No one could have written the tragedy that was Brett Favre's final NFL season. No one, not even the biggest Favre hater could be so cruel, show so little heart, and so little mercy to send out one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks having one of the most miserable seasons of all time—both on, and off the field. It's hard to imagine, but this Sunday it's about to get even worse for #4. Here's Brett Favre's year from hell under review.
The 2009 Brett Favre was incredible. MVP-level type of incredible. With 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions it is understandable that Brett thought there was more left in the tank for the 2010-2011 season.
We all thought there was. We were wrong.
Lackluster. 11 touchdowns, 19 interceptions. 2,509 yards after passing for 4,202 in 2009-2010.
The Vikings finished 6-10. They ended the season last in the NFC North, didn't make the playoffs, and oh yeah—they finished behind the Detroit Lions.
This was not the way the script was supposed to end.
Jared Allen came to rescue Favre for one final season. Favre was supposed to catch lightning in a bottle one final time and lead the Vikings past the NFC championship game and into the super bowl, which of course he would win in an MVP-type performance.
Not so much.
The Vikings may not have been mathematically eliminated for the playoffs till late in the season (if they were in the AFC West they would have been in the hunt till the very end), but everyone knew by game 10 that it was over.
For most of Brett Favre's career, the Bears were the main nemesis. In 2010-2011 they defeated him in both games. Furthermore, they were the team to knock him out for good.
If Favre left the game after the 2010 NFC Championship game, he would have been able to say he went out swinging against a great, soon to be Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans Saints team.
Instead, he watched from the sidelines in 2011 as the Detroit Lions gave his team their tenth loss of the season.
This one may seem strange, but hear me out. In the same year that Brett Favre fell from the graces of many fans for his picture messaging scandal (more on that later), former public enemy number one, Michael Vick became the ultimate redemption story.
The man who was in prison for dogfighting enjoyed one of his best seasons with the Eagles and turned many fans' opinions of him right around.
The feel good story should have been the old man Favre leading his team to victory after victory, but instead all the positive press went to one of the most unlikely of characters.
Brett Favre is the ultimate iron man. Starting 297 straight football games, playing through injury, and sustaining starter level talent for that long of a career is truly remarkable. But why not 300?
It was one thing that Favre's streak had to end, but it becomes even more sad when he was so close to a round number. 300 screams, "Brett Favre: Iron Man", 297 screams "Brett Favre: Oh, he must have gotten injured, I told you he shouldn't have come back for another season!"
The Favre final chapter was supposed to end with the streak still intact and a second super bowl ring on his finger with all of us wondering if he'd be back for one more year to keep the streak alive. In the painful real-life version, we know this retirement is final.
Or at least we think so. For now...
After a break-up, nobody wants to see their ex happier than they are. In 2009, Brett Favre beat his old team: twice—rubbing salt in the freshly opened Packers fans' wounds.
In 2010, there was revenge. The Packers beat the Vikings in both games, and quite handily the second meeting (31-3). Nothing says: "Yeah, we are over you Brett," like cheering on their developing superstar Aaron Rodgers.
Not only did Brett Favre exit the game at the bottom of the division, he had to see his old team move on perfectly happy with their new guy.
Kobe Bryant's rape trial ruined his image for a few months, but when he began to wow us again on the court, fans forgave him and he became more popular than ever with back to back championship rings. Tiger Woods fell from the media's graces after his divorce, but will most likely be forgiven if he begins winning again.
The Brett Favre's scandal is different. He has made himself a punch-line, forever. The scandal is humiliating, the jokes are plentiful, and there is no more games Favre can play to make us forget about it.
Right or wrong, we tend to forgive our athletes if they win on the field. Favre can no longer gather any wins, and his scandal is one of those that you can joke about. Joking about dog-fighting, not funny. Joking about scandalous pictures of Brett Favre's manhood sent via text message, never not funny.
Comedians and late night hosts will be cashing their checks in on Favre-inspired jokes for years to come.
Imagine if the Pittsburgh Steelers win this Sunday and Big Ben is the hero. As I said in the last slide, it is amazing how forgiving sports fans can be if players succeed on the field. Winning a Super Bowl will do that just as well as anything else.
Big Ben's controversy at the beginning of the year, if completely true, makes Brett Favre's inappropriate picture messages seem like he was sending smiley faces—yet he can still be redeemed with a victory on Super Bowl Sunday.
Imagine Aaron Rodgers winning the Super Bowl. Green Bay Packers fans chanting his name. Number 12 jerseys selling faster and faster, old number four Green Bay jerseys being tossed out and thrown out of closets all across Wisconsin.
This is the way the tragedy is meant to end. It's cruel, it's heartbreaking (for Favre), and fits in perfectly with the rest of the 2011 season.
Rodgers has a long way to go to surpass Brett Favre in terms of overall greatness, but a Super Bowl ring next Sunday and suddenly he has just as many rings as the once-beloved Packer legend.
With a solid team around him and plenty of years ahead, Rodgers could win multiple rings and push Favre further and further out of the Packers fans memories.
Brett Favre may be the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, but the outcome of Sunday's game could put a rotten cherry on top of one of the worst career-endings in sports history.