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Favre's return to Superdome overshadowed by Saints' success

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Jim Mashek
January 18, 2010

Brett Favre gave the idea of joining the New Orleans Saints some thought, back in the day, when NFL free agency was actually in its infancy.


Favre grew up in Hancock County, Miss., watching the Saints, emulating Saints legend Archie Manning in his backyard and learning the game from his dad, the late Irvin Favre, the head coach at Hancock North Central. It seemed like a natural fit, at least on the surface.


Favre played in the Louisiana Superdome while at Southern Miss. He watched Saints games on Sunday, after the Golden Eagles did their thing in Hattiesburg.


Favre was making a name for himself with the Green Bay Packers, however, and the tug of Lambeau Field pulled him back in Wisconsin's direction, for better or worse.


Usually the former.


Favre spent 16 years with the Packers, and restored the glory of Titletown by guiding that proud NFL franchise to victory in Super Bowl XXXI. The fact that it happened in New Orleans, in the Superdome, with dozens of family and friends in attendance, made it all the more special.


On Sunday, Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will be in the house, when the Saints take aim at the first Super Bowl appearance in that often star-crossed franchise's 43-year history. The Saints took a big step in that direction on Saturday, drubbing the discombobulated Arizona Cardinals 45-14. It was their 14th victory against three defeats. Then they waited to learn of their opponent.


Once they kicked off Sunday in Mall of America Field, all of America pretty much figured that out.


It may have taken Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo a while, and heaven forbid if Jerry Jones ever gets in step with the rest of the planet, but the Cowboys were dog meat. Dead pretty much on arrival. Detonated to bits.


Vikings 34, Cowboys 3.


Son of Bum, one playoff victory.


Brett Favre, another shot at the Super Bowl. With his fourth NFL team. At the tender age of 40. As we've seen time and again over the last four months or so, the dude can still play.


Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the NFC's Pro Bowl starter, unless the Saints punch out the Vikings and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. His backups are Favre, who's played in that game so many times, he might be growing a little bored with the gig, and Aaron Rodgers, who succeeded Favre with the Packers, amid equal parts fanfare, controversy and gnashing of teeth.


Imagine the scene now, at Fuzzy Thurston's bar in downtown Green Bay, now that Favre is back in the NFC title game. With the Vikings.


Imagine the Cowboys' chartered flight, back to the Dallas:


"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. There's a crazed Cowboys executive near the cockpit. I've seen him on TV before, with the Fox pregame show, talking about Wade Phillips. He's angry. He looks like he's had some plastic surgery . . ."


And now, six days hence, imagine the atmosphere in the Superdome, where the Saints and the Vikings will lock horns, with the Saints aiming for the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, and the Vikings looking to get back to the big game for the first time since disco, bell bottoms and the pet rock were actually fashionable.


We've seen the edge the Superdome can give the Saints, in the Katrina comeback game in 2006 against the Falcons, in Saturday evening's bloodletting of the Cardinals. The game has a late kickoff time, to boot. Plenty of time for Saints fans to get in their cups and fuel themselves for the showdown with the Vikings.


Wild doesn't even begin to describe it.



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