Did Favre Win The Battle, But Lose The War?

Will JeffersonCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28: Mark Anderson #97 of the Chicago Bears waves a hand-warmer at Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings after a sack at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By NFL standards, Brett Favre must be about 100 years old.

Perhaps then, it's no surprise that in his last three seasons with three different organizations, Favre's teams have charged out the gate only to falter down the stretch.

In 2007, in his last season with Green Bay, the Packers started out 10-1. They finished the season dropping two out of five, including a 35-7 blowout to the Chicago Bears. The three wins were over NFL lightweights Oakland, St. Louis, and Detroit.

In the playoffs, they beat a mediocre and worn out Seattle team, before losing at home in the most hometown weather, to the wild-card Giants following an interception by Favre in Packer territory in overtime.

The following year with the Jets, Favre started out 8-3. He threw six touchdown passes in one game and helped the Jets defeat the undefeated Tennessee Titans in another. But the Jets lost four of their final five games, with Favre throwing only two touchdown passes against eight interceptions.The Jets missed the playoffs.

After the season, it was reported that Favre played those last five games with a tear in the muscle of his throwing arm. Perhaps that itself was an indication of his age and wear.

At the same time, if he was too injured to play effectively, whose decision was it that he play those games? In the acrimony of the Jets late-season collapse, coach Eric Mangini lost his job and Favre voluntarily moved on to the Minnesota Vikings.

This year with the Vikings, Favre again began the season 10-1, that only defeat coming at the hands of the defending champ Pittsburgh Steelers. But heading into Sunday's game against the Giants, the Vikings have now lost three of their last four, including blowouts to Arizona, Carolina and Sunday's loss to the lowly Chicago Bears.

A controversy erupted over Coach Brad Childress' consideration of resting Favre during the game against Carolina. Childress said it was because Favre was taking numerous hits from the Panthers defense; Favre said it was performance-related. Either way, maybe resting the aging Favre would have been for the best.

As it is, Favre overruled his coach and stayed in the Carolina game, which turned into a blowout. The following game, Minnesota trailed Chicago 23-6 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. Favre put up respectable numbers late against a Bears defense up by three scores and playing conservatively, but in the end, the Vikings lost again to a much inferior opponent.

In the process, they lost not only their chance at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the inside-track on a first-round bye. Now, either a Philadelphia win or a Minnesota loss in week 17, means Favre will begin the playoffs at 40 years old on no rest.

In the meantime, the controversy between Favre and his coach, surely is not helping the Vikings team cohesiveness. The fact is, the balance of power has been so evidently shown to rest with Favre instead of the coach and it's also not the natural order of things in a sport where team discipline and everyone buying into the coaching gameplan are paramount.

Whether Favre's ego or competitiveness may be standing in the way of a needed-rest, it's impossible for an outsider to know.

But I won't be surprised if the Vikings are upset once more in the playoffs and if Favre and his latest coach again part ways.

If the Vikings win the Superbowl, I'll stand corrected.

Otherwise, if Favre plays again next year, he may be wise not tp play a full season, whether he likes it or not.

That way, the NFL's "greybeard" may have more left in the tank for that all-important final stretch of the season.