Favre, Peyton bring Midwest Sports into National Focus Part 1

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By Paul M. Banks

Brett Favre’s incessant media circus and Peyton Manning’s undefeated Colts have put national spotlight on the Midwest, I discuss this and the future of sports media with Midwest Sports Fans.com’s Jerod Morris.

(PMB) Last weekend, I was at a party and referred to ESPN as Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, as I always do. Someone said to me non-jokingly, “Is that what it really stands for?” And with the non-stop emphasis on New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox, Duke-North Carolina and the unhealthy man-crush that they (along with seemingly every other journalist in this country) seems to have on Florida QB Tim Tebow, I do wonder if it’s literally true.

Of course, they also unjustifiably blanket teams like USC and Notre Dame which appeal to large numbers of frat boy front-runner types who don’t really like sports, but pretend to. Your thoughts on bias, East Coast or otherwise?duke_vitale

(JM) By now I think it is pretty clear to everyone that a strong bias exists not just at ESPN but at all major television networks; and the bias can be boiled down into one nice, neat, tidy word: ratings.

ESPN is no longer just the upstart underdog from Bristol. They are now a Disney-owned, worldwide conglomerate with serious stakeholders to answer to. No longer can they be “every sports persons’ network”; rather, they must be “every sports plurality’s network”, and by this I mean that they must, in the majority of cases, broadcast whatever they can get their hands on in each time slot that will drive the highest ratings.

We can bitch about it all we want (and we do!) but Yankees-Red Sox will always drive more viewers than White Sox-Twins, no matter how good the teams are. Duke-North Carolina will always drive more visitors than a game for first place in the Big Ten between Michigan State and Purdue. It is what it is. And it just so happens that most of the ratings drivers are East Coast-based teams and the majority of the country is on Central or Eastern time.

I would think that by now sports fans would be conditioned to the reality that sports is a business. We hear the athletes say it all the time, and I think that despite our frustrations we have to understand that the same is true for those who broadcast them.

And if we don’t like it, there’s always the Big Ten Network!erinandrewswis

(PMB) As polarizing a figure as Brett Favre is, and he’s certainly done a few things to warrant that hatred people have of him, he made the 1600lb. gorilla in the sports media room ESPN focus on the upper midwest, Wisconsin and Minnesota particularly, and that never happens. Was this a good thing for Midwestern sports fans? Not just for your site, but also actual people who can legitimately be described with this designation?

(JM) I guess it depends on whether you were in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

It has been great for Minnesota. Not only has Brett Favre’s arrival created more excitement in the city, but the team has a serious shot to be playing playoff games at home and possibly even go to a Super Bowl. And think about how much revenue was generated just from the reporters being dispatched to the Twin Cities to cover the Favre saga. I may stereotyping here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most sports reporters can eat; the restaurants were no doubt pleased.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, lost one of their favorite sports idols to a rival. So they couldn’t be too happy and it’s doubtful they see it as a “good thing”.

In all seriousness, I’m not sure what the Favre story really does for the Midwest per se because anything involving Favre is such a national story now. I’m sure that Vikings and Packers blogs, plus the papers that cover the two teams, enjoyed a nice spike in eyeballs but the real winner was the NFL. Favre = ratings, jersey sales, and ticket sales. Cha-ching.

(PMB) You became somewhat of a sports media star this past summer, even appearing on ESPN Outside the Lines. I know you’ve likely told the story a million times, so I apologize, but please tell us what you learned from the experience and how you use those lessons today…

(JM) I learned more than anything that I’m not just writing in my own little personal sports diary at MSF. Every word I write is open to be consumed by anyone on the web, and that includes the possibility that my meaning could be misunderstood as well as the chance that real lives can be affected by what I write.

Bloggers may not be journalists, nor ever aspire to be, but the platform – especially if you are actively promoting yourself to drive traffic – should compel us all to be accountable for what we say. I don’t believe that means that bloggers should necessarily be held to the same standards and “rules” as the mainstream media, but I do believe that there is a minimum level of accountability that any person publishing work for public consumption should adhere to.favre02_600

Fortunately, I felt no need to back down from or apologize for the spirit of my post, and that is one thing I always make sure of now before I hit “publish”: am I prepared to defend these words if necessary? If I believe in what I am saying and am writing without malice, I am confident in the final result.

The whole Ibanez situation helped me to realize this.

(PMB) One thing that was sort of lost in the experience was your personal story, as well as that of your site, Midwest Sports Fans

(JM) It’s pretty simple really. I grew up in Indiana, lived in the Midwest my entire life save for a few years down in Miami after graduating college, and am a devoted fan of the Hoosiers, White Sox, and Browns…an eclectic mix to be sure.

