Peter King talked to then-Vikings QB Brett Favre on Friday evening to get his opinions on the Saints’ Bounty Program (considering he was one of their main targets)
I caught Favre at the end of a day planting soybeans on his ranch in southern Mississippi Friday. The story had broken two hours earlier, and his cell phone kept vibrating. That’s how he knew something was up. When I told him the extent of it, and the Vilma story, I waited for his reaction. “Hmmmm,” he said, and paused. “That’s about it.”
With Favre, the reaction is rarely three words long. “I’m not pissed,” he said. “It’s football. I don’t think anything less of those guys. I would have loved to play with Vilma. Hell of a player. I’ve got a lot of respect for Gregg Williams. He’s a great coach. I’m not going to make a big deal about it. In all honesty, there’s a bounty of some kind on you on every play. Now, in that game there were some plays that, I don’t want to say were odd, but I’d throw the ball and whack, on every play. Hand it off, whack. Over and over. Some were so blatant. I hand the ball to Percy Harvin early and got drilled right in the chin. They flagged that one at least.
“I’ve always been friends with Darren Sharper, and he came in a couple times and popped me hard. I remember saying, ‘What THE hell you doing, Sharp?’ I felt there should have been more calls against the Saints. I thought some of their guys should have been fined more.”
As for the story finally seeing the light of day, Favre said: “Now the truth comes out. That’s good. But that’s football. The only thing that really pisses me off about the whole thing is we lost the game. That’s the thing about that day that still bothers me. And that’s the way it goes. If they wanted me to testify in court about this, they’d be calling the wrong guy.”
Favre has been nothing but 100% honest when he is dealing with the media. He never tries to sugarcoat things. Which makes his statement bizarre (although, admitting it was anything other than “just football” might soften his “tough guy” image), considering his actions in the Saints-Vikings 2010 season opener state he had ill feelings toward something.
The Favre dynamic in all of this is interesting.
Childress made it clear the summer after the loss in the NFC title game that he felt the Saints had tried to injure Favre.
It was hard to believe that the high-low hit delivered by Bobby McCray and current Viking Remi Ayodele in the third quarter was anything but the Saints’ version of a Malachi Crunch, but we now come to find out that that hit was simply the most effective.
Favre was left writhing in pain on the ground and while he continued to play, he went from being pretty immobile to completely immobile.
Favre talked to King on Friday night and, in typical Favre fashion, downplayed what happened that day as being part of football.
But it’s now interesting to recall that on the night of Sept. 9, 2010, the Vikings opened the NFL’s regular-season on a Thursday night in the Superdome in a rematch of the conference title game.
The threat of a lockout following the season remained – months later it would happen – and, as a result, almost every player on both the Vikings and Saints stepped onto the playing field and held a finger in the air to express their solidarity as a member of the players’ union.
One player ignored it at all.
Standing on the sideline with his back turned was Favre.
At the time it seemed odd. Perhaps it was caused by the fact that Favre almost certainly knew he was in his last season and would not be impacted by a work stoppage.
Friday night, Favre’s decision not to acknowledge the Saints made far more sense. As random as Favre’s actions could seem at times, he rarely said or did anything without there being a purpose for it.
Favre knew exactly what the Saints were trying to do to him on that January day and while he has no intention of giving them the satisfaction of speaking out, and thus admitting their grand plan worked and led to a Super Bowl championship, he wasn’t about to join them in any act of solidarity.
People at the time though Favre was just being an ignorant guy. In reality though, did he knew the Saints had a “knock Brett out of the game” gameplan? Maybe his anti-unity stance wasn’t against the league, but against the guys across the field from him. He spent 2 decades in the NFL thinking that the NFL players were all brothers, but what the Saints did to him in the NFC Championship game was all but brotherly.
Another dynamic from the offseason following the championship game was Vikings’ Visanthe Shaincoe vs. Saints’ Darren Sharper twitter feud.
The Saints’ destroyed Favre’s ankle in the Championship game, so his only hope of playing the following season to get revenge was to have off-season surgery. When word leaked out that he had gotten surgery, Sharper made known that come the season opener, Favre’s ankle would be his target:
Well y’all seen Brett had surgery on that ankle we got after in the championship game. Come Thursday night 1st game. X marks the spot.
— Darren Sharper (@sharper42) May 22, 2010
SAY WHAT!? Let’s just say Favre’s tightend Shank didn’t appreciate Sharper’s threat:
“That’s all good,” Shiancoe said. “But Sharper had surgery, too. And it was a knee. If ‘X’ marks the spot on Brett, I wonder what marks the spot on Sharper?”
So visanthe stankoe X marks the spot on me, how bout X marks the spot for how many catches and TDs you’ll have come Thursday night. X = zero
— Darren Sharper (@sharper42) May 28, 2010
Oh and you would be silly to think that it would end there.
Shank, along with a few other Vikings’ players, partook in a Military Fantasy Camp. And let’s just say Shank might have taken the “feud” a little too far? (I’m not going to post the picture because he did take it a little far, but look for yourself)
Sharper kindly responded with another threat. They’d be silly to stop threatening each other!
Imma bust you right under your chinstrap from the first play on. I don’t care about the fine. F the money Imma do it for the red,white&blue
— Darren Sharper (@sharper42) June 2, 2010
The best part: Sharper was making all these “threats” and couldn’t even back it up. He missed the opener due to his knee surgery.
Once the season finally began, the Saints threw a knock out punch to the Vikings and defeated them in the opener and the Vikings never recovered. Favre was never the same after the blows he took in the Championship game. So the bounty might not have knocked Favre completely out of the Championship game, but it did knock Favre from being the same quaterback the following year.