The Strangest Football Game of the Year

A preview of Sunday’s Vikings-Packers rematch

The strangeness began even before Brett Favre’s alleged sexting made international headlines this month. It began this summer when several Vikings players flew down to Mississippi with several million dollars of bonus enticements, on paper anyway, to drag the retiring Favre back with them—one more for the Gipper (or the bank account). And now, one Randy Moss later, here we are, with Sunday night’s match-up between Favre’s new team and his old one, the Green Bay Packers, shaping up less like a clash of the Titans and more like a freak show—or a reality show.

Which of course it is. Favre is the diva who wants money and attention and allegedly can’t keep his pants on. And Randy Moss is…well, the same, because we all remember the (fake) moon over Lambeau Field from a few years back. And if you forgot, Senator Russ Feingold reminded his Wisconsin constituents when his campaign used a clip of it in television ads (which the NFL later called foul).

You also might have forgotten Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s remarks last year about Randy Moss: “I don’t want the guy to ever come back into the city of Minneapolis again. He was a jerk when he was here.”

In any case, as the injury-ridden Packers seem to be on the way down, and the Vikings seem to be picking up confidence since the Moss trade, these could be two ships passing in the standings if not the night. But no one really thinks this game will be about what’s happening on the field, despite Favre’s desires that the media focus its attention there.

This will be about the strange reality of the NFL in 2010, the last season before a likely lockout next year. Here, after all, are the headlines of the season so far: a grandfather quarterback is accused of sexting, a former dog-fighter is the QB of the year (before injuring himself), and all the teams you thought were Super Bowl contenders aren’t really.

A year off to get everyone’s head together suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.