Viewers nationwide tuned in on Sunday for a day a football, and instead it looked like an episode of M*A*S*H broke out.
It seemed as though left and right aging veterans were falling by the wayside one-by-one.
First, there was Brett Favre, who was carted off the field in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots in a position that conjured ideas that a hearse was a more appropriate vehicle than a Bobcat. The formerly ageless wonder suffered a second straight painful week, compounding his existing ankle injury with ailments to his throwing arm and a gash under his chin.
Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, Donovan McNabb sudden lack of physical fitness saw him on the bench in crunch time. McNabb’s difficulty, which in the last 72 hours has vacillated between a lack of understanding of the two-minute offense, a poor performance in the offense in general, and the possibility that he’s just not as spry in as good of “cardiovascular” health as he used to be, nevertheless sent Rex Grossman in to mind the store in the final moments of the Skins’ loss to that juggernaut of a Detroit team.
Between those two illustrious performances—plus the four-interception performance of 38-year-old Jon Kitna (and calling him “rusty” is being generous)—it looked like a weekend in which plenty of quarterbacks needed to be put out to pasture.
It’s an amazing example of the longevity that comes with the ability to throw a 20-yard out pass. Mark Brunell’s still making a paycheck on it despite being on the downside of 40. Dave Kreig milked 19 years out of it. Brad Johnson, Gus Ferrotte, and Kerry Collins all turned it into starting jobs after age 37.
They’re almost like left-handed relievers in baseball (I’m contractually obligated to get at least two Dan Plesac references and one Jesse Orosco in every month).
The only difference is that most teams in Major League Baseball don’t pay their seventh inning lefty specialist the second or third highest salary on the team.
Longevity, an all-too-scarce quality in the league, is certainly revered beyond most other traits. But at some point, enough is enough guys.