Favre spoke openly on several topics, giving his typically long answers to relatively short, open-ended questions. One thing he seemingly has had the hardest time getting past was the loss to the Saints. He talked about it following the season. He reiterated it again when he came back to the Vikings. And, when he was asked about it by the Madden crew, it would seem clear that he still has a hard time justifying in his head how the Vikings lost to the Saints.
"The obvious thing that jumps out at you is, boy, we had every chance to win that football game," Favre said. "Super Bowls don't come around too often for a player or for a team, nor do championship games. As long as I've played in this league I've only had a handful of opportunities. More than anything else, I've watched that game (and) there's a lot of really good things that happened. As I'm watching it, I'm going, ‘We're going to win this football game.' And, of course, that wasn't the case, but, from a scheme standpoint when you watch it, they played the same way they always do."
The inevitable question of his perception among fans was brought up, which Favre answered admirably. The truth of the matter is that, in a recent poll of fans, Favre was voted the most popular player. When Favre plays on national TV, records follow.
However, it's the media perception of Favre and his on-again, off-again retirements have become the buzz of the offseason the last few years. Given a chance to set the record straight, Favre finally fired his own shot across the bow that he didn't ask for the attention and the Woodstock that took place outside his home during the summer.
"First and foremost, today's game, today's society, it's a media frenzy world and nothing goes untouched or un-talked about," Favre said. "I quietly – I thought quietly – this offseason tried to make my decision. I had surgery. Of course, once we got months before camp, the media started camping out at the gate. I never asked them to come. I never asked them to talk about it. Quarterbacks just in general, if you think about it, over the years get way too much glory, get way too much blame, get way too much attention. That's the way it is. I'm content with where I am. I want to make the right decision. I know making the decision period is the most important thing. And I've said that to Al Michaels and I've said to other people that I don't want to fail. And that's just being honest. As much success as I've had over my career, none of that has anything to do with what I do this year, what I did last year, and so on and so forth. I want to make the right decision. If we had a crystal ball, it would be a lot easier, but that's not the case. I can't help what people say about me, good or bad. The thing for me is I really don't pay attention to it. I understand people are talking and forming opinions and speculating and things like that, but I think the guys on this team would speak for me and friends and family that know the situation would say the same thing. I can't expect anyone to understand it, wouldn't do me any good to even try to explain it to people. So I just try to make the right decision and do the best with that decision."
Favre was asked about his relationship with Brad Childress, which has come under scrutiny since an unnamed player source in a Yahoo! story said that Favre doesn't respect Childress. When asked about his relationship, Favre didn't deny the friction and actually seemed to back up the contention many have pointed out that his knowledge of the West Coast offense is more extensive than Chilly's. He pointed out something that many fans may not realize – emotions run high on the sidelines and tempers do flare from time to time – but it hasn't injured the coach-player relationship they have.
"I think it's fine," Favre said. "I would think he would say the same thing. For competitive players and coaches, I can remember Phil Simms and Bill Parcells going at it, and Jim McMahon and Jim Harbaugh and (Mike) Ditka going at it. Even (Mike) Holmgren and myself – now, he obviously was right. I was at a point where I was really hardheaded and didn't understand the whole offense in general. I mean, I've been around a long time. We all think we know it all.
"At this stage of my career I would think experience almost speaks more than anything else. So I try to get that across. And I understand this is Brad Childress' team. And have we butted heads? Sure. But the following day, that's the thing, we came in and we were fine and I think that's what you have to do. I think conflict is good, confrontation is good. To be good, it's never easy, and you're never going to agree (all the time), not only with your coaches but your teammates. But the common goal is to get to the Super Bowl and how we do that and how well we work together is the most important thing. I know that more than anyone. And so, once again, the media has enjoyed playing that up a little bit. I'm not going to sit here and say we haven't had our differences, but we've resolved them and gone on."
As is his wont to do, Favre tried to downplay the significance of the season opener. When you're the champs, you have a bull's-eye on your back and everyone is gunning for it, but Favre said the magnitude should be put into perspective.
"It's obviously huge, but there's not near the implications in this game that there were in the playoff game," Favre said. "That's not to say that I or our team does not want to win it any (less) than we did in the playoffs, but the one thing about this game that is totally different than last year's game is that the winner goes on. Last year, the loser went home. This year, we both will play next week, so that in itself carries a lot less weight. There's 15 more games to go."
Regardless of what he says, this will be a big game for a Week 1 contest – perhaps as big as it would be if the Vikings were heading to Lambeau Field. He has come up big in big games with the Vikings thus far. You can bet he will be ready to step up when the lights are shining – and you can bet the rating numbers will be record-worthy because, whether the media types like it or not, Favre is lightning rod with the fans and will have more than his share of supporters cheering on the Vikings.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.