Justice Is Served

January 26, 2010 12:18 PM

Fade into the sunset Favre, fade into ...

His act has long ago worn on people's nerves.


The waiting: the months and months of waiting.

The wondering: What will Brett Favre do now?

Favre's answer came quickly, if you can call it an answer. Favre, the feckless star with the golden arm who serves more waffles than IHOP, said he's "highly unlikely" to return next season. 

And we're all supposed to believe him, right?

Maybe those who haven't followed Favre closely might find credibility in things he says. The rest of us, well ... we should know better. For Favre is a man who can't make up his mind, and his indecisiveness has ruined the chemistry on teams he's played for.

At some point, NFL coaches have to believe they've squeezed everything they can get out of Favre's arm, and he's given them and the NFL everything he has to give. He's set more records than any player who has ever lined up under center. He's won games everywhere he's gone, playing so well that no one can argue he's not destined for the NFL Hall of Fame -- first ballot, too.

Neither can people argue now that Favre should do a John Wayne, hop on his white horse and ride off into the sunset.  He's been the fastest gunslinger around; he's cleaned up messes wherever he's been. So Brett Favre has no more to accomplish -- not for the Vikings, the Packers, the Jets or any other NFL team trying to weave guile and guts into one more round of playoff glory.

He should understand. He should value his legacy and his achievements. To chase the game until it runs him ragged isn't what he should be doing with a career as great as his.  He shouldn't go out of football the way Willie Mays went out of baseball or Gordie Howe went out of hockey or Jerry Rice went out of the NFL: limping to the finish line.

Doubtless, Favre has another season in his old right arm.  Should he return, he might well take the Vikings as far as he took them this past season -- a season that saw the Vikings come without an errant Favre pass of the Super Bowl.

Like all of his recent seasons, Favre had no last-game magic in him. But he did make the Vikings a team to reckon with.

They were that kind of team before Favre arrived, too. They had a stout defense, a running game to envy and a talent everywhere. In the team's haste to win now, the front office mortgaged its long term for a short-term fix. The patch held together well, but did it position the Vikings for success beyond one season?

In a lot of ways, the Vikings wasted this season under Favre. They didn't reach the Super Bowl, which is what they counted on Favre to deliver. Now, they head into the offseason with questions aplenty about what lies in front of them.

The biggest of those questions is Favre himself. Yes, he's talking now about hanging it up. But hasn't he said as much countless other times? Has the itch to take one last snap been scratched or does he still itch to play on like a one-man band?

Only Brett Favre can answer these two questions, but not even he seems to have a clear vision of what he sees in his future. The man never has. In Favre's mind, he's likely weighing another attempt at winning a Super Bowl - one last shot at the grandest of prizes.

Favre might relish that, any player who had come as close as he did this past season might want the same thing.

None of those other players have hit the big 4-0.  Favre has hit that number hard and gone past it. He's nearly 42, an age at which pro athletes like him are home enjoying the spoils of winning big games, basking in celebrity and hawking products for high-profile vendors.  They're not running into Jonathan Vilma or Tracy Porter or Scott Fujita.

Favre has faced down the Vilmas of the NFL before. He has bested them more often than not.  Yet the fabulous Favre can't hold off Father Time forever, because even he has his outer limits.

He reached those limits two seasons ago in Green Bay. To return for one last rodeo would do nothing but tarnish a career that has been purely golden. 

Say it's over Favre. Say and mean it this time.  No more waffling; no more comebacks.

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