The complaint that won't die -- my quickie evaluation of Brett Favre's career, as something that could have been even greater. No rehash of the old ideas here, just an attempt to address the new complaints.
Greg of Groveland, Mass., likes everything except my basic assertion. Sorry. Too many picks in key situations.
Jason of Richmond: "Could have been greater? Are you kidding? Holds every meaningful record ... played the most inspiring Monday Night Football game of all time. Wow, talk about missing the mark." That's me, not him. You're right, Jason. Thank you. You gush very well. Stay tuned to the magazine next week for more of the same.
David of Raleigh: "That article (mine) stunk of sensationalism, of a writer trying to get people's attention. Kudos for taking the low road when being respectful was the easy way to go." You nailed it. Sensational Z, that's me. You over there ... someone wake that man up.
Tom of Overland Park Kan.: "I don't think criticizing a very talented player the day after he retires is warranted." Look at it this way. There was column after column of kudos. Is it so terrible that one little fat boy in Jersey tried to present a more balanced picture?
Brian from Pascagoula, Miss.: "Thank you for finally saying what needs to be said ... Having spent my formative years on the Coast (that's Gulf Coast), I felt like I was the only one who noticed poorly timed lapses in judgment and the complete ignorance of his shortcomings." OK, let's not go overboard here. He was a great player, possessed of remarkable skills, but ... I don't want to flog this thing to death, but, ahem, some contests did not end as Favre fans would have wished.
Michael of Kalispell, Mont.: "When I think of Favre as compared to other, more cautious quarterbacks, I think of the difference between Mozart and Beethoven. Mozart was strictly a brilliant system composer. He created beautiful music, but honestly, it's a bit boring ... (Peyton) Manning is Mozart. Favre is Beethoven." OK, I get it and all that, but I'm afraid I won't take this one any farther because I have a soft spot for old Wolfgang A. It was his Piano Concerto in D Minor that got me admitted to the High School of Music and Art when I was just a little punk, and I will not hear him spoken of in a negative way. No, I never went there, but I could have.
Finally, from Paul of Champaign, Ill., and this will draw the curtain on those who would skewer me for not worshipping at the shrine; "I had the misfortune of driving through Packer Country one Sunday. Favre threw one of those brain-freeze interceptions, and the announcers actually praised it. They said something to the effect that, 'It's good when he makes a rare mistake like that, so we can see how good he always is.' My own brain froze when I heard that asinine comment, and I was forced to turn off the radio to prevent an accident." See that! At least my asinine comments are not dangerous.
"Have you ever tried Idaho wines?" asks Pat of Boise. Sure have. A Chardonnay from Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell. Delicious!
And before we get back to the gridiron, let me just take this one from Jeff of Belmont, Calif. "Have you ever tried the Victorian Gardens in Manchester? (south of Elk, which is South of Mendocino). The Zambonis, Luciano and Pauline, have a fixed dinner that is truly incredible." Been there many times, but I've got some sad news for you. Luciano died slightly more than a year ago. You could drop Pauline a note. Last I heard, she was still running the establishment.
And I have a question for you. Does the Lanai in Belmont still exist? It was our very, very expensive place to take a date when I was in Stanford some years before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. You sat there and drank something called a Sidewinder's Fang and watched this Hawaiian scene that turned day to twilight to night to sunrise back to day. Whew, what a trip!
Nicholas of Atlanta asks if Bruce Smith was the best pass-rushing lineman out of a 3-4. I'd have to say so, but he was more of a wide rush specialist than a true 3-4 DE who lined up head on the tackle and took the pounding.
Chad of Augusta, Maine, would like to hear my case against former Patriot Troy Brown as a Hall of Fame wideout, return specialist and nickel back when his name comes up. Terrific competitor. Would do anything to help his team win. But where do you put him? He wasn't tops in the league at any particular skill.
I will repeat this one in its entirety because it goes to my Emailer of the Week, Mark Pitino from San Antonio "With football and wine being two of your main passions, what do you make of the brouhaha I've been reading about Gisele Bundchen drinking wine instead of beer at the Super Bowl?" First of all, you mentioned only two of my primary passions. You forgot fish fighting. The sport is getting quite popular here in Jersey. What do I think of Gisele's vinous forays?? I'm withholding my opinion until you can specify the grape mentioned. A Riesling? OK. A Muller Thurgau or Portugueser? Fooey!
Raul of Mexico City wants my take on the Derek Anderson deal in Cleveland. He feels he's being set-up for a knockoff, and Brady Quinn is really the man. What ... $13.5 million guaranteed? Sounds like they're pretty serious to me. What I'd like before I die is to be offered a deal like that and then have someone feel sorry for me.
A thank you from Brennan of Pittsburgh for "treating Myron Cope with class." You're welcome. I've had many a fun time with Myron.
Anthony of Milwaukee asks this elemental question that the whole league is asking: "What is more beneficial, video taping or spending more money than allowed to lure in more talent?" (as the Broncos did in their Super Bowl years). That's an easy one. Spending too much dough. OK, they were caught, they received a slap on the wrist. And boy did it hurt ... left a red mark and everything.
Finally one more trip to la dolce vita, this time to our old friend Mendocino. Jim of Beaufort, S.C., recalls with nostsalgia a lot of neat places on the Mendocino Coast, but none with food to match the Café Beaujolais. You could have caught it just right, or just the right amount of years ago. Seems that every year something weird or interesting happens to that place. Once I heard the whole scenario laid out for me, incluing a complicated divorce, a castle in Europe, the attack of the mole people and lots more complicated subplots that I've already forgotten.