Fitting Favre into history
Evaluating Packers QB, Bush, Rivers, Barber and more
Posted: Friday September 28, 2007 10:16AM; Updated: Friday September 28, 2007 2:09PM
With a landmark record about to fall this weekend, and I'm talking about Dan Marino's mark for career touchdown passes, we'll designate our leadoff hitter as Steve of Germantown, Md., who says, "It seems an appropriate time to ask if you would rank Brett Favre among the 10-best quarterbacks of all time."
I want to be fair about this. I've been repeatedly accused of being anti-Favre, and I think the reason for my grumpiness is the announcers and fans have fallen so much in love with him during his career that they've been blind to his failings, such as the careless interceptions. How many times have I heard, "Well, at least he's having fun out there," as the offense trudges off the field, following still another pick?
But placing him in the pantheon of the all-timers, well, I'm going to have to think it through; and why not right now? To me, his most remarkable record is never having missed a contest since he became a starter in the fourth game of the 1992 season. That's 16 years worth! Strictly on a skill level, I can't think of any other Hall of Fame quarterback who had a stronger arm, with the possible exception of Terry Bradshaw, who was a national schoolboy record holder in the javelin. Emotionally, Favre is a wild stallion who, at best, in the Super Bowl seasons, inspired all those around him ... at worst, drove his coaches crazy.
He's the kind of player who needed a periodic restraining order ... hey, why am I past-tensing him? Who needs -- present -- a periodic restraining order, and let's face it, coaches have been afraid of him. Mike Holmgren wasn't. Maybe Mike McCarthy, the current edition, isn't, since I keep reading how he's telling him to choke it off and play it safe. Now, how does he compare with the all-timers?
John Unitas and Joe Montana, my twin No. 1s? Both better than him. Otto Graham, my No. 3? Ditto. How about the moderns, Steve Young, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Marino? Hmmm, more careful from an interception standpoint, Aikman and Young, higher-percentage passers, all except Aikman higher in yards per completion -- which is a very telling stat in my book. Victories? Super Bowls? Uh uh, I don't count those in. They're team stats, not QB stats.
How about the old timers, Luckman and Sammy Baugh, for instance? No, I can't do it ... Sid Luckman, who played a full game on defense vs. Brett Favre? No, forget it. I forgot Norm Van Brocklin and Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle, and the ultra moderns, such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and ... OK, I'm cutting it off right here. That record of 16 years without missing a game does it for me ... Favre goes into my top 10, all time, probably around eight or nine, when I get it all worked out. OK?
Progressing in regimental fashion, we'll stay with the quarterback questions for a while. Rick of Boulder, Colo., thinks one of the most overrated statistics for QBs is fourth-quarter comebacks, a big hoo-ha out there in Elway country; but Rick feels that maybe it was some earlier screwups that can put a team in a comeback mode to begin with. Yep, I sure agree with that; in fact, I think trying to isolate any one stat (except Favre's durability) is a mistake. My least favorite stat is passer-rating points, a system keyed almost entirely to completion percentage. Step right up, dinkers, and collect your reward.