(Alternate title suggested by reader Scott: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Quarterback)
Lovie Smith has seen better days. His shirt is ripped, there is blood on his chin, and his bald dome is glistening with sweat. He looks right and left quickly, then takes off in a run that would make Devin Hester blush. He hears the grunting and screaming behind him, getting closer and closer. It’s as if his eardrums have been occupied with the sounds of death closing in around him. He feels a swipe at his shoulder, and he closes his eyes and waits for it to be over.
“Lovie, over here!”
He doesn’t know where the voice is coming from, but at this point he doesn’t care. It’s a voice, a real human voice – he’d do anything to follow it, even put Cutler on IR. But thinking like that was what got him into this mess.
Lovie gets away just in time. He hears the gnashing of teeth – thankfully his skin wasn’t caught in between them. He flies through the open door and slams it. It is only then that he decides to look at his erstwhile savior.
Kubiak: Lovie, are you okay?
Lovie: Gary! God am I glad to see you!
Kubiak: Did he get you?
Lovie: No, but he’s coming this way. It’s only a matter of time. He always comes back. He’s gotten everyone else.
Kubiak: Not everyone…just the ones dumb enough to think they need him. But we don’t.
Lovie: No, you don’t. You’re doing fine with TJ Yates. But me, I’m…
Lovie: We lost to the Chiefs, Gary. The Chiefs. Maybe we do need him. Maybe I should go back out there and…
Kubiak: No, man! Thinking like that will get you killed! Did you see what he did to Chilly? To Mangini?
The door buckles as a loud thud is heard. Lovie and Kubiak look at each other in fear.
Favre: Is that you, guys? Come on, let me in. I just want to talk about the possibilities.
Lovie: He’s here, Gary! The zombie is here, and he won’t stop until one of our careers is DEAD!
Kubiak: Calm down, Lovie. We can survive this.
Another loud thud.
Favre: I’ll be honest, Gary. I’m not even that interested in you. I tend to like teams in the north, y’all know what I mean? It makes my drawl sound more appealin’.
Lovie: It does sound pretty appealing…
Kubiak slaps Lovie in the face.
Kubiak: Listen to yourself, man! Things aren’t so desperate. You don’t need him.
Lovie: But Matt went down, Gary! Matt is injured and so is Jay. Caleb Hanie sounds like a Swedish porn name. Saint Ditka doesn’t even think he can be an NFL quarterback, and that’s from a guy who is on the Tebow bandwagon! I’m screwed if I don’t let him play.
Favre: Lovie? Are you in there, Lovie? Peter King said you’d want to talk to me. And I’ll listen. You’ll find listnin’s just one of my many strengths. I got a lotta strengths, Lovie. Strengths like slingin’ the football without care, havin’ a lot of fun out on the field, just playin’ like a big ol’ kid…
Lovie: That does sound good, actually…we’d have a lot of fun out there.
Kubiak: Lovie, NO. You won’t! Remember last year? Remember how the Vikings sold their soul for a shot at a championship? Look what happened! Chilly’s gone. The team is in shambles. You don’t want that to be you. And playing like a kid? Lovie, THE MAN IS FORTY TWO FUCKING YEARS OLD. He is NOT a big kid. He is an old man. He is EIGHT YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME, and I’ve been head coach for 6 years! And I haven’t even brought up the most important part, Lovie.
Another thud. This time, the wood breaks a little. Lovie gasps, but Kubiak remains calm. He bends down and grabs a long piece of wood, swinging it lazily.
Kubiak: He won’t fit into your offense. There’s only one person who is more of an old stubborn asshole than he is, and that’s Mike Martz. He’d have to hold onto the ball longer. You know who takes worse sacks than Cutler? Favre. He’d get blasted. It would be a disaster. And think of the interceptions! Someone would have to go. And you know who that would be, Lovie. They’ve wanted to get rid of you for years. This would give them the perfect excuse.
Lovie: …you’re right, Gary. You’ve always been right. You’re my best friend.
Lovie Smith hugs Kubiak, who looks uncomfortable.
Kubiak: Actually we don’t really know each other, but whatever.
Lovie: I don’t need him. I don’t need him at all.
CRASH! The door busts down and the zombie bursts in. Slow and shuffling, with blood all over his Vikings jersey – blood of countless coaching careers left in his wake. His limbs are bruised and possibly broken, but he still shuffles forward all the same. His eyes are wild and bloodshot.
Favre: WELL I NEED YOU, LOVIE! You better believe I need you. I need people to talk about me. I need to be the first name on everybody’s watch list. I need to be seen and heard.
Kubiak: Then go on ESPN! Be an analyst! I’m sure you’ll be better than Antonio Pierce.
Favre: Duh, anybody could. But I don’t want that. I want to be more than a talking head. More than a bloated ass in some Wrangler jeans. I want to play forever, and in order to do that I need your career, Lovie. I need you to give me the chance.
Lovie: No, Brett. You’ll never play again. It’s over.
Favre smiles sadly and shakes his head.
Favre: I’m afraid you don’t have much of a choice in the matter, Lovie.
The zombie charges. Gary Kubiak raises the stick to attack Favre, but Brett throws a wild spiral that knocks the stick out of Gary’s hand. The ball is then intercepted by Johnathan Joseph and returned for a touchdown.
Favre: No use fightin’, guys. Just give in. I’m the quarterback of your future, Lovie. Forget Jay. Just sign me and it’ll all be over.
Lovie: He’s too strong, Gary! I can’t avoid it anymore.
Kubiak: I know, buddy. I’ll miss you. Maybe I’ll hire you as my defensive coordinator after Wade Phillips inevitably eats himself to death.
Lovie sighs and closes his eyes.
Favre: That’s it, Lovie. I’ll look good in navy blue and burnt orange. Nobody has the number 4, do they? If they do we’ll just kill ‘em. It’ll be all right. Just let me…
Lovie opens his eyes slowly to see the Favre zombie standing in front of him.
Without a head.
The body wavers for awhile, then drops into a heap on the floor. All across America, sunshine breaks through the clouds and children begin to sing. Everyone recognizes it as the best day in recorded history.
Turning around, Lovie and Gary see who saved them from Favre.
Ryan Longwell: Are you guys okay?
Lovie: Yeah…I think so.
Ryan Longwell: That was close. You almost kissed your career goodbye, and for what? To lose to the Packers in the playoffs?
Lovie: Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Ryan Longwell: I do. I took two chances on that guy. It’s my fault that Childress is dead. I’ll never forgive myself for that. So I figured the least I could do was save a coach from making the same mistake that I did. That I made Chilly make.
Lovie: I’m glad you did. How can I ever thank you, Ryan?
Ryan Longwell: You don’t have to. The knowledge that a kicker saved your life is thanks enough. See you in Week 17, Lovie.
Lovie: See you…
Longwell leaves, flipping the orange tee in the air as he walks away. Kubiak and Lovie look at each other.
Kubiak: I can’t believe we almost had another season with Brett Favre.
Lovie: Yeah. Let’s never mention that fucker’s name ever again.