Longwell knows fraction of Favre's feelings about return to Lambeau
One guy, and one alone, knows a fraction of what Favre's going to be facing Sunday. It's his golf partner from the Green Bay days, and best friend on the Vikings now, kicker
Foes who've played at Lambeau have said over the years how hospitable a place Lambeau is. Well, it is ... unless you're a former Packer playing for the enemy.
"I was surprised it was that loud -- really surprised,'' Longwell said from the Vikings locker room Thursday. "It had everything to do with me being a Viking. I thought, 'Cool! At least they remember me, a kicker.' But with Brett, I'm as curious as the next guy what it'll be like. People are endeared by the way he played in Green Bay, and I'm not sure what to expect from the crowd.''
The locals are. Those I've talked to think Favre will get lambasted by boos Sunday when he goes out to warm up. Longwell has seen Favre in some pretty difficult spots. He was golfing with Favre on a California course the day before the Packers played a Monday nighter at Oakland -- and Favre got the word on the course that his father,
The Packers-Vikings game at the Metrodome this year was another virtuoso performance for Favre ("You could tell he was nervous,'' Longwell said.) Sure, he's had some stinkers too, but in those two games, when he should have felt the most pressure in his career, he rose.
This will be different, but how different? In those two games, even in Oakland, he was cheered. In this one, he'll be the enemy. Walking into Lambeau as a visitor, walking into a locker room he's never used, wondering, wondering, wondering what the reaction will be when he ducks his head out of the tunnel, standing on the opposite sideline, everything backward, everything different ... Favre feels these things. Now we'll see if it will impact him in -- oh, by the way -- quite an important football game.
"I think the boos will actually pump him up,'' Longwell said. "Having been around him for so many big games, he always, always, always rises to the occasion. He plays to an almost other-worldly level when things are against him. I think even though the pressure might be on him, he somehow channels it to be a positive. I don't know ... he has a way of making the impossible possible.''
We'll see. All I know is this: A buddy in Wisconsin told me this week this is a more-anticipated event than any game of the Favre Era, including championship games. How Favre will handle the emotion of it all is something we can't predict. Talk about must-see TV. I can't imagine FOX having a higher-rated non-playoff game -- maybe ever.
Uh-oh. The attitude's not what I'd like to hear. "If we win, it's going to be good,'' Young said Thursday. "If we lose, it's all going to be Vince Young's fault.'' No it isn't. The Titans went 0-6 without Young, and they don't have to beat Jacksonville Sunday to make this turn to Young is a success.
What Young has to do is simple: move the team. Have five good drives out of 11 or 12 possessions. Throw passes on time, with accuracy. At this point, winning and losing is secondary in Young's world to developing as a good starting quarterback. The Titans are going to need to see progress to be able to count on him as their quarterback of 2010, and beyond.
By moving Giants-Eagles up to 1 p.m., it's also quite convenient that the Packers-Vikings game now can go to 90 percent of the country -- all except Arizona and the Carolinas -- in peace as a ratings-killer doubleheader FOX game. It's hard to argue with the decision to fragment the New York audiences because you can't have 69,144 at the football game and 43,647 at the baseball game, several of them inebriated, flooding Pattison and Broad at the same time.