Once I moved to Dallas in April in 2008, I wanted a way to stay connected to my Midwestern roots. I started working for a social media and online reputation management firm and starting MSF ended up being a great way to get hands-on experience with what we were doing.

It’s been a labor of love that I’ve truly enjoyed ever since.


(PMB) So you must truly know a lot about SEO then. Everyone has been beaten over the head with the story of newspapers dying out. But what do you see as the future of sports media? What might the next apparatus to die out after print? And also, no a brighter note, what do you envision as the future of the industry to be? Beyond “blogging” of course.

(JM) The future is that we are going to continue to see the lines blurred…between everything.

National writers put things into national perspectives. Local writers obviously localize the perspective. The local papers are already on thin ice as it is; if the ESPNs continue stealing their readers, how will they survive?

And, of course, blogs are a part of that. But I don’t see it as a zero sum game. If the MSM sees blogs as a threat, rather than an opportunity, they will get killed. The same is true for blogs with the MSM and other blogs. More synergy will lead to better, more intertwined, richer content. If the user experience is enhanced, the time spent will increase.benetton

I think this is a formula still to be unlocked.

In general, I think we are going to continue to see fragmentation of coverage with more and more specialization, which I think will ultimately lead to a better product for consumers. Those who are forward-thinking and strategic enough to build strong revenue models around the content will prosper. Others will fall by the wayside, and it should be clear by now to everyone that clinging to the status quo is a recipe for doom.

(PMB) Very true, less than 100% of sportswriters today have the luxury of making a living with the old “just write your story and send it in” approach that I was trained with in the newspaper industry. Those days are dinosaur.

Readers, be sure to check out Midwest Sports Fans.com early and often!

Should Packer Fans Boo Brett Favre?

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By the TSB Staff

PAUL M. BANKS

I think anyone who’s neither a.) A die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan or b.) possessor of a serious Favre man-crush, should (no, it is their patriotic duty as an American) boo the hell out of Brett Favre. As much respect as I had for his ability and resume prior to 2008, it is impossible for me to separate that from the pathetic attention-whore he is today. As a Chicagoan, I have to say Michael Jordan the basketball player- loved him, best ever to watch play. Michael Jordan the brand/person- awful disgusting corporation with psychopathic tendencies disguised as a person.Brett-Favre-signs-with-the-Jets

I made the distinction here, but after being beaten over the head with Favre coverage for two years straight, I’m to lazy to make a similar segmentation again, or I don’t care enough to do so.

If you consume any sports at all, you should be rooting against Favre. He recently said (which ESPN repeated AD NAUSEUAM) “There will always be Favre haters, nothing will change that.” Yes and why is that? Because you’re an attention whore with a solipsism eclipsing that of anyone in history- except maybe the Holy Roman Emperor Constantine.

JAKE MCCORMICK

Would you be happy with an ex-player that strung you along with retirement talk for years, can’t handle ever being told he’s been wrong before, goes to an archrival partially out of spite, and then seven games into his “career” with that team says it’s the best team he’s ever been on? Those are only a few reasons why Packer fans rightfully should boo Brett Favre, the biggest of which being that he is on their most hated rival. Chris Rock once said NOBODY is above an ass whoopin’. Likewise, no one is above getting booed for things fans deem to be unjust and douchebaggy and Favre’s douchebag resume spans pretty much his entire career (cheating, partying, illegitimate kids, primadonna teammate, etc.).

Another reason not to cheer him is for Aaron Rodger’s sake. If Favre is booed, it further cements Rodgers as our quarterback and shows that Packer fans understand that he is the correct choice at the position. Booing is the only way fans can really show their disapproval of anything in sports, and clearly Packer fans collectively are not in the Favre camp anymore. Packer fans, boo until you’re hoarse, and even start some “asshole” chants, but please keep it civil so people don’t lump you together with the Cub bleachers, Browns, and Raider fans. Like LeRoy Butler said, cheer for him when his number is retired, but not when he’s on another team, especially the Vikings.

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H. JOSE BOSCH

Packer fans should get over themselves. So what if Brett Favre jumped ship? This isn’t the 1950s anymore. Sports is a business and athletes should be allowed to navigate their way through that business just like regular people do in the non sports world. Having said that, they have every right to boo him. Why? Because he plays for a team that isn’t the Green Bay Packers.

Would they respectfully cheer for Jay Cutler? Matthew Stafford? Tom Brady? Nope. Did they have a long past with the Packers? Doesn’t matter. Favre is now a player on an opposing team and should be treated as such.

When he finally retires (or, more accurately when his family straps him to a chair to prevent him from unretiring), then Packer fans can reminisce, retire his number and build a giant cheese stature in his honor outside Lambeau’s main entrance. Hell, they can make a statue for every entrance if they want to. Because Green Bay fans are weird and they like cheese.

