The streak is over ... now what?
Posted: December 13, 2010, 11:20 p.m. CT
By BO MITCHELL
Brett Favre started a record 297 straight regular season NFL games � 321 games if you count the playoffs. However, his historic Ironman run came to an end Monday night when he was declared inactive for the Vikings' transplanted home game in Detroit against the Giants.
The sprained SC joint in Favre's right shoulder, courtesy of a blind-side hit from Bills linebacker Arthur Moats in Week 13, prevented him from doing anything beyond soft throwing all week. Even the extra day of rest thanks to the Metrodome roof collapse was not enough time for him to get ready.
With numbness in his hand and sporting a golf-ball sized knot between his shoulder and neck, Favre didn't even dress as the Vikings' third quarterback for their game Monday against the Giants.
Vikings interim head coach Leslie Frazier told FOX Sports it was an "easy decision."
Favre's historic streak may never be broken. The next closest player is Peyton Manning, with a starting string of 205 games. Assuming the NFL goes to an 18-game schedule in 2011, Manning would need to play another five-plus seasons without missing a game to eclipse Favre's mark.
But enough about The Streak. It's ridiculous. We all know that. It rivals Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak in baseball as the most impressive Ironman feat in sports history.
The question for the Vikings now becomes: Now what?
Tarvaris Jackson started in Favre's place Monday night and piloted what may have been the Vikings' most anemic offensive showing of the season � which says a lot considering some of the doozies they've put together (e.g., vs. Green Bay in Week 11).
Minnesota managed a paltry three points and 164 yards of total offense. Jackson finished with 118 yards on 15-of-30 passing, with no touchdowns, an interception and a quarterback rating of 46.3. The Giants were content to stack the box against Adrian Peterson and dare Jackson to try to beat them through the air. Not surprisingly, it worked like a charm.
It's also worth noting that the fragile Jackson left the game three times with injuries � for one play with a sore knee in the first quarter, for one series at the start of the fourth quarter with a foot injury, and again on the final drive after being flattened by a Giants defender. His durability will never be referred to as Favre-esque.
Frankly, there's a good chance the Vikings will place Favre on injured reserve, ending his season and eliminating what would become daily distraction the rest of the way. It might be the most prudent thing to do. As an added bonus, the speculation over whether Favre would be suspended for his alleged actions in the Jenn Sterger case would immediately become moot.
Beyond that, shutting Favre down would enable Frazier to effectively side-step ever having to make the decision to bench Favre for performance reasons � not that Jackson gave Frazier any reason to consider playing him again after his performance on Monday.
Jackson will be a free agent at the end of the season. Although the Vikings brass has probably seen more than enough of him by now to determine whether they have a legitimate interest in re-signing him, adding a few games worth of film to the audition tape can't hurt. For T-Jack, starting the final three games would be ideal, as it would provide him a great opportunity to showcase himself for other teams. It's especially nice that next week's game will come before a national TV audience on Monday night (presumably someplace in Minnesota, but at this point nobody knows for sure).
Of course, if Jackson continues to play as he has since taking over for Favre, there won't be many teams calling his agent with offers.
In fact, you could argue that the more important quarterback to get a look at before the end of the season is Joe Webb, who entered the game in relief of Jackson three times Monday night. Barring a serious injury to Jackson, however, we won't likely see much more of Webb before the Lions game in Week 17, if at all. It would be considered bad form to start a third-string quarterback against two teams in playoff contention (the Bears and Eagles) with other NFC teams banking on the Vikings to put forth their best effort and best lineup.
Anyway, the Vikings were officially eliminated from the playoffs with Monday night's 21-3 loss so there really isn't any incentive for Favre to try to make it back on the field for three meaningless games before retiring.
And yes, he is retiring. There's been absolutely no waffling on that this season. He's 41, his body is shot and his contract is up.
In other words, Favre may have played his final NFL game. It was indeed a heck of a run if that's the case.
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