Brett Favre: Should He or Shouldn't He Return?

ExJx BrooksContributor IJuly 12, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 28:  Brett Favre #4 of The New York Jets looks to pass against The Miami Dolphins during their game on December 28, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Okay many have attempted to compare Brett Favre to Tarvaris Jackson and also to Aaron Rodgers. Many feel that Favre is kind of crazy and his drama filled offseasons are getting old.

I am coming from a place where I have been a Brett Favre fan his whole career and through him have become a die—hard Green Bay fan, but I am going to attempt to disprove many people in their tirades on him in an effort to bring to light the actual effect of Favre on the football team he is part of.

Yes, I agree Favre can seem like a crybaby at times, but if we move past that and look at the actual numbers, we can see that there is possibly a benefit for the Minnesota Vikings to have the services of the IRON MAN.

First and foremost, the debates last offseason were that the Packers either should have kept Favre or made the right the decision to trade him. Personally. I really didn't mind the move.

I would have liked to keep him, but realized the need to move on to Aaron Rodgers, because that was inevitable. But for those of you that want to say Favre is washed up and it was the right move and totally bash him let’s look at the numbers.

2007 Green Bay Packers

Their record was 13-3 with Favre under center and he had a career year completing 356 of 535 passes for a career high 66.5 passing percentage. He also passed for 4155 yards (3rd career highest), 28 TDs, 15 INTs, and a 95.7 QB rating (3rd career highest). Also note that the Packers went to the playoffs only to lose in the NFC championship game in overtime by a score of 20-23 to the New York Giants who went on to win the Superbowl that year.

2008 Green Bay Packers

Their record was 6-10 with Rodgers under center.  Not quite what you want to see, despite a stellar year from Aaron Rodgers who put up very similar numbers to Favre's the previous season. Here's the run down: 341 of 536 for a 63.6 passing percentage. 4038 passing yards for 28 TDs, 13 INTs, and a 93.8 QB rating.

Now the obvious difference is definitely the records. We can look at the rest of the team, but to be honest not many roster changes were made between the two years that were major. So practically the same teams except for the change at QB. We can even go further and compare 2007 Jets to 2008 Jets along with stats that Favre posted in 2008.

2007 Jets 4-12

2008 Jets 9-7 - barely missed the playoffs

Although Favre didn't put up very impressive numbers he still put up numbers that were above average. Consider also that he was dealing with a new system and had very little time to learn it.

I also feel that the team he had wasn't as good as what the Packers had in either season. For those of you that still want to dog his 2008 performance here’s the rundown of that:

343 of 522 for a 65.7 passing percentage, 3472 YDs, 22 TDs, 22 INTs, and a 81.0 QB rating.

Now a lot of people might think that these stats are not very good, but I have here the stats of one Ben Rothlisberger, QB of the last year's Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

281 of 469 for a 59.9 passing percentage, 3301 YDs, 17 TDs, 15 INTs and a 80.1 QB rating.

The difference here is that Pittsburgh’s defense is a beast and the team as whole was a heck of a lot better than the Jets.

The point I'm making here is that since Favre and Rodgers had very similar Packer teams between 2007 and 2008 and they both posted very similar numbers, it seems to me that Favre tends to make his team better.

I mean, as eluded to earlier, the Pack went from a Super Bowl contender to a below average record. Favre also went to a team that was basically horrible and helped turn it into a playoff contending team, despite less than stellar numbers in Favre's standards.

I do truly believe that Favre could have made a run for another Super Bowl ring if the Packers had kept him, but that’s my opinion. Again I didn’t mind the move to trade him and in the long run I think it was good in the development of Aaron Rodgers, but as far as the actual debate:

Favre staying in Green Bay 1, trading him 0.

Of course, with what’s going on right now we would have been in the same situation as last season if the Packers would have kept him. It could have been an even worse situation this offseason, because this was the year I felt Aaron Rodgers rightfully would take over the helm.

I will say I was very impressed with Aaron Rodgers' performance last year; I just didn’t enjoy his attitude. I missed the have fun mentality that Favre has.

Now on to the current situation. Most people believe that Favre is a little wacked out, thinking of coming back. I agree to a certain degree.

My take is that firstly maybe he should hang it up while he still has some left in the tank, I mean why risk having a horrible season to end his career on, because whether he comes back or not he’s done now or will be after this season. Secondly if the guy wants to play and the Vikings want to take a chance on him, then let him play.

I wouldn’t mind watching him play another season. I’d rather see him with someone else, preferably not in the NFC north, but it will make for interesting games when the Vikes meet the Pack twice this year. I will be torn every time he does something good.

To be honest like I stated earlier I am a die-hard Packer fan and was made so through Favre, so I do wish him well with the Vikings, if he does un-retire, but when he plays the Pack I hope they wipe the field with him.

That being said, in order to make a good comparison and try to make a point in Favre’s favor on whether he can still play or not, which I think he still can. I just wouldn’t risk it, and whether Favre is a better option than Jackson, we have to look at the numbers once again.

