Tarkenton again expresses disgust
"I really have no interest in what Brett Favre does. He kind of lost me a few years ago by retiring and unretiring and here and there," Tarkenton said on "The Opening Drive" on Sirius NFL Radio.
"I asked a few friends here, maybe 10 or 12 people we were out with last night. I said, 'What do you think about Brett Favre going back to the Vikings?' You know who cared? Nobody. It's good news for you guys. It's good news for television and so forth but the last time I heard ... football was a team sport, isn't it? It's not just about the quarterback."
Tarkenton was later questioned during ESPN's "Outside the Lines" about Favre's right to pursue whatever he needed to pursue to keep on going.
"We have responsibilities we're just not athletes that are in it all for ourself, football, is it not a team game? Isn't it all about team ... and here comes Brett Favre riding in on his white horse, doesn't go to training camp, doesn't come to offseason workouts and he's gonna come on his white horse and bond with all these players."
Favre, who first retired in March 2008, came out of retirement and forced the Green Bay Packers -- with whom he had starred for 16 years -- to trade him to the New York Jets in August when the Packers declined to accept his unretirement.
He played one season for the Jets, then retired again in February.
But rumors started bubbling again in May that Favre wasn't fully committed to retiring. Vikings coach Brad Childress communicated regularly with Favre. And Tarkenton -- a Hall of Famer who spent five seasons with the New York Giants, but is remembered for his 13 seasons with the Vikings -- made clear he was disgusted by the team's flirtation with Favre.
"I think he has been a great flamboyant quarterback, but he has made more stupid plays than any great quarterback that I've ever seen. Look at his final game in a Packers uniform. He blew that game [NFC championship] against the Giants," Tarkenton said in late May on KFAN-1130 in the Twin Cities.
At first, Favre said he would remain retired. Then he wasn't sure. He said he would let the Vikings know by July 30. Then he decided he'd stay retired. Then on Tuesday, he flew to Minnesota and signed a two-year deal worth $25 million.
"I really think the whole Brett Favre saga of retiring, unretiring, three weeks ago [saying] 'I can't play,' the Vikings said, 'We're moving on,' it's a circus," Tarkenton said Wednesday on "The Opening Drive." "It's an absolute circus, and it takes away from all the other things that are going on with the Vikings, with the NFL. We're getting ready for a football season and this is a circus and I just have no interest in it.
"Wouldn't you be upset if you're a Packer fan? I think you're going to have Packer fans burning the No. 4 Favre Green Bay jersey. I think the Packer fans have every right to be outraged."
Packers fans might be upset, but Vikings fans have embraced their new quarterback, as evidenced by the Vikings' ticket sales.
The team has sold sold more than 3,200 season tickets since news broke, and about 11,000 single-game tickets during that time. Seats for the Oct. 5 game against Green Bay are available only through a season ticket. There are roughly 6,000 season tickets remaining.
Last season, the Vikings had to race to beat the blackout deadline for several games.
Merchandise also is moving. Team chief marketing officer Steve LaCroix said several hundred pre-orders for Favre jerseys were placed online Tuesday. The purple No. 4s were scheduled to begin showing up in stores Wednesday.
Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts coach who retired -- and has stayed retired -- in January, was on "The Waddle and Silvy" show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, and said Favre has a limited window in which to win over his new teammates.
"I would be very worried about that if I were the Minnesota Vikings and their head coach," Dungy said on "The Waddle and Silvy" show. "He's going to have to let them know he's as committed as they are. And get that across to them. If that happens, it could to be a big boost. If it doesn't happen, if players feel you weren't in this from the beginning ... is he really in this with us? If there were feelings for quarterbacks who were already there ... it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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