He is, without a doubt in my mind, the equivalent of Ren and Stimpy or the smart ass kid from Leave it to Beaver, one of the most annoying divas in the history of sports, to suddenly leave petulant fans in disgust with the frequent headlines of his annoyance that features regularly in front of tabloids.

This year, of course, I was pretty hopeful of Brett Favre's return, just as much as I've been confident for an economic recovery or just as much as I've been optimistic that cartoons in the future can relight the pleasure of watching an amusing kid show other than Sponge Bob or Jimmy Neutron.

In the most ultimate ending to a gloomy tale of 10,000 Favre Tales, on an abnormal, unsettled night, he was battered and defenseless and stared from the sidelines in despair, incapable of bolstering the Minnesota Vikings to essentially a substantial victory as a remedy to release all sorrow or install a sense of pride for a franchise that deteriorated.

And finally, the lack of chemistry dismantled the Vikings, a discombobulated team once worthy of the Super Bowl, now mired in disarray for enduring such a murky season from the midseason firing of Brad Childress to Favre's nagging ailments. Every now and then in one of the most bizarre scenes, along with the ills of humiliating losses and exhausting drama, the Vikings had an epidemic of disruptions and injuries, while fading into the dark clouds.

However, for the grandfather of quarterbacks who has gray hair and walks like an elderly man, old enough to qualify for a discount as a senior citizen if he goes to have dinner at a restaurant, the days are darkening as a cloud hovers over his failures this season, a sign of misfortune and anguish.

Whatever his intentions are, just as he shows signs of fatigue in the late stages of his accomplished career, he should come to realize that now is a respectable time to depart the game he cherished for decades.

The perception is that he's mentally and physically tired of the game, no longer active as a full-time quarterback, incapable of enduring continuous hits or harassment on the turf. When he stood on the sidelines and helplessly watched, wearing black workout pants, a black T-shirt and a purple hat, he observed a disheartening night and missed the start of his first NFL game for the first time since Sept. 13, 1992. The sense of fruition deflated for Favre, battered and ineffective as the NFL-record ironman streak at 297 regular-season games came to an unhappy ending, almost smearing an impeccable legacy of transforming into the most eminent quarterback in NFL history.

"I've played through a lot of stuff," he said gently at the postgame interview following a 21-3 loss to the Giants. "This is something different."

For all the drama swirling around the three-time MVP, known as the biggest nuisance in sports whether it's for his retiring, un-retiring plans during the summer months to hijack the spotlight or even the lewd text messages he allegedly exchanged with ex-Jets reporter Jenn Sterger, he may want to retire for good without changing his mind of a possible return.

There comes a point in life, especially when he's approaching the elderly period in his life with fragile limbs or disjointed shoulders, of which Favre needs to cede his ego trip and travel to his rural area home in Mississippi and jump onto his John Deere tractor. This was a horrible way in so many ways to reach a terminal of generally a spotless heritage in the league, symbolized as the best player in the game for setting nearly every passing record.

Here in America, it used to be a birthright saluting the gunslinger after he was manifested as the symbol of the Green Bay Packers, until he held the general manager Ted Thompson hostage of his commonplace, misleading episodes in the summer. For years he has announced retirement in tearful press conferences, but months later announce that he's coming back for another season, and his constant mind-changing forced the Packers to promptly trade the bewildered face of their franchise to the New York Jets.

There, of course, he lasted one season and agitated perturbed Wisconsin natives, most of whom burnt his jerseys and labeled him as a traitor, simply for joining its archrival the Minnesota Vikings.

Viewed as a enemy in his former town, he was welcomed to Minnesota in the declining phase of his historic career and almost led the Vikings to the Super Bowl a year ago, only to fall short against the improbable New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, a postseason game in which he was battered and beleaguered and limped off the field.

