You just got Favre'd!
Brett Favre swears he isn't out for revenge. It only seems that way. Because beneath the hullabaloo of his never-really-left comeback -- the smiling, the posing with Minnesota Vikings jerseys, the bandage-wrapped elbow on his first day of practice -- lies a trail of collateral damage, a list of individuals for whom Favre's flip-flopping, glory-grubbing gain counts as a loss.
In short: People who got Favre'd.
What does it mean to get Favre'd? It means your life has been inexorably altered by No. 4's pseudo-return. It means you're now at the mercy of Favre's achy joints, ill-advised passes and waffling psyche. It means the ol' gunslinger just drew a royal flush, and you'll have to scramble to stay in the game.
Herein, the losers big and small of Favre-a-palooza '09:
Status: Wondering if he'll ever get the opportunity to hand Adrian Peterson the ball again.
Pre-Favre'd: Presumptive starting quarterback for the Vikings.
Post-Favre'd: Presumptive sideline ball cap model for the Vikings.
Next move: Stay healthy and wait.
Status: Wondering if he'll still be employed in two weeks.
Pre-Favre'd: Presumptive Vikings backup quarterback.
Post-Favre'd: Presumably grateful the word "depth" precedes "chart."
Next move: Quietly root against fellow potential odd-man-out John David Booty; hope that national economy recovers enough to facilitate revival of Arena League; polish grocery-stocking skills. (It worked for Kurt Warner!)
Status: Similar to a victorious presidential candidate. Got what he wanted ... and now he has to deal with it.
Pre-Favre'd: Vikings coach figured to take some heat from fans if talented team failed to reach postseason.
Post-Favre'd: Figures to be tarred, feathered and dispatched to a broadcast booth if club doesn't reach Super Bowl -- even though Favre is a brittle 39-year-old, his backups are bewildered and alienated, his receiving corps is unproven and an otherwise under-the-radar franchise just became the NFL's answer to a fire truck manned by circus clowns.
Next move: Contact the Phoenix Suns trainers that kept Grant Hill and Shaquille O'Neal healthy. Ask them to name a price. And if Eric Mangini calls, pick up the phone.
Status: Optimistic about seeing eight defenders in the box instead of nine.
Pre-Favre'd: Vikings running back/fantasy football deity expected to have a huge season.
Post-Favre'd: Still figures to have a huge season -- only guess which nationally known heartburn medication pitchman now gets to share in the credit?
Next move: Query Terrell Davis about John Elway single-handedly leading the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl titles. Take notes.
Minnesota Vikings fans
Status: Can't believe the hottest girl in high school just asked them out on a date. Even though they graduated in 1992, and it's now 2009.
Pre-Favre'd: Loyal fans who rightfully hate anyone wearing green and gold. As cautiously optimistic as anyone can be about a guy named Sage.
Post-Favre'd: Have always been at war with Eurasia. Furious that Favre suffered Oscar snub for cameo in "There's Something About Mary." Make it right, Academy!
Next Move: Taunt Green Bay Packers fans, purchase No. 4 Vikings jerseys by the metric ton. Pray that those jerseys don't end up on the same island as Jerry Rice's Seattle Seahawks jersey and Michael Jordan's Washington Bullets throwback. Oh, and Favre's New York Jets jersey. Gulp.
Green Bay Packers
Status: Wondering if the team bus is actually a tricked-out DeLorean, with a final destination of last summer.
Pre-Favre'd: Quietly getting ready for the upcoming season.
Post-Favre'd: Quietly pondering the use of propofol and hemlock as pregame interview aides for the Packers-Vikings contest on Oct. 5.
Next move: Hire Rasheed Wallace to deliver "both teams played hard" answer when reporters ask about Favre.
Green Bay Packers fans
Status: Watching their amazing-but-crazy ex-wife move back to the neighborhood, then make out with their chief office sales rival. Not sure if they should feel white-hot anger, sadness over what's transpired or passive-aggressive indifference.
Pre-Favre'd: Hittin' the gym, meeting up with old friends, doing the online dating thing, settling into single life. Looking forward to the inevitable Favre welcome back ceremony, as well as his Hall of Fame induction.
Post-Favre'd: Typing in ALL CAPS on Internet message boards. Contacting local fire station to make sure effigy burning won't get you arrested.
Next move: Booing and lots of it. Mixed with cheers. Topped off with a hearty helping of confusion.
Status: Feeling sympathy for every Republican politician ever dubbed the heir to Ronald Reagan.
Pre-Favre'd: Packers quarterback measured against Favre then.
Post-Favre'd: Measured against Favre then and now. Which is actually a little easier.
Next move: Beat the Vikings twice. Go 0-14 otherwise? Whatever. Just beat the Vikings twice.
Fantasy football owners
Status: A wheat/chaff situation.
Pre-Favre'd: Forced to study charts and numbers and actually figure out who provides more value, Brady Quinn or Kyle Orton?
Post-Favre'd: Dumb owners salivating at the chance to select a big-name legend like Favre; smart owners salivating at the chance to watch dumb owners make said selection. Everyone wins! Sort of.
