The moment may still be a little too much for Brett Favre.
I like the future Hall-of-Famer, I really do. But his constant canonization isn't just grating to my ears. Heck, John Madden waxes rhapsodic over Favre-re-re-re so much, Frank Caliendo has built a career around it. Announcers get so swept up in the idea that they have the chance to "broadcast history," that NFL Films may someday use their voices to overdub an immortal of the game, that they refuse to say anything negative, and an in fact praise Favre for unbelievably clutch and accurate shoelace tying.
To be truthful, I've been shocked how under control, reined-in and smart Favre has played in most of his games this year. Has he been a little lucky at times? Yes: his gunslinger mentality has been covered up by some defensive lapses, and some great plays by his receivers. But Thursday night in Dallas, "Bad Favre" made his first significant appearance of the season, and at the worst time for the Packers.
The numbers are abbreviated, because Favre hurt his right elbow in the second quarter, and had to cede the stage to Aaron Rodgers: 5-of-14 for 56 yards and two interceptions. But if you watched the game, you know it was even worse than that. For some reason, Favre felt compelled to try and go way downfield on every single play. I mean, it wasn't like the Pack was losing all that badly. And it'd have been one thing if the Cowboys had really been stacking line, but the fact is: Favre's deep guys weren't open. Not at all. Sure, the interceptions were both primarily the result of good pressure getting to the quarterback, but the incomplete passes were all Favre. He gunned. He slung. He was absolutely out of control, like he'd been over the past five-plus seasons before 2007. I'm going to make huge plays downfield, and damn the consequences!
My theory? Favre can only calm himself with the Zen of the West Coast Offense for so long. When the moments get really big, as they were in Dallas, with the NFC's #1 seed likely at stake, everyone's favorite quarterback (okay, everyone in the media's favorite quarterback) lost his head, and became that bazooka-wielding ogre, the one who makes too many mistakes, takes too many chances, and puts his team in big holes. Thursday night, the hole he dug was too much for the Packers, which means they'll probably be back in Dallas this January.
Based on last week's answer about the Patriots and their massive point spreads, I have to believe the books were doing handsprings on Sunday night. Biggest win for the books in a long time?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodoglife.com: The Patriots' close win was a big relief for sure, as the book won the majority of the spread, parlay and teaser wagers; however, there was a huge amount bet on the Over, too. Most bettors have become accustomed to the Patriots surpassing the total on their own. But the book still did come out ahead overall.
I can't stop asking questions about the Pats: can you give any insight into what that Pats/Jets line might look like, given the "SpyGate Revenge" angle?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodoglife.com: It's going to be big. Philadelphia played very, very well and still lost to the Pats. The Jets are not the Eagles, and it's not even close. The Jets play Miami and to the best of my knowledge this has to be the first time that an 0-11 team is favored to win. If the Patriots do as expected and blow out Baltimore Monday night, I can see the line for this one set around -26.5, equal to three touchdowns and a couple field goals. Eric Mangini and the Jets initiating the "SpyGate" scandal are pretty much responsible for unleashing the Patriots revenge on the rest of the NFL. Bill Belichick will have the Pats out for blood, and when it's over it won't be a pretty sight.
How do you feel about the possible trade of Johan Santana, either to the Yankees or Red Sox?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodoglife.com: This is just another case of the rich getting richer. It's deals like this that are going to force MLB's hand when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The smaller -- and even mid-market -- teams will be calling for a hard cap. It's the same story whenever a hot free agent or a big-name player is tossed around in trade talks. The only teams involved are the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels, leaving the other 25 teams on the outside looking in.
Are you surprised that Oklahoma is favored by three against Missouri in the Big 12 title game? After all, that first game between these teams was in Norman, and the Tigers led after three quarters. Plus the Sooners will be without DeMarco Murray....
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodoglife.com: I'm not surprised by the line. The Sooners already beat the Tigers, plus Oklahoma has a lot of backers and their college football brand is much stronger than Missouri's. As for DeMarco Murray's absence, Allen Patrick just rushed for 202 yards against Oklahoma State, so they should be fine on the ground. Not to mention, Murray gained just two yards on four carries against the Tigers on Oct. 13.