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.
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.