Had enough of Favre? He’s not going anywhere

Can’t get enough of Brett Favre?

Apparently, neither can he.

It was tough enough watching Favre suck most of the oxygen out
of every offseason deciding whether he wanted to play. Now that
there’s nothing left to play for, instead of bowing out gracefully,
he’s determined to turn the rest of the season into a week-by-week
drama.

In the wake of the Vikings’ latest beating, this one at the
hands of the Green Bay Packers, Favre was asked about his
commitment to the rest of the season. It’s hard to see how things
could get much worse for a proud, 41-year-old quarterback who’s
always respected the game, which may be why he didn’t respond
directly.

The closest thing to an answer Favre could muster was, ”I’m
here, and we’re in this thing together.”

Maybe.

If Favre really wanted to do what’s best for the Vikings, he’d
ask coach Brad Childress to bench him for the final six games so
the long-delayed question of whether backup Tavaris Jackson is
capable of running the offense could be answered. It would be the
honorable thing to do, and give him a chance to mentor Jackson in
the bargain.

But he won’t. Favre seems determined to let Childress continue
to squirm.

”I’m just going to go home and … I don’t want to say ‘think’
about this game,” he said. ”Just re-evaluate tomorrow.”

Exactly what Favre had to re-evaluate is anyone’s guess. He said
in a recent interview that this – mercifully – was going to be his
last season. If so, it’s been an eventful one.

He’s the reason Childress’ job is hanging by a thread and still
hanging over his head is an NFL investigation into whether the
41-year-old quarterback sent lewd photos via cell phone to Jets
hostess Jenn Sterger while both worked for the club two years ago.
He couldn’t be more of a distraction if he tried.

Childress conceded he had no idea whether he would even be
around to sort out the matter. After last week’s loss to division
rival Chicago, Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf gave him a vote of
confidence. After this one, Wilf left the locker room without a
word about his coach’s future.

”I can’t really talk about that,” Childress said, ”because
that’s not my decision going forward.”

But he seemed certain about this much: Favre wasn’t going
anywhere.

”He’s always worked his craft,” the coach said. ”I don’t
think there’s any doubt that it will continue to work as we move
forward.”

Yet Sunday was really more about the past, a reminder that Favre
probably should have quit while he was ahead. He was outplayed by
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, whose development convinced the Packers
front office to finally ignore Favre’s annual retirement threat and
let him leave town. It seemed fitting, too, that Rodgers was the QB
in charge when the Vikings’ brief reign as the bullies of the NFC
North ground to a halt.

Even so, Packers fans must be tired of watching their team beat
their hated rivals twice in the span of a few weeks and still see
Favre hogging most of the attention. They began cheering ”Go Pack,
Go!” as the game wore on. When the Vikings, already trailing by
the 31-3 final score, failed to convert a third down three minutes
into the final quarter, Minnesota fans let their feelings be known
with chants of ”Fire Childress!”

Favre has built up so much goodwill over the course of his
career that only so much of the blame for the debacle in Minnesota
has fallen on his shoulders. He still has the players behind him,
if not all the fans. But if the next few weeks turn out as
disastrous as the rest of the season, that support will disappear
soon enough.

A few more interceptions, another sideline argument or two like
the one Favre had with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a pal
who’s functioned as the go-between for the quarterback and
Childress – any or all of those things could turn that sentiment
sour in a hurry. Sad as it is to see one of the best ever finish
his career on the sideline, it’s time to admit there’s nothing left
to gain.

Favre could play well in the remaining six games, but he’s got
nothing left to prove. More likely, given the trajectory he’s on,
the interceptions and losses will only pile up. And more attention
might be the last thing Favre needs.

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated
Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org