For die-hard NFL fans, the whole Bret Favre story has been kind of like a car crash in slow motion during an exciting race. It's very hard to look away and, besides, this particular car may land wheels down and make it to the finish line ahead of, uh, the Pack. Last night, for those of you who were on another planet, Favre (days before turning 40) led the arch-rival Vikings to a win over the Packers, the team, of course, that cut him loose, sent him packing, told him he was too old, etc., etc., after a decade or two of all-star-level play.
This leads us to a strange religion ghost over at ESPN.com, where reporter Gene Wojciechowski really needed to gird up his loins and ask a single hard follow-up question -- religious in nature, of course -- during Favre's post-game press siege.
Here's the context, under the headline "Favre gets revenge, or something like it."
Brett Favre showed his former teammates and bosses that he's still capable of big things. Maybe it wasn't revenge, but it was something and that something had deep emotional roots. How else do you explain his pregame nerves?
At a Monday afternoon team chapel service at the Vikings' downtown hotel, Favre nearly prayed himself into exhaustion. Kickoff was 4 1/2 hours away and he was already a gooey mess.
"I said, 'Man, I'm losing it,'" said Favre.
It got worse. He would later admit he was as nervous as he had ever been before a game. That includes Super Bowls.
"I felt a lot like I did when my dad passed away,'' he said.
Irvin Favre died Dec. 21, 2003 of a heart attack. The next night -- a Monday night game, as it turned out -- Irvin's son passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a rout of the Oakland Raiders.
You've gotta admit that this is pretty heavy material, after a mere regular-season football game. Emotions that resembled the stunning death of his father? Clearly this was more than a game. Now try to imagine the emotional scene when Favre runs out onto the hallowed, sacred space inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc. Will he need to wear some Kevlar under that new Vikings jersey?
But let's face the question that Wojciechowski or somebody needed to ask the superstar: "Hey Bret, what were you praying for?"
If Favre is going to bring up the chapel service, I think it's fair game to ask for some details. He doesn't have to answer, of course.
I would assume he was praying not to get hurt. He may have prayed to play well and not to embarrass himself and his family. So far, he hasn't talked openly about seeking revenge on the team management that threw him under the retirement bus (or told him he would be a back-up). Would he own up to praying for revenge? Did he pray to control his anger? Is this kind of anger a sin that a Catholic guy needs to confess?
I think it's a valid question, once the player himself pulls the chapel service and his own deep emotions and prayers out into the public square. Anyone disagree?