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Favre knows his way to the Super Bowl

In the movie "Leatherheads" George Clooney plays an aging star in the early days of pro football. He knows his best years are behind him but he loves the game and he wants to keep playing.

Brett Favre will turn 40 in October making him very eligible for the NFL pension plan. You might doubt his physical abilities and you might applaud his decision to finally retire but if anyone was born to play quarterback in the NFL, it is Brett Lorenzo Favre.

Football is a game that is played with a silly-looking ball that bounces anyway it pleases. If you can control it fine, but if it hits the turf -- oh baby! That is Brett Favre. You can knock him down three times and he will throw a touchdown pass on you on fourth and long. You can intercept him a half-dozen times in a game and he will throw the touchdown that beats you. He threw 22 interceptions last year. He also threw 22 touchdown passes.

There was a time when I would have really liked seeing Favre make the first manned space flight to Pluto. He hurt us Vikings fans, like he hurt a lot of other football teams. The difference was that we had to play his Packers twice.

Favre has been to the Super Bowl twice, in 1997 and 1998. He helped the Packers win the Super Bowl in '97. He has done it all. No one doubts that a trip to Canton is in his future.

Favre made his reputation with the Green Bay Packers, as everyone knows, but he was actually drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, for whom he played in two games before being sent up north to frozen Wisconsin. This kind of swap explains why all the combines in the world can't necessarily produce an all-pro football player, or allow a team to win the Super Bowl. The game is much more complicated than that. You need leaders and chemistry too.

On paper, the Vikings have the talent to make the Super Bowl except at one vital position -- quarterback. Brad Childress has three decent young quarterbacks with good arms -- Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty. What they lack is a storybook quarterback like Favre.

While Favre was still Green Bay property last year the Packers accused the Vikings of tampering. The Vikes beat the rap and the Pack shipped Favre off to the Big Apple. Some of us applauded this move because it put Favre into another conference.

It's a cinch that Favre is no long-term solution to Minnesota's quarterbacking problems, but he could be the short-term one. He knows the way to the Super Bowl.