It's Time To Lay Off Brett Favre

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IJanuary 1, 2009

Writer's note: This article is in response to, "NFL: Brett Favre-Most Overrated Career?"

I know people used to consider (some still do) Favre as one of the top ten quarterbacks of all-time.  I think those people are overrating him. 

I have also read a lot of articles and comments recently that have reduced Favre to an average or slightly above average quarterback.

Most of the comments and articles that I have read (not all) have come from Jets fans who are upset about how the season ended.  Trust me as a Saints fan, I know what it's like to see your team tank at the end of the season and want to blame the coach or the quarterback or the entire defense. 

I think when we try to rate current players, we need to try to remove ourselves from the emotion of moment. 

Let's consider some of Favre' accomplishments that were mentioned in the recently published Bleacher Report article.

3 consecutive MVPs.  No one has won 3 MVPs, much less three in a row. 

169 wins.  13 winning seasons and only one losing season in Green Bay.  2 Super Bowl appearances.  1 Lombardi trophy.  All of those consecutive starts.

"In all of Favre's "glory days" he only won one Super Bowl, and that was against the Patriots."

What's wrong with winning just one Super Bowl?  Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Fran Tarkenton didn't win a Super Bowl.  Steve Young only won one. 

Only 27 different quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl.  The Lions, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Bengals, Browns, Eagles, Cardinals, Bills, Vikings, Seahawks, Texans, Titans/Oilers, and Chargers have never won Super Bowls. 

I would think that at least half of those teams would have liked to have Favre from 92-07.  I know some of these teams have only been in the league for about a dozen years, but some of these teams have been in the league over 40.

I know many Saints' fans would give their left nut for the kind of success Favre helped bring the Packers.

Don't try to diminish his accomplishments by saying that Peyton might break those records.  "There is going to be a day when Peyton Manning breaks just about every record imaginable and then what does Favre have?  Nothing, that's what."

Will Peyton have nothing when someone comes along and breaks all of his records?  Of course not.

Favre's longevity and success in Green Bay meant the Packers could go more than a decade without drafting a quarterback in the first round or signing an expensive one in free agency.

People mention the interceptions that he throws and rightfully so.  But you have to remember how many times over his career he was asked to throw the ball.  His career interception percentage is only 3.3 percent. 

Let's compare him to some legendary quarterbacks over the course of NFL history.

Sammy Baugh: 6.8 percent (more Ints than TD)
Johnny Unitas: 4.9 percent
Bart Starr: 4.4 percent
Bob Griese: 5.0 percent
Terry Bradshaw: 5.4 percent (barely completed over half of his passes.  Threw the ball 10.8 times per games less than Favre)
Jim Plunkett: 5.3 percent (more Ints than TDs)
Troy Aikman: 3.0 percent
John Elway: 3.1 percent

He has a higher passer rating than all of them. 

Only a handful (Peyton, Marino (barely), Brady, Montana, and Young) have higher passer ratings.  Not bad company.

I researched many quarterbacks, most retired and some still playing, and I only found two quarterbacks who threw the ball more times per game than Favre's 34 per game.

Dan Marino: 34.5 attempts per game

Drew Brees: 34.1 attempts per game

No quarterback should be asked to throw the ball that much.

I may not place him in the top 10 of all-time quarterbacks, but in my lifetime (since 1983), he is among the best. 

Of the quarterbacks in my lifetime, the only quarterbacks that I would confidently rank ahead of him are Montana, Brady, and P. Manning. 

The bottom line is that he would probably be better spoken of right now had he retired three or four years ago.  His legendary arm stregnth has prevented him from completing the passes he once did.