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Brett Favre is not and never was, to me, a great quarterback. He was, by all accounts, a good guy who had saved himself from drug addiction and turned himself into a very successful NFL Quarterback. Favre will forever be linked to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and it's ironic because he is a Southern Mississippi native. For no other NFL Quarterback did the term "gunslinger" apply more poetically. Favre's arm was always more cannon than arm. He was notorious for throwing with such force that receivers' fingers would literally break or sprain. Favre had those Hollywood moments, like the Monday Night Football game a few years ago where he threw 4 TD the day after his father died. He never played with an elite receiver. He never really had an elite running back. And he played forever.
Brett Favre is the owner of most of the important career passing records in the NFL. This is because he played forever, on one team, and, essentially ran it. Favre had more control over not just the Packers, but the city of Green Bay and perhaps the state of Wisconsin than any other athlete. More than Jordan did on Chicago. Or Magic in LA. Marino in Miami. Even Bird in Boston. If you are from Wisconsin, whether you like football or not, Brett Favre is your hero. This is made even more apparent when Favre retires a week after the free agency period began, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the Green Bay Packers had more to do than worry about what Brett Favre was doing.
In a crucial situation, Brett Favre would inevitably throw an interception by trying too hard. Look at the Giants game this postseason, Or the 4th and 26 game against the Eagles when he threw a floating balloon up in the air for the Eagles' secondary. Favre threw 288 interceptions in his career. To this point, Tom Brady, in 7 years as a starting quarterback, has 86. If you took Brett Favre's best 7 seasons (lowest interception total), you still end up with 83 INT. Take his first 7 years starting and he compiles a total of 116 INT.
My point in this interception talk and the comparison to Tom Brady is because Favre and Brady are the two most revered quarterbacks of my generation. No one talked about Dan Marino as much because he never won a Super Bowl and only played in one, very early in his career. Joe Montana won, but those who really follow sports know that Joe Montana isn't exactly a heart-warming person. Peyton Manning is hated as much as he's revered. On the other hand, Brady and Favre are the glamour quarterbacks and couldn't be any more different. Brady is a well-spoken California boy, who played big-time college football, and won 3 Super Bowls in his first 5 years. Then you have Favre, a spokesman for Wrangler Jeans who speaks with a southern drawl, played college football in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and won only one Super Bowl in his career in a town tucked away in lower Canada.
The sports world will weep today at the loss of Favre. I will not. My conception that Favre was a jerk was struck down a few years ago when I met a former teammate of Favre's in Green Bay and he told me that he had feared the same before meeting him, but that he was a great guy and a great teammate: very family focused and very determined to win. I will never criticize Favre for his drug problem at the beginning of his career. I will criticize him for being undeservedly heralded as a big-game quarterback (1 Super Bowl victory, 2 appearances), for his statement when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers that he was not there to teach Rodgers anything, and his constant drawn out, "will I retire?" show every offseason the past half decade.
I guess Favre gets more than just a paragraph. He will be remembered, incorrectly, as the greatest quarterback of all time. He was this: A quarterback, who played for a long time, and built up huge career numbers, all across the board, including the bad stats, while only winning one Super Bowl. If he wasn't a good story for white people, he would have been forgotten long ago. I guess the moral of the story is that, if you're white, and you have an "every man" way about you, you will be loved by the American media, so long as you live cleanly and admit your mistakes.
Perhaps Roger Clemens should read this.