Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre says that he played through a concussion during the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.
On a nationwide conference call Wednesday ahead of the premiere of Favre’s documentary Shocked: A Hidden Factor in the Sports Concussion Crisis, the former Vikings quarterback was asked by KFAN about his memories of that game, which he said was the most violent he’d ever experienced after playing 20 years in the NFL.
That game later came under investigation as part of New Orleans’ “bountygate” scandal in which several members of the Saints’ franchise were accused of paying out bounties for intentionally hurting opposing team players. The NFL determined the allegations to be true in 2012, which led to Saints coach Sean Payton’s suspension for the entire 2012 season among a handful of fines and other sanctions.
At the time, a number of Vikings players and coaches accused the Saints of deliberately trying to knock Favre out of the game.
The quarterback said the Saints “came after me with everything they had” but detailed the symptoms he was experiencing as it related to the hits he took that game, which appear to be the sign of a concussion.
“A concussion doesn’t necessarily have to be knocked out cold and removed from a game, although the new protocol is in place to remove you from a game even if you’re not walking sideways or your arm goes stiff or whatever,” Favre said.
“You may even be able to function as if you didn’t have a concussion but if you have head ringing or fireworks or any kind of fogginess, protocol says you should be removed from the game. In that game, there was some head ringing, there was some fogginess. There were two times in which I was hit by (former Saints safety) Darren Sharper late. He lunged at my head and both of them were pretty devastating hits but I stayed in the game. One they threw a flag, one they didn’t. Why they didn’t throw the other, I have no idea. If head ringing or fireworks is a concussion, yeah, I did have that.”
Favre’s documentary will air at 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday on Stadium Network.
If the Vikings want to advance to this year’s NFC Championship Game, they’ll have to beat the team they faced the last time they were there in 2009. Minnesota hosts New Orleans in the divisional round on Jan. 14.