Favre sits in finale as Lions top Vikings 20-13By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer Monday, Jan 3, 2011
This season included precious few of them—and it appears the suddenly fragile quarterback really is ready to walk away for good.
“As a kid you always dream to just play in the NFL,” Favre said Sunday after sitting out Minnesota’s 20-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. “I hope that people appreciated the way I played, the way I appreciated the game.”
The 41-year-old Favre missed the Vikings’ season finale with a concussion, and after his team struggled through another listless performance, he said it’s finally time for his career to end. It was an inglorious finish to Favre’s 20th season. The NFL’s ultimate iron man missed three of Minnesota’s last four games and was knocked out of the other one.
On Sunday, the Vikings were outplayed by a Detroit team that ended the season with four straight wins—quite a contrast to the disappointing group on the Minnesota sideline. The Vikings went to the NFC title game last year, but after persuading Favre to come back for another run, they got off to a 3-7 start, costing coach Brad Childress his job.
Then injuries finally caught up with Favre, who sat out a Dec. 13 game against the New York Giants to end his streak of 297 starts. He came back a week later but didn’t last long, leaving a game against Chicago with a concussion. That turned out to be the last game he played, and although he’s come out of retirement before, he says this decision is a firm one.
“If you just talk about head injuries—there’s been lots of discussion on that this year—it wouldn’t be worth it anyway,” Favre said. “It’s time. I know it’s time, and that’s OK. It is.”
The Lions (6-10) tripled last season’s win total despite constant injury problems of their own at quarterback. Shaun Hill(notes) threw for 258 yards and a touchdown Sunday, and Maurice Morris(notes) scored on a 5-yard run with 9:29 left to give Detroit a 20-10 lead.
“We wanted to be remembered for the way we finished this season,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “We beat three teams that were in the playoff mix, two of them on the road.”
The Vikings (6-10) were long gone from the playoff chase by the time the finale kicked off, and assuming this is the end of Favre’s career, Minnesota will have to rebuild without him. The first order of business is confirming who the team’s coach will be. Owner Zygi Wilf wouldn’t discuss interim coach Leslie Frazier’s future after the game, but Frazier said he planned to talk with ownership Sunday night or Monday.
“Nothing has been solidified,” Frazier said.
This wasn’t what Favre or the Vikings had in mind when they began the season with Super Bowl hopes, but not much went according to plan. Favre was intercepted 19 times, and his 69.9 quarterback rating is the lowest of his career.
Favre was also fined $50,000 for failure to cooperate with an NFL investigation into allegations that he sent lewd photos and messages to a game-day hostess when both worked for the New York Jets in 2008.
Favre is the career leader in victories (186), yards passing (71,838), touchdown passes (508), attempts (10,169), completions (6,300) and interceptions (336). He was drafted in 1991 by Atlanta but never completed a pass for the Falcons before moving on to Green Bay, where he spent 16 seasons, won three MVP awards and led the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 1997.
After the Packers grew weary of his indecisiveness about retirement, they traded him to the Jets. He spent a forgettable season in New York before joining the Vikings in 2009.
After falling a win short of the Super Bowl with Minnesota, Favre had serious reservations about coming back. Three of Favre’s closest friends on the team—Allen, Ryan Longwell(notes) and Steve Hutchinson(notes)—flew to Hattiesburg, Miss., to coax him into returning for another shot at a championship.
Favre didn’t come close to reaching that goal, but he insisted he had no regrets.
“The thing every player and former player that I’ve talked to … will tell you that what you miss is the guys, the fellowship, the bus rides, locker rooms, winning and losing together, celebrating together,” he said. “If I sat here and told you I would not miss that, I’d be kidding myself.”