Childress wanted Favre to come out

Updated: December 22, 2009, 3:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brett Favre didn't want to come out of Sunday's 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. He let Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress know about it. And after the game he let the media know about it.

Television footage showed Favre and Childress in an animated discussion on the sideline during the third quarter, while the Vikings were still leading 7-6. With the offensive line struggling to contain Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, Favre was getting hurried and knocked down.

Favre did not come out of the game. But in postgame comments, it was apparent he was not happy with what happened.

"Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it," Favre said of the exchange. "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."

Childress said in a Monday news conference that he approached Favre with a "stream of consciousness" idea about taking him out of the game because he was getting hit hard by Carolina's defense. He stopped short of saying he wanted to bench Favre for performance reasons, and said he didn't consider the discussion "heated."

"It was more of a stream of consciousness," Childress said, "where he comes off 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.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday reported that according to six members of the Vikings organization, Childress lit into the team's offense at halftime and privately let loose with an expletive-filled tirade toward Favre well after the game was over.

"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."

While Childress downplayed the exchange, a Twin Cities-area report citing team sources said that the Vikings coach was not happy with his team's performance on Sunday and made that known in no uncertain terms.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday that according to six members of the Vikings organization, Childress lit into the team's offense at halftime and privately let loose with an expletive-filled tirade toward Favre well after the game was over.

According to the report, at halftime Childress cussed out the Vikings' offense, which managed 66 net yards in the first half, and said it was "laughable" that they believe themselves to be Super Bowl contenders.

One player described the tirade as "entertaining," while another compared it to a parent lecturing a teenager, according to the report.

It was not the first time that Childress wanted to pull Favre from a game, but found the veteran quarterback not willing to step aside.

Sources tell ESPN that on Oct. 5, during a Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers that drew national attention for Favre's first game against his former team, Childress tried to pull Favre when he was unhappy about a decision the quarterback had made.

The Vikings had a 30-20 lead and were running their four-minute offense. The Packers were out of timeouts, and the Vikings called a run play on third-and-10 with 3:27 left. Favre changed the play at the line of scrimmage and took a shot downfield that fell incomplete, stopping the clock.

Childress was furious and told offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell that he was taking Favre out of the game, sources told ESPN. Bevell talked Childress out of it, but news got back to Favre that Childress was going to pull him.

That week, sources said, Favre went into Childress' office and confronted him and Childress backtracked, saying that it was the emotion of the game and the coach didn't want to get too far away from what they were doing offensively.

On Nov. 15, Favre was taken out of a game against Detroit, with a little more than five minutes remaining and the Vikings up 27-10. Childress tried to smooth the situation over by joking about pulling Favre, but he was not amused, sources told ESPN.

Favre has been pulled early from six games this season, usually when the Vikings (11-3) had a big lead late.

In comments Sunday after the game against the Panthers, Favre was vague about whether Childress' motivation was to prevent him from getting hurt or to try to spark an offense that had been able to put only seven points on the board.

"We were up 7-6. Yeah, it's not 70-6, but we're up 7-6," Favre added. "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, who downplayed the exchange after the game, on Monday characterized the discussion with Favre as "back and forth" fueled by the emotion of the game.

"You guys can characterize it as heated. There was pretty good communication going on back and forth. I didn't see it as heated," Childress said. "I didn't see it as any different from the conversation that I had with him at Arizona after the game by his locker. 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."

"We were just having a good conversation about the game was heading at that point and time," Childress added. "And what we needed to do to head the other way."

Favre, whose play this season has helped Minnesota clinch back-to-back division titles for the first time since 1977-78, was 17-of-27 for 224 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception on Sunday. The Vikings managed only 10 first downs and went 1-for-10 on third-down conversions.

ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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