Next move: Consult with Dr. James Andrews to determine if Rosenfels is worth a late-round pick.
Status: Having whiz-kid interns calculate expected television ratings boost from Favre's return. Gently informing league's sponsors.
Pre-Favre'd: Determined -- nay, on a mission -- to not let any individual embarrass the NFL or the great game of football.
Post-Favre'd: Too late!
Next move: Find somebody else to suspend, possibly on the Oakland Raiders.
Status: Totally grateful.
Pre-Favre'd: The biggest story of the NFL season. Not in a good way.
Post-Favre'd: Has a little more room to breathe, because while today's 24-7 sports media seems unbearably ubiquitous, the laws of physics dictate that reporters and camera operators cannot actually be in the same place at the same time.
Next move: Start Favre retirement rumors ASAP, the better to fuel another round of comeback chatter.
Novelty T-shirt makers
Status: Totally, totally grateful.
Pre-Favre'd: Stuck with hosting costs and a bunch of Judas Favre tees.
Post-Favre'd: Dealing with backorders, crashed servers and online polls asking, "who is the biggest traitor, Brett Favre or Jon from Jon & Kate Plus 8?"
Next move: Making bank deposit; printing an anti-Favre shirt with "Brent" on it.
New York Jets
Status: Woozy, ecstatic and looking for a cigarette.
Pre-Favre'd: Too in love with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to even remember the Favre era. Which was only last season.
Post-Favre'd: Too in love with Sanchez to realize that Favre is back, or that he ever left in the first place.
Next move: Get notepad. On one side, list everything good about Sanchez; on the other, list everything good about his dimples. Swoon.
Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu
Status: Looking out for sidewalk cracks, black cats.
Pre-Favre'd: Madden 10 co-coverboys could pretend that Favre's disappointing, injury-hampered 2008 season didn't actually happen, that Favre wasn't on the cover of Madden 09 and that the well-documented Madden cover curse is just an old ghost story. Like Shaun Alexander's career.
Post-Favre'd: No exit. Favre is going to be there -- on television, online, in whatever newspapers still remain -- day after night after day, all but wearing a raincoat and a hook. And so is the Madden curse.
Next move: Upgrade personal injury insurance.
Status: Thrilled. Tired and searching for a working power outlet, but thrilled.
Pre-Favre'd: Distraught. In withdrawal, actually, wondering if things would ever be the same. Caught up in bargaining, which is the third stage of the Kubler-Ross model of human grief.
Post-Favre'd: Too busy filing copy and requesting Vikings game credentials to think things through. Or eat.
Next move: Brush up on "Huck Finn"; ponder the incorrect use of "gunslinger," in case there is such a thing; vow to reference Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" at least 528 times this fall.
Status: Hot. (Get it? Ha ha.)
Pre-Favre'd: According to broad scientific consensus, global temperatures are increasing at an alarming and dangerous rate due to man-made carbon emissions.
Post-Favre'd: Call off the Kyoto Protocols! Take a cross-country drive in your Hummer! Fire up a couple hundred coal plants! With Favre unable to ride his lawn tractor, the planet is saved.
Next move: Have someone inform Al Gore he can travel around in his private jet sans guilt.
Status: Probably grateful, if he's paying attention to something that isn't Roger Clemens.
Pre-Favre'd: Most annoying, mercenary, indecisive sports almost-retiree ever. Even if he brought Suzyn Waldman to tears.
Post-Favre'd: No. 2 on the above list.
Next move: Continue to lay low. Speaking of which, why couldn't Clemens' highly paid lawyers give him the same obvious advice?
Hattiesburg airport employees
Pre-Favre'd: In high demand, with Favre flying to and from Minnesota, and reporters flying in and out, and camera crews checking lots of equipment, and everyone needing rental cars ...
Post-Favre'd: Wondering if they're in a Tarvaris Jackson situation.
Next move: Cross fingers that Favre pulls a Clemens and asks to fly home between Vikings games.
Men with gray hair
Status: Contemplating coloring products.
Pre-Favre'd: Time was, a touch (or more) of gray signified gravitas and wisdom -- or at least enough solid life experience to come off as credible while hawking medication on prime-time television.
Post-Favre'd: In the wake of salt 'n' pepper Favre's ridiculously juvenile and self-centered flip-flopping, gray is the new Snidely Whiplash mustache. Broken trust.
Next move: Commiserate with golden retrievers, who also have seen their reputations besmirched via association with Favre.
NFC defensive backs
Pre-Favre'd: Busting training camp tail in the hopes of snagging rare and valuable interceptions.
Post-Favre'd: Counting on Favre -- who threw just 0.83 touchdown passes per game in his final 12 contests last season while tossing 22 picks on the year -- to gun-sling a few balls their way.
Next move: Hold up hands, track ball with eyes.
The Detroit Lions
Status: Now sporting a fiercer logo!
Pre-Favre'd: Probably going to lose both games against Vikings.
Post-Favre'd: Probably going to lose both games against Vikings.
Next Move: If No. 1 draft pick Matthew Stafford doesn't work out, inquire about Favre's availability in 2010.
Rating: NO HEADS
Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.