Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Brett Favre Problem

Thank you to Tim for making me write this post and re-evaluate my own thinking.

The debate had been raging recently on the top QBs in history and in nearly everyone's list Brett Favre was ranked below the fifth position. Interesting when you consider:

  • Favre is FIRST in completed passes, having nearly 1,000 more than Dan Marino and 2,000 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre is FIRST in passing yards, having more than 8,000 more than Dan Marino and 19,000 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre has won one Super Bowl and appeared in two (same, at this moment, as Peyton Manning).
  • Favre is FIRST in TD passes, having 77 more than Dan Marino and 131 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre is FIRST in Interceptions, having 40 more than George Blanda and 200 more than Kerry Collins (closest active player).
Favre is VASTLY ahead in many of the offensive categories we consider most important for a QB and he has won the Super Bowl and MVP. Yet, people had him below Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas, Warren Moon, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and others. That is ABSURD!

Put away your annoyance of Brett Favre and his disrespect for his teammates, because that is what his retirement yo-yo actually entails. Shove that vision of Brett Favre in his wranglers to the part of your brain you reserve for bad memories. Now look at the numbers one more time and respect what the man has accomplished.

I was fortunate enough to watch Brett Favre play live on an October day in Green Bay. At the time my friend Alex Hahn was working for the Redskins and got tickets for me to go to the Frozen Tundra and watch the Skins versus the Packers. No, literally, I had field passes and actually stood on the Frozen Tundra. Does it rank as the top live sporting event of my life, even over famous ALCS games during World Series runs? You bet it does! I got to high-five with Gilbert Brown and get in a mini-shouting match with then Packer Terry Glenn (I was wearing a Deion Branch Patriot jersey to the game, yes, I can be a jerk sometimes about my football).

The game was an exciting one and midway through the Third Quarter Brett Favre was PUMMELED and down for the count. People around me acted as if the Pope had been kidnapped. At the time Favre had the most consecutive games started by a QB in the NFL, somewhere around 200. This man had played one of the most dangerous position in the NFL (even with absurd rule changes) and not missed a game in the span of 12+ seasons. After missing one series Favre came back into the game and ended up leading the Packers to victory in the fourth quarter.

After the game we tailgated for a few more hours and a young girl, probably 23 or so, said to me,
"I'm not sure I would ever watch football again if Brett Favre wasn't playing."
She was completely serious and I wish I could talk to her now and see what she has done the past two years.

The point is that Brett Favre has not only survived in a violent sport, but excelled in this violent sport at an age at which we believe he should be done. Perhaps the Brett Favre retirement saga was ultra annoying and it may become the same this offseason, but take a look at the numbers and I honestly can not see you rating Favre lower than third in your list of all-time QBs.


Tim Walker said...

Let it be noted right up front that in my initial post I ranked Favre . . . third.

He has matched and now overshadowed the HUMONGOUS numbers that Marino put up. (Let's not be misled by Elway's and Manning's assaults on those same numbers -- Marino's career stats were sick like a malaria ward.) And if you want to nitpick about the single-season TD record . . . I would note Favre's THREE consecutive league MVP awards.

He's led his teams from the front, from behind, and under every adverse kind of condition. AND he's the Cal Ripken / Glenn Hall of the sport.

Yes, he's thrown way too many picks, and he got outplayed in that second Super Bowl, and he made a dumb play to tank the Vikings chances in the conference title game this year. He's flawed, and his flaws kept me from ranking him #1 or #2.

But after those two spots . . . he's better than everybody else.

Aaron_Strout said...

Kyle - great post.

Tim - you nailed it. Too many INTs. Just to put it in perspective, would anyone put Drew Bledsoe in their top 10? No, right!?! Although if you look at his stats, he was a pretty amazing QB (went to two SB's, lost one and won one standing on the sidelines). But his biggest issue was trying to get too cute when he should have taken the sack or thrown the ball away.

While I'm impressed by everything Favre did, his INTs kill him when it comes to being in the top two spots. I think three may even be high but I could live with it.

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