Brett Favre (Andy King/AP)
Brett Favre didn’t make any bold pronouncements during his appearance on “The Tonight Show,” but he talked about how much he enjoyed the 2009 season with the Vikings and gave the read-between-the-lines crowd hope for his return in 2010.
In his first interview since the NFC Championship Game, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre wasn’t committing to his future in the NFL, but, for those who read between the lines, the impression given was that he might well be back for a 20th season.
Although he was the biggest star on “The Tonight Show” Thursday night – no offense to Matthew McConaughey, but face the facts – Favre had to sit through a lame taped piece featuring cats and two segments with the man who never found a shirt he didn’t like to peel off. But, when Favre finally took the stage, Leno worked his way into a couple of serious questions amidst the usual pabulum that he spews out.
When the quarterback was introduced, the crowd gave him a thunderous ovation, with some audience members chanting “One more year!” He came out to the theme from “Rocky” and said it had been 13 years since his last “Tonight Show” appearance. While he came to Los Angeles to appear with Leno, it was made clear that the reason he was really in L.A. was to attend a concert by Miley Cyrus of “Hannah Montana” fame. He admitted that “The Disney Channel rocks at our house” and confessed he does know the lyrics to some of Hannah Montana’s songs.
When the questioning got legitimate, Favre said that 2009 was one of the most memorable of his career.
“Had we gone to the Super Bowl, that would have been the icing on the cake, but it was way better than I ever could have dreamed of,” Favre said. “I really believe my biggest accomplishment this year was winning over the majority of the Vikings fans. For so many years they hated me.”
When asked if the loss to the Saints still stuck in his craw, Favre took a diplomatic approach to the question that belied his emotional mood in the locker room following the game.
“It was a close game,” Favre said. “I give those guys a lot of credit. The Saints, it seemed like from the start of the year, everything was just going their way. They were playing outstanding and they were three points better than us in that game.”
Leno then veered into conversation about playing in New York, which Favre said he enjoyed, and his botched rendition of “Pants on the Ground” following a Vikings win late in the season. He was asked if he has ever come close to ending his consecutive games played streak and Favre said he played nine games with a broken thumb on his throwing hand and has always believed he has played better when injured.
Favre then did a personal mea culpa when it came to the end of the fourth quarter against the Saints when he threw an interception that sent the game to overtime, saying, “At the end of the Saints game, both legs were killing me. In hindsight, I wish I would have run, but I don’t know if I could.”
He said he didn’t watch much of the Super Bowl – only the fourth quarter – and missed his commercial spot as the MVP of the 2019 season. But, after some delays, Leno finally got to the heart of the matter – will he be back for 2010?
“Well, Jay,” Favre said with a smile, “it’s only been a month. I know now (after Brad Childress and just about every other Viking has said there is no timetable on his return) that I’m just not going to say anything any time soon. I’m just going to sit back, relax and enjoy the offseason.”
However, TiVo types may point to what followed as to his true plans. When he was noncommittal about returning, Leno said he’s retiring and gave Favre a gold watch. He gave Leno a puzzled look and reiterated that he hadn’t made a decision yet. When Leno then changed his tune and began chanting “One more year” Favre smiled and nodded his head. Take from that what you will.
Nobody expected a bombshell announcement from his appearance, but Favre made it clear once again that he enjoyed his 2009 season as much as any in his illustrious career, giving Vikings fans hope that a sequel in 2010 is coming.
TONIGHT SHOW NOTE
In between the McConaughey segments on the Twin Cities broadcast of the Leno show, two commercials for the Vikings ran during the break. In a segment called “Hail to the Fans,” the text on the commercials read “Last season, we knocked on the door. Next season, we’re kicking it down.” If that doesn’t sound like the Vikings expect Favre back, what does?
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.