Favre, Brees downplay championship beating

Brett Favre took a lot of hits in the NFC Championship Game last year against the New Orleans Saints, but, despite head coach Brad Childress' protests, Favre said it was all part of football and he didn't think he was "mistreated." The two teams are preparing for Thursday's rematch.

Brad Childress may still wonder about the Saints' intentions with Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game, but both of the starting quarterbacks from that game said defensive linemen hitting quarterbacks is all part of football as the two teams prepare to open the 2010 NFL season on Thursday.

"I understand a quarterback's going to get hit. People are going to get hit," Childress told reporters in New Orleans on Sunday during a conference call. "It's football. I don't have any illusions about that. What I hate to see are the late hits or attempts to hurt anybody.

"I don't think there's a place for that in the game."

Favre said he didn't feel mistreated in that game, despite the league handing down $20,000 in fines to former Saints defensive end Bobby McCray, who was released last week.

So was Favre "mistreated" in that game?

"I've heard that," Favre responded. "Going home, everyone (said) I thought it was this and that. Had it been us doing that to Drew (Brees), we wouldn't have probably been feeling that way. I wouldn't be getting those questions. It's football. If you're able to get the opposing quarterback out – are there cheap hits that happen in a game? In every game. In every game. Obviously the ones on the quarterback are more obvious. People see it."

Favre was hit several other times after he unloaded the ball. He still completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 310 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Adrian Peterson also rushed for 122 yards. All tallied, the Vikings had 475 yards of offense in the 31-28 overtime loss in the Superdome.

The biggest issue was the turnovers. In addition to Favre's two interceptions, including one on the Vikings' final drive of regulation that ended their hopes of getting into position for a game-winning field goal, the Vikings fumbled the ball six times and lost three of them.

"When we had 500 yards of offense, we turned the ball over six, seven times, I don't know. We don't turn it over, it's probably a different ballgame. We'd have probably had more yards," Favre said.

Within weeks of the game, pictures of Favre's deeply bruised ankle surfaced on the Internet. He said they were taken about four days after the game. He had surgery in late May to remove scare tissue and bone spurs, and he got a lubricating injection in the ankle after the Vikings' preseason game on Aug. 28.

Favre was asked if the beating he took more than seven months ago would create a mental hurdle heading into Thursday game.

"No. I felt a lot worse after the San Francisco game last year. People are probably like, ‘Yeah, right.' My ankle was hurt going into the game, by the way," Favre said. "The worst thing that I had was a thigh bruise. I got elbowed or kicked or something in a scrum trying to get the ball. All the other hits, believe it or not, didn't really hurt. Now, do they take their toll over time? Sure they do. But, no, as far as a mental hurdle. No. … I'm not worried about it."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees said the New Orleans plays an aggressive style of defense and that the Vikings will take their shots at him, too, if they get a chance on Thursday.

"Any defensive player, when you have a chance to take a shot at the quarterback legally, you're going to take it. I feel like that's something every defensive coach and every defensive player talks about," Brees said. "Now, I know that we did hit Favre a lot in that game. That's the style of defense we play with the pressure packages and everything else. I don't think they hit him illegally in any way.

"Did they hit him hard? Yeah, they hit him hard. They hit him a lot, but I don't think they hit him illegally and there was no extra malice or anything like that. … Any defense out there, if the Vikings guys get a clean shot at me, I know they're going to take it. That's football, and everybody loves hitting the quarterback."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.

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