Dear NFL Media,
The 2011 postseason quickly approaches, and as quarterbacks on contending teams fall victim to injury the inevitable suggestions have surface that teams consider bringing in Brett Favre to help their team continue to succeed.
I've had it. It was tough enough to deal with when he was retiring and returning every year for an entire three season span. Now he is retired and done, as he should have been in 2008; and it is borderline angering to hear even a consideration regarding him making a return to the NFL. As much as I truly do give him credit for toughing it out and absolutely demolishing the consecutive games started record in the NFL, and I do, I can't help but think that he has gotten his due and more over the past decade or so; way more than his due.
The man is undoubtedly a tough athlete, a competitor, and took more hard hits in one week of play than most men receive in their lifetime. Therefore I have to preface this rant with the full acknowledgement that I am not diminishing the impressiveness of his athleticism nor his dedication to the game. Yet after three years to assess the situation, I have come pretty much come full circle back to: " I really wish I was more impressed but I'm not."
This is in part due to the fact that he has relished in the glory of his records for years now, constantly self-proclaiming and promoting his mental and physical toughness during over-dramatized press conferences and locker room statements. I have watched and listened to analysts hail his "love of the game" even though he carried on a career for a couple of years too long and forced fans us to suffer through intentionally misleading retirements.
After leaving Green Bay he had two completely underwhelming seasons, yet another atrocious game-losing interception in the NFC Championship, and an all-but-proven scandal with a female Jets employee in the face of his wife surviving cancer. He's also refused to attend training camp in his final year with the Vikings last year, allowed teammates to fly to his home and literally beg him to return, and then proceeded to throw almost twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes in the 2010 season before he was carted off. He has made a mockery of himself; retiring and un-retiring and then sitting with a smile as ESPN spends hours debating whether or not some struggling NFL team would be desperate enough to bring him out of his latest retirement.
How is it possible that his name continues to circulate as an option for ailing teams trying to make it into and through the postseason? Supposedly it's because ‘Brett Favre can give your team the chance to win.' Well the reality is that he is a 42 year old who's last year in the league was a disaster and who hasn't stepped on a professional football field in a year. Some argue that perhaps he could invigorate the locker room and be an inspiring figure to the guys who play around him. I hardly feel that would be the case when a team is chasing after the postseason and he is lying on the field grabbing his ankle or knee or thigh in Week 16.
Seriously, Brett Favre was not that good. He was really good. He was dynamic, exciting to watch and some aspects of his game were unique unto him; which made him a hero when they worked and a mockery when they didn't. The lore of Brett Favre as a top five quarterback of all-time is highly debatable as it is, but I'll get to that in a second. The mere fact that you consistently discuss him as an option is because he was the ringleader of his own circus for so many years. Far better athletes have begun and ended their careers withe dignity and class, where his career has become a never-ending saga of hopeless teams supposedly needing a man who has had a hard time letting go of his own over-rated reputation.
He continues to occupy headlines and NFL story arcs and debates while other worthy sports stories fall by the wayside. Perhaps it's not so much his fault that the you have continued to feed into this, but for so long he did nothing but encourage the commentary rather than diffuse it. For years after that first retirement, he stood at the podium talking about his toughness and his inability to let go of the game he loves. He allowed gushing reporters to spout his records and statistics, never getting sick of his own impressiveness despite his continual failures since his Super Bowl/NFL MVP years in 1996-1998.
He won his only professional championship fifteen years ago, and he played in a second Super Bowl the next year; which he lost. He played 13 more seasons after that. He couldn't win it all once he was 29; or still in his 30's for that matter. What would possibly possess a team with even a slim chance at a playoff run to even consider a guy who couldn't win anymore even when he was still in his prime?
Nothing. The fact of the matter is, I'm not sure I even trust you when it comes to Brett Favre anymore, and maybe I am giving NFL personnel too much credit here; but I's like to believe that nobody is dumb enough to malign their team with that gray-haired ticking time bomb.
Nobody is worth that. He has statistics and he had longevity, and now it's over. He is not the best athlete to come down the pike. Even Michael Jordan had a shelf life, people. The absurdity of your glorification of Brett Favre will never cease to amaze me.
I could browse the internet for days looking through the impressive individual athletic achievements of our favorite sports stars over the past century. Here's just a few to satisfy my point:
- Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games.
- Rocky Marciano's 49-0 fight record. (43 by knockout)
- Wayne Gretzky's 215-point season and 2,857 points across his career.
- Oscar Robertson averaging a triple-double for an entire season.
- Bill Russell's 11 NBA Championship rings.
- Glenn Hall's 502 consecutive games played for the Chicago Blackhawks as goalie.
- Cy Young's 749 complete games pitched in his career.
These are all records generally regarded as unbeatable. They are inarguably some of the greatest achievements in the history of American professional sports. Elite athletes in all sports have achieved these types of feats with relative modesty in comparison to the grandiose and entitled manner in which Favre handled his own success. Maybe that's part of the reason he stopped winning.
I'd like to shove aside his unbridled praise and take a look at the facts for just a second. Brett Favre has one Super Bowl ring from his two Super Bowl appearances. Comparing that to just his more recent contemporaries currently in the league? That's two less than Tom Brady, one less than Ben Roethlisberger, and the same as Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and his successor Aaron Rodgers.
And while we are at it, why don't we take a look at some of those incredible records that he has set over the course of his absurdly long career.
- 1st all time being sacked.
- 1st all time in fumbles.
- 1st all time in interceptions.
- 53rd all time in Passing Touchdown %.
- 18th all time in Pass Completion %.
- 195th all time in Yards per Completion.
- 56th in Pass Interception % (With 24 active QB's that have better interception percentages than him).
- 20th all time in Passer Rating.
Records and stats do not define a player completely either way, but generally his career percentages are underwhelming at best. Brett Favre is not only NOT the greatest quarterback ever, he may not even turn out to be in the top five quarterbacks of his era.
He's currently not even the best 1-1 Super Bowl quarterback ever! That one goes to Peyton Manning, whose game management and pure skills at the position might be second only to Dan Marino.
Even if you dismiss Marino from the top five for never winning a ring (which I believe will have to be re-evaluated if Lebron James never wins a ring either, but that's a different letter) then he's grouped into two classes of contemporaries. The first class consists of multiple ring winners: John Elway, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. The second consists of quarterbacks with two or more appearances and only one ring: Favre, Manning and Kurt Warner. Then there's Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, who still have time to join Brady in the multiple-ring club and are making their own cases as future Hall-of-Fame considerations. If either or both of them wins another ring, they are also in the mix.
The point of listing these guys is not to say that you should, or should not, rank him in a particular spot all-time. Put him where you like. The point is that he is not, and never was, the best that ever played. When Jordan left the game, you just knew there would never be anyone again that did what he did. The same can be said of Wayne Gretzy and Bobby Orr when they retired from the NHL, or Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron when they retire from the MLB.
Can you honestly put Brett Favre in the category of transcendence and historical importance as those guys? Even if you're delusional enough to do so, he's 42 and too old and it's over. Please just let it be over.
He'll go to the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. But that's about as far as his legacy extends, no matter how much faster he heals than the average human. It's time to stop.