When it comes to retirement, Brett Favre’s word is about as good as one of those emergency alert warnings streaming across your television set.
“This is a test of the emergency retirement system. This only a test.”
The week of anticipatory rhetoric between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings focused mostly on one player absent from both clubs’ rosters: Mother Nature. As the Metrodome continued to sit roofless from heavy snow’s two-week contract with the city of Minneapolis, the NFL shifted its Monday-Night fanfare across the Mississippi River to the next-best local venue: the University of Minnesota’s outdoor TCF Bank Stadium.
Much of the week was spent debating the safety of that decision. Since the Golden Gophers’ schedule goes no later than November, the NCAA facility lacked heating coils underneath the playing surface — an amenity NFL stadiums rely on to prevent the ground from freezing in cold-weather circumstances. The absence of that feature had several players (headed by Vikings punter Chris Kluwe) clamoring over the dangers associated with the abnormal conditions.
In the end, the only player that suffered serious damage on Monday night was Favre.
The future Hall-of-Famer continued his season of horrors. Despite doubts that he would even suit up with an injury to his throwing shoulder, Favre’s latest pro chapter was written via a ferocious wrap-up by Bears rookie defensive end Corey Wootton. The 23-year-old’s second-quarter sack drove the 41-year-old’s head to the ground, axing his brittle body from the game and sparking the inevitable question: did Favre’s career really come to a close?
Let’s not get too emotional about the Monday massacre. Two years ago, the Green-Bay genie was in tears about his football finale as a cheesehead. Sure, Dr. James Andrews has run up a considerable medical bill since then. But what’s the likelihood that Favre leaves the NFL as a 40-14 loser, hobbling out of a collegiate stadium on a snowy Monday-night stage?
Until next time, this has been a test of the emergency retirement system. This was only a test.