A sprained shoulder kept Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of last night's game against the Giants, ending his record-setting consecutive starts streak at 297. For a player now known more for his indecisiveness than his rocket arm, last night's game--rescheduled from Sunday, moved to Detroit because of heavy snowfall in the Twin Cities, and unseen by viewers outside of local markets--was a microcosm of what has been a singularly disappointing season. How will the circumstances of Favre's (likely) final season change the way both the player and his accomplishment are viewed? A variety of opinions from around the web:
- Mr. Automatic Los Angeles Times NFL writer Sam Farmer says Favre's longevity streak shaped his public image more than any fourth quarter comeback or hastily abandoned retirement. "It was more than a streak," writes Farmer. "It was a guarantee." If anything, the game's unusual circumstances helped downplay the import of Favre sitting out. After the chaotic 48 hours that proceeded kickoff, the image of Favre on the sidelines was just "another bizarre sight on the strangest of nights."
- Not As Planned Yahoo's Dan Wetzel doubts Favre is happy with such a remarkable achievement ending in such inauspicious fashion.
Maybe he figured it would've happened back in Green Bay, when he was beloved by Packers fans and he could’ve taken a rollicking curtain call. Or maybe it would’ve been during a promising season where a one-game injury couldn’t quiet the promise of a potential Super Bowl. Or maybe it would’ve never come at all and Favre could’ve just happily mowed his lawn back in Mississippi, grinning that generations of NFL linebackers never could get him. Instead a Buffalo Bill named Arthur Moats did it, nailing Favre last Sunday and leaving his shoulder hurt and his hands tingling.
- Was This Streak Wise? Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock marvels at Favre's accomplishments, but wonders if the quarterback did his health and his legacy a disservice by not retiring after last year's loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game. "It should've halted 12 games earlier," writes Whitlock of the streak.
The price for staying a year too long in the ring or on the football field is far more significant than overstaying your usefulness on a baseball diamond or basketball court ... [Favre] missed the game against the Giants because his sprained shoulder caused his hand to go numb and turn purple. He has a bum ankle, an inflamed elbow and a chin that required a dozen stitches. That's just this season. That's just what we know. We;ll never know what all he did and endured for 19 years to play 297 games. We'll never know how many concussions he suffered.
- No Impact The shabby circumstances of what might be Favre's final game won't detract from his achievements, asserts the Newark Star-Ledger's Shawn Windsor. "In many ways," observes Windsor, "whether or not Favre returns doesn’t matter. His legacy has been carved out over a generation. Even a brutal season that may have ended on a bitter night in Detroit won’t change that."