The Favre Sequels Never Get Old. Brett Doesn’t Either

He ages like a fine wine. Never uncorking before it’s just the right time for him. Brett Favre’s retired three times and is back for another go ’round. His 20th season in the NFL, second with the Minnesota Vikings. I’m pretty sure this is REALLY it. Honestly, if he decides to come back next year, I’d welcome him with open arms AGAIN.

Favre tops every major quarterbacking category in the NFL record books. He had one of his best statistical seasons last year guiding the Vikings to within an interception of the franchises first Super Bowl in 33 years. Favre launched for over 4,000 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions leading the Vikings to a 12-4 record, an NFC North Title and the NFC Championship Game they gave away to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

In question for this season, a surgically repaired ankle that got battered in the championship game loss to the Saints. Bone spurs were removed in May and Favre said if it weren’t healed enough, he’d stay retired. Well, it seems to be moving along in the right direction.

It certainly isn’t about the money for Favre who’s got plenty of it. A possible $20 million for this season doesn’t hurt however.

Favre did need the coaxing of three of his best pals on the Vikings to return. Kicker Ryan Longwell, offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson and defensive end Jared Allen all flew to Mississippi and accomplished their goal of getting a YES from Favre.

Good for them. I would’ve done the same thing considering that without Favre, the Vikings are a mediocre team. With him, they’ve got a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl. All four also decided to forget worrying about wins and losses and a Super Bowl run. They just want to have fun because money isn’t an issue with any of them any longer. Win or lose, Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, this is the last stand.

ESPN NFL analysts Tedy Bruschi and Antonio Pierce voiced their disapproval at the mission by the three Vikings saying they’ve lost respect for them because they basically begged Favre to come back and play.


Let’s remember, Bruschi, the former New England Patriots linebacker’s got three Super Bowl rings and ex-New York Giants linebacker, that would be Pierce, has one as well. Guess what. Longwell, Hutchinson, Allen and the rest of the Vikings have no “bling” what-so-ever and are running out of time.

Bruschi, Pierce and the rest of you, who claim to be sick and tired of Favre’s selfishness regarding his playing status over the past four pre-seasons, get over it! How selfish of all of you! Bruschi and Pierce only wish they could un-retire and play again.

Former Viking QB and Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton went to three Super Bowls losing all of them. In his mid-60’s, he’s said many times what he wouldn’t do to strap on a helmet one more time and go for a Super Bowl ring.

As far as I’m concerned, barring serious injury, Favre could probably play until he’s 50 and have a shot at winning it all. It’s not like he’s a washed-up shell of his former self like Johnny Unitas was when he left the Baltimore Colts and got battered in his one year with the San Diego Chargers. Favre is still one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league.

In his first press conference at the Vikings training facility Wednesday Favre, who’ll be 41 in October, said,

I’ve done it all. There’s nothing left for me to prove. I’m here to have fun and help these guys win.

Nothing wrong with having a little fun with a chance to win and go out on top of the pro football galaxy.

So, win or lose, Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, enjoy Favre’s last stand. He’s still one of those players I’d pay to see play because he can still get it done.


It’s been about six weeks since I posted anything on my blog. I’m sorry about that and thank all of you who continue to hit me up for my views on the sports world.

Along with someone I dearly love, I experienced something so devastating I figured there were more important things in life than chiming in about LeBron leaving Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach.

I really don’t want to get into it, but, along with the death of my father, this was the most devastating event of my life. More so than me losing toes or a colon (see CCFA in right hand column). In that respect, I’m fine. Let’s just say, I keep getting reminders of what’s important in life. I can handle it.

All of you are important in my life. So, let’s enjoy it.

Taking into consideration this devastating event I experienced, I’m thinking hard about becoming a Rams fan again. Those of you who know me know I was a die-hard Los Angeles Rams fan back in the day. Beginning at 10 years old, through thick and thin, 0-16, 12-4, I loved them!

Like many other L.A. Rams fans, I felt I was stabbed in the back by Georgia Frontiere when she picked up the team and moved it to St. Louis and, all the while, “Madame Ram” STILL lived in Bel Air. Well, she’s gone now having passed away a few years ago.

Be it in Los Angeles, Anaheim or St. Louis, the guys who suit up in the “blue & gold” have no say where they play. They just want to play.

I’ll let you help in my decision. Let me know if you think it’s time for me to bury the hatchet (nice use of a cliché) and root for the Rams once again.

The season kicks off in three weeks. So, let me know by leaving me a comment with a “yea” or “nay” and why it‘s time to follow them, or not.

Thanks again, for continuing to enjoy my blog and being part of my life.

-Eric Geller

Remembering Merlin Olsen

There were plenty of the usual, mundane, sports topics I contemplated writing about Thursday. I’ll get to them eventually. Forgot all about them when I found out Merlin Olsen died earlier that morning losing his battle against a form of lung cancer. He was 69.

If you knew nothing about big number 74 before Thursday, you’ve, by now, probably read all about the NFL hall-of-famer and anchor of the Los Angeles RamsFearsome Foursome” defensive line of the 1960’s. Alongside Olsen was tackle Rosey Grier, who came from the New York Giants via trade for tackle Roger Brown, and defensive ends Lamar Lundy and David “Deacon” Jones, all four causing havoc and mayhem for all opponents.

Olsen played 15 seasons all for the Los Angeles Rams, never missing a game, was all-pro for 14 of those seasons garnering the Most Valuable Player Award in 1974, before retiring in 1976. He’s STILL the franchise leader in tackles with 915.