But this Sunday isn’t the day for that. Green Bay needs that win to have any chance at winning the division. Put aside anything from his past and treat him like the opposing quarterback he is. Then you can deal with your Favre-related issues later.

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SOXMAN

When Brett Favre is announced for the first time, he should receive a standing ovation and endless applause for the years of dedication, excitement, and memories he supplied Packer fans.  He has earned it.

The Packer’s organization should run a video montage of his many accomplishments when he arrives on the field and then end it quietly with a fade to black and white, simply  displaying the words: “Thanks Brett.”

Then, after he makes his first spectacular play, Packers fans should show an even greater sign of respect in unison by chanting: “Boo.”

After all, is a “boo” not the greatest show of respect to an opponent who did something to hurt your team?

When Frank Thomas returned to the Cell in 2006 as a member of the Oakland A’s, he received a five minute plus standing ovation when he was introduced at the plate the first time.  He homered in that at bat and was cheered loudly by the majority of the fans in attendance.  In two more trips to the plate, he smashed two more dingers.  Respectfully, Sox fans honored him with shower of deafening “Boos.”

Does Brett Favre not deserve the same?

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The Favre Exchange (featuring the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings)

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by David Kay and Peter Christian

Armageddon has arrived.

In my 28 years of sports fandom, I have never been more excited for a single beginning of the season-type of game like we will witness this evening.  Brett Favre plays AGAINST the Packers.  The subplots, quotes about how this is “just another” game, and revenge angles have been beaten into the ground.

Luckily, TSB.net resident Packer fan and Brett Favre apologist David Kay, and Vikings fan Peter Christian bring their own creative genius to this exchange to get you ready for tonight’s monumental Monday night showdown..

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(DK) Peter, when Brett Favre un-retired last season and ended up with the Jets, I was 100% for it.  The only worry I had was buying into all this talk about him tarnishing his legacy.  By crapping the bed at the end of last season (mainly because of a torn biceps muscle), I was ready to erase the Favre post-Packers Era from my mind forever.  Then last weekend happened.

Instead of tarnishing his legacy, Favre added another “WOW” moment by leading the Vikings to a come-from-behind victory in the final seconds of their game against the 49ers by avoiding a tackler, throwing the perfect ball to Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone who made an absolutely spectacular catch.

Before we can even dive into tonight’s game, you have to take me through the emotion of finally being on the right side of a Favre miracle… Feels pretty orgasmic, right?

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(PC) Wait, what? That was a miracle? I thought those were the types of  plays that any QB with an IQ greater than 15 can make, no?

Seriously though, it was an amazing play. I’m not even speaking in hyperbole when I say that was the greatest pass-catch combo in Vikings history. It felt super awesome knowing that the team had a passer that can make every throw instead of a guy who will throw it 10 rows deep into the stands when trying to hit his RB in the flats (yes Tarvaris, I’m talking about you).

Looking ahead to tonight’s game is there any way that the game can  live up to the hype? The real hype should take place prior to Favre’s  return to Lambeau, right?

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(DK) What?  You’re telling me Tavaris couldn’t have made that throw… Get the…

I fully expect tonight to live up to the hype.  Things will get chippy at some point.  Nick Barnett loves talking shiz and Favre has never been one to back down.  Barnett and Favre will get into at least one major jawing moment.  And I will love every minute of it.  Believe that.

You are right, it won’t have near the hype of Favre walking onto Lambeau in a Vikes jersey though.  I cannot wait to be standing on the field when that happens.  It will easily be the number one sports moment in my life and I will smile ear to ear when he gets booed mercilessly by the Packer faithful… not because I agree with them, but because the moment will be like an out of body experience.

The major question I have is whether Favre can stay within himself like he has done in the Vikes’ first three games.  Do you think he can keep his emotions in tact and not try to do too much and cost his team?

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(PC) Good God no. There is no way the same Brett Favre that has led the Vikings to a 3-0 record will be on the field tonight. He’s gonna be more jacked up than a 37 year old divorcee/cougar from Beloit at a hick bar listening to “Redneck Woman” after doing 3 cherry bomb shots and 2 body shots of tequila with the hairy dude sitting by himself at the bar.

However, that begs the question that is in the small quiet region of Vikings fans heads, “can 39 year old Favre tap into his youth or will he play like a geeked up 40 year old who can’t make every play but thinks he can?”

Personally, I hope that AD blows up for a huge game so Favre doesn’t have to do much but still gets the satisfaction of sticking it to Ted Thompson, who, let’s be honest, is the sole reason Favre is a Viking. As game time nears, what is your gut feeling on what takes place on the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome tonight?

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(DK) My gut feeling is that AP runs wild on the Packers defense that has been soft against the run, especially up the middle.  If Cedric Benson and the Bengals can pound it on the Pack, I think AP will do likewise.

