THE FLOOR NEXT TO GATE D-82 AT PITTSBURGH AIRPORT -- You never know what you’ll come across as you wait for your early-morning flight back to NFC North headquarters. For me, it was the stunning postgame words from Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre after the Vikings’ 26-7 loss at Carolina.
Asked about a heated sideline discussion with coach Brad Childress in the third quarter, captured live by NBC cameras, Favre said that Childress wanted to remove him from the game. Favre made clear he refused the assignment but was vague about whether it was a benching or to preserve his health for the playoffs.
(If you laugh at either possibility, consider that the Vikings had already benched left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who had struggled against Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers.) Here’s what Favre said, according to the Star Tribune:
“Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it. We were up 7-6 at the time. No secret, I was getting hit a little bit. I felt the pressure on a lot of plays. We had seven points. So I think everyone in the building was like, ‘They’re not moving the ball, they’re not getting points.’ Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game.
“We were up 7-6. Yeah, it’s not 70-6, but we’re up 7-6. So I said, ‘I’m staying in the game, I’m playing.’ I don’t know if it was exactly to protect me, or we had seven points, I’m not sure. That’s his call. But we talked it out. We didn’t have time, I didn’t have time to sit there and say why or what. My response was, we’ve got to win this ballgame and I want to stay in and do whatever I can. Now, unfortunately, I didn’t do that, but that was my intention."
Childress wasn’t nearly that expansive, so we don’t know if he actually thought that backup Tarvaris Jackson would give his team a better chance to win. I have a hard time believing that was the case. If it was, then Childress should hand back his recent contract extension immediately.
The Vikings had clinched the NFC North based on Green Bay’s earlier loss at Pittsburgh, reducing the significance of Sunday night’s game. You can only assume this was a clumsy attempt to protect a playoff-bound team's quarterback from the Panthers' pass rush.
At the very least, Favre was at his manipulative best in revealing that he refused Childress’ request/demand/assignment. That’s how Favre lets you know who is in charge. Childress is scheduled to speak Monday at the Vikings’ practice facility, and I have a feeling the NFC North blog will be there.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Receiver Percy Harvin played Sunday despite lingering migraine symptoms and a bulging disc in his back, notes the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Green Bay’s loss was sickening, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Mason Crosby’s missed 34-yard field goal proved significant, according to Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers rebounded from a sluggish start, writes Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee.
Chicago is at its lowest point in a decade after Sunday’s loss at Baltimore, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Jokingly, Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune asked former Bears defensive end Richard Dent if he could still help the Bears.
Detroit safety Louis Delmas screamed at reporters after the Lions’ latest loss. Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press has more.
Quarterback Drew Stanton deserves a chance, writes Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.