Favre was Bountygate's ultimate victim

Brett Favre (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)

Despite playing another season after getting beaten up in the NFC Championship, Brett Favre's career – at least his effectiveness – essentially ended after the Saints targeted their bounty.

With Peyton Manning and pending free agency hogging the headlines and the NCAA men's basketball bracket starting to reduce work productivity to a crawl, the New Orleans Saints bounty story has been pushed back in the consciousness of sports fans. But you can bet it is still front and center with Commissioner Roger Goodell and those about to mete out punishment.

One of the questions with the pay-for-pain program that was in place in New Orleans is whether or not their plan resulted in the end of Brett Favre's career.

The historical record says it didn't. Favre played one more season following the beating he endured at the Superdome in the early evening hours on a warm January night in New Orleans. But if one looks realistically at the circumstances, Favre's career did end that night.

When Favre came to the Vikings in 2009, he was enthusiastic about doing so. He had an operation on his biceps tendon to allow him to play. The surgery was a success and Favre was eager to get on the field and prove his detractors wrong. In 2010, it was a completely different story.

Few sights were as grim as Favre's long, slow limping walk into the shower after the loss to the Saints. His ankle was horribly swollen, but it would get worse. Much worse.

A little more than a week after that game, photos surfaced of Favre's ankle and hamstring – both of which were a hideous rainbow of purple, blue, brown, red and yellow. He was beaten beyond recognition and the evidence was readily apparent in the photos. It was a painful end to his season and he was never the same after.

Favre had surgery to get him ready for the 2010 season, but he said he needed to feel 100 percent before he would come back. He never did get there, but eventually returned anyways. Everyone believed Favre would mysteriously show up as he had done before, but it took a near kidnapping. In order to get Favre to come back to Minnesota to play, veterans Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and Ryan Longwell had to essentially do a Seal Team 6 extrication of Favre from his home in Mississippi back to Winter Park.

As Favre would say when he landed and was swarmed by the local media, he didn't want to let his teammates down. He was willing to stay retired and didn't believe he had yet healed from his injuries. His play reflected that feeling. His ankle was never fully healthy and he was subjected to beatings from 2010 opponents because of immobility sustained due to injuries in the NFC Championship Game, when the Saints were on orders to shoot to kill.

The Saints didn't technically end Favre's career. Realistically they did. One has to wonder if Goodell and his investigators will take that into consideration before they bring the hammer down on the Saints. If you're looking for a victim of Bountygate, look no further than Favre.


  • The official Vikings stadium bill is expected to get introduced to the State Legislature today. Back-room discussions have been debating the merits of using electronic pull tabs as a revenue source for the state's portion of stadium funding and it appears to still be the primary funding source that will be part of the official presentation of the bill.

  • Twice-former Viking Randy Moss is going to work out for the 49ers today. Given the need the Niners have and their track record of being able to control fellow volatile receiver Braylon Edwards, if things go as planned in the workout, don't be stunned to see the Niners move quickly to sign a deal with Moss.

  • The Peyton Manning U.S. Tour continued this weekend with a stop in Arizona, where Kevin Kolb is due a $7 million roster bonus at the end of the week that won't get paid out if the Cardinals can sign Manning. While Arizona and Denver both remain frontrunners to sign Manning, the Chiefs and Seahawks announced that they are out of the Manning sweepstakes.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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