Like Brett Favre, thousands of Favre fans are hanging their heads in both disbelief, and a figurative sense of contrition.
The NFC Championship game hosted at the Super Dome between the near perfect New Orleans Saints and the come back team of the year in the Minnesota Vikings, was a nerve-racking nail biter all the way into the fourth quarter.
Tied up in the fourth quarter 28-28 after consecutive touch down runs by the Vikings, Adrian Peterson, and the Saints, Reggie Bush, Favre had a little over one minute to drive his Vikings close to field goal range. And that, he did. But with only seven seconds left on the clock, Favre made the kind of mistake he’s often criticized for, yet managed to avoid all season.
As he rolled out to the right, Favre threw his pass late and over the middle towards pro bowl wide-out Sidney Rice, and instead found Saints DB Tracy Porter. Favre never had a chance to rectify his mistake, as the Saints won the OT coin toss. Fans of Favre and his Vikes were forced to watch Saints quarterback Drew Brees drive his team down the field, where Saints kicker Garrett Hartley nailed the winning 40 yard field goal that gave the Saints their 31-28 victory, and their first Super Bowl trip in franchise history.
Disappointing, heart breaking, exasperating, and emotional are just a few of the words that could be used to describe what could be Favre’s final game. Whether it should be or not, is another question.
With Favre’s now infamous will he-or-won’t-he charade, many fans would revel in concordance at his decision to retire. Statistically however, Favre had the best season of his 19 year career.
According to NFL statistics, he set career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards. The Vikings (12-4) earned a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, and last week Favre became the first 40-year-old QB to win a playoff game with a four-touchdown performance against the Cowboys. And though he may have thrown two interceptions in a game that may haunt him for years to come, he showed a tremendous amount of grit, forcing himself back onto the field after taking a brutal hit by Saints DE Bobby McCray– a hit that left Favre and the Vikings staff believing he may have had a broken ankle.
Battered and bruised after taking the thrashing of a season in a single game, Favre had this to say,
“I know people are rolling their eyes or will roll their eyes,” Favre said. “In a situation like this I really don’t want to make a decision right now based on what’s happened because I do know the year could not have gone any better aside from us not going to Miami. I really enjoyed it, to be honest.
“Just wondering if I can hold up, especially after a day like today. Physically and mentally. That was pretty draining. I am going to go home, a couple of days and just talk it over with the family.”
At 40 years of age and with 19 years under his belt, Favre has earned the right to take his time in making such a delicate decision. This is a man who truly loves the game, why else would someone choose to expose their bodies to such brutality?
Make it an even 20 Favre, and help bring the Vikings the championship they have eluded for over 33 years.