Not since you gift-wrapped the 2007 NFC Championship for the New York Giants has someone felt this indebted to you. (Grateful Giants fans should always remember that there couldn’t have been David Tyree without your ill-advised floater to Corey Webster.)
Like a lot of my weary pals, I just couldn’t have faced another season of the Ol’ Gunslinger. I didn’t have the legs for it.
My cell phone ringing, seeing it’s the home office calling, fearing they’re going to ask for a Favre column. It’s no way to live.
I was tapped out. Even John Madden, the Ol’ Gunslinger’s No. 1 fan, couldn’t bring himself back for more when it looked very much like you’d be saddling up once again.
So this is it. The goodbye at the end of the very long goodbye.
I know you won’t miss me, a guy who went on national television last summer and announced that Aaron Rodgers would have a better QB rating than you would. (He did and it wasn’t really close, 93.8 to 81.0.)
Even though we had some good times, I guess I won’t miss you either. True, I was never that into you, except for that elegiac Monday night in Oakland (hey, I’m not made of stone). But the tedium of your annual summer decision-making paralysis has lowered you from slightly overrated in my book to unbearable dinner guest who won’t leave.
Until now. Did I thank you for finally leaving?
By calling it quits before donning Viking purple, you have hewed to the law of Hall of Fame QBs who hung on one stop too long. Unitas in Charger powder blue. Namath as a Ram. And now Brett the Jet.
Had you hung on two stops too long it would have muddied the effect. Depending on how badly things went in Minny people might have forgotten how miserably they ended in New York, where you finished your season there as the NFL’s 21st-rated passer (behind Seneca Wallace, Trent Edwards and Jason Campbell).
With your better-late-than-never announcement I feel we finally have some closure. So I am enclosing some of those stats I won’t be needing to trot out anymore. You should have them. After all, they belong to you (or your courageous successor in Green Bay).
You lost four of your last five career starts as your team nose-dived from 8-3 to out of the playoffs.
In those five games you threw two touchdowns and nine picks.
The Packers’ new QB threw six more touchdowns and nine fewer picks than you did last year.
In the 12 playoff games after your one and only Super Bowl victory, you went 5-7 with 21 TDs and 21 interceptions.
Proving you were no longer built for the long haul, in the 12 games comprising the final three regular-season games of ’05, ’06, ’07 and ’08, you threw eight touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
In your last five playoff losses you threw eight TDs and 15 picks.
But, hey, those are just numbers. The important thing is the way you went out: by stringing along another suitor to the last possible moment. Though this time, lucky for the Vikes, you jilted them.
Which reminds me, here’s another stat I won’t be needing anymore: Tarvaris Jackson’s QB rating more than doubled yours in the final month last season.
Not that that will make things any less uncomfortable when Vikings coach Brad Childress opens camp with Jackson and Sage Rosenfels as his guys that he really, really loved all along even as he was breathlessly pursuing you.
Of course, if form holds, Jackson will have a big year. Because everywhere you make things weird, the non-Brett seems to excel. You made things weird in Green Bay and Rodgers was a stud. You drove Chad Pennington out of New York and down to Miami, where his personal renaissance led the Dolphins to the AFC East title. And now things are more than a little weird in Minnesota. So don’t be surprised if Tarvaris picks right up where he left off with eight TDs and one pick in his final four games last year.
Maybe the Vikes should be grateful.
I know I am. Like a safety settling under one of your wobbly pop flies into the middle of the field, I thank you.