By the third quarter, Minnesota coach Brad Childress had enough of Favre taking shots, and despite the Vikings clinging to a tenuous 7-6 lead, tried to pull his QB from the contest. That, of course, did not go over well with Favre.
"Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it," Favre said after the game, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "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."
"We were having a conversation about how the game was heading at that point in time and what we needed to do to head it the other way," Childress said.
Even with that said, it's hard to imagine Childress was thinking about creating some ill-timed, unnecessary quarterback controversy between Favre and Tarvaris Jackson so much as he was trying to protect Favre.
And while the timing was a bit odd in this case, it's hard to blame Childress. Favre's numbers have fallen off in the past three games, when he's thrown just three TDs to four interceptions and not recorded a QB rating over 80. That no doubt lends ammunition to the folks who think Favre, 40, is bound to wear down over the course of an NFL season -- an argument supported by his shoulder injury and subsequent struggles down the stretch with the Jets in 2008.
But beyond that, there's no real need for Childress to risk Favre, or any of his star players, if he feels they're taking too much of a beating. Minnesota locked up the NFC North on Sunday afternoon when Green Bay lost to Pittsburgh, and the VIkings are locked in somewhere between the No. 1 and No. 3 seed in the playoffs. So keeping Favre in good shape for the postseason should be a top priority.
The Star-Tribune reports that this wasn't the first time Childress tried to pull Favre extremely early during a win -- evidently, Childress also tried to get Favre out during Minnesota's 27-10 win over Detroit on Nov. 15, but Favre refused.
"I could sense we were struggling, and there were a lot of reasons for that, and I've got no problem taking that on my shoulders," Favre said Sunday. "That's what I'm here for.
"But in no way being up 7-6 and being banged around a little bit, would I consider coming out. I don't even know if I would consider that being down 70-6. But winning the ballgame. I don't know. ... But believe me, I wanted to get something going, I wanted to score points. I don't know the answer to that question of what his reasonings were."
Childress doesn't need a situation with Favre as the regular season winds down. It's doubtful this snowballs and becomes a huge issue, but it's one worth watching -- especially if Childress tried to make the move because he's worried about Favre's health.