First and foremost, Favre is definitely a guy you can count on to be healthy to some extent for 16 games and even if he gets injured, barring anything major, he will play. We have all learned that after 269 (291 including playoffs) consecutive starts he never sits.

As far as Tarvaris Jackson we’ll take out his first season out of the equation, but in the last two seasons the Vikings have played 32 games and he played in only 21 of them (starting only 17).

In the 2007-2008 season Jackson started 12 games of 16 due to injuries, including a strained groin, a concussion and a fractured index finger, Jackson missed three games that season.

Then in the 2008-2009 season Jackson played in nine games (started five) after he re-injured his knee in the preseason causing him to miss the last two preseason games. So already proven to be injury prone Jackson definitely is at a disadvantage here.

Now I understand that Jackson is young and has a lot of development to go through, but I do think the Vikes are in a position where they are a QB away from making a run at a ring.

I think if Favre is going to make himself available and does go through with playing for the Vikes he is their best option as far as making that run. Furthermore, I think having Favre there to mentor Jackson for one or maybe more seasons, we’ll have to see how that plays out, will only make Jackson better.

I mean as good as Aaron Rodgers is you have to admit that playing under one of the greatest players at his position has definitely helped his development out. Without Favre I don’t think that Rodgers would have had the season he had last year. Favre can also bring veteran leadership to that team that Jackson definitely cannot.

Now I know it is kind of unfair to compare Favre’s stats to Jackson’s stats due to Jackson only having three years to show, but I do believe to make a point here some kind of comparison is needed. Now Favre in his worst year:

1993 16 games started 318 of 522 for a 60.9 passing percentage.

3303 YDs, 19 TDs, 24 INTs and a 72.2 QB rating.

This happened to be his third season in the league and his second with Green Bay. Now Tarvaris in his best season, remember we’re only counting is second and third seasons:

2008 9 games played 88 of 149 for a 59.1 passing percentage.

1056 YDs, 9 TDs, 2 INTs and a 95.4 QB rating.

This was also Jackson’s third season. Now beside the rating and the INTs Favre did have better stats even in his worst season. Even if you divided the games in half he would have still posted better numbers.

The real comparison is to look at Favre’s last two seasons, because the debate is “Does he still have it?” not just “Is he better for the Vikings than Jackson.” He has still been very productive even in the worst of the past two seasons.

The other things we need to compare are their x—factors. Favre’s are his charisma, love for the game, his ability to improve a team’s performance, and his ability to make plays out of nothing (his improve skills). Jackson’s is his ability to run. Some have called him a right handed Michael Vick, but I think he’s a better passer.

The running ability can be a very good asset to have, but I think Favre’s abilities far outweigh this in the scheme of the Quarter Back position. 

Do the Vikes really need it when they have Adrian Peterson? I say no.

Now Favre’s charisma is just awesome and can just spread throughout a locker room. Regardless what is going on off the field his charisma is always good on the field and in the locker room.

His love for the game, I think, is what really sets him apart from other QBs. This is why he has struggled to put the football down for the past few years and continues to come back.

Fans can really relate to him in that aspect. No matter what team he plays for he somehow, someway makes the team better. Earlier I made examples of this with the Packers in the last two seasons and the Jets in those seasons as well, but let’s look at his earlier years with the Pack and before he got there.

In 1991, the year Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, the Packers were 4-12 hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1982, hadn’t won a division title since 1972, and hadn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1967. Favre’s first season with Green Bay he played 15 games and the Pack went 9-7, of course he started every game after that.

Favre didn’t post a season under five hundred until 2005 when the Packers went 4-12. While Favre was there, the Packers managed to have 15 winning seasons, 7 division titles (the last one being 2007-2008 season, his last season with the Packers), 11 playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win.

So he is a proven winner and like I have always said he makes teams much better. I think that point is more than proven.

Lastly Favre’s ability to make plays is definitely a positive, but of course the risk it takes is sometimes bigger than the gain that could result, but I really think this is better than having a QB that can run.

Debate results:

Can he still play? Based statistically: 1, He’s washed up? 0

Better than Jackson? 1, Not a chance. 0

So to sum up all my points here, even though for his own sake I think Favre should stay retired and go out on a half way decent season, I think if he wants to play and plays as his usual self he IS the Vikings' best chance to make a run this year.

If Favre does come back based on statics and talent, I would pick Minnesota to take the division and be a Super Bowl contender. With Jackson, it will be another developmental year for the young QB.

I think most true Packer fans will root for Favre, except when he faces the Packers. I also think that the Green Bay Packers would have been better off and could have possibly been in the Superbowl if they would have kept Favre, but I still LIKE the move that was made and think it was best for the transition from Favre to Rodgers.

One thing I forgot to mention, a lot of people keep saying he’s old, but let’s not forget a certain Denver Bronco QB that won two Super Bowls at the ages of 37 and 38. A lot of people said he was washed up and old, too.


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