Brett Favre's ending shocking, sad

DETROIT -- It wasn't supposed to end like this, not on the sideline, wearing a ski cap in a game in Motown that wasn't even against the Detroit Lions.

But that's how Brett Favre's 297 consecutive starts streak ended Monday night, not to mention there's a chance his long, star-studded 20-year career as a quarterback in the NFL came to an end with it.

In the New York Giants' 21-3 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, who were the home team at Ford Field because the Metrodome's roof caved in following a heavy snowstorm, Favre was rendered a mere spectator.

There was hope that Favre's sprained right shoulder, which left his fingers numb, would improve enough to allow him to start the game. But it didn't and Favre was listed as inactive for the game.

Favre said he felt relief in one sense that the streak was over.

"There wasn't a whole lot of pressure on me today," said Favre, who stood on the sideline the entire game. "It was different.

"It's been a long time. I'd much rather be playing. That's just my nature. But it was time. It was probably long overdue."

Favre said whether he improves enough to play in one of the Vikings' final three games or never plays again, he's cool with his career.

"If it ended today or in several weeks, or the end of last season, it's been a great run," said Favre, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers. "So I'm very proud of it. There's nothing left for me, not that there was anything to prove anyway."

The only thing sadder than Favre's unhappy ending is that when you really think about his career, it was all about him, not about the teams he played for.

That's why he kept jerking teams around about retiring or not every summer and why he refused to come to training camp when everybody else reported.

What's worse, however, is that Favre should have left behind protégés all over the place, young quarterbacks he helped along the way. But it's not the case

Aaron Rodgers and Tarvaris Jackson basically had to go it alone because Favre was unwilling to help.

That's both sad and selfish. In the end, both applied to Favre.

When Favre left Green Bay for the Big Apple three seasons ago, many thought it was fitting. This huge NFL star, who performed in the smallest pro sports venue, would finally get a chance to show his wares on the biggest stage with the brightest lights of all.

Favre's year with the New York Jets started with so much promise with an 8-3 start. But it fell apart at the end. The Jets, with Favre playing poorly, not only lost four of their final five games, they failed to make the playoffs as well.

The best part about Favre was his exciting play and gunslinger approach to delivering the football. Most quarterbacks wouldn't have thrown a lot of the balls Favre did. Many went for touchdowns, but almost as many went for interceptions.

Favre had many miracle finishes. But he was also as well known for costing his team at the end. In fact, in his three previous seasons, Favre delivered interceptions to basically end the season for the Green Bay Packers, the Jets and the Vikings.

In the Jets' case, it cost them a postseason spot. The other two picks came in NFC title games and cost his teams trips to the Super Bowl.

This season, however, was a disaster almost from the beginning. Favre missed training camp and never seen to connect with his team.

Favre, a grandfather, seemed to get old fast. The Vikings faded with him, losing their first two games and five of their first seven.

It was essentially the end of the Vikings' dreams of getting to the Super Bowl.

That's why Favre was brought to Minnesota. They thought he was the missing piece and would be able to deliver them a championship.

The Vikings won't be the only people sad to see him leave the game. Some of the Giants are as well, but for a different reason.

"I'm kind of upset [the streak] had to end against us," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "I wanted an opportunity to get him one more time."

At the end, when it was all about Favre, many wanted to sack him as well. For sure, that was the bad part about Favre's career. His whole career seemed to be about him and about that damn streak. It made many fans turn on Favre, but, somehow, he still had a lot of fans.

"We are football fans like everybody else," Giants tackle Barry Cofield said. "Ever since I can remember watching football, Brett Favre was a starting quarterback and always played. And when he didn't, it was kind of shocking.''

Especially how it ended.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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