Daily Chat: Brett Favre's Great Big Brain

The Brett Favre Is Old stories have already run their course and the angle they invariably took was one of amazement: Brett Favre is an anomaly as a successful quarterback who’s old as dirt.

Let’s get the stats out of the way:

Jon Krawczynski of the AP reported in August:

  • 17 quarterbacks in NFL history have started a season in which they turned 40 by Nov. 1.
  • The vast majority were holding clipboards.
    • George Blanda played until he was 48 as a kicker and backup quarterback.
  • Brett Favre is the only 40-year-old quarterback to win a playoff game
  • He is one of only three to start more than six games in his 40s.
    • Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde, who each made 25 starts in their 40s.

While most of the Brett Is Old As Dirt stories focus on the decline in the physical ability of forty-year-old quarterbacks, they also touch on the mental aspects of the game, emphasizing the experience old quarterbacks bring to their game.

It certainly stands to reason that experience will play a big role in any old quarterback’s success. The more you’ve seen of NFL defenses, the more situations you’ve been in, the greater understanding of your opponents’ personnel, the better you’ll be prepared to exploit that knowledge.

It’s has often been observed that quarterbacks don’t really hit their stride until their early thirties. It is around that time when they’ve gained enough experience and knowledge of the game to really be effective.

But assuming the physical capabilities are still intact, what really sets apart quarterbacks like Warren Moon and Brett Favre, who have excelled in their forties, is that, by virtue of their age, their brains function differently than their younger counterparts.

Barbara Strauch, author of The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain, explains [LISTEN – MP3] that while middle-aged people’s brains fail them in certain ways, such as forgetting names, in other ways their brains are superior to younger people.

Namely, middle-aged people make better decisions. Studies show that older brains can solve problems better than younger ones. As we get older, we get better at inductive reasoning, at recognizing categories, and at sizing up situations.

A quarterback is only as good as the decisions he makes, from the instructions he gives his teammates in the huddle, to diagnosing a defense and making adjustments pre-snap, to recognizing the development of the play and delivering the ball, to even off-the-field factors such as assessing the mood of his teammates and providing the leadership to get his team all working toward the same goal.

Furthermore, the very act of playing football helps to improve the middle-aged brain because physical exercise creates more brain cells and therefore more brain volume.

It is the triple combination of Favre’s still-sharp physical skills, his vast experience and knowledge of the game, and his Big Bad Middle-Aged Brain that make him so deadly at such an advanced age.

That would be Vincent Jackson, not Tarvaris.

The arbitration ruling went in favor of Vincent Jackson yesterday, making the Chargers receiver much more appealing as trade bait, in that he’ll only have to serve a four game suspension rather than the original six games for which he was slated.

The ruling stipulates, though, that Jackson must be traded between today at 3 PM and Wednesday at 3 PM. If he isn’t traded within that window, he will serve the original six game suspension. The Strib‘s Judd Zulgad has got the deets.

The Vikings have been cited as the leading contender for Jackson’s services because it is believed they were the unnamed team that had a one-year deal in place but couldn’t come to terms with the team. Also, among the teams interested in Jackson, the Vikings are the team best poised for success.

But now the Washington Post is reporting that Washington coach Mike Shanahan will not rule out going after Jackson.

That would kinda suck cause we don’t really want to get into a bidding war.

<CRINGE>The number of pounds Antoine Winfield gives up to Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall.</CRINGE> Lito Sheppard and Asher Allen are each 36 pounds lighter than Marshall.

It’s also the number of touches Adrian Peterson wants to get on Sunday.

Both wide receiver Percy Harvin–who had been listed on the injury list with a hip injury apparently made fashionable by Sidney Rice–and running back Toby Gerhart are good to go against the Dolphins, reports Brian Murphy & Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press.

Tyler Thigpen, the Dolphins third-string quarterback, was Brad Childress‘ original Project Quarterback in 2007 but when the team tried to slip him through waivers to get him on the practice squad, he was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was that experience that led most people to believe that the Vikings would not expose Joe Webb to the waiver wire after he excelled during the preseason.

The Dolphins acquired Thigpen in September of last year.

From the Absolutely No Surprise Department: Ray Edwards doesn’t think he’ll return after this season. He’s feeling a little Randy Moss…unloved, that is. With no long-term deal in the offing, Edwards believes he’s not being considered in the Vikings long-range plans, reports the Pioneer PressJeremy Fowler.

If he’s playing for free agency, we should expect a monster year out of Edwards, considering where he left off during the playoffs last year.

Former Vikings beat writer Kevin Seifert, now of ESPN, lays out a perfectly reasonable solution to the Females In The Locker Room issue: Ban all reporters from the locker room, male and female alike. He also provides an interesting history that explains why reporters conduct locker room interviews in the first place.

Seifert also considers and dismisses the case for the Vikings trading for Randy Moss. Reason? The Patriots don’t want to trade him.

Kill joy.

Bernard Berrian on his sad sack performance last week: “Obviously it’s never always going to be the quarterback’s fault. There’s a lot more that goes into being a quarterback. The quarterback just always usually takes the blame for everyone.” [Emphasis mine.]

Never always? Always usually?

Dan Monfre, WCCO TV’s digital adverting guy, analyzes the most popular local online destinations for Vikings content:

  1. WCCO.com
  2. StarTribune.com
  3. KARE11.com
  4. KSTP.com
  5. TwinCities.com
  6. MyFoxTwinCities.com

We’re a little peeved that Dan didn’t include Minnesota Vikings Chat in his analysis. 😉

The Vikings will be wearing throwback jerseys Sunday. I really hope the team pulls out the throwbacks from the 1961, Away jerseys some time this year. LOVE that look.

The game will be televised at Noon CST on CBS/WCCO 4. Your play-by-play guy is Greg Gumbel and your analyst is Dan Dierdorf. Blissfully, there will be no sideline “reporter.”

On radio you can listen to the game on KFAN-AM and 1130/KTLK 100.3-FM, with, as always, Paul Allen as the play-by-play guy, Pete Bercich as your analyst and Greg Coleman, who actually does report, on the sidelines.

Join us on Twitter every Saturday at 11 a.m.  for the Minnesota Vikings Twitter Chat, using the #VikingsChat hashtag. visit the #VikingsChat page for more details.