Most Viking fans I think would prefer never to have to hear anything about Tarvaris Jackson ever again. This guy has haunted us for years, and now at last we are free (or soon will be free) of his irritating presence.
That said, I still think it’s always interesting any time a guy has left a team or is ready to leave a team, and finds occasion to vent any bad feelings he may harbor toward that team or its fanbase. We never get to find out what a guy really thinks during his tenure, but afterward? Diplomacy can go out the window and real thoughts can start getting expressed.
Buried as we are in a deep, boring lockout season, desperate journalists searched around for T-Jack – he was at Larry Fitzgerald‘s camp actually – and gave him a chance to speak his mind. What came out of T-Jack’s mouth is more-or-less what you would expect: bitterness mixed with resignation.
The bitterness is mostly aimed not at the organization or former coach Brad Childress but at Viking fans, who T-Jack thinks never game him a fair shake.
“Since Day 1, I don’t really think I was really welcome here anyways, because nobody really knew who I was, being from a smaller school,” Jackson said. “A lot more things probably play into it, too. It’s just the way things are. I can’t help that.”
Right. Because fans never embrace unheralded quarterbacks. Look at Tom Brady. He was a low draft pick, a nobody coming out of college, and still to this day Patriots fans can’t stand him.
Um, no. Unheralded QBs can become fan favorites, if they turn out to be good. T-Jack turned out to be mediocre, so fans who were lukewarm or even negative about him in the beginning remained lukewarm or negative. Even when T-Jack won, the perception was that the team won in spite of him. That perception was not unfair. At best, Jackson stayed out of the way. There were few times where you could truly argue that he won a game for his team. It was always Adrian Peterson or the defense.
So, sorry Tarvaris Jackson, but you have no reason to be bitter toward Viking fans. Poor players don’t become beloved, unless they are amusing characters. You should’ve tried changing your last name to something Spanish. Then maybe fans would’ve given you the love you wanted.
Not surprisingly, T-Jack is also a tad miffed about the way things worked out with Brett Favre. “Just the way things happened, like the way I was thrown into there, the way where it was me or Brett [Favre] or all this stuff,” he complained. “Just a lot of different things played into it that kind of soured our relationship. Fans are going to be fans.”
Jackson may have a small point there. It was somewhat unfair the way he was left dangling for two straight off-seasons while Favre made up his mind about playing. Obviously, in that situation, fans are going to root hard for Favre to come, and pretty much crap on whoever the other guy is. A tough situation for any player.
But, even here we find ourselves coming back to the same point as before. Had Jackson developed as a QB in his first couple of years, the Vikings never would’ve pursued Favre. His mediocrity put the organization in a position where they had no choice but to grab for a name veteran. They couldn’t afford to waste Adrian Peterson and their defense by letting a nobody play behind center. The playoff loss to the Eagles cemented that.
Of course Brad Childress is to blame for that too, because he drafted Jackson in the first place. And what of Jackson’s relationship with Chilly, the man who brought T-Jack to the NFL then played a game of yo-yo with his career, first handing him the starting job, then benching him, then replacing him with the Old Gunslinger before himself being fired. I always assumed T-Jack had a complicated relationship with Chilly, and it looks like I was right.
“It was up and down. It was kind of a weird relationship,” Jackson said. “I felt like he was backing me, but sometimes it was kind of hard to think that. He just was doing his job the way he felt like he had to do it. Even some of the things I didn’t like that he did, I just had to respect that if he’s the head coach and if you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it your way.”
Childress of course had no choice but to back T-Jack early, because he needed to vindicate his silly decision to trade up for him, then after one year install him as the starter without competition. But once Chilly became convinced Jackson wasn’t the guy, he had no choice but to toss him to the curb. No sane coach is going to back T-Jack over Brett Favre. Even Childress was not that dumb.
All-in-all, I find Jackson’s comments a little pathetic. Clearly he was not a happy camper in Minnesota. Some of it was not his fault – he never should’ve been drafted where he was in the first place, if at all, and he certainly never should’ve been made a starter without legitimately winning the job – but a lot of it was his fault. In the end he just didn’t have the personality or leadership or even basic playing ability to make his situation better. All he could do was ride the current, like a turd in a river. Now that river is carrying him out of Viking Nation forever. And off to the sea where maybe at last he will find happiness, or at least a UFL job.