Brett Favre's announcement this afternoon that he will indeed be playing football in the 2010-11 season came as a shock to very few football fans.
Favre's most recent indecisive offseason was not a first for him, of course. In fact, this is the fourth straight year that Favre has publicly waffled on returning, only to eventually decide to play.
It is becoming almost a regular NFL ritual.
However, it will have to come to an end at some point. No one can play forever.
So when will Favre's Hall of Fame career finally come to a close? In two years? Three?
Favre did say in his press conference today that this year will be his last. But football fans have learned never to trust Favre when it comes to retirement.
So why trust him this time?
Favre used the excuse of his battered ankle to explain his supposed retirement last week. Now it seems obvious that revelation was just a desperate grab for attention by Favre.
But it doesn't change the fact that Favre has dealt with with numerous injuries over the last few seasons. He suffered an ankle injury in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, which required surgery, and apparently, has been slow to heal.
He also needed surgery following the 2008-09 season to repair a tendon in his biceps.
There are not many men between the ages of 39 and 41 that would be able to undergo two major surgeries and still work in an athletic profession. Another surgery would probably end Favre's career.
That blueprint? Hit Favre early and often, and try to knock him out of the game.
His 41-year-old body probably won't be able to take the abuse.
Which leads to the second reason: Favre's age.
No matter your opinion of Favre's personality, his ability to play at an all-pro level at such an age is remarkable.
Next season, it will enter the realm of "unprecedented."
Five quarterbacks have played over the age of 41: Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde, Doug Flutie, and Earl Morrall.
Only Moon started more than eight games over that age. No quarterback has ever started a full season at age 42.
Favre will turn 42 on October 10, 2011. If he attempted another full season, he would be the first.
Is it possible? Sure. But history tells us it is extremely unlikely.
Opportunity and Desire
Let's look at the two possible scenarios for Favre in 2010-11.
The best case scenario for the Vikings and Favre would obviously be a Super Bowl victory. Favre leads his team to the promised land and proves that he is the best quarterback in NFL history.
If that were to happen, wouldn't it seem likely than Favre would simply ride off into the sunset, on top of the football world?
For a man seemingly so concerned with attention, it would be the perfect way to go out.
The other scenario seems more probable. Due to age-related regression, injury, or yet another playoff flop, the Vikings fail to win the Super Bowl and Favre comes up short again.
Favre signed a two-year contract with the Vikings last season. What would the Vikings' motivation be for signing Favre back?
He would have failed again in bringing the Vikings a title. He would be a year older. And he has made a mess of two straight offseasons.
This year, it is understandable why the Vikings want him back. After all, they came so close last season. Plus, he's still under contract. Another failure and Minnesota won't be so inclined to play Favre's game.
Sure, he could go to another team. But Favre would only play for a contender, and the other obvious contenders either have established quarterbacks already or have a young QB-of-the-future.
There would be nowhere for him to go.
So enjoy this season while you can, football fans. It will finally be his last.