Breaking Madden: Brett Favre returns to the Rams, and brings Quincy Carter and friends with him

The Rams reportedly asked 44-year-old Brett Favre if they could talk him out of retirement. Tragically, he said no. Let's create him in Madden, experience his Gunslingin' majesty in GIFs and videos, and give him one last ride into the sunset.

Brett Favre sure could throw that ball in his playing days, and I would go as far as to say that he played 20 seasons in the NFL. I was so, so, so happy to hear this:

The Rams, who learned earlier this week that a torn ACL would sideline [Sam] Bradford for the remainder of the 2013 season, reportedly reached out to Favre's agent, Bus Cook, Sunday night to gauge the retired quarterback's interest in a comeback tour. The response from the Favre camp was that he was firmly retired.

I wasn't happy that Favre said no. I'm just delighted that the Rams actually asked him to begin with. Those of y'all who know me know that I'm a fierce enthusiast of the idea that the ol' Gunslinger should give it another go, lace 'em up one last time, show all these young kids a thing or two, go out there, take it out, chop it up, and make one last Super Bowl run.

Favre, understandably, wants to get on with his life and would rather not subject himself to another year of being attacked by giant men. So this is what we're going to do:

Music: "20th Century Man" by The Kinks, from the album "Muswell Hillbillies"

I. WE BRING BACK THE OL' GUNSLINGER FOR ONE LAST RIDE.

Earlier this week, I created a Google Docs survey to gauge y'alls' sentiments vis-a-vis Brett Favre. This is how you answered:

Survey1_medium

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It does appear that the longer the survey went on, the more your enthusiasm waned, but every questioned I posed earned a majority "yes" vote. The most polarizing issue, in fact, concerned the cleaning habits of Mr. Favre and his housecleaning associates. The people have issued a mandate: it's time for one last ride.

Favre is now the Rams' starting quarterback. He figures to be a massive upgrade over Bradford's stand-in, Kellen Clemens, who didn't look particularly good during Monday night's loss to the Seahawks.

When I set about creating Brett Favre in Madden NFL 25, I had trouble finding a face that really resembled his, but I'm satisfied with the resemblances of the skill ratings. I simply looked up his ratings from Madden '10, the last title in which he appeared. In order to account for the years that have passed since he last played, I decreased each of his ratings by five points. That might seem a little lenient, considering he's now 44 years old, but keep in mind that Madden '10 Favre was banged up, and present-day Favre has had three years of rest.

But of course, this series is not called Measured Expectations Madden. It is called Breaking Madden. As such, I gave Favre ratings of 99/99 in strength, throwing power, accuracy, and throw-on-the-run ability. I have decided that he's been working out, and I humbly ask you to respect my decision.

II. WE BRING BACK SOME OTHER QUARTERBACKS WHO REALLY OUGHT TO LACE 'EM UP AND GIVE IT ONE MORE GO.

Favre isn't the only quarterback we miss, and we don't stop dreaming around these parts. I decided to release every wide receiver, tight end and halfback on the Rams' roster, and replace them with quarterbacks we haven't seen in a while.

For these quarterbacks-turned-ball-carriers, I used the skill ratings they had in their last Madden appearance. (Huge ups to MaddenRatings.weebly.com, which features complete player ratings for every Madden game since '05.) They are quarterbacks, so they aren't rated particularly highly, but they're warm bodies.

Please meet your new St. Louis Rams offense:

Wide receivers
Koy Detmer. Age 40. Last appearance: Madden '07. Overall rating as wideout: 16/99.
Quincy Carter. Age 36. Last appearance: Madden '05. Overall rating as wideout: 18/99.
Tim Rattay. Age 36. Last appearance: Madden '07. Overall rating as wideout: 16/99.
Aaron Brooks. Age 37. Last appearance: Madden '07. Overall rating as wideout: 25/99.

Tight ends
Cleo Lemon. Age 34. Last appearance: Madden '08. Overall rating as tight end: 15/99. 
Patrick Ramsey. Age 34. Last appearance: Madden '08. Overall rating as tight end: 12/99.

Running backs
JaMarcus Russell. Age 28. Last appearance: Madden '10. Overall rating as running back: 61/99.
Tyler Thigpen. Age 28. Was already available in Madden 25. Overall rating as running back: 51/99.
Damon Huard. Age 40. Last apperance: Madden '08. Overall rating as running back: 25/99.

I missed you guys so much! I'm kind of shocked that Damon Huard even rated as highly as he did as a running back. Then again, he's a man of surprises. In 2006, he was pushed into the Chiefs' starting role after throwing exactly one NFL pass in the previous five years. He maintained a passer rating of 98 and helped lead the Chiefs to the playoffs. That is still one of the very weirdest things that has ever happened. Maybe he has some more magic left in him.

