Monday, June 15, 2009

Brett Favre: Creating the Cliff Clavin rule

Brett Favre is scheduled to be a guest on the premiere of "Joe Buck Live" tonight. Thank god satire was already dead.

When an good old-fashioned newsman breaks out the "yes comma," usually it means you better take heed, brother:
"Yes, this is it: If Favre is willing to sign a contract with an option that will determine his pay based on how he performs and how much he plays, the Wilf family will go all out to add Favre to the team. The contract will not be guaranteed. It could have some good incentive clauses that will pay Favre well if he can perform like he did in 2007, when he led the Packers to a 13-3 record ..." — Sid Hartman
Who knows, really. Speaking personally, friends have asked, "How can you be a Minnesota Vikings fan and not care if whether or not they get Brett Favre?" The response, after first pointing out that saying whether or not is a redundancy (yes comma, it is a dick move to correct someone's grammar, but it's an easily corrected mistake), is to say there's a higher power involved. Besides, the Vikings all-world defensive end Jared Allen told KFAN in Minneapolis, "The thing is I honestly don't care" about Favre. Please keep in mind this is someone who plays for the damn team.

The higher power could be called the Cliff Clavin Rule (here's an explanation), which is as follows: If only three people know the answer to something and none of them have ever been in your kitchen, it's a good idea drink a glass of shut-the-hell-up.

There are exceptions for those who can lend some particular background to the story or comedy you can lend, like Sports Pickle did when it put out a satirical piece that the Vikings had set a deadline for current quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels to stop sucking. It all comes back to trying to be among the first people to find out something instead of the millionth and third to chew over the latest speculation about whether the Biceps Tendon Heard 'Round The World will be healed enough for Ol' Brett to be able to air it out when Percy Harvin is open deep after leaving some poor cornerback spinning like a top.

The other principle, which has some application to the Jim Balsillie/Phoenix Coyotes story, comes from the essay Neal Pollack wrote for Slate (dude, I know) several years ago, The Cult Of The General Manager: "Excuse me for wanting baseball highlights."

The Balsillie story is more newsworthy than any given game in one of the four big ball-and-stick leagues, which is more than can be said about Favre. However, it is best left to the people who can do the mental stickhandling through a labyrinth of legalese. From the sad-but-true files, sports stories which do not involve people doing something sweat-intensive sooner rather than later get dry up faster. However, Pollack conceded, "As deathly dull as a general manager's machinations may be, there's obviously an audience for it." The rub is that sports fans are conditioned for action, damnit.

Now did you see what the Chicago Bears linebacker, Lance Briggs, said about ol' Brett: "We know he's going to throw us a few (interceptions). He's thrown me a few, but I've also dropped several that I should have caught. We'd love to see Favre go there to play. We'd welcome it."

That is big talk from a guy whose team gave up 75 points in two games vs. the Vikings last season. That post is worth clicking through just for the pic of Lance Briggs the Chicago Sun-Times used. Either it was taken at the Pro Bowl in Hawai'i, or Lance Briggs emcees weddings and proms while wearing his jersey (since his face is hidden under a helmet and facemask, how would people know it's really him).

Anyway, the Clavin rule: Now you know.

(P.S. Nice to see Posted Sports rip off the same line of thinking, except their response is to take a Favratorium, which is both derivative and self-aggrandizing. That's the Canadian media for you!

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