As for Favre, he will make at least one dumb throw early in the game that will have everyone thinking, “Crap, what the hell is he doing?”  But I think he wants to win this game to stick it to Ted Thompson and the Favre haters rather than try for some miracle repeat performance of the MNF game back in 2003 against Oakland, days after his father suddenly passed away when every ball he threw was spot on and miraculously caught.

For tonight, I’m going Vikings 27, Packers 20.  Green Bay’s offensive line is bad.  Their running game sucks.  Neither are encouraging signs when the Williams’ and Jared Allen are up-front for the Vikes… To quote Tony Kornheiser, “Who you got?”

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(PC) I’ve got a headache, that’s what I’ve got. I’ve got about 17 invitations to watch the game over at people’s houses or at some sports bar. I’ve got only a couple of hours until this anticipation becomes real and I have to start living the rest of my life. OK, that last one sounded way less pathetic when it was running through my mind. As for the game, I’m sticking to my guns. I was really surprised at how terrible the Packers offensive line was in week 1 and they haven’t gotten any better. If anything, they’re worse because veteran tackle and anchor Chad Clifton is sitting this contest out. Throw in the aforementioned Williams Wall and Jared Allen (the best front unit the Pack has seen thus far) and it is gonna be ugly for Aaron Rodgers. I know he could dissect the Vikings safeties if he had time, but that is a luxury he won’t have. I envision a mediocre Brett Favre game (1-2 TD’s, 2 INT’s) but an outstanding game by Purple Jesus himself. Vikes take it 31-10 and the home team prevails in the Metrodome for the 4th night in a row.

I only wish I could make this game last forever…

Possible NFC North Reality Shows

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By the TSB Staff

Since the NFC North in 2009 seems to be the ultimate reality series in professional sports right now. I asked my staff to  analogize the players and coaches in the division with some of the tv show “characters” currently dotting the reality show landscape.

JAKE MCCORMICK

This is an easy one. Despite my vocal criticisms of VH1 and their mind-numbing switch from “Behind the Music” type programming to mindless trapclap like “Brooke Knows Best” marathons, I must admit I watch a lot of their reality dating shows. I love the creatures that come out of their holes in the ground to proclaim their love for aging rock/rap stars. But the best analogy I can give involves the Vikings, Brett Favre, and Daisy of Love.

Daisy is (obviously) looking for love, but was shunned from her “true love” Bret Michaels in “Rock of Love 2,” and finished second to a mature girl with less baggage and much more potential. She didn’t get along with everyone on the show, and was very shady when talking about her living situations (she lived with her “ex” boyfriend). She was the Brett Favre to Bret Michaels (or Ted Thompson’s) Aaron Rodgers (Winner Ambre Lake).

Fast forward to the fourth episode of “Daisy of Love.” She has really taken a liking to a guy named London, who is a flashy rock star-type, but is also a big flake and whines for no apparent reason other than he isn’t getting his way. As a result, he leaves before elimination, leaving Daisy bawling in her room and unable to give out her Rock Star chains. This obviously upsets the house, since none of the other guys liked London because he was a cocky but waffling douche to her. As the show goes on, we get hints that Daisy is still hurt by London’s premature departure, and her chemistry isn’t as strong with the other guys. So, with four guys remaining in the competition, Daisy’s sidekick Riki reaches out to London and persuades him to come back and resolve the issues between him and Daisy.

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Obviously the rest of the guys hate his guts, and he knows it all too well. But he gradually makes it to the finale episode, and when faced with a decision between Flex, a guy that is much better for her and different than her usual drama-loving boyfriends, and London, who is like every other immature guy she has dated, Daisy says the following: “I need Flex, but I want London.” Thus, she chooses the guy everyone loved to hate, and they all learn to live with it even though everyone involved with the show (including Riki) thinks she made a mistake. I’ll leave you to fill in who is who between the Vikings organization, Favre, and the players. This analogy makes too much sense to me.
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SOXMAN

Cheaters staring Brett Favre.

When Green Packer Packer fans suspect their long-time boyfriend is cheating on them with another team, our cameras are there when the confrontation takes place.  Will Brett score with another team?  Don’t miss another great season on the NFC.

Flavor of Lovie.

Lovie Smith is in search of a wide receiver for his bachelor quarterback.  Will Lovie’s idea of ball romance agree with Jay’s desire to command an offense?  The balls will fly and players will run all season long in the most offensive show to come out of Chicago in years.

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

Starring Aaron Rogers who teaches people it’s ok to be second despite the speedy deliveries of passes to Greg Jennings.  In the end, you will go to the land of make believe to see what life would have been like if Brett Favre was never born.

The Girls Next Door.

