Brett Favre: career renaissance at 40?
In one of the most anticipated games of the season, in two rabidly partisan Midwestern states, Brett Favre has gone from beloved icon of the Green Bay Packers to leader of the hated Minnesota Vikings. The dislike reached Hatfield-McCoy proportions Monday night when Favre triumphed 30-23 over the team he proudly represented for sixteen years.
According to the New York Times, the showdown attracted an average of 21.8 million viewers, the biggest audience in the history of cable television, exceeding the 18.6 million who watched the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game in September 2008 on ESPN.
In an interview to ESPN, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Favre is the best quarterback in the NFC North. “[Favre] played really well,” Cutler said. “I think we kind of would have liked to have seen Green Bay beat him to even out the conference a little and give those guys a loss, but he played fabulous from start to finish. It was a good game.”
These days, the aging Cajun plays with the allure of a fine French wine: the older he gets, the better he gets… at least early in the season. Favre who turns 40 on October 10th has a perfect 4-0 record, and his surgically repaired right arm seems to have new life.
A medical team performed surgery on Favre’s biceps last May, cutting the partially torn tendon to alleviate the pain that prompted him to prematurely announce his retirement for a second year in a row before signing with the Vikings.
Last year, Favre’s season with the New York Jets started well; in week four he threw six touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals, a personal best and one fewer than the NFL record. By week 12, the Jets had compiled an 8-3 record, including a win over the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans.
However, the Jets lost four out of the last five games of the season including the final game against the Miami Dolphins, who had acquired Chad Pennington after he was released from the Jets to make room for Favre. In those five games Favre threw eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes, bringing his season total to twenty-two of each.
In an interview Dr. Anthony Romeo, section head of shoulder and elbow surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said “Brett Favre’s probably going to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on,” “The chances for this deteriorating are far less.”