The postseason is still a couple weeks away - and Brett Favre still has another year left on his two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings - but in the sports media industry, it seems never too soon to ponder the future of the NFL's ageless sage.
With the apparent rift between Favre and Vikings coach Brad Childress, some are already speculating as to whether or not this will be Favre's last season in the Twin Cities. The Vikings have made it known that the two are back on the same page; and it is understood that if any conflict exists, it is not large enough to interfere with the team's playoff run.
But come the end of the season, fans can plan on the same sideshow circus we have come to expect from Favre. Will he demand his release? A trade? Retire? The man loves to keep us guessing. With that in mind, Monday night's game against the Bears may be the last he plays at Soldier Field.
In his last visit, a Week 16 game in 2007, he registered a 40.2 passer rating while throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns in a 35-7 loss. Even more upside for Bears fans: of the 15 games Favre has played in Chicago, his five worst came in Weeks 13 or later.
In truth, Favre has rarely been spectacular at Soldier Field; his best game as a visiting opponent came in 2002 while the team played at U of I's Memorial Stadium during Soldier's renovation. But with a new team - which has already clinched the NFC North - and one of the league's most prolific offenses, Favre clearly returns to the Windy City under a different set of circumstances. It's possible he could have one of his best performances ever in Chicago.
Here are his top five to date:
5. 1/2/2005: Following the death of former teammate Reggie White, Favre came out firing in this Week 17 matchup. He was remarkably efficient, completing 9 of 13 passes for 196 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs for his Soldier-best rating of 151.4. The impressive part of this game is that all of his stats were accumulated within fewer than 21 minutes of action. With the game in hand, career backup Craig Nall came in and had the second best game of his career, throwing for 131 yards and a TD himself.
1. 10/6/1996: Favre was hot as ever coming off a 1995 MVP season in which he led the Packers to the NFC Championship game. In his Week 6 matchup against the Bears, he completed 18 of 27 passes for 246 yards and 4 TDs to lead the Packers in a 37-6 blowout victory. The team continued their dominance down the stretch, going 13-3 and eventually winning Super Bowl XXXI.