THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Favre’s ego downright frightening

If playing through injuries is the subject, Brett Favre doesn’t usually take a closed-mouth approach. If playing through injuries is the subject, Brett Favre doesn’t usually take a closed-mouth approach. (Andy King/Associated Press)
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / October 31, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — Where do we begin?

Our town just played host to the most spectacular and widely covered regular-season game in the 65-year history of the NBA, and today we get drama queen Brett Favre, Randy Moss, Brad Childress, and the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium against an invigorated Patriot team that shares the best record in the NFL.

On Halloween.

Tricks.

But for the most part . . . treats.

Be sure to wear your Moss mask. And don’t forget to watch the postgame handshake when Grinnin’ Bill Belichick presents the soft fish and the frozen smile to Childress, who invoked Spy gate in full fury just six days ago. The soundtrack for the Belichick-Childress summit should be “Positively Fourth Street.’’

Incredibly, the return of Moss is not the top story line today. This would have seemed impossible four weeks ago when Moss was abruptly shipped to the Vikings in our town’s single most astonishing personnel transaction since quitter Manny Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers in the summer of 2008. The first days after the Moss deal were shocking and polarizing. It was almost like when Bill Parcells divorced Bob Kraft. We were split into Moss camps and anti-Moss camps.

Three games later, the anti-Moss army has prevailed. Turns out the Patriots are one of the few teams to improve after shedding themselves of Hall of Fame talent (though it should be mentioned that Wes Welker’s catches are way down, and the Patriots offense managed to stay on the field for more than 10 plays in only two of their last 25 drives). Turns out that, once again, Belichick is smarter than your average Papa Bear Halas.

In his own humble words, Belichick was just “doing what’s best for our football team.’’

But enough about grudges and genius coaches and all-world wideouts. We need to remember that the most important thing about today, about every day, is insufferable glory hog Favre and his consecutive-game streak. If you don’t believe me, check out ESPN’s 24-7 candlelight vigil for Brett.

This past week, Favre pushed aside LeBron, A-Rod, Schill, Bill O’Reilly, and every evangelical barker who ever polluted the airwaves. He nudged the Fraud-o-Meter needle into the red zone. He made it about himself. Again. And the Worldwide Leader breathlessly inhaled every conceited crumb.

Finally, it is Sunday, and the big question is, “Will Brett play today, or will Childress go with the immortal Tarvaris Jackson and put a stop to football’s Iron Man Streak?’’ It’s a showdown of gargantuan proportions.

Nobody cares more than Brett, that’s for sure. Favre’s self-absorption borders on the pathological. He simply cannot live without the spotlight.

We’re all in agreement that Favre has set records that will never be broken. He has started 291 consecutive games (315 counting playoffs) and thrown 504 touchdown passes. He has been MVP and he has won a Super Bowl. Last year, at the age of 40, he threw for 4,202 yards with 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He is one tough hombre and he looks great in those jeans commercials.

But have you ever heard an NFL player talk more about his injuries? Drew Bledsoe threw touchdown passes with a piece of metal sticking out of his right index finger. Tom Brady played last year with broken ribs. They all do it. But none of the rest of them feel the need to tell us how tough they are.

The Patriots, as a rule, say nothing. If a player had an arm amputated, Belichick would not identify whether it was the right arm or left. There is no need to supply information that might help an opponent. The Patriots would prefer we observe the player and figure out for ourselves which arm is missing.

Favre, on the other hand, does everything but put his X-rays on the LED screen. He really wants us to know that he’s hurt, but, you know, he’s a quick healer and he can play with a lot of pain.

“I wouldn’t put anything past me, to be honest with you,’’ Favre said Thursday.

Gag me. Favre is no longer admirable nor honorable. He is needy and pathetic. He is a narcissist’s narcissist. He likes to build up these injuries to make his gutty comebacks all the more remarkable. As George Costanza said to George Steinbrenner, it’s “all for the glorification of your massive ego.’’

This week’s odious performance has been over the top even by Favre’s lofty standards (“Will it hurt? I’m sure it will’’). Sometimes wearing a walking boot, he has been limping around like Bill Buckner during the 1986 World Series. He has tendinitis in his throwing elbow, a stress fracture in his left ankle, and an avulsion fracture in the left heel. But somehow, gosh darn it, he’ll be out there today.

Unless Childress overrules.

Which is not bloody likely.

Favre is struggling mightily on the field. He already has thrown 10 interceptions, ranks 30th in NFL passer rating, and has been sacked 14 times. Oh, and let’s not forget that he’s the subject of a league investigation involving inappropriate voice messages, texts, and photos he sent to a Jets employee when he was with New York in 2008.

Bottom line on this big day: It’s all about Brett, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Halloween. If you see Brett Favre, say, “Boo.’’

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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