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.''
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