III. WE GIVE BRETT FAVRE AN OFFENSIVE LINE OF REPLACEMENT-LEVEL PLAYERS WHO FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT BLUE JEANS.

In many Breakings Madden, I build offensive lines of 7-foot, 400-pound, unstoppable monsters. But since I don't feel that Favre needs the help, I've given them ratings of 65/99 across the board -- not awful, but below-average.

Team chemistry was far more important to me. If you know a single thing about Brett Favre, you know that he has a preferred brand of blue jeans, and I wanted to find teammates with whom he could engage in pants-centric discourse:

I heard from hundreds of applicants, and I would like to thank each of you. I decided upon the following 10 individuals:

Stites-eiseman-patrick_medium

LT: @Brocktoon23. If I had billions of dollars of disposable income, I would purchase every high-end apparel outlet in America, shut them down, and re-open them just after security in major airports. Well-to-do folks would have to purchase plane tickets they wouldn't use in order to shop there, and most planes would fly with, like, three passengers on board. Here is the sound they would make: "[loud engine noise]."

LG: @cwpatric. Oh god, those pants:

Skymalljeans_medium

I need y'all to understand that these are not jeans. They are pants with a "torn jeans" pattern printed over them. These are made by, and designed for, people who possess such a loose grasp on the concept of weathered jeans that they think they just have a giant-ass (and perfectly rectangular) rip on one of the knees and nothing else. Favre really might rear back and punch you for this.

C: @Jon_Eiseman. While you're on the Friends set, be sure to pick up one of the billions of baggy, single-color sweatshirts Ross and Joey were always wearing. I guess the secret to affording such large living spaces in Manhattan is to buy your shirts at the gas station.

Barczewski-capps_medium

RG: @RaptorSkates. Everyone just stop reading this stupid-ass article about some 31-year-old doofus who takes pictures of the stupid video games he plays. "Haha, what if football players were different?!?!? Wow!" It's stupid. Go to that Angelfire site instead. I quote:

Shoes by the pound.....................$ 3.00/lbs

<3 <3 <3

RT: @rJCapps. Lots of folks answered "Kroger," but only one answered, "the Krogers." I'm a huge fan of the brazenly incorrect pluralization of region-specific chain stores. If I ever hear someone say that they're "going to the Cracker Barrels," I will melt into a puddle.

Cobbina-butt-annoying_medium

LT: @FrankC1330. In the 1990s, everyone in America got together and decided that everything should be made of stucco. Most of those buildings are now edible.

LG: @ohholybutt. I wonder whether a Christian bookstore ever sold Christian jeans. I'm setting 1:1 odds on that, because I have been in multiple Christian bookstores and know their cynical avarice has no limits. As a youth I was once dragged into the back room, robbed of $22, handed a Plankeye CD, and kicked out. They don't play. Well, they do play Christian Scrabble.

C: @CaptainAnnoying. The Jeans Store is actually Mr. Annoying's store. It is a refrigerator box with a cut-out window. I'm not going to link to the store's Xoom.com webpage. No free rides.

Chase-atwood_medium

RG: @sambchase. You know, you can probably also buy them via SB Nation comments sections. Our spammers will sell you some goddang jeans, son. Let me see if I can get them to show up:

I AM LOOKING FOR LOW PRICES ON JEANS. JEAN$. $$$$$ CASH. $$$$$ HAVE CASH TO SPEND. MONEY. LOW PRICES. AM L@@KING FOR GREAT DEALS. I AGREE WITH WHAT MONICA SAID, WHAT A GREAT DEAL ON JEANS. I FOLLOWED THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK FOR PUTTING ON JEANS.

Have fun, friends!

RT: @dtatwood. I worked at Radio Shack for nearly four years, and I'm fully aware of the crud they're capable of foisting upon the American consumer. This company once tried to sell plastic electronic wind chimes. Like, they would detect wind and go like, "beep beep boop beeeeeep." If Radio Shack sold jeans, they would have a massive hammer loop tied to a 32-inch RCA television that had been playing the store DVD for a year straight. They would cost $250. Radio Shack would lose money on the transaction.

THE GAME.

In this experiment, the Rams play the Titans, their Week 9 opponent, in the, uh ...

Ramsdome_medium

... the "Rams Dome." Yo, Edward Jones, what up? Eddie, you wanna get repped, you better be willing to pay Snickers cheddar.

I left the Titans' defense completely unaltered. In previous episodes of Breaking Madden, I've run into trouble with the SuperSim feature -- the stats would go completely wild, and opponents would score like 77 points in a regulation game. In order to keep the results under control, I played as the Rams' defense, and played the best I could.

