Favre uncertain over future but rues crucial error

By Simon Evans

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Brett Favre, whose Super Bowl dream ended in bitter disappointment Sunday, has yet to settle whether he will play another season but 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, 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 ran 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," he said, before reflecting briefly on the significance of the loss.

"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 New Orleans defense, had displayed the character traits he has shown throughout his career -- rugged, brave, determined, skillful, inspired but also, crucially Sunday, at times too willing to gamble.

"He found a bunch of different receivers. I just thought that he did a nice job of competing. He would be the first to tell you that he wishes he had a couple of those (throws) back."

JUSTIFIED BELIEF

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.

"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. "My goal was to get to the Super Bowl in Miami and obviously that is not going to happen."

"But if it is (my last game) then no doubt I am going out on top," he added.

Not that Favre is about to break his habit of agonizing over when to end his career, and he told reporters he was not yet ready to make an announcement.

"I know people will roll their eyes. In a situation like this I really don't want to make a decision right now based solely on what's happened.

"I do know that the year could not have gone any better aside from us not going to Miami. I really enjoyed the guys. I wonder if I can hold up, especially after a day like today physically and mentally. That was pretty draining.

"I am going to go home in a couple of days and talk it over with the family."

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)