I'm no Packers fan, but it was still sad to watch Brett Favre's decline over the past two years.
Favre was one of the best quarterbacks in the league when I was a kid. Watching him get old made me feel too much like an adult.
The other great QBs of the 90s, Steve Young and Troy Aikman, were already well established as football analysts on TV. How long would it be until Favre joined them?
Thanks to Favre's incredibly successful 2007 campaign, though, I can continue feeling like a little kid when watching the Packers play...and not just when watching The Suite Life of Zach and Cody on the Disney Channel.
The Green Bay Packers are 12-3 and looking forward to a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. Favre's drastic improvement is the main reason for the team's surge.
In 2005 and 2006, Favre's QB rating was 70.9 and 72.7. He threw a total of 38 touchdowns against 47 interceptions.
This year, Favre's rating has rocketed to 94.1, and he's thrown 11 more TDs than INTs.
Favre's 2007 completion rate (66.2 percent) and yards per attempt average (7.7) are all-time highs for the 38-year-old quarterback. In 1996, the year Favre and the Packers won the Super Bowl, the QB's completion rate and YPA were just 60 percent and 7.2, respectively.
Perhaps the most incredible thing about the Packers' turnaround is that Favre is one of the few veterans on one of the NFL's youngest teams. Green Bay's halfback duo of Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson have no prior NFL starting experience, and after Donald Driver, few people have heard of Greg Jennings, James Jones, and the rest of the Packers wide receivers.
The ability of a 38-year-old to connect with and lead a much younger team is impressive, especially after two disappointing seasons. It only affirms the notion that Favre is very young at heart.
It's hard to say why Favre is so much better this year than last. He's obviously making better decisions, as evidenced by his lower interception rate. Still, how does one explain why he couldn't do it in either of the prior two years?
Whatever the reason, Favre's resurgence has been the most fun story to follow this year. Even the QB's fiercest rivals have been able to appreciate his rebirth, as the Chicago Bears are 2-0 against the Pack this year.
It's a good thing for the Packers they won't see Chicago in the playoffs.