‘Puppeteer’ Favre was Chilly’s demise

When you browse through a Webster’s Dictionary and stop at the word ‘puppeteer’ you can’t help to think of the Brad Childress and Brett Favre situation that unraveled over the past few years in Minnesota.

Webster’s description of that and another word sums up Chilly’s demise; PUPPETEER a) one who manipulates puppets and PUPPET b) one whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence.

Brad Childress and Brett Favre have been the stars in the soap opera that unraveled in Minnesota around the Vikings facility all season and this year’s sideshow started in a very familiar fashion.

A year after Chilly personally flew to Mississippi to “ask” Brett Favre to don Vikings purple; a herd of players that included defensive end Jared Allen did a sequel making this year’s trip. And why not! The 40-year-old graying quarterback had taken the franchise to within one play of making a trip to the Super Bowl. The script last year ended tragically with a patented Favre interception that sent the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl but when you’re one dumb mistake from making it to the big stage it’s hard to resist an encore.

Snatching Favre out of retirement is something Childress will always be remembered for. It was no secret the high maintenance prima donna quarterback was interested in playing in Minnesota when he first left the Packers but it would still take an effort by Chilly to travel several states away and “talk” him out of retirement.

Throughout the team’s successful run last season, Childress was a man who was beginning to lose control of his players including Favre. When a quarterback no matter what experience, calls you out on the sidelines on national television and again in a weekly presser, you need to show him who’s wearing the pants. Mike Shanahan stepped up when Albert Haynesworth got a little too vocal about his style of defense and soon after Shanny laid the law down on his All-Pro prima donna the Redskins players lined up in front of the camera supporting their team and coach.

If a boss doesn’t step up like Shanny did in the Fat Albert case, you’re many times setting up your demise and “workers” will lose respect and confidence in you as their leader, that’s how management works. It works like that in an office, on a construction site and even around the firehouse.

Favre had been the puppeteer since he arrived in Minnesota until recently when Childress began fighting back trying to reaffirm who was in charge as the two clashed, trading shots in the media. The world always seems to revolve around Favre’s ego and he may have been allowed to dictate more than he should have early on, even if he did it in a passive aggressive manner. After the incident on the sidelines last season, the media and fans began to question who was really running the locker room. That bled over to this season when the team began losing out of the gate.

In an attempt to bring an end to this year’s dismal start, Randy Moss was brought in by owner Zygi Wilf who wanted to replace injured wide receiver Sidney Rice. But just weeks into his return tenure to Minny, Moss began pulling from the Favre script and questioning Childress’ offense decisions.

And why couldn’t he when Favre did it the season before, although in a passive aggressive fashion. Moss’ actions and words were the straws that broke the camel’s back and Chilly decided to take a stand so he sent Moss packing to the displeasure of his owner and Moss’ teammates. 

Statement made, but at the wrong time and to the wrong player. A statement though much less in nature could have been made to Favre a year earlier but the puppet normally can’t control the puppeteer so it wasn’t.

After getting blown out by the Green Bay Packers last week, a team they swept last season, Zygi responded by cutting Chilly’s strings, sending his career in Minnesota crashing to the ground.

So as this story ends it brings with it a great lesson to all the other head coaches in the NFL who may want to be aware of who is “pulling their strings”.

Okay, it’s time to get back to Webster’s to research the ‘D’ section to look up “Dead in the water” for my Mike Singletary and John Fox articles.

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