Brett Favre started his 292nd consecutive NFL game at quarterback today against the New England Patriots. Unlike the previous 291 starts before, he was playing this one with fractured bones in his heel and foot. To most athletes, a fractured bone is cause for time off, a bit of rest and rehab and then a return to the field, court or diamond. But that’s not the case for Favre.
It is safe to say, the question on everyone’s mind is the same. Why would a 41 year old quarterback take the field with a fairly serious injury like fractured bones? Is he doing it to keep his streak intact, to prove he still can play at 41, to divert attention from the rumors and scandal about his off the field behaviors? Of course, Brett himself is the only one who can answer that but it doesn’t mean these things will stop being asked.
After the past three years of flip-flopping on his retirement, fans have grown weary of Favre’s motivations for staying. Each year his decision to return to the field has been scrutinized and discussed, yet he has proved he still has what it takes to put his team in the position to win games. But with the struggles of the quarterback this season, to most fans it doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to continue to play.
This season the Vikings are 2-5 and have not seemed to click at all in the way they did last year when they won the NFC North and made it to the NFC Championship. Early in the season most chalked their disjointedness up to Favre missing out on training camp and missing out on the time to build a connection with his receivers and the rest of the offense. Now, seven games into the season, it has become unclear whether it was a good idea for Favre to return at all for his 20th season. With Farve’s off field issues and now the recent injuries seemingly taking its toll not only on the gunslinger but on the rest of the team, his return doesn’t seem as justified as years past.
So when does Viking’s coach Brad Childress decide enough is enough and replace Favre from under center? At this point, Childress has to be asking himself if it’s more important to keep his aged quarterback as the starter and preserve his (untouchable) record of consecutive starts while risking falling further from playoff contention or to give the ball to backup Tavaris Jackson and see if a change in command can help turn around the team, which currently sits in 3rd place in the NFC North.
In the game today against the Patriots, Favre was knocked out in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game due to a deep cut on his chin which required eight stitches. After the game, Favre told the media he was fine and expects to suit up next week for his 293rd start. The question is, should he?