Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Strange And Feverish Saga Of The Tipster Who Had "Huge Brett Favre News" For Us

Illustration for article titled The Strange And Feverish Saga Of The Tipster Who Had "Huge Brett Favre News" For Us

Call him Pete. He emerged from the internet at 6:13 p.m. on Feb. 6. "Huge Brett Favre news text me," read the subject line of Pete's email to Deadspin, followed by a phone number with a Wisconsin area code—West Bend, it would turn out. I was about to step into another man's fever dream. Or was it my own?


Below are my field notes, condensed for ease of reading, from almost three weeks of interacting with Pete, mostly via text message. I offer them as proof that no matter what Brett Favre says or does not say, no matter where Brett Favre goes or does not go, no matter why Brett Favre does or does not do, there remain fans who dream of bygone times when Sundays were one big, happy Wrangler ad and the spirals were tight and true and occasionally delivered to the right team.

Monday, Feb. 6, 2012

Me: This is Luke from Deadspin texting about Brett Favre. Care to discuss? 6:15 PM

Pete: Do you no that brett has been offered a contract by a team in the apfl? 6:18 PM

Me: Interesting. Which team? Can we prove it somehow? 6:21 PM

Pete: Council bluffs indoor football team. Yes I can I can give you one of the owners number and you can talk to him yourself 6:25 PM

Me: Please send the number. I'll give him a call. Appreciate the tip. Can I ask how you know about it? 6:31 PM

Pete: His number is [redacted], text me after you call him. Lets just say I have my sources 6:33 PM

I call Brad Lindgren, owner of the Council Bluffs Express of the American Professional Football League. Lindgren made headlines in January by announcing that was trying to sign Favre. He told me he'd sent copies of a contract to Favre's agent, Bus Cook. "We're kind of in a stalemate," Lindgren said. "We're negotiating. They haven't told us no and they haven't told us yes yet." Lindgren later admitted that it wasn't much of a negotiation: "Honestly, I haven't heard anything." Pete resumes texting.

Pete: I know more but not gonna say anymore. Do you have the ability to contact bus cook? Can you put this on tv or the internet? 7:17 PM

Me: I can contact Bus. But we need something more to go with to publish. Favre needs to sign. News about the contract offer is already out there. 7:18 PM

Pete: If I say there might be a high possibility he might sign will you publish a story tonight? Call bus and talk to him see if hes talked to brett about this. You can make this story go. Can you call bus now 7:23 PM

Me: I'm going to call. What's your interest here? 7:35 PM

Pete: I want to no what bus has to say about the situation. Let me no if he answers ? 7:37 PM

Me: Do you know Brad? I'll try Bus later. Will let you know if I get through. 7:43 PM

Pete: Not gonna say. You have the chance of a lifetime on this story 7:44 PM

I call Bus Cook and ask him if it's true that Favre might be close to signing with the Council Bluffs Express. "That's the biggest bunch of bullshit!" Cook says. "That's crazier than hell!"

Me: I have a response from Bus Cook: "That's the biggest bunch of bullshit. That's crazier than hell." 7:58 PM

Pete: Ill have to check my sources. So I take it hes not gonna play ask him that? 8:00 PM

Me: I asked him if he'd received a contract. He said he gets contracts all the time and insisted it was all hooey. Which might just be an agent talking. I gotta go home now. Check your sources. Get me something I can use, and I'll use it. Right now I can't do anything with this. I also have no idea who you are. 8:03 PM

Pete: I didnt directly say that you twisted around my words around. What do you mean by hooey? Ill check them. So what your telling me is bus said brett is not gonna play? 8:05 PM

Me: I'm not twisting words. Bus said this talk about Favre possibly signing is nonsense. We didn't talk about whether he'd play or not. 8:08 PM

Pete: But I dont understand why bus will answer you but not brad 8:19 PM

Me: It's hard to understand how agents operate. 8:20 PM

Pete: Im so confused on what you mean by that youve talken to bus before is this normal bus or is he serious when he says favre is done 8:21 PM

Me: Maybe you should give Bus a call. 8:24 PM

Pete: I need to know either to tell my sources to stop or not because the way bus sounded it might be time to tell my sources to stop. Dont have his number. 8:25 PM

Me: Tell sources to keep digging. I'll call you tmrrw. 8:33 PM

Pete: Talked to my sources they cant do anything tommorrow and I think thats all I will be able to find and if thats what bus said I think im shutting it down because it seems like there no chance brett will play 10:08 PM

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

Pete: Can you call bus today and talk to him and see if brett has any "intrest" in playing or is he done? 8:14 AM


After texting me throughout the day, Pete calls me that evening. "I'm a Favre fan first and foremost," he announces. I ask him who his sources are. "If you go to Google News and type in 'Brett Favre,' it will show you a lot of things," he says. "My sources are close to Favre. I can guarantee you that. When we heard he was offered a contract, we started digging. What I've been told is he's been putting in thought to playing in this league."

