The longtime love affair between Brett Favre and the media is well-documented. So it wasn't surprising when the vast majority of columns on Sunday's NFC Championship game focused on the Vikings' veteran quarterback, who may have played his last NFL game (again).
Most writers, including Bleacher Report's Ari Horing, gave Favre his due for playing through several big hits but chastised him for a crucial late-game interception. Their measured praise, however, paled in comparison to the mythical postgame scene depicted by the few writers with an all-access pass to the locker room.
These columns included lengthy, heroic narratives of Favre changing out of his uniform, and hyperbolic close-ups of the physical punishment he endured. If Beowulf had held a press conference after slaying Grendel, he'd be hard-pressed to draw more effusive verbiage. The New York Daily News' Filip Bondy writes Favre was "skewered, twisted, inundated," by the New Orleans Saints' defense and marvels "Favre is a madman when it comes to such [injuries]."
ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski, a longtime Favre fan, writes the quarterback was "pounded like a gavel, twisted like an Auntie Anne's pretzel." The metaphors are merely a prelude to his heroic portrait of the fallen Favre.
Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden begins his piece with a lengthy chronicle of Favre getting undressed.
You should have seen him sitting in front of that locker immediately after the loss. Red welts on his left arm. Blood on his upper right shoulder. A puffy left wrist. A raw gash on the same wrist. A swollen left ankle. A tender right thigh and lower back.
And red eyes.
Brett Favre sat on a stool in front of a cubicle in the visitors' dressing room in the belly of the Superdome. His pads and helmet were stuffed into a purple canvas bag with the Minnesota Vikings' logo on the outside. His shoes and socks sat on the floor. Slowly he peeled off his white game pants and pulled a sleeveless undershirt over his head. He squirted white, gooey shampoo into his grey buzz cut and it began running down off his head. All of this he has done hundreds of times since he was a little boy, flinging footballs around fields in Mississippi. He rubbed a sore left wrist and a bruised right thigh. He hobbled on a sprained left ankle. He grimaced when he moved.