Gridiron: Favre ponders future after 'costly' blunder
Brett Favre, whose Super Bowl dream ended in bitter disappointment on Sunday night, has yet to decide whether he will play another season, but the veteran certainly regretted what could turn out to be his final pass in the NFL.
With the scores level at 28-28, the 40-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback had the ball at the New Orleans Saints' 38-yard line, close to field-goal territory, with 19 seconds left in regulation.
Moving out of the pocket to the right, Favre had options but looked for receiver Sidney Rice out left, threw crossfield and his attempt was grabbed by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter, who galloped 26 yards and took the game into overtime.
"I probably should have run it. I don't know how far I could have gotten but in hindsight that is probably what I should have done," said Favre, who would have become the oldest quarterback to start in a Super Bowl.
"I don't know how many yards we needed for a field goal but I knew we needed some. I was a little late to Sidney on that one and it was costly. It's disappointing and that's an understatement."
The Saints won the overtime coin toss, gained possession and won the game with a field goal from Garrett Hartley, prompting a massive party and ending the Vikings' hopes of reaching their first Super Bowl in 33 years.
Favre, battered and bruised by the New Orleans defence, had displayed the traits he has shown throughout his career, being rugged, brave, determined, skillful, inspired but also, crucially, at times too willing to gamble.
"I thought it was a gutsy, gutsy performance," said Vikings head coach Brad Childress. "He found a bunch of different receivers. He would be the first to tell you that he wishes he had a couple of those (throws) back."
Favre's decision to change his mind over retirement and come back with the Vikings upset his former fans at the Green Bay Packers, where he spent 16 years before a solitary and largely sorry season with the New York Jets.
His performances this season, however, certainly justified his self-belief and last night was, incredibly, his 309th consecutive start to a game.
"I don't think I had anything to prove coming in, but if there were doubters out there maybe I served notice to them," he said. "But if it is (my last game) then no doubt I am going out on top."
Not that Favre is about to break his habit of agonising over when to end his career, and he said he was not yet ready to make an announcement.
"I really don't want to make a decision right now based solely on what's happened. The year could not have gone any better aside from us not going to Miami. I wonder if I can hold up, especially after a day like today physically and mentally. That was pretty draining. I am going to talk it over with the family".
Having seen off one legendary quarterback, the Saints now have to contend with a legend in the making when they face the Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning on February 7.
Manning was credited by the New York Jets for Sunday's comeback victory that put the Colts into the Superbowl after they recovered a 17-6 deficit late in the second quarter. Manning, however, found three touchdown passes as they ran out 30-17 winners.
"Today wasn't our day," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "You have Peyton Manning back there pulling the trigger. We tried everything. You have to give him credit. He's one heck of a quarterback."