It is one of the more heavily debated topics in professional sports: Who is the best quarterback in the history of the NFL?
Many different names come up, from Montana to Marino, from Unitas to Elway.
However, I believe that the greatest quarterback to ever play the game just hung up his cleats a month ago. Brett Favre's toughness and passion for the game has earned him a spot at the top of my list.
Now, I do not think that Favre is the greatest ever because I am a Packer fan. There are many factors that go into this selection.
The first thing that jumps out is obviously the gaudy stats. Four hundred and forty-two touchdowns, 61,655 yards, and 5,377 completions are all NFL records. However, these records are probably not even the most impressive of his accomplishments.
His 160 career wins are more than any other quarterback in the history of the NFL. But his proudest accomplishment is his consecutive games streak, which stood at 275 (including playoffs) when he retired.
This impressive streak is one that may never be matched. In a collision sport like football, it is difficult to make it through an entire season without injury, much less 16 years.
Favre fought through many injuries throughout his career.
I remember a game against the New York Giants when Brett suffered a concussion, then later snuck onto the field and threw a touchdown pass. He played through a separated shoulder, an injured ankle, and a cracked thumb on his throwing hand.
Still, none of this even compares to the emotional pain that Favre had to deal with in the later years of his career.
His father, Irvin Favre, died the day before the Packers’ game against the Raiders. Brett responded by playing the game of his life, throwing four touchdowns and 399 yards. This was the defining moment of his career, in my mind.
He has also had to deal with vicodin addiction in his earlier years. He had to deal with the death of his brother-in-law, as well as his wife's breast cancer.
Still, he has played through it all.
He came back in 2007, when many people thought he would, or should, retire. He responded by turning an MVP-type performance (if it weren't for Tom Brady). He led an average Packers team to the NFC Championship game, where they lost in overtime.
At 38 years old, Favre played with the enthusiasm of a little kid, which was never more evident than in his last ever victory against the Seattle Seahawks. His stumbling pass to Donald Lee was a classic, as was his firing of a snowball at Donald Driver after a touchdown.
The knocks on Favre have been his Super Bowl resume and his interceptions.
No, he did not win as many Super Bowls as Montana or Bradshaw, but he did win one and go to another. He played well in those Super Bowls as well, throwing five touchdowns and running for one. The Packers have also won more games than any other team since 1992, when Favre first stepped in at the helm.
As for the interceptions, it was his supporting cast. His interceptions went way down this year with the gelling of his young receiving corps.
When he had high interception totals, it was because he was trying to do too much for his team. Also, Babe Ruth is considered to be one of the top baseball players ever, and he struck out a lot of times.
So, there you have it. Five years from now (assuming he doesn't make a comeback), Favre will be enshrined into Canton, but is already enshrined as No. 1 in my book. His passion and toughness will not likely be surpassed by any other at his position.
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