Pete tells me he knows Brad Lindgren: "I'm somewhat close to Brad, pretty good friends with Brad. He confirmed that he sent the max contract, a one-year contract.


(Pause. Exhaling sound.)

"Excuse me, I burped again. Sorry."

Pete then urges me to call Favre's friend and Minnesota Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell for more info: "I don't mean to be pushy, but if you could do this today."


Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Pete: You contact ryan? 4:07 PM

Me: Not yet. Like I said, I'll let you know if and when I contact him. Thanks. 4:08 PM


Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

Pete: Ryan will be your key to your answer if brett has THOUGHT about it or not and tell you if he will or will not play. 5:30 PM


Oh, to hell with it. I call the Vikings media people and leave a message telling them I want to speak to Longwell. I do not receive a reply.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

I send an e-mail to the Vikings media people asking to speak to Longwell. I do not receive a reply.

Pete: Anything back from vikings? 5:18 PM

Pete: Have you heard anything back from the vikings or ryan? 6:48 PM

Me: Not yet. Keep texting me. It might speed up the process. 6:49 PM

Pete: What do you mean 6:51 PM

I decide it's time to give Pete a touch of the treatment.

Me: I'll explain in a subsequent text. Could be big news. 6:52 PM

Pete: What big news? 6:54 PM

Me: I can't tell you. It's not confirmed. My sources are digging. I've got to go now. 6:55 PM

Pete: Wait if its something with ryan I told you about it I think you would tell me whats going on? 6:58 PM

Me: Yes. If it were, I would tell you. 6:58 PM

Pete: Does it have anything to do with favre 7:00 PM

Pete: Can you tell me what you know right now? I thought you called once? 7:10 PM

Pete: I wanna no what your big news is 7:12 PM

Me: It's big news if Favre signs. Can't confirm anything yet. Send me more leads. Gotta go now. 7:13 PM

Pete: When you can talk next I would like to no your big news that hasnt been confirmed, source said they played together for most of bretts carrier to. 7:48 PM


Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Pete: Have you heard back from the vikings? 4:02 PM

Pete: Anything back from vikings.or ryan? 5:36 PM

Me: No. Sorry. They aren't responding. I don't have Ryan's personal number so going through the team. No luck so far. Have you learned anything new? 5:37 PM

Pete: Havent talked to the person since sunday nothing from what I told you yesterday, did you say you had big new that wasnt confirmed that was related to brett? 5:44 PM

Me: Who's the person you're talking to? 5:45 PM

Pete: What was it that you heard? 5:46 PM

Me: You first. 5:47 PM

Pete: Its one of my close friends buddy that he talks to he wont tell me his friends name because his friend doesnt wanna talk about this with me... Now you? 5:49 PM

Me: I heard Brett's people had received the contract but I can't say more because a guy I know knows someone who doesn't want to talk about it. 5:52 PM

Pete: What do you mean when you say bretts people 5:53 PM

Me: People in the South 6:01 PM

A flurry of texts ensues in which Pete expresses confusion over how many times I've called Cook and whether Favre has looked at a contract. I ask him if he'd be upset if Favre didn't play again.

