Favre Great, But Overrated

It is with great hesitation that I write this because something tells me that Brett Favre will un-retire sometime before or during the 2008 NFL season.  For some reason, his retirement announcement seems to be a hollow one.

Is he really tired?  Is he really feeling old?  Is he finally admitting that after 253 consecutive starts, his body is too banged up to continue?

If this is indeed the end, Favre retires as an all-time great, but be that as it may, he was also one of the most overrated quarterbacks in NFL history as well.  Yes, he has the most passing yards of all time.  Yes, he has the 253 consecutive starts.  Yes, he has the 442 touchdown passes.  Yes, he has three MVP awards.  Yes, he has two NFC Championships and yes, one Super Bowl victory.   

But, in the big games, Favre was more than a bit spotty.  In 22 playoff games, Favre threw 28 interceptions, and his won-loss record was an okay 12-10.  In the 2001 NFC Divisional Playoffs against the St. Louis Rams, he was picked off six times.  There was the ill fated throw-it-and-hope interception against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs,  and the four interceptions he threw against the Minnesota Vikings in the 2004 NFC WildCard Playoffs.  He also threw two picks in the 31-24 Super Bowl 32 loss against the 11 point underdog Denver Broncos.  And, let’s remember that Favre’s last pass was a wounded duck that landed right into the arms of New York Giants defensive back Cory Webster that propelled the Giants into Super Bowl 42. 

Favre was a gunslinger and sometimes gunslingers lose, and Favre was no exception.  He never lost the cannon of an arm and he was always a leader, always tough, always durable.  He overcome addiction, the sudden death of his father and the cancer ordeal of his wife to succeed in the toughest of sports.  His place in NFL history is secure, but because he was beloved by most NFL fans, they tend to think he was better in big games than he actually was.

Fans often do that.  A recent sports fan poll rated Joe Namath as the 13th best quarterback and nobody was more overrated than the 173 touchdown, 220 interception, 50.1 completion percentage career of Namath.  Like Namath, Favre won the big one, which in sports today seems to be the measuring stick when it comes to rating great players. 

Dan Marino was a better pure passer than Favre, but Marino never won the Super Bowl and he will always be knocked because of that.  Favre and Marino’s stats are eerily alike, but many will rate Favre ahead of him simply because he won a Super Bowl.  Joe Montana’s stats don’t come close to Favre or Marino’s, but he won four Super Bowls and will always be ranked “way ahead” of a Brett Favre or a Dan Marino.  Tom Brady could retire tomorrow, and he, too, would likely be ranked ahead of Favre as well.  Terry Bradshaw threw for 27,000 plus yards, or more than 34,000 less than Favre (and Marino), but because he won four Super Bowls, he gets the nod over Favre (and Marino). 

Not sure if that’s right, but I saw all of Favre’s career, and he was great, but overrated. 

John Furgele

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