Suspension would end Favre’s streak
Favre has started 288 consecutive regular season games at quarterback. Add in 24 playoff games and he is, by far, the NFL leader (second place Peyton Manning(notes), 197/215). He’s started every game since Week 4 of the 1992 season, an iron man streak of unfathomable levels (only four other QBs have ever gone over 100 consecutive starts).
[Photos: Brett Favre under fire]
Now, here in his 20th season, the streak could be in jeopardy for the most unexpected of reasons. Favre is under “review” by the NFL for possible sexual harassment involving Sterger, who was an in-stadium sideline reporter for the New York Jets in 2008, when Favre started 16 games for the team.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has shown that enforcing the league’s personal conduct policy is a priority. If Favre is found guilty of harassment – which includes sending inappropriate photos via text message – he could be suspended. That’s a big if at this point, but knowing Goodell’s track record, it’s very much a possibility.
If Favre is told to sit, then say goodbye to the Iron Man streak.
“A missed game for any reason ends a consecutive games or consecutive starts streak,” Michael Signora of the NFL’s communications department wrote in an email to Yahoo! Sports.
Of all the bizarre endings to the Favre streak, this would be it.
Even Favre’s toughest critics credit him with remarkable resiliency. He’s been driven into the ground by 300-pound lineman. He’s been slammed in the chest by heat-seeking linebackers. He played the game for many years with reckless abandon, often diving for extra yardage. He dropped back for most of his career on the frozen, and thus unforgiving, tundra of Green Bay.
He’s been sacked 509 times in the regular season alone.
[Commentary: Favre turning NFL into three-ring circus]
And yet each time he got up and came back the next week. As the streak has grown through the years, knocking Favre out has become a goal for defensive players.
The one who actually did it with a clean hit would have a forever badge of honor. Detroit Lions rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes), 23, said it’s been a lifelong dream to sack Favre. That’s the kind of target Favre has on his back, generations of kids have been falling asleep with visions of a clear shot at No. 4.
Yet no one has managed to sideline him.
Now, who knows? Favre is accused of doing something that countless players before him have attempted: picking up a woman. Even with the racy details of what Favre sent via text message – pictures deadspin.com published last week – it would normally be a private, and hardly newsworthy, matter.
Only in this case he did it to a fellow employee. Sterger was under contract with the Jets to provide in-house entertainment on the Meadowlands Jumbotron. Favre was the team quarterback.
No matter how ridiculous you think this story is, legally it is pretty clear. One employee (let alone a superior) can’t sexually harass another employee. That’s why the NFL is conducting a review. And that’s why, if Favre is found to have done such acts, he will face discipline.
Sterger isn’t pressing legal charges but she did say she’d cooperate with NFL investigators. Two female Jets massage therapists have also come forward in the media with allegations against Favre. The NFL is promising to wrap up the case as soon as possible.
What happens from here is anyone’s guess.
Goodell has not been shy about sitting players or pushing the reach of his power to include off-field incidents involving non-team employees. It may be impossible to let the iconic Favre skate, even if Goodell wished.
In what he claims is his last season, the 41-year-old Favre has proven to be one of the league’s all-time tough guys, the best at avoiding the massive punishment that regularly knocks out quarterbacks.
All those big linemen, all those angry linebackers, all those bullet-train safety blitzes never got him. Now here come some ill-advised text messages, the most unlikely of kryptonite.