Pete: I just asked brad he said he has no clue if brett has been shown the contract yet but you would think bus wouldve showed him right? I like brett and I want him to play but if he doesnt feel like he can play you cant blame him 6:20 PM

Pete: I have confirmed that brett has NOT made his decision yet. 6:47 PM

Pete: Brett favre has not made his decision of weather he will play or not and when I talked to brad the owner earyler he said he didn't no if brett has seen the contract yet I was wrong when I said he did the first time. 10:22 PM


Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

Pete: I have news for you,.anything new from Vikings? 4:11 PM

Pete: Hear anything from the vikings or ryan? I have something that you need to know 5:08 PM

Me: What's up? They're no getting back to me. 5:52 PM

Pete: That means there probably not getting back to you huh? When I was talking to brad he said bus would let him know if brett has accepted obviously, but also he said bus would let him no if brett rejected it and he hasnt heard anything yet so maybe the people that told you brett had just seen it they could be right 5:56 PM

Me: Who knows? They got the contract, from the sound of it. Are they seriously considering it? That's the question nobody can answer. Or wants to answer. 6:00 PM

Pete: Have you heard anything more from the people in the south? What you think someone knows what the answer is? 6:03 PM

Pete: Nothing from ryan right? So it seems to me brett is thinking about it or he hasn't seen it yet to make his decision but who knows? 6:33 PM

Me: Actually, there's another guy I can try. I think I have his number at home. I'll call him tomorrow. 6:42 PM

Pete: Is he close to brett? 6:43 PM

Pete: May I ask who it is or not 6:46 PM

Pete: Who is it may I know? 6:51 PM

Me: I can't remember, honestly. I have all his info on my home computer. I'll get it tonight. 6:52 PM

Pete: Alrite ill see what I can do. Ill text you tommorrow, 6:58 PM

Pete: Sorry I know I said I would text you tommorrow just curious if you found the number 9:15 PM


Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

After going through my files, I find the number for J.D. Simpson, one of Favre's close friends. I leave Simpson a voice-mail and a text. I receive no reply.

Pete: Hey you contact bus or the other guy today? I also have to tell you something 4:02 PM

Me: I called the other guy and left a message. His name is JD Simpson. He's good friends with Brett. No response yet. What do you have to tell me? 4:03 PM

Pete: I might be able to figure out who my friends is talking to, how do you know hes close with brett? 4:22 PM

Me: Google news 4:24 PM

Pete: You trust that? Did you call or text? 4:37 PM

Me: Called. I thought you liked Google News. Who's your friend's friend? 4:38 PM

Pete: I already told you I dont know, I check it every now and then. I never heard of jd simpson before he a writer or something 4:45 PM

Me: Google will help you in this regard. What do you do for work, [Pete]? 4:50 PM

Pete: Do you want me to try and call him( jd simpson ). Im in school to become a nurse do some sports stuff on the side. 4:53 PM

Me: I don't think there's any reason to call JD or Bus again. What do you think about publishing a story? 4:59 PM

Pete: Depends what kinda story and if its gonna be something someones gonna wanna read, I meant if you wanted me to try to call 5:04 PM


I decide this hasn't gotten absurd enough. Also, I am annoyed. It's time to see how far Pete will go for the story. I'm about to ask him to violate Mississippi wiretapping laws, but, hey, we need to wrap this up somehow.

Me: Ok. Maybe you should call Bus. But you have to tape the call and give me the tape. 5:07 PM

Pete: How do you expect me to do that? 5:09 PM

Me: Get a device at radio shack ($15) that hooks up to a digital recorder, connect it to a land line, call him, email me the sound file. I'll need it for backup. 5:11 PM

Pete: Ill just wait and see if jd calls you back soon if not ill try bus but who knows how that would go if I do call him, did you get jd cell # because I could text him and if he textes back I can forward my and his message to you 5:20 PM

Me: If you call anyone, i need you to tape it for backup. Otherwise, it's secondhand info I can't use it. Also, tapes are good to have for the lawsuits. 5:21 PM

Pete: Why would there be a lawsuit? So texting jd is out? 5:23 PM

Me: Sometimes when you dig too deep, you unearth an angry lawyer. I'll text JD later. 5:24 PM

Pete: Are you gonna try to today yet? 5:34 PM

Me: Terrell Owens? Does he know something about this?! 5:35 PM

Pete: Why would t o know anything? Him and brett arent even close.. 5:38 PM

Me: Guess I misread your text. Can I talk to your friend about this? 5:39 PM

Pete: He left for vacation last week with his family and usually check his phone ill try texting him later just try texting jd since you know for sure there close and see what you can get from him for now 5:43 PM

Pete: Any response from him yet, I looked him up but I think I have the wrong jd simpson. 5:54 PM

Me: Yes 5:57 PM

Pete: You ask him about brett yet 6:04 PM

Me: What else would I ask him about? Leave JD alone. If you start texting him like you do me, neither of us will ever get an answer. 6:05 PM

