Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks has a lot in common with National Football League quarterback Brett Favre. He is a championship winning quarterback, he is an icon in American football and has played in a number of consecutive games.
Heading into 2011 the West Bay native has played close to a decade in the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association national men’s league. He has been a crucial figure in the SPIN 94.9FM Hellcats run of five national titles in the last seven years. Throughout his career Ebanks has played every match, including those in the preseason and post-season. With seasons consisting of about 12 games plus the additional three-four contests that are outside of the regular season slate, Frecko has been in nearly 150 straight games.
One of the biggest differences that exist between Favre and his Cayman equivalent is that Ebanks still has his record going. Favre’s streak came to an end on Monday night when he was not in the starting line-up for the Minnesota Vikings against the New York Giants.
Until that point Favre, 41, had been in 297 straight games which equated to 18 straight years of playing through a variety of ailments.
Ebanks, 40, admits he was not familiar with Favre’s record being broken but he looked up to the storied hurler.
“I play the game and I don’t know much about what’s going on in the NFL now,” Ebanks said. “I don’t watch much as I prefer to play matches rather than watch them. Favre and Steve Young were the ones I looked up just from how they used to play. Young in particular was one of my personal icons because he was a strong player and he was tough. He ran to the play and not from it, he never backed down. With Favre I admired him for his toughness.”
To no surprise Favre’s squad lost their contest and slipped further down the path to futility. At 5-8 with two games left in the season all of the talk in Minnesota centres on Favre. Considering that the Vikings have only Tavaris Jackson and a rookie QB to take his place, Favre could have an impact on the state for a long time. Facing numbness ion his right hand Favre states his streak of consecutive starts came to an appropriate end.
“It’s probably been long overdue,” Favre said. “There’s probably been a lot of times the streak should have ended. I just couldn’t play. I’ve played with a lot of stuff. But this is something different that I’ve got to be more cautious of. I think it would be foolish to even consider playing if you don’t have total feeling in five fingers.”
For Favre his record was as much about personal glory and cementing his legacy as a commitment to the sport. Ebanks meanwhile states he simply felt an obligation to turn up.
“I’ve been playing for nine years, from time we were doing what was essentially a backyard league. I’m proud to say I started every game in that time. I never missed a game mainly because I couldn’t afford to miss one as I really had no back-up for a long time.”