As it turned out, he slowly walked to the sideline and dropped his head down in a state of shame and grimaced in pain, wearing an agonizing facial expression as if he was ready to call it a prosperous career after he threw a costly interception late. Even if he's an ageless quarterback at the age of 41, still competent in hurling downfield passes or breaking records endlessly, it seems ill-advised blunders have eclipsed Favre's proficient fulfillments.

As the rest of the distraught, beaten and disappointed Vikings, with bleak stares and a lack of self-motivation, played without the presence of their pass thrower, Favre alluded to the longevity of his beautiful and long tenure in the league.

Yet again, hopefully, he realizes all good things must come to an end, just as every good story comes to an end and, by now, Favre's subtle tale is finally over. For the rest of this season, we may spend time wondering if Favre plays ever again, or better yet, decides to leave the game eternally.

If so, he'll definitely culminate the irritable and annual folly, along with the desire to selfishly fluctuate his mindset and steal the publicity in the summer just to inform the world of his sudden comeback when he skipped minicamps and training camps. This after Favre garners an assumption that he's beyond superiority, worthy of special privileges to unfairly miss out on preparations and conditioning, all because he's too lazy or remiss.

As far as the Vikings were concerned, he was a household name, which meant he was an integral piece to Minnesota's bottomless core in a sphere of the offense, but as time progressed, he encountered broken bones, aches and personal issues.

By history, he's the toughest quarterback to ever play the game and contain all the fundamentals within a long-lasting streak that deservedly is considered one of the greatest historical marks of all-time. But now, he's drowning in a whirlpool of injuries and the darkening age of his imposing term is overshadowing a remarkable accomplishment.

What's next? Purple raindrops fall from the sky in Minnesota? The Vikings' mascot rides onto the field in a luxurious Corvette, instead of a motorcycle? Prince, a Minnesota native, performs a hit song from his album Purple Rain as a way to solace a saddened fan base and reflect on nostalgic memories of the era when Favre was far more splendid?

There is a sense, believe it or not, that he won't return next season, now that the Childress reign is over in Minnesota after he was fired midway in the season and replaced by interim coach Leslie Frazier.

In clarity, it almost felt like ex-Vikings coach Childress begged Favre to return for his 20th season and visited him at his Hattiesburg, Miss. home, concerned on the welfare of his quarterback's health status when he was still recovering from injuries he suffered in the NFC title game.

And with that, Favre carefully reconsidered and eventually assured his teammates and Childress that he'll return. Right then, he could have informed the team of his unavailability to play, particularly when he was beaten badly in the previous season and appeared weary in the pocket, not as agile eluding the pressure of bulldozing defenders and had been harassed and abused, on the final stages of his playing days.

This because he was obligated to satisfy his teammates although he was absent from the first few weeks of training camp. In terms of his travails, he couldn't feel his right hand and stood on the sideline, even though Mother Nature almost helped his cause of Monday night's game, which was relocated at Ford Field in Detroit. Bearing with the unconventional circumstances of watching and losing a streak of longevity, ascendancy and mastery, he seemed like he was ready to disclose on retirement.

It has been nearly 19 seasons, and Favre has proven to be very durable and courageous, owning a fascinating consecutive-game streak that illustrated perfection and persistence. Listed as a game-time decision and inactive for the Vikings game, he couldn't heal in time to protect his incredible streak and missed his first game in exactly 6,651 days, nursing a damaged shoulder and his right hand is constantly numb, not allowing him to partake.

The oddity of such a downfall is that he's placed on the injured reserve list, ending an unbelievable stint with injuries after 20 years of greatness. What else is there to accomplished, except retire from the game as a proud individual for winning a lone Super Bowl ring, breaking and setting plateaus and lastly been awarded with the Most Valuable Player award three times, deemed respectively as the endearing icon.

And finally, it's befitting that Favre preserves his marvel legacy by waving goodbye to football on Sundays, since he felt unfitted to suit up. It was hard to envision the streak coming to an end, and with the streak lost, it's a visible indicator that now is a time to be an aloof, mow his lawn and live happily in the rural area of the South.

By Jonathan Mathis


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