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Instant Replay: After Big Pick Even I can’t make an excuse for Favre this time

I’m as big a Brett Favre apologist as anyone alive, but even I can’t say much to defend his final play of the season yesterday versus the Saints. Wow.

Yes, his teammates didn’t help him by soaking their hands in olive oil before the game. And yes, Brad Childress again showed how over-matched he is as a coach (the play-call confusion that left 12 men in the huddle and a devastating 5-yard penalty that took them out of field goal range, plus two absurdly conservative play calls when the Vikings were still on the outer periphery of Ryan Longwell’s field goal range), but Favre’s final pass is impossible to defend.

Had he run, with his old legs, he probably picks up 3 – 5 yards, giving Longwell a shot at a 50-plus yard attempt. No gimme for sure, but you have to give your kicker a shot. Favre also had a receiver open for a 5 – 10 yard gain down the sideline but missed him.

So there was Brett, one play, one field goal away from cementing his place in the conversation as one of the two or three best quarterbacks in NFL history. But his inner child took over. And now, fairly or not, he goes down as a great one, but one who threw interceptions on his last play of the season three times, each time with his team within reach of the Super Bowl. Devastating.

Top ten, certainly. Better than John Elway, Dan Marino, and Steve Young. But history will slide him behind the likes of Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Otto Graham, and arguably Johnny Unitas, with Peyton Manning a Super Bowl title away from jumping him as well.

And all because of one last awful decision, one we’ve all seen too many times before.