Starring the Detroit Lions offensive line.  Only Mathew Stafford will not be pillow fighting cuties.  He’ll be participating in the “Amazing Race,” trying to escape linemen out for his head.cedricbensonjersye

PAUL M. BANKS

“Elimidate” starring Brian Urlacher

He’s a man known to reap the “strange” out there in the Chicago nightlife; on a level even more intense than Kyle Farnsworth or Mark Grace. Everyone has an Urlacher story. Some even have a paternity suit.

“The Shark Tank” starring Matthew Stafford

ABC’s Sunday night series is probably the only reality series I actually like these days, but this show isn’t about aspiring entrepreneurs pitching panels of venture capitalists, it’s Stafford being put into open water surrounded by blood and chum (his 0-16 Lions teammates) as the sharks, opposing defenses circle around.

“Blind Date” starring Brett Favre

I always loved the little drawings, graphics and thought bubbles that comprise each episode of this series. My dream job is to be the person who gets to write the funny observations and insults of those who participate on this game show. Actually my dream job is any job where I get to rip on people. But what if John Madden who has the biggest man-crush in the history on man-crushes on Favre, also came out of retirement just to cover a few games featuring the man who complete him? He’d no doubt manipulate the telecast to draw hearts and write amorous sayings all over the screen, and somehow the show ends with Madden and Favre in a hot tub…ugh….

What did I miss?: The Favre who? edition

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By H. Jose Bosch

In just its fourth installment, What did I miss is tweaking itself a bit. For the first three weeks we’ve been very newspaper dependent with the links. This week we’ll try being more blog orientated for two reasons: 1. Blogs tend to be more interesting and funny 2. Blogs tend to be more interesting and funny.

That’s not to say we’ll ignore papers (we will for this week only). But from now on this weekly feature will be drawn primarily from the blogsphere with a sprinkling of interesting feature-style stories from the main stream media. Now back to you regularly scheduled post.

Wow. Minnesota has been tearing it up in the sports world this week. First was the return of Brett Favre, this time in a Vikings jersey. Then our boy Andy Weise and his well-placed sources informed the world that Ricky Rubio just might be coming to Minnesota after all.

fargoI don’t think Minnesota has received this much attention since Frances McDormand won an Oscar for her role in Fargo; which, by the way, was mostly filmed in North Dakota even though it’s set in Minnesota. So enjoy the attention Minnesota. It might be a while before you have another week as eventful as this.

As for the rest of What did I miss, this is what went on in the NFC North/Big Ten foot print that didn’t have to do with Favre-Rubio.

If you like poetry and like Chicago sports, then you’ll love this new blog at Chicago Now, which combines sports blogging with haiku. Nothing I read about the Bears’ 27-20 loss to the Bills sums up the experience quite like this:

High expectations
Lead to high disappointment.
But who is to blame?
-Andrew Braverman-

This might become my new favorite blog to stop by. Funny and original. You should take a look.

Crocs, the company that manufactures those annoying-looking but incredibly-comfortable shoes, is teaming up with new Piston Charlie Villanueva to donate their shoes to children in the Dominican Republic.
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I can’t help but think: “Leave it to the U.S. to peddle its no-longer-useful-fads onto poorer countries. All kidding aside, it’s really a great gesture from one of Detroit’s newest pro athletes.

Speaking of the Pistons, the fellow (fellers?) at Life on Dumars has been running an interesting little series called Forgotten Pistons. Here’s a link to the first one posted last Sunday but they’re all fun, short reads. I didn’t think players so irrelevant could make for a good blog post, but they do.

We have a little Michigan State presence here at The Sports Bank and by little I mean zero. So here’s some (gulp) Spartan love. The Other Side of Spartan Sports (an interesting take on MSU sports if you ask me) likes Michigan State’s agreement to play the three Michigan directional schools 12 times in the next 10 years. The news is significant because the Spartans have agreed to one road game for each series, which is rare for a Big Ten team to do.

The blog Girafinha threw out a very interesting nugget: Ann Arbor is currently under consideration as a venue for the U.S.’s 2018/2022 World Cup bid. Interesting read.

TCW at the Bucks Diary has called his shot early and says the Bucks will win AT LEAST 40 games this season. How many other bloggers will follow suit?

Cubby-Blue’s reaction to Tuesday night’s loss is horribly disturbing yet hilarious all at the same time. This kind of Web site makes me wish I knew how to do something other than write.

Good news Packers fans: Via Ticket News, those scalped tickets you’ll want to buy for Favre’s return to Lambeau Field will now be easier to buy!
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The sad thing about this video, via Total Packers, is that it might be the only time Ashton Kutcher has been funny in at least five years.

