It was touted as "America's Game of the Week." The Vikings carry Favre to Boston to play New England. I say carry because after fracturing two bones in his foot in the previous week's loss to Green Bay, it didn't seem like the 41-year-old quarterback would be able to walk, much less drop back and get separation and scramble the way a successful QB in the NFL ought to (I'd include good decision making skills, but that has nothing to do with his foot, and his judgment is questionable even when healthy).
And true to form, the first quarter featured only a handful of passes. The hardest thing on Brett's plate seemed to be performing the handoff for the stretch plays to keep up with the double digit handoffs to Peterson. He didn't limp (much), which likely has to do with the excellent chemicals given to him before the game to help him deal with the fact that he should be in a walking boot somewhere. So I guess all's forgiven. To paraphrase Troy Aikman, after everything we've seen of Brett, did anyone really think something like two damaged bones in his foot would stop him from playing (and continuing his streak)?
It was a fair point. But for some reason, even though I had been looking forward to watching the game without anyone telling me it was the game to watch (I was also curious about how Brees played against the Steelers D), Tarvaris Jackson had been occupying my thoughts. You know, the guy who should have been playing.
Because there's two kinds of NFL seasons. The first kind is the kind everyone thought the Dallas Cowboys would have—the run at the playoffs and then later the Super Bowl. The team is good enough to make it to the postseason even with injuries and after that, anything can happen. The second kind of season is the kind those same Cowboys are going through right now—the rebuilding phase where that run to the playoffs is put off in lieu of "figuring things out" and "finding our identity." And what with the Packers looking like they should and even the Bears' inexplicable record, it seems like Favre's "last" season is over and no one wants to believe it.
So then, what about next year? Or is the plan to try as hard as possible, to commit as many resources as necessary to making this year happen and disregarding the future? Moreover, even when there was a possibility that he might not start, that the streak might end, did Favre ever take the time to have any words with his backup? For all his faults, it's likely true that the man has forgotten more things about the game than a lot of younger players have learned. That was his 292nd consecutive game, which means that if things continue as they are, he'll officially be Mr. 300 by the end of the season.
In the movie Mr. 3000, the late great Bernie Mac played a formerly retired baseball player selfishly returning to the game to re-achieve a streak of his own. But in the end, he selflessly sacrificed that last hit not only for that team's season, but for the future of all the younger players on the roster.
It was as heart warming as it was fictional. And yet I still can't help but think about Favre's backup. And his Vikings. That is, the team Minnesota could be if Brett Favre was doing less playing in his condition, and more teaching.