Favre’s tumultuous season gets worse
He has become a national punch line as an NFL investigation into alleged sexually-charged misconduct drags along. His wife was subject to questions about the situation during awkward television interviews. His surgically-repaired left ankle is a mess.
Could this past week get any worse for Brett Favre?
You had better believe it.
He was the goat in Minnesota’s 28-24 loss to Green Bay — the team that finally exorcised Favre’s ghost after parting ways with the quarterback two seasons ago. There are signs of a schism once again developing between Favre and Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who publicly made him the scapegoat of Sunday’s defeat because of three second-half interceptions.
And the one NFL record of which Favre is most proud — his streak of 291 consecutive starts — may very well end next Sunday at New England.
Favre limped throughout the second half after his leg was caught underneath Packers linebacker Brad Jones. Favre was even more addled after the game. He needed to use both rails to maneuver down three steps from the podium where his postgame news conference inside Lambeau Field was held. Favre admitted his physical condition will probably get even worse after he returns to Minnesota.
Asked whether he expects to start against the Patriots, Favre said, “Who knows? I hope I do. … If I can play but not be effective, it’s not worth playing. I hope I use good judgment. We’ll see. I’m no spring chicken any more. I don’t heal as quickly.
“I know my heart’s in the right place, though. I know I left it on the field.”
That is the most amazing part about Sunday’s performance. Despite his mistakes, Favre almost willed the Vikings to victory like he had often done in crunch time for 16 seasons in Green Bay. But a 35-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin in the back of the end zone with 48 seconds remaining was nullified when a video replay review revealed the wide receiver didn’t get both feet inbounds.
“Being in that situation, it seems like we’ve won a lot of those games,” said the 41-year-old Favre, referring to his penchant for last-minute heroics. “There’s probably a fear with whoever we’re playing against that we’re going to make that play like we did to Percy. But the reality is you don’t win too many of those situations.”
Favre — who couldn’t even leap during a premature touchdown celebration with teammates — kept firing away. It wasn’t until a fourth-down pass intended for Randy Moss sailed out of the end zone with 20 seconds left that Favre was finally finished.
“It’s devastating,” said Favre, who finished 16 of 29 passing for 212 yards. “I don’t know how else to put it. I take a lot of pride and ownership in all phases of the game. You’ve got the ball in your hand to win those. You just feel like you let everybody down.”
Childress’ postgame comments won’t make Favre feel any better. Rather than praise or even acknowledge his toughness under the circumstances, Childress instead lambasted Favre for his turnovers. The Packers turned two Favre interceptions on the opening drives of the third quarter into touchdowns, including what proved the game-deciding score on a 32-yard return by linebacker Desmond Bishop.
“It still goes back to taking care of the football,” said Childress, who also was furious with game officials for overturning what he contends was a second-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. “You can’t throw to (the opposition). You’ve got to play within the confines of our system. Sometimes it’s OK to punt the football. You can’t give seven points going the other way, not in a game like this against a high-powered team.”
Childress admits he thought about benching Favre after the Bishop interception before giving him one more series to rebound. Favre did just that, completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss that closed the score to 28-24.
Favre didn’t try to blame others for his miscues. Favre, though, did take a veiled swipe at Childress for saying he should have thrown to a wide-open Harvin on the other side of the field instead of aiming for Moss on the pass Bishop snared.
“When I looked at the picture on the sideline, Percy was wide open. I can’t disagree with him,” Favre said about his 32nd career interception returned for a touchdown. “But from my vantage point, you pick a side on certain plays. I wish I knew where everyone was going to be wide open. It sure would make my reads a lot easier.”
Nothing is easy lately for Favre or the Vikings (2-4).
“We take care of the football, those are our two wins,” said Childress, piling on Favre further. “We don’t take care of the football, those are our losses.”
Off the field, FOXSports.com NFL insider Jay Glazer reported Sunday that Favre admitted to NFL security that he left voicemails for New York Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger while both were employed by the New York Jets in 2008. Favre, though, reportedly denied that he sent photos of his genitalia to Sterger as claimed by Deadspin.com.
Favre, who has refused to answer media inquiries about the Sterger situation, wasn’t asked about Glazer’s report before a team official ended his news conference. Favre faces league sanctions if his past actions are ruled as being inappropriate.
Even if eventually cleared, the damage to Favre’s name is done. "Saturday Night Live" was the latest to have fun at his expense this weekend with a spoof commercial for Wrangler “Open-Fly” jeans.
Favre’s legacy would have remained intact had he stayed retired. The Sterger situation wouldn’t be receiving this much media attention. Favre wouldn’t be subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Football-wise, Favre could have forever crowed about having never let the Packers defeat him after topping Green Bay twice last season.
Instead, the magic from Favre’s stellar 2009 campaign is gone. And unless the Vikings quickly turn things around, Favre will be too once the regular-season ends.
If he even makes it that long.