Maybe the Jets would've made the playoffs had Favre rested his torn biceps tendon. Instead, he threw two touchdowns and nine interceptions over the Jets' final five games, and they plummeted from 8-3 to out of the playoffs.
Favre is particularly haggard now. The Minnesota Vikings quarterback is in a walking boot because of a broken ankle that might prevent him from playing Sunday against the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium.
His legendary streak very well could be snapped at 291 games, 315 counting the playoffs.
"I'm very proud of the streak, but it probably should have ended a long time ago," Favre told reporters Wednesday at the Vikings' facility. "Numerous injuries ... The only reason I would want to play, I don't want to go out there for one play. I don't want to go out there for three plays. If I'm able to play, I want to play the whole game and give us a chance to win.
"I know it makes for good TV, talking about the streak and will it end. 'Will this be the injury that stops him?' or whatever. Whether it ends this week or it ends at the end of the year, it ends, and I will always be proud of it. In the game of football, every week, it's a crapshoot with injuries, and I've been able to overcome a lot of injuries."
Meanwhile, in Berea, Ohio, Eric Mangini is grumbling.
The Patriots are preparing as though Favre will play, but they're mindful backup Tarvaris Jackson is a different type of quarterback.
"We've got to be ready for all those guys, whether they are the guy listed first on the depth chart or not," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "If they're on the 45-man roster, or even if they're on the practice squad, they can easily be elevated up to the roster and play against you. So you better know who they are."
The Vikings haven't made any revelations about Favre's status for Sunday. He spoke about always being a fast healer throughout his career and playing through injuries others wouldn't have attempted. Favre also said playing a quarter and a half after suffering the ankle injury bolsters his hope for New England.
Favre admitted he either has a freakishly high pain tolerance, "or I'm just completely a knucklehead, which a lot of people would probably agree with that anyway. My dad was always my baseball and football coach, and I was no different than most kids. You fall down. You start crying. You want attention. I never got it from him. It was, 'You're not hurt,' and 99 percent of the time he was right."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who missed almost the entire 2008 season with a blown out knee, marveled at Favre's streak.
"It's phenomenal," Brady said. "I mean, it's unbelievable. I know how I feel after every game on Monday morning and trying to get up for a week of practice. You take a lot of pride being out there. And I've said before that a quarterback can't go out there and block or tackle or really display any toughness other than showing up every week.
"What he's done over the course of his career is remarkable. It's not like he hasn't gotten hit. You watch him play, and he plays a style of football where he does get hit. He is as tough a player that there's ever been."