive buzz for his team. The Vikings play in the antiquated Metrodome and Wilf’s gamble was that he would get taxpayers to build him a new stadium. Taxpayers repeatedly said no way.
With taxpayers now funding a large chunk of a new stadium for the Minnesota Twins and the economy in a shambles, Wilf’s stadium Hail Mary has zero chance of being completed. He could have gotten around $850 million for the team a year ago. But with at least seven NFL team owners looking to sell their teams right now Wilf will be lucky to get $750 million for his debt laden team. Let the laughing continue.
Wait, what? If you want to make your sports franchise attractive for potential buyers, you...sign a graying quarterback who will be turning 40 this October and is only a one-season solution for your offense? I can't necessarily disagree that Wilf wants to create positive buzz for the team, but claiming he wants to sell the Vikings is an absurd conclusion about his motivation. Of course, since this is coming from a publication that couldn't say enough about the masterful front office workings of Kevin McHale, I can't say I'm terribly surprised. Stick to the stock market, Mr. Ozanian.