The Hour announces that UConn will christen the newly renovated Michigan Stadium in 2010 and will host the Wolverines in 2013, when I’ll invariably still be looking for a journalism job.

The college football season hasn’t even begun but we already have a playoff-is-better-than-the-current-system blog post, courtesy of the Phoenix Club. But, this post is worth reading because it’s the most creative playoff system I’ve ever seen proposed.

It’s essentially based on the European soccer champion’s league format, which could never work in the U.S. I love it and it’s interesting to see how the brackets would play out based on last season. Why is this relevant? Four Big Ten teams (Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa) would be in the playoffs under this system.

Last but not least is just a random video that you can forward to all your friends at work. Sometimes it’ll be sports related and sometimes it won’t be. This week it won’t be. Enjoy!

Brett Favre, back in the NFC North. Officially

Vikings Favre Football

Thompson not getting Moss the reason Favre is in Purple Today

By Andy Weise

How did this all come about? Brett Favre is a Minnesota Viking? Let’s be real here for a second, Favre has wanted to play for the Vikings since he came to a realization that he was no longer the guy the Green Bay Packers wanted under the center. His reasons for wanting to play for the Vikings could be revenge, the knowledge of a similar offense or even Super Bowl prospects/motivation. One thing is for certain today, No. 4 is signed, sealed and delivered to the Purple.

So again, how did this really come about? It wasn’t like Favre was willing to play for any team that needed a quarterback. San Francisco and Denver are already emerging as teams with QB situations that look worse than the sans Favre Vikings so why the Vikings? To me this is has been in the making for two years. Ted Thompson, Green Bay’s general manager, has plenty of blame in why Favre is wearing purple today. Remember when Randy Moss was on the verge of joining the Packers? The sound of that still makes me sick to this day, so I can only imagine what the Packers faithful are going through today.

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Randy Moss was available before the 2007 season and it seemed imminent that he was heading to Green Bay to catch passes from Favre himself. Favre loved to throw balls up in the air and Moss loved to go catch ones as if he were playing the backyard football game 500. So what went wrong with Favre and Moss playing together in Green Bay? Thompson would only offer a fifth round pick, Oakland wanted a fourth which New England ended up offering. Thompson not only wouldn’t match the fourth round pick but he also reached out to Moss and basically turned him off. Favre was the guy who wanted Moss more than anyone else, how could that not create dysfunction with Favre and the Packers?

Look at these comments from 2008 that Moss made about the Green Bay situation in 2007.

“The Packers were really talking about the wrong things, and not the right things. When they started talking more about the wrong things, I just hung up the phone and didn’t want to talk to them anymore. I thought at first it was something that could have worked, for the fact that Brett Favre was there, but I think as the conversations occurred throughout the day and the next day, I didn’t really want to go to Green Bay.”

In the interview, they might have asked Moss for more specific comments and he didn’t shy away.

“They were just talking about their team concept and the wide receivers and Donald Driver,” he said. “It was like they were telling me that they were going to somewhat take a chance on me but, ‘if you do come here, these are the things you have to watch out, and be on your best behavior, and Donald Driver is the top receiver here, so don’t come in and try to step on his toes,’ and things like that.

“I didn’t think that was right because my whole career I have been taken out of context sometimes, but at the end of the day all I wanted to do was win games. …I didn’t really feel they wanted me. I felt that Brett Favre wanted me, but I didn’t really feel the Packers wanted me.”

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So not only did the Packers not get Moss in 2007, he was a free agent in 2008 and Favre reportedly wanted the Packers again to go after him. The day after Moss resigned with the Patriots, Favre retired. Now believe who you want but there was clearly friction between Favre and Thompson and typical Favre could never decide if he wanted to play so when he unretired a year ago, it was no surprise that Thompson and the rest of the Packers organization decided to move on. Favre had high demands, he wanted to immediately be the starter upon returning but with Aaron Rodgers preparing all offseason, it would have been a slap in the face to Rodgers to put him right back to the bench even though the Packers were 13-3 the year before.

Vikings Favre Football

The wheels have been in motion and Favre is now wearing purple. It’s hard to say what will happen for the Vikings this year but anything less than a deep playoff run will be a disappointment. Favre joins a very talented team with the NFL’s best run defense for the past three years, the best running back in the game along with plenty of other weapons on offense. The excitement as a Vikings fan is there but any NFL fan should be excited for what will unfold this year. The Green Bay – Minnesota games should flirt with TV ratings records and the Vikings should not have to worry about any blackouts.

All the Vikings need now is Moss to demand a trade back to the team that took a chance on him in 1998. Wait, in 1998 the Vikings were 15-1 and were a field goal away from going to the Super Bowl in Miami. Where is the 2009 Super Bowl? Miami. Time to head back to iTunes and listen to Will Smith – Miami.

