Why couldn’t you have just scrambled for a few yards and let your old pal Ryan Longwell seal the deal, Brett? I mean, come on, even Troy Aikman saw all that room you had down the sideline! Didn’t your Pop Warner coach tell you never to throw across your body on the run?!

Thank the football gods I’m not a Vikings fan, or I might have decided to spend the next 800 words just ranting about Brett Favre’s second boneheaded, late-game, Super-Bowl-chances-killing interception in three years. For the sake of all involved, that is not going to happen.

Instead, I’m going to plead for Mr. Who-Needs-Training-Camp to come back for another year and play for the Vikings in 2010.

Yep. I want more Brett Favre. Don’t you?

Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re still bitter and think Favre’s interception in the last minute of the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game this past Sunday was karma – deserved suffering in retribution for the pain and agony all of us went through as we listened to Ed Werder, Rachel Nichols and our mothers talk all summer about whether the recently re-retired quarterback would emerge from the depths of Gulfport, Miss., yet again to toss the pigskin to guys in ugly purple uniforms.

I don’t blame you if you do. I was as annoyed as anyone when Favre finally decided it was convenient for him to take a private jet directly to Brad Childress’s Escalade in Minnesota and slap a captain’s patch on his chest – post-training-camp, post-first preseason game. Frankly, even John Madden might have loved Brett Favre a little less that day.

But then, something strange happened that changed everything. The games came, Favre changed out of his Wranglers and into his tights, and he played like Peyton Manning on steroids. The man set new career records in completion percentage (68.4), yards per attempt (7.9) and quarterback rating (107.2) for a single season, the last of which he crushed by more than seven full points.

Most impressively, he threw just seven interceptions – six fewer than his previous best of 13, which he totaled way back in 1996 as a spry 27-year-old. Basically, Brett Favre, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, played his best regular season ever at age 40, all while extending his NFL-record streak of consecutive starts to a ridiculous 285 straight games. Not too shabby.

As a fan of the game, to respect what Favre did this year is the least you can do. But now that the Saints have eliminated him and the Vikings from the playoffs, any discussion of No. 4 must inevitably center on whether Saints cornerback Tracy Porter’s interception of Favre on Sunday will be the last throw the sure fire Hall-of-Famer ever makes as a pro. Will he really call it quits this time, cross his heart and promise never to come back?

From this fan’s perspective, I genuinely hope he doesn’t. In all honesty, I was rooting somewhere deep inside for Favre to pull out the upset in New Orleans, make it back to the Super Bowl and ride off into the Miami sunset holding the Lombardi Trophy. I never would have believed that my feelings about Favre would change so much from August to January, but the gun-slinger won me over.

After a so-so year with the New York Jets in 2008, he somehow managed to prep for a 19th grueling NFL season in three short weeks after having surgery on his throwing shoulder, and he played better than even he could have imagined for the entirety of 2009, right up to the final play. He is the ultimate gamer and one of the toughest guys ever to put on pads, and his latest accomplishments in Minnesota ought to overwhelm any grudge that fans hold against him for unnecessarily dragging out his comebacks the last two summers.

When you play like Brett Favre did this season, you really should be allowed to do whatever you want.

And you can be sure, he will do whatever he wants with regard to this third round of possible retirement, and he will do so when he wants. He always has. But let him, and let him do it in peace.

He’s Brett Favre. He’s earned it, and every football fan should be rooting for him to play again in 2010. Love him or hate him, he’s exciting to watch, the girls think he’s good-looking and he’s at the top of his game. The numbers are there to prove it.

So Brett, please don’t go. Not now. Not when you’ve just finished the greatest statistical year of your career. Not when you’ve made everyone at ESPN eat their words and come within one mistake of the Super Bowl. Not when you still have the chance to make it right next season.

Brad Childress won’t care how long it takes, how many two-a-days you miss, or even how many preseason games you watch from your couch in Mississippi. Just come back. Heck, show up the day before week one and ask for full control over play-calling and audibles – really, he won’t mind.

And even if others say they do, they really don’t, because anyone who is honest with themselves knows that the NFL is better with Brett Favre in it.

Connor Gregoire is a freshman in the College. For Love of the Game appears in every other Friday edition of Hoya Sports.”

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