Olsen never played in a Super Bowl. He always was left one game short. Back then, the Rams could never get by the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers or Baltimore Colts with the Super Bowl on the line. Didn’t matter. More often than not, the inability of the offense to score at crucial times in championship games was the Rams Achilles Heel.

For many of you, Olsen is better remembered for his role as Jonathan Garvey on TV’s “Little House on the Prairie” and, later, starring in his own show, “Father Murphy”. Quite honestly, I never watched “Little House on the Prairie” or “Father Murphy”. I do remember his TV work as the pitch-man for FTD Florists and as Dick Enberg’s analyst on NBC-NFL broadcasts.

My fondest memories of Merlin Olsen are, as a little kid in the 1970‘s, about going to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoons in the Fall and watching big number 74 stuff opposing running backs forcing teams to pass which enabled him and guys like Jack Youngblood and Fred Dryer to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. That was the era of the second incarnation of the “Fearsome Foursome”. Olsen and  Larry Brooks were the interior defensive tackles with Youngblood and Dryer working either end of the line. Olsen IS the only link to both incarnations.

Back to the 70’s. It was an incredible time to be a Los Angeles Rams fan. Beginning in 1973, the Rams won an NFL-record seven straight NFC Western Division Titles. For the first four titles, Olsen was the leader on a Rams team that, defensively, would beat down opposing teams no matter what offensive super-star any team would challenge the Rams defense with. The Cowboys with Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson and Tony Dorsett. The Bills and O.J. Simpson. The Vikings with Fran Tarkenton and Chuck Foreman, the Cardinals and Jim Hart. The Steelers with Bradshaw, Swann, Stallworth and Harris. I’d always look forward to listening to the Rams Theme Song played by the Rams Band after big plays and wins. Was also fun to watch “Archy”, the ARCO Mascot, dance on the Coliseum scoreboard after big plays and scores. The following Monday morning, it was always a treat to re-live the game reading about it and cutting out the photographs in the L.A. Times and Herald Examiner sports sections.

I remember Merlin Olsen never danced after making a big tackle or quarterback sack never gloating over his victim like today‘s players seem to do as if it‘s part of the game. Many times Olsen would give his victim a helping hand off the turf and a pat on the behind. All the Rams defensive players followed his lead. Win or lose at the end of a game, Olsen was the first at mid-field to shake the opponents hands. Olsen respected the game and those who played it.

Olsen was genuinely a good guy on and off the field. The first TV interview I conducted as a broadcast journalism student was with Merlin Olsen. He was taking part in a celebrity fund-raiser golf event in Buena Park, California. To tell you how long ago that was………Ronald Reagan was President.

Needless to say, I was excited and extremely nervous to be interviewing one of my childhood heroes. Luckily, it wasn’t a live shot. I completely blanked. We turned off the camera excusing myself all the while to Mr. Olsen. He chuckled a bit and in a deep voice said to me, “No problems. We’re just having a nice conversation.” That’s what we had. A nice conversation.

Now, before interviewing anyone, especially kids, I remember looking up at Merlin Olsen, who was wearing a white golf cap that day way back when, and repeat what he said to me, “We’re just having a nice conversation”.

With his passing, I’ve lost another part of my childhood. The one where my father, brother and I would watch Merlin Olsen and the Rams at the Coliseum. What’s amazing to me, in this world of social media networking, I know I’m not the only one who’s lost a member of the family with Olsen’s passing.

On FaceBook, there’s a group called “Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams”.  A group detailing stories of Autumn Sunday afternoons at the Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium when the Rams were thee sports team here…and hope there could be more memories in the future. Will it happen. Who knows.

In the meantime, you can find tributes to Merlin Olsen on that group’s page. That’s what’s sad. Only on that group page can they be found. We can’t go to the West Pico Boulevard Office of the Rams, across the street from the Rancho Park Golf Course. It no longer exists. We can’t go to Rams Park in Fullerton. It no longer exists. I suppose we can go to the Coliseum and put together a “memorial shrine” to Olsen near the Peristyle end of the stadium. Would anyone care.

The Rams left for St. Louis 16 years ago. Had they still called Los Angeles home during that time, Olsen and his “Fearsome Foursome” mates would have been celebrated in front of a packed stadium on one of those glorious L.A. Autumn Sunday afternoons. It never happened and it never will. Olsen and Lamar Lundy are gone. Rosey Grier, “The Deacon”, Jack Youngblood, Fred Dryer, Larry Brooks and Cody Jones are still around. But, we can’t pay tribute to these guys because Autumn Sunday Afternoons at the Coliseum with the Rams and the NFL no longer exist. That’s a disgrace.

But, along with the L.A. natives in the group “Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams”, I’m fortunate enough to have memories of those great times, great Rams teams and great players like Merlin Olsen. The rest of you missed out.

Maybe Roger Goodell and the NFL should think about having a pre-season game at the Coliseum with the Rams, playing in the blue and white throwbacks, taking on the San Francisco 49ers and hold pre-game and halftime ceremonies celebrating Merlin Olsen and the Fearsome Foursome.  Better still, instead of having a regular season game in London, have it in Los Angeles at the Coliseum with the Rams, wearing blue and white throwbacks, taking on the 49ers and hold pre-game and halftime ceremonies celebrating Merlin Olsen, the Fearsome Foursome and the Los Angeles Rams.  One game couldn’t hurt. Bet it’d be a sell-out. It’s a “no-brainer”. Maybe that’s too obvious and RIGHT for the NFL Suits to do.

Rest in Peace, Merlin Olsen. Live long in our hearts and memories along with the Los Angeles Rams and those glorious Autumn Sunday afternoons at the Coliseum.

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