NFC North Predictions

Packers Cowboys Football

By the The Sports Bank Staff

1. Chicago (10-6) Jay Cutler hoopla aside, remember one thing, this division isn’t very good. Best Quarterback=best chance at winning week to week. Yes, I know their receivers and overall pass rush is a hot mess, but who else really has the talent to beat a team that was 9-7 last year and greatly improved themselves?

2. Minnesota (9-7) Purple Jesus will have to carry the load on offense, unlike Baby Jesus, the star of the Minnesota baseball team. He has more support in generating offense. What’s with people in the land of 10,000 Lakes nicknaming their sports stars after Jesus? I thought the “Bible Belt” was in the South?

3. Green Bay (7-9)
I like Aaron Rodgers, but I don’t think he’ll have a better season than Culter. The Pack’s season will hinge on 1.) The job that new Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers does 2.) How quickly his players adjust from the 4-3 to the 3-4.

4. Detroit (3-13) Much of the old regime is gone, so that’s a good thing, right? Like the title character in “What About Bob?” said “baby steps, baby steps.” Their pathetic excuse for a ground game has been improving and I like 3rd pick DL Cliff Avril. Look for this sleeper pick to augment the pass rush.

Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgersbearscover

Defensive MVP: Lance Briggs

–PAUL M. BANKS

DAVID KAY:

1. Packers- Keeping my homering in mind, doesn’t it seem like people are sleeping on the Pack?  All the talk has been around Favre and the Vikes, Cutler and the Bears, and GB has flown under the radar this off-season.  Consider they lost 7 games last season by five points or less, dealt with the pre-season Favre circus, had a first year QB in Aaron Rodgers who exceeded expectations, and a running back who held out and then battled injuries all year, and this team should be much better.

2. Vikings- No matter what they say at camp, you can’t tell me Tavaris Jackson and/or Sage Rosenfels have any confidence in themselves right now… No way.

3. Bears- I am just not buying this whole “Jay Cutler is our savior” thing going on in Chicago.  They have no receivers and an aging defense.

4. Lions- I saw Matt Millen at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.  He was in line behind me getting food.  He told me that he could put mustard and onions on anything and it would taste good.  Because of his butchering of the Lions franchise, I couldn’t even take his food choices seriously and instead put mayo on my sandwich, no onions.  I know that has nothing to do with this year’s Detroit team, but who really cares about the Lions in this division?

OPY: Aaron Rodgers-
Again, accuse me of homering.  I’m okay with it.  But assuming AP can’t stay healthy for the whole season when the Vikes give him 35 carries a game because their quarterback can’t complete a five-yard out route, Rodgers should be able to top his 4,038 yards and 28 TD’s from a year ago.  (I was really tempted to pick Brett Favre by the way, just to piss people off.)

DPY: Jared Allen- Just because if I didn’t pick him and he happened to see this, I would be terrified that he would shoot me with a hunting bow and then eat my carcass raw.  But seriously, I think he is an animal on the field and that he would be a fun guy to grab a beer with.

purplejesus

SHAYMUS MCLAUGHLIN:

1.) Minnesota Vikings 11-5

They won the division last year with a Tarvaris-Jackson-Gus Frerotte combo at QB. There’s no reason to think they can’t win again with Sage Rosenfels (a better QB than either of the other two) at the helm. A RB that the Bears can’t stop, plus a solid WR corps led by Berrian and a bounce-back Sidney Rice; throw in Percy Harvin and the Wildcat and things become much more dynamic on offense. They have to get over the loss of Matt Birk, but it shouldn’t be a huge problem. On defense, they’ll be as strong as usual, especially with EJ Henderson coming back from injury. Safety is the biggest concern, with the oft-injured but talented Madieu Williams and second-year player Tyrell Johnson (who filled in respectably last year) defending the pass. Overall, a solid team that got more explosive offensively and didn’t lose much this offseason.

2) Green Bay Packers 8-8

Aaron Rodgers is a very solid young QB, and he has a couple fantastic WRs in Driver and Jennings. Their O-line is decent, but not great, and the running game scares me. I don’t think Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson are helping the offense much. Their defense should be pretty good, with a solid LB duo in Barnett and Hawk, a good D-Line bolstered by 1st round draft pick BJ Raji, and a veteran group of CBs with great press coverage. Those corners are getting up there in age though, and they’re a bit thin so they need to stay healthy. It’s a solid team that probably lost a couple more than it should have last year.

