When the game ended it was well into the night. As fans and players exited the stadium consumed with heavy emotions, a black canvas above illuminated, visible, shiny stars, and a moonlight fit for upcoming Halloween.
Met with a chorus of boos before the game, Favre played miserably in the second half, in path to a 28-24 loss, dropping his team to 2-4, throwing three costly interceptions in what was likely his last visit to the place where he became a legend.
After his first of three in the third quarter, he was leg-tackled from behind, leaving him with a nagging limp on his surgically repaired ankle and later revealing two fractures.
Hobbling to the locker room and later to the podium, it wasn't just Favre who was grilled by the media. His head coach was also interrogated, admitting he was tempted to pull his quarterback from the game.
Always a gunslinger, his decision-making had been at its worst forcing throws.
With an NFL investigation hovering over his head—an investigation he created—nobody asked Favre if he ever regretted coming out of retirement, but maybe they should have.
In his third season since leaving Green Bay, he’s suffered the highest and lowest of emotions.
At age 40 last year, he had the best season of his career statistically (although he did fall short of the Super Bowl). He’s now thrown 504 touchdowns and became the first quarterback ever to reach the 70,000 career passing yard plateau.
But physically injured, reputation tarnished and viewed as a villain in the place he built his Hall of Fame career, many wonder: Was this the way he was supposed to go out?
Limping, clinching the wall as he methodically graced down the podium steps, he was vulnerable, shaken and wounded, far from the great American superhero he once exemplified. Sure, Favre had a painkiller addiction early in his career, but his pain had never been so visible. Perhaps it was 20 lifetimes worth of beatings from being an NFL quarterback and middle-age that had caught up with him.
A certain handsome ruggedness with a soft, but lovable southern twang accent combined with his powerful arm had made him one of America’s most beloved athletes, a Super Bowl champion at one time.
In England they have David Beckham’s feet. In Jamaica they have Usain Bolt’s legs. In America we have Brett Favre’s right arm.
Now his wife is making appearances on national television claiming to use faith to help her through her husband’s suspected attempt at infidelity.
The woman he may have harassed while quarterbacking the New York Jets for a season—where he was later chastised by former teammates for throwing interceptions and being reclusive, isolating himself from the team—is contemplating whether or not to come forward.
Previous disturbing instances, including a video in which he and Packer teammates were at a strip club chanting, “We want to see some p---y” mimicking 2 Live Crew’s rap beat, and massage therapists claiming he asked for a "happy ending", are surfacing as well.
Even SNL is taking their shots, mocking his Wrangler jean ads that, at one time, seemed the perfect marketing arrangement—genuine, wholesome and durable being the shared values. As short as three years ago he may have been asked to make a cameo appearance on the long-running show. Now he’s being ostracized with “Open-Fly Jeans” taking cell phone pics of his scrambled-for-television privates.
That same sky is collapsing on Brett Favre’s once glamorous legacy.
Of course, some question if Favre cares all that much about his legacy. He could’ve left the game three seasons ago. He could’ve walked into the Hall of Fame an unabashed Packer. He could’ve also accepted a rather large retirement incentive package from the same franchise.
But the sheer thrill of competition, the game he loves, kept bringing him back. It’s a hard thing for a quarterback like Favre to give up. To this point nearly all of his identity and self-worth are wrapped up in being an NFL quarterback. It drove him to put on the uniform of his former team’s most hated enemy and take fields to choruses of boos where he was once so loved.
But that’s why many people love Favre. He loves this game. His childish gleefulness, his show of emotion, spirit and heart he puts into every play.
It just doesn’t seem right that the same guy is standing at a podium, reputation in question, weathered and beaten, keeping a tight-lip from retaliating at a coach who just threw him under a bus answering slowly and methodically taking punches from all around.
But that is current environment he lives in now.
With an avulsion fracture and an additional stress fracture, he’ll walk with a boot the next few days, knowing that this injury could likely spoil his last season with a potentially crippling investigation for his reputation and family coming to close.
Ten more weeks viewed as a possible redemption exist for Favre, but many question, for the first in his career, how active he’ll be in those games. The Vikings will give him every chance with the time and money invested in him, but neither a suspended quarterback nor a one-legged one can play.
As a cool, calm night existed outside the stadium, Favre ventured to the team bus. He’ll have his teammates, he’ll have his hardcore fans, but for now with a gimp he walks unassisted, alone.