NFL: Childress says he did not see Favre as defiant
By Judd Zulgad
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Damage control was the name of the game Monday at Winter Park.
A day after Brad Childress’ failed attempt to bench Brett Favre in the third quarter of what became a 26-7 loss at Carolina, the Vikings coach said he did not feel the quarterback had been defiant in refusing to leave a game the Vikings led 7-6 at the time.
“Not at all,” Childress said. “It was something that was talked through. I wish I could remember how it finished. It wasn’t a, ’So there.’ It wasn’t like that.”
Nonetheless, a few more pieces of information about what led up to Sunday’s events left legitimate questions about where things stand between Childress and the future Hall of Famer he worked so hard to sign this offseason.
It turns out Sunday wasn’t the first time Childress had wanted to replace Favre during a game because he wasn’t pleased with his performance or decisions.
Childress wanted to put in Tarvaris Jackson in the second quarter of the 27-10 victory over Detroit on Nov. 15 at the Metrodome, according to people with knowledge of the situation. ESPN reported Childress also wanted to lift Favre in the fourth quarter of both victories over Green Bay this season because he changed run plays into passes.
In all three cases, Childress was talked out of making the move by his assistant coaches. He declined to comment Monday on if he had previously wanted to switch to Jackson.
Also, Childress was livid with Favre on Sunday after the frustrated 19-year veteran elected to share with the media what had transpired on the sideline, including the fact he told Childress he would not come out. According to sources, Childress confronted Favre in the locker-room area to express his displeasure. But by Monday, Childress had calmed down and was trying to put a different spin on things.
“It was more of a stream of consciousness, where he comes of the field, I’m watching what I’m watching, and I said, ’Hey, you know what? I’m thinking about taking you out of the game here. I mean, you’re getting your rear end kicked’ through not a lot of fault of his own,” Childress said of his thought process. “As I’m watching that and as I’m watching that occur, I’m giving him a stream of consciousness. Obviously, he didn’t want anything to do with that, which I certainly appreciate from his standpoint. From any quarterback. He wasn’t like, ’OK, let me get my hat on.’ That wasn’t in his makeup.”
Childress could not be blamed for taking a less confrontational approach publicly. The Vikings (11-3) have clinched the NFC North title and hold a one-game lead on Philadelphia for the No. 2 seed in the conference, which comes with a first-round bye in the playoffs. Nonetheless, they have lost two of three, and both defeats were one-sided losses that came on the road before national television audiences.
Favre, along with the rest of his teammates, has cooled in December. He had thrown 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions entering the month but has four picks and three TDs in a victory over the Bengals and losses at Arizona and Carolina. He completed 17 of 27 passes for 224 yards with no TDs, an interception and a 73.7 passer rating Sunday. He also was sacked four times as the Vikings offensive line did a poor job of protecting him.
The issues between Favre and Childress came to light Sunday partially because NBC’s cameras had a brief shot of Childress clutching Favre’s arm and him seeming to react in a negative manner. “You guys can characterize it as heated,” Childress said. “There was pretty good communication going on back and forth. I didn’t see it as a heated. I didn’t see it as any different from the conversation that I had with him at Arizona after the game by his locker ⁄Dec. 6‹. There was a back and forth of information and feelings.
“This game is an emotional game, particularly when you’re right in the middle of it. So I appreciate his wanting to stick to it. I know that people talk about pulling the quarterback. We’re not talking about maiming the quarterback. It’s what happens with quarterbacks. They play, they come out, they stay in. So, that’s what it is.”
Asked if he approached Favre with the option for him to leave the game, Childress said: “I don’t know if I knew at the time what I thought was going to happen from that. I wasn’t looking for a, ’Are you looking to get out? Are you looking to stay in?’
“It was a stream of consciousness. It was the thought that I was having at the time. Usually children do that. They give you the straight stream of consciousness all the time, appropriate or inappropriate. Mine was more communicative. It was to stimulate some dialogue. I wasn’t trying to get a goat. I was just telling him what I was seeing.”