NEW ORLEANS – Battered and beaten, Brett Favre limped off the field for perhaps the last time.
His head down, the pained look on his face was brought on as much by an ill-advised late turnover as it was by a bone-crunching hit from Bobby McCray.
With the NFC championship game tied, the Vikings close to field goal range and mere seconds left, Favre made the kind of mistake he had avoided all season. He threw across his body toward Sidney Rice, and Tracy Porter stepped in front to intercept the pass, ending the Vikings’ chances to win Sunday’s game in regulation.
It was a crushing end to an inspiring performance by Favre, who hobbled around the field for the entire final period after a hit by McCray put him on the trainer’s table. The NFL’s iron man, who has started a record 309 consecutive games, never missed a play and rallied the Vikings from seven points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
If this indeed was his last season, what a way to go out.
After an injury-plagued 2008 with the Jets, Favre joined the Vikings and put together his best statistical season.
He set career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards.
The Vikings (12-4) earned a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, and last week Favre became the first 40-year-old QB to win a playoff game with a four-touchdown performance against the Cowboys.