When I played with Favre, I followed two rules. First: No handoffs. I'd pass on almost every down, and maybe run with Favre if I really needed to. Second: Every pass I threw had to be a bullet pass. No lobs. I made sure to hold down the button every time, because it was important to me that Brett really threw that dang pigskin like a Gunslinger ought.

In a completely unforeseen development, aging retired quarterbacks had lots of trouble with this!:

Ramseydrop_medium

In total, Favre's receivers dropped 21 passes. My resolve was tested, but not broken. All bullet passes, all day. This is Gunslinger football, chuckleheads.

At times, this simulation was so not-fun to play. Favre would make these crisp, beautiful throws ...:

Dropcloseup_medium

... and that would happen, over and over and over, no matter how wide-open my dudes were. Every receiver had lots of trouble with this -- even JaMarcus Russell, who I hoped would be the closest thing I had to a weapon:

Jamarcusmad_medium

Yes, that's the way. Catch with your dang fingertips like you're using the dang finger interface from Minority Report. I like JaMarcus Russell, because I like almost every athlete, and I really wanted to see him succeed. Results were mixed.

Favre was only sacked twice. Surprisingly, my ragtag band of offensive-line blue jeans enthusiasts did they job fairly well:

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That was never the problem. Quincy Carter, shown here dropping a beautifully-thrown ball on an in route, was awful, but he was not the most awful. I really need to spend a couple GIFs illustrating how terrible Cleo Lemon was:

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Outstanding sideline awareness, Cleo. You didn't just keep both feet inbounds. You kept, like, enormous mason jars full of fruit preserves, and tea jars full of paper money you'd saved up for decades, and a collection of porcelain figurines totaling in the hundreds, and the best surviving recording of Super Bowl I, and a 15,000-page story you wrote about the Vivian Girls. By the time you finally went out of bounds, the officials rooted through the 12-yard line and were astonished. They asked themselves, "Who was this man?"

But for all the things you kept, you were often forgetting one thing:

Lemondrop2_medium

Mr. Lemon. I believe you have left your luggage, sir. Please come back, sir.

On the defensive side of the ball, I made no adjustments to the game, so there wasn't really a lot to report. Special teams were a largely normal affair as well, although I do have this GIF to show you of Patrick Ramsey lying on top of a miscellaneous pile of players, telling a joke, and laughing:

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This episode of Breaking Madden, in the end, was far more even-handed in nature than previous episodes. Aside from Favre's boosted throwing abilities, I didn't make any unrealistic changes. Because of this, the game was close and winnable. And God, did I want to win.

Favre's Rams fell behind 14-3 before I really started getting smart about how I used his arm. I abandoned short passes in favor of medium-range slant-and-out routes, and before long, my receivers actually started catching half these beautiful throws:

Favreprettypass_medium

In the second half, the Rams roared back to a 28-20 lead, thanks to some heroics from Mr. Brett Favre. A crucial sack put us at third and goal from the Titans' 20-yard line. I looked and looked. Nobody was open. So, in the true spirit of the Gunslinger, I ran:

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Those legs carried Favre's adjusted, 44-year-old speed ratings. There was no way he should have scored, but this is the Gunslinger, and there was also no way he couldn't have.

The Titans answered with a field goal. With around six minutes left in the fourth quarter, and a 28-23 lead, Favre and I drove up the field once again. I wanted so badly to kill the clock, but I didn't allow myself to hand off, and I didn't want to run much with Favre for fear that he'd lose the ball. But he was finding open guys. It was working.

Favre finished with a passer rating of 74.7, which was damaged largely by his receivers' 21 drops. He completed only 32 of his 68 passes, but still managed to throw for a staggering 503 yards.

This game I came to care so deeply about was really looking up. An effort I once thought hopeless was nearing fruition. And then, with four minutes on the clock, trailing 29-28, I encountered the foulest spoils of Gunslinger livin':

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That was Favre's only interception of the game, and in fundamentally Favriean fashion, it came at the most crucial of times: an end-zone pick in the final stages of the game.

Jake Locker drove his Titans offense all the way across the field to score a touchdown. Titans 36, Rams 28. We still had a shot. Favre trotted on the field with 1:22 left in the game, and this is how it happened for he, and I:

Music: "30 Century Man" from Scott Walker's album, "Scott 3"

God bless you, Gunslinger. It sure was something. It sure won't be the same without you.

Maybe sometime you can lace 'em up and give it one more go.

For other nightmarish football misadventures, check out our other episodes of Breaking Madden.

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