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Cory's Corner: Why isn't Brett Favre the best ever?

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Cory's Corner: Why isn't Brett Favre the best ever?

It’s either Joe Montana, Tom Brady, John Elway, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino that has been mentioned ahead of him.

Why can’t Brett Favre be the best quarterback ever? Does his dubious record of 336 interceptions act as a weight that keeps him permanently housed much further back in the pecking order than he should?

Favre wasn’t easy to watch all the time. There were moments when he would try to thread the needle with four defensive backs in the area. Normally, that didn’t end well.

But for every one of those, there’s the 40-yard touchdown to Sterling Sharpe as Favre was rolling to his left in a 1993 Wild Card playoff game at Detroit. Or in 2007 when he threw an 82-yard game-winning pass to Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime to beat the Broncos in Denver.

One of the first people to congratulate Favre after that pass was Aaron Rodgers. The same Rodgers that thought that he wouldn’t have to sit for three years after getting picked in the first round back in 2005.

Favre tried to hit the home run every single time. Now obviously the home run isn’t always there, but with one of the best arms the game has ever seen, that didn’t happen very often.

“Did it get me in trouble sometimes?” said Favre during a recent edition of Gruden’s QB Camp. “But most times it ended like that or I wouldn’t have played for 20 years.”

He never possessed the surgical precision that Rodgers has, but that’s what endeared him to so many people. Favre did the things that many either didn’t want to do or just plain couldn’t. To Favre, playbooks were loosely written so that he could scramble and reverse field before throwing an underhanded pass for a first down.

When Favre retired he had just about every major passing record. But what makes Brett Favre Brett Favre is that his career 86 quarterback rating is tied with Jay Cutler and Trent Green — two names that aren’t in the same zip code of being elite.

But that was just the cost of doing business if you had Favre on your team. “No more rocket balls please!” became not just a plea, it became the motto from every one of Favre’s coaches. To try and rein him in, scale him back and make the check down. But it’s hard to take the spurs away from the cowboy or in this case, the holster out of the gunslinger.

Yet Favre survived. He kept going and eventually put his name in the record books with 297 straight games played, which is still 89 more than second place Peyton Manning. In his magical season of 2009, which he only received one MVP vote, Favre was targeted continuously during the NFC Championship Game. Saints coach Sean Payton, assistant coach Joe Vitt, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and general manager Mickey Loomis were all punished in addition to a fine for the entire organization.

Favre knew the hits were coming and still played the next week, whether or not he practiced. But he didn’t just play to extend a streak, he played because he could still play well — no matter how many times he got knocked down.

And that’s the essence of Favre. He played quarterback with the mentality of an offensive lineman.

But most of all, Favre would try just about anything to win. Would he fail sometimes? Sure. But that didn’t stop the stubborn mule from trying the exact same thing the next time.

And it's that persistence that vaulted him to 186 wins — tied for first with Peyton Mannning.


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (42) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

the real russ letlow's picture

Those who do the "ranking" of QBs use the criteria of decision making very highly. Favre didn't always make the best decisions where to go with the ball, and I think that hurts him in the "greatest" rankings.

The TKstinator's picture

1. Int's
2. Retirement waffling
3. Sterger

Any questions?

Tommyboy's picture

In my opinion, Favre is not the best ever. I think Montana, Unitas, or a couple others are more appropriate for that title. Yet, he is without question one of the best ever. I'm not sure that's really even debated.

D.D. Driver's picture

Favre is not the best *Packers* QB ever, let alone is he the best NFL QB ever. Starr is the greatest Packer QB (and in the conversation for greatest NFL QB) because he did the things Favre couldn't do: he stepped up his game in the postseason and found ways to win.

How many Packer (hell: and Viking) postseasons ended on a Favre pick?

Aside: there is no serious argument that Elway or Marino are the greatest of all time.

NashvilleCheesehead's picture

Having watched all three, I still say Starr is hands down the best Packer QB. Five championships, with career 104.8 playoff passer rating. Time will tell whether Favre or Rodgers is #2. Will be a tough call.

Tommyboy's picture

Who edited my post?

marpag1's picture

Guess you haven't heard about the gremlins in this little corner of the blogosphere...

Bedrock's picture

Some of the question regarding him is stats based and it's hard to compare eras. Another aspect is the marriage of player, system, and coach. What would Bill Belichick have done with him? Lombardi? Tomlinson? How about those systems.? To me it's a little bit of picturing what a player would have been somewhere else, like everyone says by putting Barry Sanders being that all-pro Dallas line. (No no no! Picture Emmitt behind that make-shift Detroit line!).

Favre fit with Holmgren nicely, although I'm not sure the west coast brought out the statistics that would have been able to place him at the top of my QB list.

Some QBs are scheme specific while others could thrive no matter what. Favre thrived in the west coast, an offense designed primarily to make long drives of several completions. He would have thrived in any offense with a coach that tolerated him. Pick your favorite top 5 QBs and ask how scheme specific they were. Imagine Manning not being able to check to a new play or Montana without his all-pro cast, etc.

Favre is among the greats. Greatest? No. How can it really be decided who is?

PaulRosik's picture

For every other position, GOAT is always about stats but for the quarterback it always comes down to the championships.

