I watched as Ripken played game number 2,131, and I had a certain amount of respect for it, but I wasn't one of the people fawning over it. To me, it seemed a little like longevity for longevity's sake. A little inorganic. It was cool and all, but I wasn't about to be a part of a 22-minute standing ovation.
People wanted to fight me over this.
That's my history with celebrating sporting streaks of longevity, and you also might know that I'm not exactly genuflecting at the altar of Brett Favre(notes), either. So it would make sense that if Favre's consecutive games-played streak ends on Sunday -- and we appear to be leaning in that direction -- that I won't much care, notice, or be impressed.
But in fact, the streak is one of the things I find truly impressive about Favre.
With Ripken, it felt like somewhere along the way, the thinking switched from, "I'm healthy, I can help the ball club, let's play," to "You know, we've come this far, let's just keep the streak going."
With Favre, up until, oh, right about now, it has never seemed like a team might be better off if he sat one out. In stark contrast with Favre's behavior in recent years, his streak has never felt self-serving or egotistical. It's always seemed like something that was secondary to his honest intention, which was to suit up and play and win, no matter how hurt he might have been.
How he's been able to do that, I have no idea. Some people probably have bodies that are somehow better genetically equipped to take a pounding without suffering injury. And Favre, throughout his career, has never shied away from contact (except when Michael Strahan's(notes) pursuing a sack record), in an exceedingly violent sport that requires him to make himself a target for punishment about 34 times a game.
To stay that healthy, for that long, in a sport this violent, and for it to be in the best interests of the team every single time, is an amazing accomplishment. If it ends this Sunday, we'll be seeing the end of something remarkable.