In case you haven't heard, Brett Favre retired. No, no, I'm serious. He did! Really!
Seriously, with ESPN having turned into The Favre Channel for about a week or so, and sports radio bringing in endless guests to give praise to the Favre Above, the truth about Brett Favre got lost. This blog has before written about the over praising of Favre. http://andaplayertobenamedlater.blogspot.com/2007/11/young-love.html
And maybe we've overstated it a bit. The truth is Favre was a heck of a quarterback. However, with comments like these, "I believe Favre was the greatest player I’ve ever seen and arguably the greatest to ever play the game...We have been truly blessed by his presence..." it is hard not to overreact. So let's take an honest look at Brett Favre and see where his legacy truly stands.
Statistically speaking, it isn't even close. Favre isn't the best of all time. He's not even the best Packer QB of all time. Heck, by the statistics, Favre isn't even the best quarterback playing right now—Peyton Manning owns Favre in almost every single significant QB statistic. Don't believe me? OK, Manning has a 64.2 percent completion rating to Favre's 61.4%. Manning has 306 TD, 153 INT and a 94.7 passer rating. Favre has 442 TD, 288 INT and a 85.7 passer rating. As you can see, Favre has a much higher interception to touchdown rating than Manning: 65 percent to Manning's 50%.
Let's take the stats a bit further. If Favre was compared to Steve Young—in my opinion, the most criminally overlooked passer—Favre would turn into dust in Young's presence. For example, Young led the league in passer ratings six times. Six!!! And in all 6 times, Young had a passer rating of over 100%. And many of those years overlapped Favre's glory days. Oh, and how many times did Favre top the 100% passer ratings. Ummm, that would be none. OK, so how many times did Favre lead the league in QB rating? Ummm, again, that would be none.
Sal Paolantonio, one of the only ESPN guys not to crawl in the presence of his Favreship, takes to task the legend of Favre's postseason "magic": "After beating the San Francisco 49ers in the 1997 NFC Championship Game, Favre won just three of his last 10 playoff games. Favre's passer rating in his last 12 postseason games was a pedestrian 77.8. In his last five wild-card games, he went 2-3 with more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (seven). In his last three divisional playoff games, he went 1-2 with seven TDs and seven interceptions. That's a 3-5 record with 14 touchdown passes and 16 picks."
Sal Pal goes on, commenting on the one statistic that seemingly everybody ignores. For 81 years, the Packers never lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field. However, since 2002, under Favre's leadership, they are 2-3 at Lambeau in playoff games. Ewwww.
The main reason Green Bay didn't lose in home playoff games in the past was because for a while they had a great QB (and better than Favre) named Bart Starr. And when you compare Starr's stats to Favre's, well it's not even close.
Let's start with the stats that matter; the postseason. And frankly, Starr's postseason’s stats are ridiculous. Starr had a 104.8 playoff passer rating, a 1.41 percent interception rate and a 9-1 record. Favre, who played in the easier wild-card playoff system, had a 12-10 record and a 85.2 rating and a 6.39 interception rate. Also, Starr had a career 7.85 YPA, Favre had a 7.0 YPA. The stats could go on.
Again, this is not to bury Favre. Favre had a wonderful Hall of Fame career. His durability—253 consecutive regular-season starts, 275 if you count the playoffs—is truly once-in-lifetime-amazing. It's that amazing durability that has let him top almost every significant quarterback record: Passing Yards, Completed Passes, Passing TDs as well as Interceptions to name a few. And for a three-year period in the mid 90s, he was truly remarkable. 38, 39 and 35 TDs, adding up to 112 TD passes to 42 INT, a mid 90's QB rating, and averaging a 7.5 YDA.
It's just that Favre wasn't as good as ESPN, John Madden, sports radio or Pro Football Weekly would have you believe. Yes, he was fun to watch, a "gunslinger," a "kid on the field having fun." But let's not confuse fun with being the best. Yes, Favre deserves his place in the Hall of Fame and a nice cushy commentator spot on Fox or ESPN. But let's not place him as the best. Because he isn't.