Brett Favre Survives Wildcat Attack; Who Will Have to be Eaten to End Trend?

Brett Favre Survives Wildcat Attack; Who Will Have to be Eaten to End Trend?

After Miami’s success with it last year, the Wildcat offense has spread across the NFL faster than those twisty, jelly bracelets swept the nation back in ’84 when the Ricker started wearing them on “Silver Spoons.”

Last night, I think we saw why in about 25 years, the Wildcat will be equally obscure. In fact, I think last night showed us all how incredibly stupid it is for a team with a franchise quarterback to go to the Wildcat formation.

In the third quarter of last night’s Minnesota Vikings/Houston Texan PRESEASON game, Viking’s coach Brad Childress inexplicably allowed the man he whispered sweet nothings to for months to line up at wide receiver.

Here is the video:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0w2mMJOmaw

I have not seen a play call that stupid since Dom Capers lined David Carr up at receiver on Opening Day in 2005. Of course, the Texans ended up going 2-14 that year, so asinine play calling was par for the course.

I can understand why a team that does not have a franchise quarterback would get into the Wildcat to change up the pace now and again. The benefits of catching a team off guard and getting the ball into a multi-skilled player’s hands with lots of options are obvious.

But it is even more obvious that when you invest millions of dollars in a quarterback because you want to win now, you should probably keep him under center at all times. Why put him in a situation where the defense can get some free licks on him? Even worse, why put him in a position where he will certainly have to block?

In this case, Childress lined up a 39 year-old quarterback with self-professed injured ribs at wide receiver. That is dumb enough. But the play also found rookie Percy Harvin running directly in Favre’s direction. The person who called that play should probably be prosecuted, but it is doubtful they could pass the requisite intelligence/sanity tests to stand trial.

Unfortunately, Favre injured Houston safety Eugene Wilson on the play. The Vikings are very lucky it wasn’t Favre. And Wilson is lucky his career isn’t over. There were 10 million possible bad outcomes from that play call and no good ones. Touchdowns are meaningless in the preseason. But intact ACL’s, strong Achilles tendons and healthy knees are useful year round.

After all that drama and money, the Vikings were willing to risk their franchise quarterback’s health to gain a few yards in a PRESEASON game using a formation they should not even be considering putting in the rotation.

I have watched a lot of Super Bowls. I don’t remember seeing the Wildcat featured prominently in any of them. Even last year, the year in which the formation caught on in the NFL, the only chance there was a wildcat in the Super Bowl was if there was one hiding in Troy Polamalu’s hair.

I don’t know if the Wildcat will fizzle out on its own or a star quarterback is going to have to leave the field on a stretcher before owners start forbidding their coaches from using it, but what I saw last night was one of the dumbest play calls I have ever seen in a pro game.

And I’m from Houston.

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Mason Lerner is a freelance writer and stand-up comedian in Austin, TX. His works has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, ESPN the Magazine and many other publications. Lerner is a graduate of the Univ ...read more

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