Why Does John Elway Escape the Criticism We Give Brett Favre?

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIFebruary 18, 2009

Ever since Brett Favre's retirement, many people have all had their own opinions about his legacy. We all concede he has been the most productive quarterback in the history of the National Football League yet many often discount his brilliance by pointing out various flaws.

Favre's reckless style of play has often earned him the dubious reputation of a big numbers quarterback who stayed in the game too long and made many costly mistakes along the way.

The main criticism that many have passed on Favre has been the amount of interceptions he has thrown.

Never mind the fact that he holds the NFL record with 464 touchdown passes, most people instead chose to focus on the fact that he has thrown for an NFL record 310 interceptions as well.

True, this is certainly an area which had been a cause of some concern for Favre but I wondered why similar criticism has escaped some other great NFL quarterbacks.

Most notably, John Elway.

When people talk about John Elway, they normally speak of him in high esteem.

As well they should, John Elway was one of the finest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Yet much like Brett Favre, he also had a pension for making many of the same mistakes.

What do I mean? How could I possibly compare John Elway to Brett Favre?

Well, they're not as far off as one might expect.

Let's take a look at the career statistics of both quarterbacks in an effort to gain a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

John Elway: 4,123 of 7,250 (56.9 percent) for 51,475 yards, 300 touchdown passes and 226 interceptions. QB rating: 79.9.

Brett Favre: 5,720 of 9,280 (61.6 percent) for 65,127 yards, 464 touchdown passes and 310 interceptions. QB rating: 85.4.

After looking at those statistics, you'll notice the following.

*Favre threw for 13,653 more yards than Elway.

*Favre threw for 164 more touchdown passes then Elway.

*Favre maintained a higher completion percentage despite throwing more often than Elway.

*Favre maintained a moderately more impressive quarterback rating than Elway.

*Favre threw for 84 more interceptions then Elway.

Essentially, Favre beats out Elway in virtually every passing category besides in terms of interceptions thrown.

Granted, Favre played in 35 more games then Elway, but something has to be said for longevity.

Back to the interceptions.

At quick glance, you'd imagine that Brett was far ahead of Elway in the interceptions department but that's not quite the case.

Brett Favre managed to throw an interception in .033 percent of his passes.

John Elway managed to throw an interception in .030 percent of his passes.

That means that if John Elway had thrown as many passes as Brett Favre, he would have thrown a total of 279 interceptions in his career.

By the same standard, Brett Favre would have thrown 242 interceptions had he thrown the same amount of passes as John Elway.

My point here is, their frequency in making those big mistakes was almost exactly as frequent.

So why is it that John Elway escapes the same criticism we give Brett Fave?

I think that John Elway has become the quintessential example of a Cinderella story.

He lost three Super Bowls earlier in his career but managed to end his career by winning two Super Bowls.

The fact that John Elway carried the Denver Broncos team on his back for all those years plays a big factor in the way in which we all see him now.

The same could be said for Brett Favre but for some reason, that seems to be lost to most people.

I'm not the biggest fan of Brett Favre as you might have noticed from reading some of my articles but in this situation, you got to be fair.

I'm a much bigger fan of John Elway on a personal note as I always loved his style, heart, and attitude.

With that being said, he was no worse then Brett Favre in terms of the criticisms that have followed Favre.

Elway was just as much mistake-prone as Favre yet was not as productive.

It's a shame that Brett Favre is often crucified by the media where John Elway is adored. Hopefully everyone here on Bleacher Report can shed some light on this situation because I feel that it is an issue that needs to be addressed.


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