Our buddies at Brats & Beer follow up on the Laura Ingraham criticism of Brett Favre and draw our attention to something even more inane, this idiotic piece by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. Read the whole thing if you’re bored at work and don’t want to have to talk to the smelly lady in the office next to yours who eats liversausage sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil and doesn’t have any clue that you would rather stab your leg repeatedly with a pencil than listen to her drone on about her cats. Not you? Okay, here’s a summary of his argument: Favre hasn’t been great in the playoffs over the last ten years, so he qualifies as one of the most overrated quarterbacks in NFL history.
I’m serious. That’s the essence of his claim. It’s the kind of argument one makes to be contrarian, not to be right.
It’s an argument notable only for what it misses. It doesn’t merit a lengthy treatment.
Yes, Favre played long enough to throw the most touchdown passes and collect the most wins by an NFL quarterback. But let’s examine the second half of No. 4’s career. The truth is, Favre did little over the past decade to earn the gushing praise heaped upon him by our fawning brethren in the media.
Got that? Favre is a passive actor in his own success. He collected the most wins in NFL history by a QB, much as one might collect food stamps or bottlecaps. And what of that second claim? Favre did little over the past decade?
Here is a list of the Packers won-loss records in this time that Favre “did little.” 11-5, 8-8, 9-7, 12-4, 12-4, 10-6, 10-6, 4-12, 8-8, 13-3. Is there another quarterback over the same time period who can compare to those numbers? I think the most remarkable Favre accomplishment is the fact that he had one losing season as a Green Bay Packer. One. And think about some of those teams.
This is where Paolantonio’s argument falls flattest. What if Favre’s greatness came in simply getting otherwise mediocre teams to make the playoffs? What if his most significant achievement was turning unspectacular talents like Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman into league-leading receivers? Why measure only on his performance in the playoffs during part of his career rather than measure his performance in all games over his entire career? Well, perhaps because Favre’s numbers would have left Paolantonio without an argument at all. And without these kinds of arguments how could he fill up an entire book he immodestly named “The Paolantonio Report,” that is dedicated assessing “the most overrated and underrated players, teams, coaches and moments in NFL history?”
To review: In his final season, at the age of 38, Favre was statistically a top-five quarterback. He is the NFL’s only three-time MVP. He is one of the most durable professional athletes of all time. He leaves in the middle of a streak of 253 consecutive starts. He holds most of the individual records for quarterbacks, including: 160 wins as starter, 61,655 passing yards, 5377 completions, 8758 attempts, and 442 passing touchdowns, 22 more than his closest competitor (Dan Marino). Favre also passed for more than 20 touchdowns in 13 of his 17 seasons. And, as noted, he had only one losing season. One.
Which triggers one last question: Is it even possible for Brett Favre to be overrated?