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If Favre goes out, he goes down in a blaze of glory

by | Columnist

Team jackets will be handed out to the NFL Network crew that asked Brett Favre for the 1,000th time whether he was going to return for another season.

Of course, it is also the 755th crew to get the same answer: No.

Brett Favre says he's done with football after this season. You might want to check back in May ... just in case. (Getty Images)  
Brett Favre says he's done with football after this season. You might want to check back in May ... just in case. (Getty Images)  
We'd like to care more about this, but truthfully, he punched us all out on this subject years ago. And though this year has been particularly unpleasant (Brad Childress meets Jenn Sterger meets a quarterback rating only a hair better than Alex Smith's), thus making the revelation that Favre doesn't want to do this anymore, the fact is that the answer in November is always the same.

The problem is May and June, when he realizes that mowing the lawn doesn't fill as much of the day as he'd like it to. When he misses the locker room. When he misses the every-day give-and-take of trying to be the playing head coach and general manager.

But in case this really is it, in case he defies years of Pavlovian training and actually decides that he's done enough good, bad and indifferent, he'll have gone out more spectacularly than any of us could have imagined.

Not as a champion; hell, he's done that. No, he goes out as Vishnu in the Bhagavad-Gita. As the destroyer of worlds.

Nice work if you can get it, we all agree.

He absolutely tore the Minnesota Vikings asunder; true, he wins the day against the never popular Brad Childress, but the team is in shards. The players have picked sides, and they've joined up behind the quarterback who is leaving.

They must be thrilled.

He became a national punch line for serial penis photographers everywhere. In becoming the first man in history to make eight figures a year and still needed camera-phone visual aids to get action, he ended up being the four-billionth man to misunderstand his leverage in a sexual situation.

And he gets the added benefit of either paying off Sterger or taking her to court and putting his family through another round of Deadspin-level (not a pejorative, just a descriptive) humiliation.

In the end, of course, he will end up where all ex-stars go when they keep their dignity in the face of having none -- the broadcast booth. He'll be one more charming rogue laughing out loud with his fellow studio mates at jokes that don't ever seem to be nearly as funny as they make them.

But it still wasn't the way he thought it would go, because he kept coming back for more -- doubling and re-doubling his bets, waiting for that one last big score, where he wins the Super Bowl by picking the roster, picking the coaching staff, picking the media folks he would share with and whom he would not.

He took care of the third one, because that's the easiest of all. He had some success with the roster (hello and goodbye Randy Moss), and he ended up as the de facto coach once Childress lost the room -- or decided he was too compromised from above to care.

But the parade? That's not happening, not now. He really did stay too long at the fair, and now he has to wear a suit 17 Sundays a year, and the rest of the time has to convince his wife and family that his indiscretions aren't the full measure of his character.

Will he be forgiven? We can't speak to the wife and kids part, but the rest of America will look the other way, because it always does when it comes to its icons. If he's good on TV, he's good. Those are the rules, and those who don't know that end up to the train to Naïve Flats.

But Brett Favre doesn't get out the way he wanted. He was way ahead, and he still wanted one more score. He missed, by a long shot.

And now he says he's finally had enough. Yeah, we bet he has.

But we'll check back in May. Just in case.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.


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