In a conference call earlier Sunday with the New Orleans media, Minnesota coach Brad Childress said he believed the Saints’ defense crossed the line in last season’s NFC Championship Game and attempted to intentionally hurt quarterback Brett Favre.
In a separate conference call with the New Orleans media a bit later, Favre was asked about Childress’ claim that the Saints crossed the line between aggression and trying to hurt people
“So did a lot of people,’’ Favre said. “But do you know what my response is? It’s football. [Saints coach] Sean Payton and I are good friends. I talked to him several days after the game and said, 'great win for you guys.' A win’s a win. In a roundabout sort of way, every defense wants to get the opposing quarterback out and that’s just the way it is. Had that been us and say we played Drew [Brees] here and we were able to hit him like that and we sure would have been saying, 'great.' I wish we had won the football game. I’m not so concerned about how we lost it. It’s physical. It’s football. I’m not going to get caught up in that.”
Speaking of conference calls and this whole issue, Payton was asked how he would respond to the comments from Childress when he was on the phone with the media in Minnesota.
“I really don’t respond to it,’’ Payton said. “Guys are going hard, going physical. It’s a tough game. I was just asked the question, 'do you think there will be more of an emphasis on pass rush in this game from both teams?' And I would say it would be the same emphasis. When a guy like Brees or a guy like Brett Favre has a lot of time to throw, they’re hard to defend. But I think we play with an attitude and a swagger and a confidence level within the rules, and I like the way we play."
Payton was then asked if his defense played within the rules in the NFC Championship Game.
“I thought they played with great energy and effort,’’ Payton said. “I thought there was one foul that was called. Certainly you could make a case one way or the other, but ultimately the next weekend, or two weekends later [we] played in Miami for the Super Bowl.’’