ESPN gets fuel for Monday night fire

ESPN has found a "controversy" to develop as its storyline for the station's final "Monday Night Football" telecast of the season. Expect much more "Favre vs. Childress" talk for the next seven days.

In the world of 24-hour sports, there are stories that have a life of their own above and beyond what may be realistic. With a need to keep stories fresh and come up with a new spin, something that may not be significant becomes headline news for a day or two.

It would seem that ESPN is doing its best to create a story of a potential rift between Brett Favre and Brad Childress. The story started that Childress considered pulling Favre in the second half of the Vikings loss to Carolina – at a time when the Vikings were actually ahead 7-6 – for his own protection. That part both player and coach have admitted to.

That discussion has blossomed into talk that Childress was prepared to bench Favre in the second half of both games against the Packers because Favre changed called running plays to kill off clock into passes. ESPN deemed that the changes were the result of Favre "being selfish" and "wanting to stick it to his former team."

By the time the Monday night yawner was over, with little in the way of insight to bring to the table on another lackluster Monday night matchup, ESPN was working overtime to put the alleged Favre-Childress controversy front and center. Knee-jerk reactions from studio analysts like Merrill Hoge made the immediate proclamation that the Vikings will be "one and done" in the playoffs as a result of the alleged rift (or would it be schism?) between Favre and Chilly, as well as claims that Childress is powerless when it comes to dealing with Favre and that the quarterback truly holds the power – with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell being caught in the middle.

Is this much ado about nothing? There is the fact that Childress considered pulling Favre, but considering that the Vikings are ESPN's Monday night game next week, perhaps they're fueling the fire simply to increase interest in their own televised product.


  • Reports of Favre's wearing down late in the season got some ammunition from the stats that point out since 2004 Favre had thrown 30 touchdowns and 50 interceptions in the final five games of the regular season and the playoffs. From that, some analysts have drawn the conclusion that Favre wears down at the end of the season. Perhaps it could be that some of his numbers get inflated in late-season losses as he throws constantly to try to bring his team back.

  • The funeral for Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry will be today in New Orleans. The entire Bengals organization will be attending, as well as former teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who now plays for Seattle.

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