I know there are some people who could show nothing but disdain for Brett Favre – even before he signed on last year to be quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.
Frankly, me not being a die-hard Packers fan I've noticed that most of the Favre haters (and I don't think 'hate' is too strong a word to use) are Green Bay fanatics, who, I presume, are ticked that he retired from the Packers, only to play for the Jets, and then sign on last year with Minnesota.
Those same people, and I would assume some Minnesota fans, are likely ticked at Brett, too, because of that pass. He will, sadly, always be remembered for making that errant throw that was intercepted as he tried to get his team within field goal range with just a few seconds on the clock in the NFC championship game.
Mustering all of my sports savvy – I can sometimes beat the 7-year-old my daughter babysits in bowling … on a Wii, no less – I thought it a bit strange that the Vikings, with perhaps one of the best, most reliable kickers in the league, didn't try to advance the ball a few more yards on the ground.
I mean, I know it would have been a long field goal attempt. But they were playing indoors for crying out loud. It's not like Longwell had to boot the ball through a raging snowstorm or against the gale that usually blows across Lambeau Field. It was nice and dry and calm.
For all those who are tearing their hair out, replaying Brett's interception over and over again either in their minds or on their DVRs, since they can't bear to delete their video recordings of the game, I think there are a couple things that must be considered.
The Vikings haven't been this exciting to watch since Fran (I know, all of you youngsters are saying to yourself "Fran who?") Tarkenton scrambled like crazy every Sunday on the sometimes frozen tundra of Metropolitan Stadium.
This was a football season that Vikings fans could actually savor. Right away this fall, it seemed, Brett appeared to play like a 30-year-old rather than a 40-year old.
And, on Sunday, I couldn't help but admire the guy. While the Saints QB, so spry in his youth, could languish untouched for so long nearly every time he went back for a pass, Brett got hammered.
Time and again.
The fact that he could get up every time he was rocked, and keep playing while obviously being hobbled after he got nailed both high and low by two New Orleans defenders made me, who admittedly is a few years older than Brett, a bit proud. We members of a growing AARP-era generation tend to cling to every hero we can.
It should also be noted that Brett alone didn't contribute to the Vikings' loss.
Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian fumbled a Favre pass at the New Orleans 5-yard line in the fourth quarter. Receiver Percy Harvin lost a fumble at the Minnesota 22 in the fourth quarter. If it weren't for a ridiculous 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty on the play before Favre's last interception, gaining a few more yards for Longwell wouldn't have been necessary.
I found it extremely disappointing, and I know all you Favre-haters out there probably took great delight in the fact that he had to finish the magnificent journey that his team was able to take this season, thanks in large part to him, watching it all end from the sidelines.
While typing this, I – who admittedly enjoys watching the game but is not a fanatic (I don't play fantasy football or study stats or make predictions every weekend) – can't even recall who won the Super Bowl last year.
Because, when you stop and think about it, there's nothing really super about that final football match-up of the year. There have been many years when the game has been incredibly boring, and the only thing that lasts in one's memory is when a half-time performer has a wardrobe malfunction.
I know I won't forget last Sunday's Vikings/Saints game for a long time, even though it didn't turn out the way I would have liked.
And, I wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming Super Bowl turns out to be a real yawner.
Love him or hate him, that upcoming game would no doubt be much more memorable for everyone if Brett was playing. Sigh.