The Indecision

04 Aug 2010

The last we checked the list of things we know about Brett Favre, he had not done anything criminal, borderline criminal or even moderately seedy. He isn’t Ben Roethlisberger. He isn’t Michael Vick. He isn’t even Tiger Woods. He hasn’t been found to be importing questionable doctors from Canada. He hasn’t humiliated a devoted sports city. O.K., not since 2008, anyway.

So, how has he managed to become sports enemy No. 1, in the non-LeBron division? Why is he getting pounded from all sides, based solely on reports Tuesday that he sent text messages to some Minnesota Vikings teammates saying he is retiring for the umpteenth time?

It is clear there is a Favre nerve out there and he keeps hitting it with a giant hammer. His brand of retirement melodrama hijacks whole teams’ training camps, which is whatprompts’s Pete Prisco to call him selfish and what drives fans batty, which is why The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Jim Souhan writes that Vikings fans were given fair warning by previously toyed-with Packers fans. Favre gives general managers, even the ones he doesn’t play for anymore, heartburn — although Wednesday’s report in The Star-Tribune says the Vikings’ brain trust is so desperate that it is trying to throw more money at Favre to return — and provides ESPN with fodder for hours upon hours of breathless reporting and analysis.

(Hmmm. The Worldwide Leader was co-opted by James for “The Decision.” Could it be hatching a whole “Decision” series, with Favre starring in the first 13 episodes? Just a theory …)

Ray Ratto of comes closest to explaining why Favre is so infuriating, writing that it feels as if he is messing with people just because he can. He is the mold that James poured himself into to disastrous effect. Michael Rosenberg of believes Favre tipped the annoyance scale by doing this one too many times. Both Michael Silver of and Peter King of believe he will play this season, no matter what the text messages say. That’s a theme in this roundup of top 10 quotations about Favre.

The annoyance factor plays a large role in a lot of Wednesday’s news. You can just imagine the sighing and eye-rolling at the prospect of nightclub-shooting Plaxico Burress getting out of prison soon and potentially rejoining the Giants, as George Willis writes in the New York Post. There is a nauseating tinge to the official closing of Mannywood,writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times, as the Dodgers finally move away from their drug- and melodrama-tainted star. The serial annoyer Alex Rodriguez is now dragging the Yankees into his current funk with him, writes Tim Smith in The Daily News.

And it would not be a true roundup of annoyance without James, who kicked a bit more sand in Cleveland’s face by ignoring it while taking out an ad in the Akron newspaper.

For good measure, the N.C.A.A. throws in this doozy: its recruiting rules forbid Boise State from offering condolences to the family of one of its recruits who was killed in a recent car accident. Really.

Perhaps you will be a bit cheered by the thought of Shaquille O’Neal — who seems genetically unable to annoy people no matter how much they might want to be annoyed — reportedly joining the Celtics and landing himself in a giant green uniform. The Big Shamrock is the early leader in the race for his new nickname.

Favre’s nicknames are far less colorful. Or, at this point, printable.