Brett Favre made it official Wednesday.
Yes, folks, 2010 will be his final season in the National Football League. You can write it down in ink. You can send out invitations to his retirement party. You can call a really curvy girl to jump out of a cake. After this season, the Minnesota Vikings and football fans everywhere will no longer be slaves to Favre's whims and fancies.
This time, it's for real. Because Favre said it was for real during a news conference in Minneapolis to officially announce he was going to strap on the pads for one more go 'round. The news conference came after his first Vikings practice, which kind of gave away that he was returning, didn't it? But with Favre, appearances are deceiving.
Favre's power is so immense that his automobile trip from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport to the Vikings' practice facility was recorded live by cameramen in helicopters. Gripping television, ESPN.
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He carries so much clout with the Vikings that three of the team's star players made a pilgrimage to Hattiesburg, Miss., to bring Brett back Tuesday.
The world waits with baited breath for every decision Favre makes, which is ironic given he's so bad about making decisions.
I have developed a deep dislike — OK, it borders on hatred — for Favre since he started this whole wishy-washy act a couple of off-seasons ago, after "retiring" from the Green Bay Packers.
Favre didn't retire, he went to the New York Jets. It didn't work out very well there so he decided to quit again. Only he didn't quit, he joined the Minnesota Vikings — the Packers' fiercest rival.
And magic happened. Favre went back in time and had perhaps his best season. He took the Vikings to within an eyelash of the Super Bowl before he threw a late interception in the NFC championship game at New Orleans that helped the Saints march on.
Everybody knew Favre couldn't go out on that note. Everybody knew he would come back and try to take care of unfinished business.
But Favre isn't comfortable unless his name is on the news ticker that runs across the bottom of the television screen on ESPN. He doesn't just want to play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, he wants to keep people up at night as they contemplate his next move.
There is no "I" in Favre, but there should be. He wears his good ol' boy image well, but beneath the schtick there's a self-absorbed, look-at-me-ain't-I-pretty? 13-year-old crying out for attention.
Favre was blessed with a million-dollar arm and cursed with an ego that can't be filled. The more attention he gets, the more he craves. He's the ringleader of a media circus that comes to town more than Barnum and Bailey.
Last season, I squirmed as Favre put up his unbelievable numbers. He exceeded anything I or anyone else expected. He was, perhaps, the best quarterback in the league.
He made those of us who questioned his motivation and his ability eat our words. We were red-faced as Favre zipped balls to receivers week after week, showing he still had a flair for the dramatic.
But with Favre, the drama never stays on the football field.
He can't seem to exist without the lights, the cameras and the action.
True, his final pass of the season went poorly. Favre, as is his M.O., tried to fit a pass into a tight spot that closed before the ball arrived. The gambler crapped out.
But in that moment, did you really expect him to surrender? Even on 40-year-old legs?
No, the gunslinger is back with more ammunition and an extreme amount of self love.
Favre's words during his Wednesday news conference gave him away.
He talked about how the chance to play in another Super Bowl motivated his return to the Vikings, saying: "I was so close, so close to getting these guys to the Super Bowl. I owe it to this organization to give it one more try.''
Oh, Brett, how can we thank you? Yes, you — you — were so close last season. And so, by the way, were your teammates. Remember them?
Can you tell this guy is under my skin? I find myself thinking terrible thoughts, hoping he gets sacked by every defensive player in the NFL at least once.
I know there are Vikings fans out there who are put off by Favre, too, as a proud franchise bows down to his fickle ways. The coaching staff and front office have no other choice. Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels aren't options when your goal is to win a championship.
Donovan McNabb would have been, but the Vikings stood on the sideline when he became available because Brett wasn't yet ready to let them in on what he was thinking.
In the end, Favre stands to get paid about $7 million more because of his indecision, although he claims this isn't about money.
Sure, Brett. We believe you, just like we believe everything you say.
Remember, you said Wednesday the 2010 season will be your last. Of course, you said the 2007 season was going to be your last; the 2008 season was going to be your last; and surely you told somebody somewhere the 2009 season was going to be your last.
Here's hoping you go out on top. On top of what, I'm not going to say.