Brett Favre was his vintage self last night, setting yet another record with his 500th touchdown pass, then blowing the game with an ill-conceived interception. The drama that served as a backdrop for the game, overshadowing his team at a crucial point in the season, was vintage Favre, too.
For the second time in a week, Favre addressed direct questions about the report at Deadspin.com (Full disclosure: I’m a contributing editor for Deadspin) that he allegedly sent lewd text messages to TV host Jenn Sterger while both were in the employ of the New York Jets. And, for the second time in a week, Favre answered the question by evading it altogether:
My main focus is the New York Jets, they are a tough team; as good as they are that has been my focus," Favre told ESPN. "I hate in any way if this has been a distraction as I said Thursday -- we are here focused on trying to beat the Jets."
When asked about the accuracy of the reports, Favre told ESPN, "That will take its course."
By saying, “that will take its course,” Favre is essentially saying it’ll all go away and everyone will stop paying attention to it. That’s delightfully wrong, of course. Deadspin says it has already found two other Jets employees who claim Favre sent them unwanted texts. This is the kind of story that builds up a head of steam until it finally finds some kind of resolution. In Tiger Woods’ case, that resolution meant a very public divorce and that horrible apology press conference.
Before his team went out and lost to the Jets 29-20, Favre addressed his team to tearfully - and vaguely - apologize for causing a distraction. But he didn't get specific in the privacy of the locker room, either.
Favre’s resolution isn’t in sight yet. He doesn’t appear to be denying anything. And his lawyers have yet to contact Deadspin with regards to the Sterger pictures and voicemails. Peter King said today that Favre may not be suspended by the league for this incident, given that it may be his first offense. That may be wrong, given that the NFL doesn’t always make first offenses public, and given that Roger Goodell may treat the claims against Favre as multiple offenses. I wouldn’t surprised if he was suspended for maybe a game or two. I think anything longer than that would be pretty stunning.
There’s also the matter of Favre’s play on the field for Minnesota of late. Randy Moss may be around now for Favre to toy with, but he has spent the first three games of this year looking every bit like his forty-one years. And his pass protection is horrid. That’s a shame, because playing winning football is about the only thing Favre can do right now to alleviate this situation.
This isn’t like Tiger Woods, where Woods stopped playing for months and let everyone talk on and on about his sex life. Favre took his chance Monday night to distract everyone by throwing his 500th TD (to Moss!) and doing all the stuff that makes the Ron Jaworskis of the world love him so dearly. But that's likely a temporary respite.
Before this whole scandal broke, a lot of people thought Favre might head to IR before the end of the season if it looked like all hope was lost. That option may not be available to the old man anymore, since a poorly disguised immediate retirement would send tails wagging. Favre’s only hope to get out of this mess is to keep on playing. And it’s kind of fitting that a guy who cried wolf about retirement for so long can’t now go out on his own terms.