Fran Tarkenton didn’t run away from his previous comments on Brett Favre like he scrambled away from oncoming defenders during his career. On Thursday, Tarkenton was just as blunt in his opinions on Favre considering a comeback as he was on Wednesday.
“In my opinion, I don’t like Brett Favre doing to the Packers what he’s done. I think he’s being disrespectful. In my opinion, I think it’s just ridiculous,” Tarkenton told Paul Allen during an interview on KFAN radio in Minneapolis. “I’m tired of reading about it. I think for the Minnesota Vikings to entertain this is pretty ridiculous itself. It’s a silver-bullet, last-gasp solution.”
Tarkenton said the Vikings have a team built to win no matter who is at quarterback, although he admitted he hasn’t seen Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels play.
“They’ve done a wonderful job of building a football team. I think the ownership and general manager – whoever it is, and I don’t know any of those people, I know some of the owners – you’ve got really a good-team building thing, really a nice team. Got good players, got a great young running back. I watched the wide receiver from Florida (Percy Harvin) … and he’s a game-changer, a playmaker. He’s going to be a nice addition to that team. I think they’ve got a lot of things going for (them). And do I agree with it? I don’t, but does that make any difference? They can do what they want to do.”
But then Tarkenton also seemed to contradict his comment about it being “ridiculous” for the Vikings to consider signing Favre.
“I don’t think it’s idiotic and that’s not the point. I think if you’re a Green Bay Packer fan and if he signs with Minnesota, what are you going to think of Brett Favre? I think he damages his legacy tremendously in Green Bay.”
He added: “Can you imagine if Jim Marshall said I’m going to get out of here and play for the Green Bay Packers? I couldn’t even fathom that. I think all of that is disturbing and problematic. (But) in the context of sports, this is all fun.”
Tarkenton said that Vikings Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page finishing his career with the Chicago Bears for his last three-plus seasons after spending 11-plus with the Vikings was a different situation.
“That was a different thing. Bud (Grant) put Alan Page on waivers. … He put him on waivers and Chicago picked him up and that’s a different story,” Tarkenton said.
Tarkenton, like many, admitted that he’s tired of hearing and reading about Favre, but he is advancing the stories by appearing twice on Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone in the last two days to talk about Favre and then KFAN Thursday morning.
“I don’t have any ax to grind with Brett Favre. He’s been a great player, an icon and so forth. Put it this way: He gets traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Green Bay Packers,” Tarkenton said. “There was a reason they traded him from Atlanta. They didn’t want him here. In that first rookie year with Atlanta, they didn’t like anything they saw about him. It was probably more his behavior than his play.”
He admitted that Atlanta made a mistake by trading Favre to Green Bay after only one season, but he put the onus on the last Favre transaction – his trade from Green Bay to the New York Jets – on Favre’s indecision about retirement.
Favre led the Jets to an 8-3 record in the first 11 games, but a partially torn biceps tendon is receiving some of the blame for a dramatic drop in his production in the final five games, when he went 1-4 and missed the playoffs.
“It’s a 16-week season, isn’t it? It didn’t work out,” Tarkenton said of Favre’s season in New York. “Did they go to the playoffs? And the quarterback they got, Chad Pennington, he went to Miami and (the Dolphins) won one game the year before and they went to the playoffs, did they not? It didn’t work out. Is anybody in New York crying that Brett Favre didn’t come back? Are the players crying?”
“The people that watched him in practice every day and in games, why didn’t they want him back?” Tarkenton questioned.
The Jets underwent a change in coaches this offseason and drafted Mark Sanchez fifth overall as their quarterback of the future before releasing Favre. But Tarkenton seems to believe that Favre is simply too old (and maybe broken down) to play effectively anymore.
“At 39, we’ve all lost a lot of the stuff that we had at 29 and 30. My fourth Super Bowl, I think I was 34. I didn’t get to go at 36, 37, somewhere in there. You decay. You’re not as good. I wasn’t as good at 34 as I was at 26,” he said.
Tarkenton seemed pleased that he wasn’t alone in his opinion, pointing twice to a poll that is running on FoxSport.com, where, as of the noon hour on Thursday 73 percent of the 35,000 respondents agreed with Tarkenton.
“I’m just really tired of hearing Brett Favre, retired, unretired, maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I just have a problem with it,” he said.
“I think you’ve got a good enough team. (The Vikings are) going to win a certain number of games despite the quarterback. The team is good. The defensive line plays the run great; you’ve got the best running back (Adrian Peterson) in the world. I think the Minnesota Vikings are going to win with anybody at quarterback, including Brett Favre, including Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson. I think they’re going to win with whoever you line up there.”
“I think it’s the absolute wrong thing for the Vikings to do. I think it’s the wrong thing for Brett Favre to do.”