Brett Favre: 2009 NFL NVP

Jacob WaalkContributor IJanuary 6, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 03:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the New York Giants on January 3, 2010 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Giants 44-7.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

But Manning doesn't do more with less. I am so incredibly exasperated with this fallacy. He's on the same team he's been on for the last decade, and while Dungy left, Manning still has complete control of his offense and gets to pass it as much as he likes, while Favre has to battle a control freak coach who doesn't like the QB recognizing coverage patterns and calling audibles.

The most important stat with quarterbacks is actually pass protection. How potent the running game is is meaningless; pass protection is what's important. Favre has three times as many sacks yet a statistically better season.

Manning threw for more yards, but as the poster said, their YA are the same, and so it directly correlates with Manning having more attempts than Favre, considering their completion percentages are within half a percentage point of each other.

Frankly, I'm just tired of Manning getting it. Yes, we know already the Colts would have no team at all without a strong QB, that doesn't mean Manning automatically gets the award EVERY single frickin' year. The Vikings would not be 10-6 this year without Favre, and you would know this if you watched the games. With T-Jack, they would be 8-8, minimum, and not even in the playoffs, and possibly be worse than that.

Manning will be the player on whom a team most relies for the rest of his career, that doesn't mean he should get an MVP award again and again.

Back to pass protection, briefly: Favre has an average rating in the low 120s when only getting one or less sacks in same, what Manning has averaged all year and gotten an overall rating of 99.9 with. Point? Favre does better than Manning when he has Manning's protection and has played best when calling the shots like Manning does.

Secondly, enough already about Garcon and Collier; neither are that bad, and neither have numbers that are impressive. Seriously, you have to add both of them up together to reach Reggie Wayne's numbers.

That doesn't really matter though because when pass protection is good enough and the QB is accurate, any decent wide receiver will manage to get open with that time, it's simply a fact of the sport: coverage can't stick together for longer than five seconds without a hole appearing.

Manning always had his security blanket veterans to go to, while Favre had to go in overnight and build chemistry with an unheralded set of very young receivers.

In fact, Favre has spread the ball around more than Peyton Manning, completing 40 passes to six different receivers. For all the talk of Garcon and Collier, are they now stars? No, they aren't. However, Shiancoe, Rice, and Harvin are now all-star receivers, Harvin and Shiancoe being especially dangerous in the red zone.

Two-thirds of Manning's passes are caught by Wayne and Clark, who also combine for 20 of his 33 TD's. Manning really hasn't done more with less. His defense has made the crucial stops when playing for end game comebacks, (something the Vikings have been terrible about, allowing huge chunks of yardage in the end of the game and completely falling apart, except at home, the last month).

Need I mention that Favre actually spreads the ball around more than Manning does? With six receivers recording over 40 receptions, something that hasn't happened in the NFL for over two decades? The list of players with TD's is also quite long this year: Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe, Chester Taylor, Jeff Dugan, Greg Lewis, and Naufahu Tahi, yes that's right, he's completed TD passes to eight different receivers this season.

One has to look no further than the impact Favre has had in a one-year period. It leaves a perfect comparison. Last year, the Vikings' passing attack was ranked 25th in the NFL. This year it is tied for first in the NFL in scoring. Peyton Manning is still doing what he always does, and the Colts have built their offense around him in a manner which would give Brett Favre's ego a wet dream.

That doesn't mean that year in and year out he should a contender for the MVP award. So Favre, by himself, is good for bringing an offense up 25 notches. Twenty-five, that seems pretty damn impressive in its own right.

At the beginning of the season any sane person would have traded the Vikings receiver corps for the Colts. Favre has helped develop a group of young sophomore and rookie receivers into a star group, especially Shank, Rice, and Harvin. Even more interesting is their star 2008 receiver, the speedy deep threat Berrian, has been hampered with injuries all year and not played well.

Additionally, they had two rookies on the OL, another important factor, while Manning had, as many have noted, the No. 1 pass protection in the NFL, something that means far more than the the rushing attack. Who needs a running game when you have the protection to pass the ball constantly and not get sacked.

The Jets could throw eight man blitzes at Manning and still his OL would part them like God parting the Red Sea and he could sit in a perfect pocket and wait for the play to develop before zipping the pass out. Favre's 40 and he's been sacked 34 times this year, he's been hurried many more than that. He's been zipping out of the pocket, prolonging plays, and been simply amazing making something out of nothing again and again.

Peyton Manning most definitely did not deserve it last year. Drew Brees did for putting together a fantastic season that year and deserves it this year for setting a new record in completion percentage and leading a team that is possibly even more dependent on him than the Colts are on Peyton Manning.

Now let me briefly talk about why Favre's touchdown to interception ratio this season DOES NOT surprise me. He's picking up where he left off in the mid-1990s, except now the rules make it easier to pass.

The big myth is that Favre is a big interception machine and that that almost wipes out his legacy as a QB. Complete and utter nonsense. While he's not afraid to take risks and threw a lot of TD's trying to come back from large deficits, a lot of his passes resulted from mistakes on the receiver's end.

In fact, Favre has actually had his worst INT totals AFTER the NFL changed the rules making it much easier to pass. That's because of a number of reasons, not least among them I feel a lack of fire he had playing at Green Bay, which was finally starting to suffocate him and make him feel complacent. But also due to Mike Thompson gutting the team in 2005 (leading to Favre's only losing season), and the continuing rebuilding process in 2006.

He had a good year statistically in 2007, and though he was struggling with unimaginative Jets' offense he was having a reasonably good year there until a torn biceps muscle left him uncharacteristically inaccurate.