3) Chicago Bears 8-8

Yes, they added their first legitimate QB in years with Jay Cutler. Yes Matt Forte is already one of the best all-around RBs in the league (He will be Brian Westbrook, minus the injuries- in a couple years.). Yes, they have patched up their offensive line nicely with Orlando Pace, 2008 first round pick Chris Williams, and the extremely underrated Kevin Shaffer. What about the receivers? Rashied Davis and rookie Juaquin Iglesias are not going to cut it, and Hester is nothing but a fly pattern runner. I don’t see this offense moving that well game-in, game-out. They will have some great games, but a few stinkers as well. millen

On the defensive side, their CBs haven’t stayed healthy in years and their starting safeties are some combination of Craig Steltz, Danieal Manning, Kevin Payne, and FA signee Josh Bullocks, the latter of which was let go by the Saints, who had one of the worst defenses in the league. Their LBs are always good, but a bit on the slower side, and their pass rush last year was nearly non-existent (especially with former rookie stud Mark Anderson disappearing).

4) Detroit Lions 4-12

They’re on the right track, but they still have quite a ways to go. Stafford should sit this year behind Daunte Culpepper and learn the playbook. Culpepper is not a bad QB either, and the Lions picked up a great playmaking TE in Brandon Pettigrew via the draft to help complement Calvin Johnson on offense. Their line still needs some work and the running game isn’t great, but they are at least moving in a direction. They just need to be patient with Stafford this year. On defense, they have a couple solid playmakers (Ernie Sims, new arrival Larry Foote, and the aging Philip Buchanan) but have way too many holes to stop even some of the weakest offenses. I’m not sure where a pass rush is going to come from, and the secondary is pretty unimpressive outside of Buchanan. It’s a work in progress for the Lions.

OPOY: Adrian Peterson (with Forte right behind…I love that kid)

DPOY: Jared Allen


DAVID PALMER

1.  Minnesota (11-5): The ‘Queens are a very balanced team with no real gaping holes on either side of the ball.  The offensive line will have to play better than expected to make a real run in the playoffs, but with a healthy Keith Farwell, EJ Henderson and Jared Allen will only help.

2. Green Bay (10-6):
A disappointing last season will see a rebound with Aaron Rodgers able to focus knowing he’s the starter this preseason; Still a very good defense behind Al Harris, AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett and Aaron Kampman. The running game is a big question mark with Ryan Grant as the primary ball carrier.  They must throw their way into the playoffs.

3. Chicago (8-8):
Even with Jay Cutler, they are going to inconsistent at best.  Charles Tillman is already hurt and he’s their best CB.  I think they have one of the most overrated defenses in the league anyway.  Great linebackers, but nobody scares me on their D-Line.  And I’m still not sure who will be catching Cutler’s throws, Hester?  Combine that with his first year in the system and I see a struggle to finish .500.

4.  Detroit (3-13):
Well, they can’t do worse than last year.  Stafford will go through some growing pains no doubt, but probably also show some signs by the end of the year.  Having Calvin Johnson can only help his development, but there are just too many holes to win many games.  No way that offense keeps up with all the points their porous defense will give up.badasses

Offensive MVP: The great Adrian Peterson.

Defensive MVP: Jared Allen.  He’s healthy after playing with one arm for the second half of last season and still compiling 14.5 sacks.

DAVID BOUCHER:

Personnel changes affect every team every off-season, but the magnitude and frequency of those in the NFC North the past few months have earned the attention of the entire nation. With Brett Favre turning over the same leaf, Green Bay changing their defensive scheme, Chicago landing a new face for the franchise, and Detroit generally puttering along in another new direction, the black and blue division has been the most dynamic in football in 2009.

However, the team with the least amount of turnover will actually fare the best: Minnesota. Even without the future HOF-er holding the reins, the team still has the most potent weapon in football. Adrian Peterson will continue to live up to his nickname, scoring “All Day” for the Vikings and earning the conference MVP award on offense, while Jared Allen paces an explosive and run-stuffing defense. The fight for second will be the most interesting, however. Although Jay Cutler could hit Devin Hester in the Lambeau end zone from Lake Shore Drive, the Packers offense has more talent from top to bottom. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson present far bigger problems for defenses than the former CB Hester and the untested Earl Bennett. Even with the Pack-Attacks’s switch to the 3-4 on defense, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk have more lateral movement and play-making ability than the aged Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs. Barnett will need to have a career-year in order for the new scheme to pay dividends, and I think he will, becoming the Defensive MVP in the North.lions1

Which leaves us with the Lions. I wish I could say they would make it to 8-8… or even 6-10. But that’s just wishful thinking. I’ll give them five wins because I’ve been a life-long fan, but their new system, traditionally shoddy defense, and the perpetual spotlight shinning on Daunte-Stafford drama just leave too many question marks.
They’ve gotten a little better, though; Julian Peterson has got to be worth at least two wins, right?

MINNESOTA: 11-5
GREEN BAY: 10-6
CHICAGO: 9-7
DETROIT: 5-11 (Please, PLEASE let me be wrong here!)