Brett Favre's memorable cameo in There's Something About Mary wouldn't have happened if the Farrelly Brothers had gotten their way (and if Drew Bledsoe hadn't injured a woman stage-diving at an Everclear concert).
Bobby and Peter Farrelly—and Favre—were on with Rich Eisen yesterday, and the directors revealed where Favre stood on their wishlist of 1998's greatest quarterbacks.
"Our first choice was Drew Bledsoe," Bobby Farrelly said. "He was the stud at the time for the Patriots … but he had just gotten into a little—"
"They had the mosh incident," Peter Farrelly interjected. "He was a single guy, went out with his pals, they went to a club, he dove into a mosh pit and someone kind of tweaked their neck, nothing serious, but it was in the news. So he called us up and said 'I can't come do your movie in Miami because if they find out I did a movie after that they're going to run me out of town.'"
(We will return to this in a second, because we can't not.)
"Then we went to Steve Young. And Steve Young called one day and said 'That's the funniest script I've ever read. But I cannot do it, because if I do it, it's R-rated, and I know all the Mormon kids will be sneaking in and I wouldn't feel good about that,'" the brothers recalled.
"Stand up guy … then we went to Favre."
"Had I known that," Favre joked yesterday, "I would have never done it."
Drew Bledsoe even called into the show, and declared that missing out on the role was "one of my great regrets in life."
So let's talk about Bledsoe's stage-diving incident, because I swear I did not remember this at all, and it's a veritable time capsule of the late '90s. On Nov. 13, 1997, members of the Patriots including Bledsoe, backup QB Scott Zolak, and OT Max Lane, attended an Everclear show at the Paradise club on Commonwealth Avenue. Surely you remember Everclear.
There are conflicting accounts as to what happened in Paradise, and the incident remains under investigation, but it started with the players huddled at the rear of the stage at the end of the show. Each allegedly took turns diving into a crowded mosh pit.
A 23-year-old Maynard, Mass., woman was injured during the stage-diving. Tameeka Messier remained in stable condition at a Boston-area hospital with a bruised back. She has probably heard from some prominent attorneys already.
Bledsoe's agent, Leigh Steinberg, told the Associated Press that the quarterback did dive from the stage and into the mosh pit. Bledsoe, 25, who is married, has a 3-week-old baby at home.
All this set the stage for Sunday's game in Tampa Bay, in which the Buccaneers dismantled the Patriots, 27-7. Bledsoe was replaced by Zolak for New England's final drive—a 10-play, 75-yard march that produced the Patriot touchdown with eight seconds left.
"The only thing I'll have to say about this is that Thursday night had absolutely nothing to do with the preparation for this game," said Bledsoe, who completed 21 of 29 passes for 117 yards, was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. "It has nothing to do with our commitment to the team. It wasn't a distraction."
The woman, who underwent surgery on her back and neck did indeed file suit the next month, seeking damages from Bledsoe, Lane, the Paradise, and the members of Everclear. The band immediately attempting to distance itself from the suit, claiming that if giant football players were jumping off the stage, that had nothing to do with them.
"In the suit, she claims that we invited Bledsoe and Lane on the stage," said band manager Darren Lewis, referring to Tameeeka Messier's claims against Everclear singer Art Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund. "That's not true. If they were invited onstage, it was by security or someone at the Paradise."
The suit claimed otherwise, alleging that Lane had received special permission from Art Alexakis because he wanted to win a bet with Bledsoe.
Near the end of Everclear's show, Lane allegedly pressured a security guard identified only as McKenna to let him on the stage, but McKenna refused, saying it was forbidden by club policy, according to the suit. The lawsuit then charges that Lane told McKenna about betting Bledsoe that he could get onstage with the band. McKenna then asked singer Alexakis, who agreed to let Lane on the stage, according to the suit.
For his part, Bledsoe acknowledge stage-diving, but denied landing on the woman. Late in 1997, he filed a response to Messier's suit:
The filing, made on Christmas Eve, also said the alleged injuries or damages "were caused in whole or in part by the plaintiff's own negligence, which was greater than any negligence of the defendant.''
In addition, Bledsoe argued that Messier "voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident'' alleged in her lawsuit, although he did not specify how.
The suit would be settled in 1999 for a reported $1.2 million, with all four parties contributing. The Boston Globe reported that Bledsoe paid $400,000, Lane paid $600,000, and insurance companies for the Paradise and Everclear paid $100,000 each. But by that point, Brett Favre and There's Something About Mary had already won the hearts of America.