The Unhappy Ending.

"Argh! Urgh! Oh, the agony! Gimme a bullet to bite on..."

As storylines go, the Favre fairy tale has been great for the NFL as his iconic stature elevates him far above any other player.  He  holds enough records to swagger right into the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible.  IF he ever retires.

The problem is the ending Favre seems to have envisioned for himself:  Another Super Bowl victory with him being raised upon the shoulders of his teammates in triumph and  his legacy as the greatest quarterback ever to play in the game  established beyond doubt keeps getting interrupted by his own awful playoff performances.

Whether or not he comes back again, can we finally face the undisputed truth that Brett Favre is the most overrated and overhyped professional athlete in the history of sports?   When the game is biggest, Favre plays small.   When it matters most, Favre saves his worst for last.

You can’t take away from Favre the great regular season he had in a Vikings uniform.    After one lousy year with the New York Jets, Favre unretired and rebounded in fine style throwing 33 touchdowns against only seven interceptions during the regular season.

Which is great if you had Favre in your fantasy football pool.  After slicing and dicing the Dallas Cowgirls for four TDs  in the second round of the playoffs, Roger Goodell was fantasizing of a Favre vs. Manning match-up pitting the Jedi Master against the younger upstart making a strong bid to prove he, not Favre, is the One.   Alas, this scenario was vaporized by Favre’s reckless ramblin’ gamblin’ ways.   This all has to look very familiar to jilted Packer fans.

Favre’s  shabby 3-8 playoff record over the last decade what makes Favre only a very good quarterback instead of one of the all time greatest.

Here’s a guy who is a choke artist but benefited from a greater  hype-to-production ration than any other professional athlete living.  After 19 seasons he still has as many Super Bowl wins as Trent Dlifer, Brad Johnson and Jeff Hostettler: ONE.   Favre owns a ton of records from his years of hanging around the league (The Vikings being his fourth team) but so what it he’s thrown for more touchdowns than anyone else.  He’s also thrown more interceptions than anyone else and usually in the biggest games.

Favre’s last three playoff games have all ended exactly the same way: Eagles: interception. Giants: interception. Saints: interception. See a trend here?   His only Super Bowl win came 13 years ago.  You would think someone so great wouldn’t take so long to get another one.

Already the apologists are blaming Vikings coach Brad Childress for a 12-men on the field penalty following a time-out and superstar running back Adrian Peterson fumbling on the 4-yard line in the first quarter.  Both were dumb mistakes, but Favre’s was the killer.

Any kid who hopes to play on Sundays for big cash,  learns early never to throw the ball across your body and late over the middle.   Not in pee-wee football.   Not in high school.  Not in college.   Not in the NFL.   Not ever.

Yet there’s Favre, almost two decades in the league with the same piss-poor mechanics and throwing some of the worst interceptions ever seen at critical moments.

"Should I stay or should I go? Should I go or should I stay? Decisions...decisions."

Favre is good enough to get a team close enough to see the mountaintop, but not good enough to actually scale it.

In 2008, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio was one of the rare sportswriters to say the emperor wore no clothes and blasted holes in the myth of Favre as  football messiah saying, “…no matter how many dumb passes he threw and how many playoff games he lost, Favre remains immune to criticism.”

Indeed, a decade after his last moments of glory, the football hype machine continues to paint Favre as a hallowed icon of Americana, a symbol of all that is right with sports, a Wild West gun-slinging good ol’ boy. There’s Brett on the farm! There’s Brett with his family! There’s Brett on the cover of Sports Illustrated! There’s Brett throwing another overtime interception!

Favre was among the best in the game, once upon a time. Those days are long gone. Only the idolatry remains.

There’s no buyer’s remorse by the Vikings on the decision to sign Favre.  It was the smart move.   He made them interesting and except for one brain-dead throw, stood on the verge of taking the team all the way to the Super Bowl.

It was a great run.  A compelling storyline.  Favre was getting beaten up by the Saints pass rush.  He dragged himself off the field and dragged himself back on the field limping and grimacing in pain.  Gritty Brett will not let his team down.  Hollywood couldn’t have written a better, if somewhat corny, script.

But Brett screwed the pooch and blew it all.  That’s Brett being Brett.   That’s what he does.