Say it ain’t so. Again?
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that Brett Favre intends to retire from the NFL, an account that is in full dive on ESPN’s SportsCenter as you read this.
If the NFL’s Hamlet decides that this time he truly is not to be the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, then the pro football world is a sadder place. But yes, let’s take some solace — we hope - that Favre has kept Jim Gray out of work and spared us a reprise of The Decision.
With stats that say he’s the best regular-season signal caller in pro football history, fans will no longer get to the see the old gunslinger work his magic and extend his streak to 286 consecutive starts (Peyton Manning is second with 192, so Favre could eventually play Lou Gehrig to the Colts QB’s Cal Ripken).
Clearly, the Nielsens — NBC’s Sept. 9 season-opening NFC title game rematch between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints and ESPN’s MNFer showcasing Minnesota and the New York Jets on Oct. 11 clearly lose much of their luster sans No. 4 — are going to miss the man that turned many Sunday afternoon and primetime windows into must-see TV.
Indeed, cable’s all-time audience mark came courtesy of Minnesota Favre playing against his other old squad, the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 5, 2009, when ESPN averaged 21.8 million viewers.
Sure, we’ve all been down this road several times before with Favre. But coming off what was arguably his best-ever season in 2009 and with a talent-laden Minnesota team to lead, his ankle truly must not be responding well enough to surgery to punt on what would be his 20th campaign. (Then again, maybe this is merely just another gambit to avoid training camp in Mankato, Minn.)
But if the Star Tribune’s story holds true, Favre’s last pass will be the interception by Tracy Porter that triggered the Saints’ OT win in the NFC title tilt and catapulted the Who Dats to a Super Bowl XLIV triumph. That’s a tough way to go out, even from the perspective of many Pack and Jets fans, many of whom will always spell Brett Favre B-E-N-E-D-I-C-T A-R-N-O-L-D.
If this in fact Favre’ s farewell, then let’s hope it’s a fond — and finally a final — one for one of the NFL all-time most compelling characters.