Brett Favre comes up short of fairytale ending
By Robert Kelley
It was all there for Brett Favre. Destiny had camped out in Green Bay, Wisc. The story was written.
The Dallas Cowboys had lost, giving home field advantage to the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship Game Jan. 20.
The temperature would rival the coldest game in the history of the NFL, with the wind chill bringing it to a paltry -16
degrees. It was the coldest game in Packers playoffs history and the third coldest game ever.
Favre had only lost twice in his career when the temperature had dipped below 32 degrees. Favre has had the flirtation of retirement for the past four seasons, but had always come back on the off chance that he would get one final chance at the Super Bowl.
A Super Bowl that had the New England Patriots in the game, the team Favre had defeated to claim his only Super Bowl title 11 years ago. It was all there.
The New York Giants did everything in their power to give the game and a trip to Arizona to the Packers. The Giants had an interception of Favre, only to fumble the ball back to the Packers, which actually led to a gain of yards and led to a field goal.
Three points were literally handed to the Packers. That is the kind of play that would only happen to Brett Favre.
Throughout his career, it seemed as though he got all the breaks on odd plays like that. It just so happens that it occurred during the NFC Championship Game.
The Giants continued to play careless football. Lawrence Tynes had missed two fourth quarter field goals that would have given the Giants the lead, including one as regulation expired from only 37 yards away. The Packers were outplayed, out gained and out coached.
Yet, there was a feeling throughout the stadium that the Packers were going to win this game.
The eruption from the crowd when Tynes field goal was wide left may have been the loudest that Lambeau Field had been in the last 10 years. The game was tied and heading to overtime. A lot of games in overtime are decided by who wins the coin toss.
The Giants called heads. Not surprising that the Packers won the toss. Favre would have the ball first.
Favre’s “luck” continued. Even on something as simple as a coin flip, Favre’s team won it. Seventy three yards stood between Favre and destiny after the kickoff return. It was all too perfect.
Then Favre did something that has made him the quarterback he is. He took a chance.
Brett Favre has always been classified as a “gunslinger” who makes risky throws in an attempt to give his receivers a chance to make plays. His favorite wide out, Donald Driver, who had caught a 90-yard touchdown earlier in the game, was blanketed by Giants cornerback Corey Webster. Favre still tried to force the ball in. The throw was off, Driver had virtually no chance and you could hear a pin drop in Lambeau Field as Webster intercepted Favre which led to a chance at redemption for Tynes. Unlike the field goal at the end of regulation, the snap was perfect.
The kick appeared to start off to the right, then hooked left right down the middle through the uprights. Making the 47-yard field goal in Lambeau Field was historic.
No visiting kicker had ever made a field goal from over 40 yards in the playoffs at Lambeau Field. Tynes drilled it and with that, sent the Giants to the Super Bowl, and sent Favre home wondering.
Favre has months to contemplate the mistakes he made in the game, but the last pass of the year from the future Hall of Famer is the one that will sit with him for the rest of his life.
It’s hard to say if the Packers can repeat their 13-3 regular season and NFC North division title. It’s hard to say if they can achieve the chance to reach the NFC Championship Game while Favre is the quarterback.
In all likelihood, this was Favre’s last shot at greatness, his last shot at the Super Bowl.
For the man who couldn’t decide whether or not to retire over the past four seasons, going to the Super Bowl and having a chance to derail the undefeated Patriots would have been the perfect ending to a spectacular career. Instead, it goes down as one of the most disappointing losses in Favre’s career and one that Packer fans will never forget. Favre probably won’t play the retirement game this off season.
He’s almost assured to come back, but things won’t be as perfect next season.
It turns out destiny was on the field that cold January day. It was just wearing a Giants jersey.