Liotta: Favre’s botched throw stirs up painful memories 

With a week to stew until the Super Bowl, I think it’s fair to say that what could be the last pass of Brett Favre’s career ought to rank among the stupidest throws of that career. An elementary mistake, one that coaches tell rookies time and time again to never, ever, ever make.

And there was a Hall of Famer ending his career committing a Cardinal sin of quarterbacking. For a week, Packers fans have been taunting Vikings fans with “Welcome to what we’ve had to live with all those years.”

Give Favre all the credit in the world for enduring what was one of the most physical beatings an NFL quarterback has ever taken. And he was still standing when it was all over.

While this year’s Vikings season may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime football experience, longtime Niners fans lived through something very, very similar.

All year long, Vikings fans dealt with the critics questioning Favre’s tendency to make the stupid throw at the worst possible moment. Would Favre’s recklessness be their inevitable undoing?

Well, the 1990-91 season saw the 49ers, who went 14-2, endure critics constantly harping on the team’s penchant for fumbling the football as a weakness. Would that flaw be their inevitable undoing?

Well, the Vikings reached this year’s championship game, and were seconds from Ryan Longwell taking a shot at a long field goal that he very well might have made, only to see Favre make the mistake critics were waiting for. The Saints turned their one last chance into a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Well, the 1990-91 Niners reached the NFC championship game against the New York Giants, led 13-12 in the closing minutes, and were trying to run out the clock when Roger Craig fumbled with 2:36 remaining. The Giants turned one last chance into the game-winning, 42-yard field goal by Matt Bahr.

One other thing that came to mind last Sunday, for me, regarding Favre coming so close to reaching a stage never before graced by a 40-year-old quarterback. It’s been a tough year to root for old guys.

Favre’s failing finish felt very much like the 2009 British Open where 60-year-old Tom Watson led until the final hole, only to card a bogey and lose in a subsequent playoff to Stewart Cink.

Random thoughts
Bengie Molina calling the Giants’ proposed 2010 starting lineup “unbelieveable” is a bit extreme.

They do have veteran professionals at each of the first six positions in the batting order. The thing the Giants have to be counting on is that they won’t have to score as many runs in order to win with the pitching rotation they have.
Their margin of error is going to be razor thin.

- I’ve spent more time laughing at the Warriors this year than any year I can remember. I have nothing positive left to say about Don Nelson. And, yes, the final chapter of his career has soiled the whole Hall of Fame thing for me.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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