Record-breaking quarter-back Brett Favre sat out the final game of what he has called his last NFL season on Sunday and then said he knew it finally was time to walk away.
After watching from the sidelines with the lingering effects of a concussion while his Minnesota Vikings ended a disappointing season with a 20-13 loss to the Detroit Lions, Favre suggested the risk of injury was a factor in his decision.
"If you just talked about head injuries, and there's been lots of discussion on that this year, it wouldn't be worth it anyway. But it's time. I know it's time. And that's OK. It is," Favre said.
The 41-year-old quarter-back has come out of retirement twice before, but after 20 seasons in the NFL, the career record-holder in nearly every major statistical category for passing said he could walk away with his head held high.
"I hold no regrets, and I can't think of too many players off hand that can walk away and say that," Favre added.
Elsewhere, Indianapolis Colts clinched their place in the NFL play-offs with a 23-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes to help secure a third straight victory.
A 34-17 defeat against the Houston Texans ended the play-off hopes of Jacksonville Jaguars, who needed to win and for Indianapolis to lose to make the post-season, but Arian Foster exposed a shaky defence, scoring two touchdowns.
The Green Bay Packers claimed the NFC's last wild-card berth with a 10-3 success over the Chicago Bears, Aaron Rodgers providing the vital touchdown pass to Donald Lee in the fourth quarter.
Victory for the Packers meant the New York Giants missed out on a play-off place despite beating the Washington Redskins 17-14.
Jason Witten touched down with less than a minute remaining as the Dallas Cowboys sneaked past the Philadelphia Eagles 14-13.
And the San Diego Chargers were 33-28 winners over the Denver Broncos, with Ryan Mathews contributing three scores. The Seattle Seahawks halted a three-game losing streak to see off the St Louis Rams 16-6 and become the NFC West champions.
Pittsburgh ended the season top of the AFC North, with Ben Roethlisberger throwing two touchdown passes in a 41-9 win over Cleveland. Tampa Bay kept their part of the bargain in a bid to qualify for the play-offs as they beat New Orleans 23-13, but because the Giants and Packers won later, those dreams were ended.
Wildcard Weekend Schedule
Saturday: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks, 9.30.
Sunday: NY Jets at Indianapolis Colts, 1.0am; Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, 6.0; Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles, 9.30.