Pete: I never texted him you told me he responded to your text I just want some answers 6:07 PM

Me: Not really. I can give you Bus' number but only if you tape him. 6:15 PM

Pete: Do you want to try again and if he doesn't answer ill have to do it 6:17 PM

Me: He's going to tell me the same thing. Why don't you call up as someone associated with the Council Bluffs Express? 6:18 PM

Pete: But im not? 6:19 PM

Me: You sure you're not associated with the Council Bluffs Express in some way? 6:20 PM

Pete: I can gurantee you im not associated with the team I just talk to brad now and then. I live in wisconsin like I told you 6:23 PM


Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012

Pete: Hey anything back from jd? 1:48 PM

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pete: Hey I got some news to give you. When you get a chance give me a shout. 7:23 PM


Monday, February 20, 2012

Pete: Hey anything back from jd or vikings, there might be one more person that might know something but I dont no if you have or can get his number 11:39 AM

Pete: Hey any news or nothing yet? 2:38 PM

Me: Are you going to call Bus and tape him? 5:36 PM

Pete: Wait couldnt you call him from a different number? 6:05 PM

Me: I could but I want you to call him so you can try this kind of stuff out for yourself. See what it entails before you go making demands of other reporters. 6:08 PM

Pete: If you think im making demands im sorry. I will not call bus and im sorry I wasted your time but I think I will try some where else. 6:10 PM

Me: Try somewhere else with what? 6:11 PM

Pete: Nothing until I find out more. Which hopefully wont take much longer. Hope you have the best of luck 6:13 PM


I e-mail Lindgren and tell him about Pete. Lindgren responds a few minutes later and tells me has "no idea who [that] is." Pete continues to text me.

Pete: If you can do me one last favor can you give me jd e mail or number I just want to see if he knows something and no I will not keep texting him I give you my word. 8:34 PM

Me: You won't text him obsessively? 8:35 PM

Pete: No one time I just want to see if he answers and I will foward anything if he texts me back. 8:38 PM

Me: I think you might text him obsessively. But I'll consider it. Not tonight though. 8:39 PM

Pete: There could be consequences if I do and if he doesnt answer theres no point in trying anymore. I give you my word. I would like to do it now if you would give me his number sooner the better? 8:43 PM


Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

Pete: Have you made your decision? 4:02 PM

Me: I will give you Bus' number but you have to tape the call. 4:07 PM

Pete: Ill think about it, not trying to demand anything but wouldnt it be easier if you called from a different number 4:09 PM

Me: Why don't you want to call? 4:10 PM

Pete: I might not say the right stuff and he might think im on the council bluffs or something it could be a big mess 4:13 PM

Me: I think you would have a better shot as a fan than I would as a member of the press. He might just be willing to talk to you. 4:19 PM

Pete: How bout this you try one more time and if it doesnt work ill do it. Sound good? 4:21 PM

Me: In lieu of actual news, we've decided to do the next best thing and publish the bulk of our exchange. 4:31 PM

Pete: What do you mean? 4:34 PM

Me: We'll just publish all these text messages. It'll make for a good story. We're trying to find out if Favre will play again. But the mystery endures. 4:35 PM

Pete: Your not gonna use my name are you? 4:38 PM

Me: Ok, we won't use your name. But you really should call Bus now. 4:41 PM

Pete: What exactly do you want me to ask? Do you have his e mail that I could try? 4:55 PM

Me: Don't have his email. I think you should ask him what you really want to know. 5:02 PM

Pete: Cant you trust me if I just call him now? 5:05 PM

Me: We need tape for backup. Go to Radio Shack and buy a "mini recorder control" device for $23. Keep receipt. We will reimburse you. Hook that up to landline. 5:08 PM

Pete: To speed up the process cant you call him from a different number so your a fan and use my name? 5:17 PM

Me: That would be unethical. 5:21 PM

Pete: So a no? 5:22 PM

Pete: Is that illegal? 5:25 PM

Me: Is what illegal? Pretending to be you? There might be an ordinance against it in certain counties. 5:30 PM

Pete: You dont have to be me, you can say you are just a fan wondering if brett has any interst in playing in the apfl or not wouldnt take long and the rest of the story is right there. Good or do you still want me to 5:35 PM

Me: You really need to call him and tape it. It will be a 30-second conversation. We'll reimburse you for your expenses. 5:40 PM