The amazing thing, consider that his worst totals have come after the rule changes and then consider that Favre is still the fifth most accurate QB of all time, at a 3.3 percent INT rating and he's only .3 percent away from being tied with Dan Marino and Troy Aikman for second most accurate. It's also only .5 percent less accurate than Manning.

But like I said, that's most impressive because he was actually more accurate during the 1990s and up to 2003. Sure, Favre has thrown the most INT's, but he's also thrown the most TD's.  Considering it, Brett Favre shattered Dan Marino's record, I mean he's already more than 70 TD's past it, and he might play another year year. In fact, he's set the bar nearly a full 20 percent higher than it was previously.

There are lots of ways to put it perspective. Like, did you know that Brett Favre is tied for second all time in TD passes thrown at the Bears' home field, Soldier Field, and that's including their QB's? Or that in two seasons he's thrown more TD's than a Bears QB has in a career in the past 30 years?

And the real thing about it all is that Favre has done it all without a lot of help. He's had one receiver of HOF quality, and that was Sterling Sharpe and Sharpe got injured just five seasons into his NFL career and actually missed the hottest stretch of Favre's career, 95-97. He's had a few occasional Pro-Bowlers, but no fantastic threats, no Randy Moss's, Jerry Rice's, Marvin Harrison's, Wes Welker's, or Michael Irvin's.

Antonio Freeman, Javon Walker, and Donald Driver, and perhaps Greg Jennings, but never any real super star receivers. He's also the second most sacked QB, just 10 behind John Elway and yet he's never missed a start and failed to complete something like only six games during his entire career.

He didn't win four Super Bowls, like Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, but then again his teams weren't as good as theirs were, Dan Marino didn't win a single Super Bowl and yet I still consider him possibly the best quarterback ever due to his fast release, accuracy, and velocity.

What's more is that Montana really didn't put up the kind of regular season numbers Favre did, (comparing the years in which they played under the same NFL system, pre-rule change), he was just great in the clutch and the play-offs, and Favre was too until recently.

And still, durability also counts for something in making a judgment. Joe Montana missed close to 60 games during his career due to injury, compare that to Favre's, (including playoffs), 307 consecutive start streak. Joe Montana might have been great, but Favre's attempted twice as many passes, nearly twice as many TD's, and 29,000 more yards, and he's done it with less.

Brett Favre is simply the best quarterback in the history of the NFL as a whole. Once the quality of the teams he played on are examined, and, as best as one can, the field for analysis is leveled, no one else is as good as him. Peyton Manning is probably the only QB playing today with a decent shot at his records, and even that shot declines tremendously if Favre plays another year. As it is, it's 50-50 at best.

I'm not sure Manning has six seasons of prime playing left in him at 33, (what it would take to pass Favre in the major categories), he already wears a knee brace and as tends to be the case QB's actually retire due to problems with their legs and mobility, not arms, just ask Dan Marino and Warren Moon.

Warren Moon, in fact, recently watched Favre's pocket mobility and said, "If he moves like that he should be able to play another three to four seasons if he wants to," though I doubt he will. We'll see. I like Peyton Manning a lot, and think he's a great guy.

He'll prolly pass a few of Favre's records, most likely overall wins, because he's played for a winningier franchise that has tended to be much better rounded than the Packers were overall in Favre's career. His numbers of INTs will probably continue to increase as well, putting him more in line with Dan Marino.

The wikipedia article has some great perspective on Favre's statistical achievements:

  • Favre has completed more passes than all but seven QBs have attempted passes...
  • Favre has won more games than all but eight QBs have played ...
  • Favre total YDs is at least twice that of all but 15 QBs...
  • Favre total TDs is at least twice that of all but 13 QBs...
  • Favre attempts are at least twice that of all but 16 QBs...
  • Favre completions are at least twice that of all but 11 QBs..

And, of course, to me, most hilariously (as I mentioned earlier), he's tied for second on the all time passing TD list for Soldier Field, behind only Jim McMahon and not by a whole lot. And hopefully he's not yet.

I think that with more preparation and chemistry and the possible addition of another deep threat, (Terrell Owens), he could have an even better statistical year next season and win more games, which is all that's really important to him.

As for his playoff performances? Brett Favre is actually better in the playoffs than Manning, with a larger INT differential, and pretty much a wipe out on all the other categories, for now, not knowing how many more playoff games Manning will play in his career. But Manning does have a shorter way to go catching up to him in INT's than he does in TD's (12 more INT's compared to 18 TD's).

In the more dubious playoff categories, Favre has excellent company, being tied with Jim Kelly for most playoff interceptions and tied with Dan Marino for most playoff losses. Better to die being impaled on your own sword than your enemies, that's the philosophy of football and it's a truer and better philosophy than all this modern nonsense that creates such bland, QB's as Chad Pennington and Marc Bulger and McNabb, guys who don't throw a lot of INT's but don't throw many touchdowns either.

Even Tom Brady, though, I'm not sure that Tom Brady is human and not an experimental machine designed by aliens. Check his stats, with the exception of 2007, he has thrown around 28 TD's and 12-14 INT's like clockwork ever year since his rookie season. This year? What a coincidence, 28 TD's and 13 INT's.

If I can bet on what his stats will be from next year, I'd put a $1,000 on my spread. Problem for Brady is that he's 32 and he's 272 TD's behind Favre. That's okay, if he plays eight more seasons throwing 30 TD's a year...oh wait, nevermind, hah.

Brett Favre, possibly this year's MVP (logically, I just have to give it to Drew Brees, but a part of me, emotionally, I'm just far more inclined to give it to Favre, after all Brett Favre did beat Tom Brady's 2007 INT percentage this year), and in the overall scheme of playing ability, probably the best quarterback to ever play football, whether or not his statistics are eventually passed up in the new system.


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