Brett Favre's streak ends as quarterback is on Vikings' inactive list
By Mark Maske
UPDATED (12:20 a.m.)...
Quarterback Brett Favre's record durability streak ended when he was on the Minnesota Vikings' inactive list for Monday night's loss to the New York Giants.
Favre had started 297 consecutive regular season games. But an injured right shoulder kept Favre out of the lineup Monday, even after he gained an extra day to heal when the game was postponed because of a snowstorm in the Minneapolis area.
The game was pushed back by a day and, after the roof of the Metrodome was damaged by the snow, was moved to Ford Field in Detroit. But that wasn't enough for Favre's shoulder to heal sufficiently for him to play. Favre was not in uniform and watched from the sideline as Tarvaris Jackson started at quarterback for the Vikings.
"It's probably been long overdue," Favre said at a postgame news conference. "There's probably been a lot of times this streak should have ended.... I just couldn't play."
Favre said he was suffering from numbness in his right hand, possibly due to a pinched nerve. He could be headed to the season-ending injured reserve list, and his NFL career potentially could be over. Favre, a three-time league most valuable player, has said this will be his final season.
"I've played with a lot of stuff," Favre said late Monday night at Ford Field. "But this is something different that I've got to be more cautious of.... I think it would be foolish to even consider playing if you don't have total feeling in five fingers."
Favre said he first experienced discomfort during a triumph over the Washington Redskins and the injury was aggravated during a win over the Buffalo Bills in the Vikings' previous game. Favre exited that game with what was called a sprained right shoulder.
He said he expects to undergo another exam Tuesday. Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier said following his club's 21-3 defeat to the Giants that the decision for Favre not to play had been an easy one.
"It was a no-brainer," Frazier said. "We couldn't put him out there. He couldn't function as a quarterback."
Frazier said he hoped to have Favre back in the lineup this season but left open the possibility that Favre could be placed on the IR list.
Counting the playoffs, Favre had started 321 games in a row. His streak dated to 1992 and included starts with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Vikings.
"It's been a great run," Favre said. "I'm really proud of it."
He had played through injuries, controversy and personal turmoil.
The 41-year-old grandfather played a Halloween game this season at New England after being diagnosed with a stress fracture and avulsion fracture in his left ankle and heel. Favre underwent ankle surgery last offseason following a rugged overtime loss at New Orleans in last season's NFC championship game, and he played with elbow pain earlier this season.
He played with a broken thumb on his throwing hand in 2003. He played on after suffering other significant injuries, including a mid-foot sprain during a game in 2000, a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during a 2002 game and a concussion during a 2004 game. He played through pain in his right biceps late in the 2008 season with the Jets.
Favre kept playing after two announced retirements, and he kept playing even when he had to put aside grief in his personal life to do so. Favre played in a game in 2003 one day after his father, Irvin, suffered a heart attack and died. That was one of several off-field dramas involving Favre that were on display for the public while he kept playing. He was treated for an addiction to painkilling medication early in his NFL career.
Favre's 297-game streak was the equivalent of 18.6 NFL seasons. The 2,632-game playing streak of legendary Baltimore Orioles iron man Cal Ripken was the equivalent of 16.2 baseball seasons.
"Brett has had an incredible career and his consecutive games streak is remarkable," Ripken said in a written statement through a spokesman. "As a football fan I cannot fathom his accomplishment and I appreciate his dedication to and passion for the game. He is a true gamer and has provided us all with a lot of wonderful memories."
It has been a trying season for Favre and the Vikings. Favre contemplated another retirement last offseason, but he agreed to rejoin the team for a second season with the Vikings and a 20th season in the NFL after three teammates visited him at his home in Mississippi during the preseason. The Vikings hoped to make a Super Bowl run this season after falling one step shy last season, when Favre had what he called the best season of his career and finished fourth in the league MVP voting.
Instead, the Vikings have a record of 5-8. Favre has thrown 18 interceptions and only 10 touchdown passes this season and was the league's 29th-rated passer entering Monday's play. Favre also has been investigated by the NFL after a report by the Web site Deadspin that he sent inappropriate electronic messages and photos to a former Jets employee, Jenn Sterger, when both were with the team.
December 13, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
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