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Favre is inactive; streak ends at 297

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre arrives at Ford

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre arrives at Ford Field before their game against the New York Giants in Detroit, Monday. (Dec. 13, 2010) Credit: AP

DETROIT - It ended with a whimper - not on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field or in his adopted home in a Minnesota dome, but in this less glamorous NFC North outpost before an audience that got in for free.

Still, when it was announced before last night's relocated Giants-Vikings game at Ford Field that Brett Favre would not play, the historic implications hit home despite the peculiar circumstances.

For the first time since Sept. 27, 1992, Favre, 41, did not start at quarterback, ending a streak of 297 regular-season games - 321, including the playoffs - for the Packers, Jets and Vikings.

It was the longest such streak in NFL history, far ahead of Peyton Manning's 205. Eli Manning started his 100th in a row for the Giants last night; that's now the second-longest active streak after his brother's.

There had been increasing signs leading up to the game that Favre would be unable to overcome the sprained SC joint near his right shoulder, suffered on a tackle by the Bills' Arthur Moats Dec. 5.

But coach Leslie Frazier refused to concede, listing Favre as doubtful - perhaps to confuse the Giants, perhaps because of Favre's history of playing through injuries.

Even an extra 18 hours of rest after Sunday's postponement was not enough. Tarvaris Jackson started in Favre's place.

Favre had suffered through a variety of maladies in 2010, a season of huge disappointment after he played well in '09 and was coaxed out of retirement one last time.

Now he might have played his final game, and presumably will have done so if the Vikings decide to put him on injured reserve before their final three games.

Favre unsuccessfully tried to throw in practice last week, making last night's decision inevitable.

Favre watched from the sideline, wearing a black Vikings T-shirt and a purple Vikings hat.

Favre has had a poor season on and off the field. He leads the NFL with 18 interceptions and is the subject of an ongoing NFL investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate text messages to a fellow Jets employee in 2008.

The streak began when Favre replaced injured Packers quarterback Don Majkowski, and went on to become the football equivalent of Cal Ripken's streak of 2,632 consecutive baseball games.

Ripken issued a statement saying, "As a football fan, I cannot fathom his accomplishment, and I appreciate his dedication to and passion for the game.''

Lou Gehrig, Ripken's predecessor as baseball's iron man, ended his then-record games-played streak of 2,130 in Detroit in 1939.

Favre has tested the patience of fans in recent years with his waffling over retirement, but there is no denying the magnitude of his historic achievement.

It must have been historic, because within minutes of the announcement, Favre's website was taking orders for signed footballs inscribed "297 starts, 1992-2010,'' priced at $499.99 apiece.

New York Sports