The streak ends

Favre's Streak Ends (4:01)

Brett Favre's consecutive starts streak ends at 297 (4:01)

DETROIT -- Mercy.

Take a breath, Brett Favre.

You deserve it.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback finally gave in Monday to sports mortality, ending his consecutive starts streak at 297 games. He eluded the Four Horsemen for 19 years, steering through Death, Pestilence, Famine and War before they cornered him.

Favre, 41, will miss a game for the first time since Sept. 6, 1992, felled by a sprained SC joint near his right shoulder. The injury left him with numbness in his right hand all week and unable to throw with anything close to his normal velocity.

I avoided pre-posting this item even as evidence mounted last week that Favre would need a sports miracle to play. I wanted to take in the moment, such that it was, and see how it felt.

My overwhelming reaction when the Vikings announced him among their game-day deactivation: The moment was overdue. Even Favre seemed to agree. He never emerged from the locker room for a scheduled pregame throwing routine and won't be in uniform Monday night.

What Favre did from 1992 until 2009 proved him to be one of the toughest men to play the most brutal game in American sports history. What he has done this season has mostly been sad and at times tough to watch.

Age caught up to Favre this season in a hurry. He has been a stationary target since the moment he began practicing in August, limited by a half-dozen ailments that all contributed to his decline. His 69.6 passer rating is by far the worst of his career, and while there are no statistics to prove it, I would suggest Favre has absorbed a higher number of brutal hits than in any other season.

Favre, of course, was too proud to take a seat on his own or speed up his retirement plan. And the Vikings, who begged him to play this season and guaranteed him $16 million, would never have considered benching him.

So this injury came at a time of convenience for the team and should be a relief to Favre. He said last month that the streak “probably should have ended a long time ago.”

I’m not sure about that, but it definitely needed to end now. The point has long since been proved. It was time for Brett Favre to rest. Mercy.