Pete: Ill see what I can do dont no how long it will take thou. 5:42 PM

Me: I don't mean to be pushy, but can you do this right away? 5:43 PM

Pete: It wouldnt be until later this week im at school until friday, thats why im pushing for you to try and call or have someone you no call him 5:47 PM

Me: Maybe I'll give Bus Cook your number. What do you think about that? 5:54 PM

Pete: Cant you just ask him? 6:01 PM

Me: You're scared of Bus. Just admit it. 6:02 PM

Pete: To be honest I kinda am but I also believe it would work better and go faster if you do it 6:05 PM

Me: I'm going to conference you and Bus together and tape the whole thing while moderating your discussion. How about that? 6:09 PM

Pete: What do you mean by conference? 6:10 PM

Me: Conference call. It'd be great. We could get JD and Longwell and Brad the owner and even Google News. A regular hootenanny. 6:12 PM

Pete: Im so confused 6:13 PM

Me: Sigh. 6:13 PM

Pete: So I call bus but your listening the whole time? How can you do that? What if he yells? 6:15 PM

Me: Just call him and tell me what he says. You don't need to tape it. I don't need to listen. Cool? 6:18 PM

Pete: Yea, Will you trust me 6:19 PM

Me: I have no reason whatsoever not to trust you at this point. Just take notes as best you can. Then send me the notes. You cannot give his number to anyone else. 6:22 PM

Pete: Ok. Do you want to listen? 6:23 PM

Pete: I got something to tell you, give me a shout soon 8:05 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012

Pete: So whats going on? 4:09 PM

Me: Sit tight for now. I'm on deadline with another story. We might have to wait until tomorrow, but I'll do my best to finish up what I'm doing soon. 4:10 PM

Pete: My friend told me he doesnt want to be involved in your story at all. Do you just want me to call and get back to you 4:16 PM

Me: Hey. I'm sorry. We're going to have to try this again tomorrow. I'm just too busy with other stuff right now. Sorry to keep you waiting. 7:16 PM

Pete: What is your story that your working on 7:21 PM

Me: Something about George Steinbrenner and Fay Vincent. 7:24 PM

Pete: Never heard of em. I give you a shout in the morning 7:30 PM

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

Pete: Hey I looked at google news just now and brett favre has been working with the high schoolers like usual and according to a player he still has juice left in his arm. Anything new? 3:39 PM

Pete: Hey whats going on 5:41 PM

Me: I'll be with you in a second. Extremely busy here. 5:52 PM

Me: Are you ready to call Bus Cook? 6:13 PM

Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

Me: I'm beginning to think you might not call Bus Cook. 1:52 PM

Pete: Ive been waiting on you this whole time 2:23 PM

Me: Funny how you came to me with "huge brett favre news" and now here we are: me about to give you a # you don't have so you can get info you never knew about. 2:28 PM

Pete: I helped you I help build this story. Your the one who wants me to call to finnish your story 4:02 PM

Me: Does that mean you're ready to call? 4:03 PM

Pete: Ive been waiting for a couple of days because youve been busy 4:10 PM

Me: Yes, thank you. Should we try now? 4:11 PM

Pete: Cant you just give bus a call 8:21 PM

Pete: Do you think bus would tell anyone the truth 8:41 PM

Me: Who knows? If you caught him in the right mood, he might. 8:42 PM

Pete: From experience is bus a jerk in other words? 8:43 PM

Me: I don't think so. That's why if you called him and told him you're a huge Favre fan, it might mean something. More than a reporter calling. 8:46 PM

Pete: Ok 9:03 PM

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012

Pete: Hey is the weeked a good idea to try? 3:06 PM

Pete: Im ready 6:20 PM

I call Pete and give him Cook's number. I tell him that if he harasses Cook or gives Cook's number to anyone, I will publish his full name.

Pete: Called him and he answered gave me everything he gave you he said "thats the craziest thing I have ever heard brett isnt playing any kind of football" Then I told him ive talked to one of the owners and brett favre was for sure offered a contract then he said"no thats just crazy". Then he hung up 6:46 PM

Me: So what now? 6:48 PM

Pete: Is it time to just shut this story down?... But the part that is weird is bus told brad that he would tell him if brett said no or yes. And brad hasnt heard anything back from bus yet. 6:52 PM

Me: Do you want to call Ryan Longwell? 6:54 PM

Pete: Yes I would 6:55 PM