At least now we know who wears the pants in the Minnesota Vikings organization. And it sure isn’t Brad Childress.
In a “heated discussion” rivaling any soap opera or made-for-TV movie, quarterback Brett Favre pulled the diva card Sunday night and refused to come out of Minnesota’s game at the Carolina Panthers after Chilly tried to bench him early in the third quarter. The Queens were still leading 7-6, but the offensive line couldn’t contain Julius Peppers and Favre had been knocked around like a rag doll much of the game.
Television footage showed the two in an animated discussion, and Favre let Chilly and the media know he wasn’t happy about what had occurred.
“Brad wanted to go in a different direction. And I wanted to stay in the game,” Favre said. “Yeah, it’s not 70-6, but we were up 7-6. I said I’m staying in the game. I’m playing.”
True to his pussy-footed nature, Chilly called the exchange a “stream of consciousness” and said he was more concerned about the hits Favre was taking than the 40-year-old quarterback’s god awful performance – the second such performance in December, in case you were wondering.
“It was more of a stream of consciousness,” Childress said, “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, [Favre was] getting [his] rear end kicked through not a lot of fault of his own.
“As I’m watching that and as I’m watching that occur, I’m giving him a stream of consciousness,” Childress added. “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.”
Clearly there was a disagreement over what was going on in the game. And that’s fine. Coaches and quarterbacks have been arguing over game strategy since the game’s beginnings, but rarely does a player trump a coach when it comes to personnel decisions.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio put it best in his “Morning Aftermath” piece, characterizing Childress as “Dr. Frankenchilly” and Favre as the monster he created who is now turning on his master.
It’s hard to blame Brett for this, because anyone who has been following the NFL for the past several years realizes that Brett was just being Brett. But Chilly knew or should have known what he was getting himself into, and he knew or should have known that bringing Brett into the building means letting Brett do whatever he wants.
Though the experiment has gotten Chilly off the hot seat via a contract extension, this unwanted new dynamic will make it hard for Chilly to justify his new salary with a playoff win — and it makes Chilly generally look like a buffoon.
It’s hardly surprising that Favre pulled the prima donna card, and even less surprising that he’s rebuffed at least two other Chilly attempts to bench him this season, but the possible long-term repercussions will be interesting.
At the very least, Favre’s public tantrum (and his crap play thus far in December) could make his teammates question their graying quarterback’s durability. At the worst, as Pro Football Weekly suggests, it undermines Chilly’s authority as coach and sets a bad tone for the rest of the season with the playoffs approaching.
It’s a subtle, delicate thumbing of the nose, and if Favre can do it, the inmates also might believe they can run the asylum. Perspective is needed because Favre has put himself in a different category than most players. But it wouldn’t be insane to suggest that other Vikings noticed this exchange, saw who won and lost respect for their coach.
If he’s truly a “team player,” Favre needs to grow up and check his attitude at the broken, rusty ass MetroBarn door. Otherwise this could be seen as a benchmark in the Vikings’ late season decline.