Tarynfor12's picture

Favre should never be considered as the best ever but he is certainly one of the best to play.

The question becomes, how many slots are to be recognized as best ever...5,10,15 as in time others will bump the list.

Based on achievements that matter, Championships of Division, Conference, SB.... Brady is the best QB to play the game.If the requirements are to be diluted by the now micro - stat age, then the list can be contorted to please whoever makes it.

Rodgers, should be at this moment be at the top along with Brady in a battle, that by being able to play many more years than Brady and, if winning those championships as was highly expected, would possibly be where Brady is now but....for whatever reasons/excuses behooves one to place at the tip of the pointing finger.....he isn't. He can still become the best but it must begin this year with a Championship.

Pack88's picture

If as you say Championship's matter not runners up then Bart Starr is 1st and then Otto Graham and Montana or Bradshaw next. I do not understand the fascination with modern era players, you skip right over Johnny Unitas, and if you let Marino into the discussion what about YA Tittle.

The article was poorly written and failed to address the full depth and breadth of an unprovable discussion. However in the Valhalla of Packer Greats Bart Starr will always be better than Favre because when the chips were down Starr came through. Next time you watch #4 choke away the NFC Championship in 07 watch the final 5 minutes of the Ice Bowl or the 66 NFL Championship game where Starr threw 4 tds and kept Taylor from getting ejected in a crucial moment. That my friend is greatness. Should Rodgers win another championship he could get into the greatest ever discussion because, again when the rectums were puckered 3rd and 10, Rodgers threw the most perfect pass I have ever seen, every Steeler DB knew it was coming and 12 put that ball where only Jennings could catch it. A fan since 59!!

Spock's picture

Favre was fun to watch...loved his boyish enthusiasm, but his decision making drops his "ranking". The one thing he is most proud of is his "consecutive games played" record. While it was great that he always wanted to play despite any injury, one game in particular I remember was when he had injured his thumb on his passing hand the previous game and played terribly, throwing 5 yard wounded ducks. He SHOULD have not played for the sake of the team as they lost it to a team the backup QB could have easily beaten. I always felt that he was insecure about not starting because HE became the starter when "Magic" went down. Again loved to watch him (most of the time :) ) but I'm not as enamored of his "iron man" record and I winced many times at those forced interceptions in playoff games.

Bearmeat's picture

And he threw too many regular season INTs too.

The TKstinator's picture

The ones in preseason were no picnic either. ~

Nick Perry's picture

The best ever? No, but because of the constant rules changes, several QB's of different generations can make a case for "The best Ever". Different rules, different athletes and year round training, different eras make a huge difference. I also wonder what may have happened had Holmgren not left Green Bay and they had more time together than they did. My guess is more than the one Championship.

Tarynfor12's picture

Has it ever crossed your mind that Holmgren left because he saw the uncontrollable ego that was Favre and the issue of him having total control ( coach, GM ) was an out without having to say so, and one important reason that McCarthy didn't want Favre back in 08'.....just saying.

marpag1's picture

Yeah, nothing makes a coach pack up and leave faster than having a hall of fame quarterback on the roster.

This board really needs an "eye roll" icon or something...

Since '61's picture

I have always been a Favre fan and I remain one now. However, he is not the GOAT QB. As Nick Perry mentioned if Holmgren remained in GB he would probably have another SB or 2. A big issue for Favre is his decision making and resulting picks which usually hurt his team in playoff games, especially after 2008. It would have been great to watch Aaron Rodgers play with the Holmgren Packers, because that was a better team overall than the MM Packers of the last 6-7 seasons. Better defense and a better OL and running game. However, Favre brought the Pack back to NFL prominence and he gave us all that he had in every game he played. One thing that is usually overlooked when Favre is compared with other great QBs is that he played 16 seasons in the unfriendly passing conditions in Green Bay. He remains to me the greatest "cold weather QB" of all time. The fact that he set all those records while playing in GB says a lot about his ability and his desire to win. Until the book is finished on ARs Packer career I believe that Favre is the best offensive player the Packers have ever had and probably their greatest player ever. In any case he is at least a top 10 QB of all time for me. Thanks, Since '61

PaulRosik's picture

He was great in bad weather at first and that is what made watching him not want to be out there in the NFCCG against the Giants so sad.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes. The sight of him all bundled up and Eli not at all in 07 will last with me forever. What a disappointment that was.

Handsback's picture

I've watched football since 1965. The Pack has been my favorite team since 1965. I consider Starr, Unitas, Montana, and Otto Graham as the best. I put Elway, Favre, Marino as the next best. Brady, Manning and Rodgers will be joined by Brees in the next grouping.

The reason Favre isn't higher is because he threw too many playoff games away. What you had to love about him was his endurance and toughness.
He's a HOF QB......isn't that enough?

Handsback's picture

I've watched football since 1965. The Pack has been my favorite team since 1965. I consider Starr, Unitas, Montana, and Otto Graham as the best. I put Elway, Favre, Marino as the next best. Brady, Manning and Rodgers will be joined by Brees in the next grouping.

The reason Favre isn't higher is because he threw too many playoff games away. What you had to love about him was his endurance and toughness.
He's a HOF QB......isn't that enough?

al bundy's picture

Too me rogers has been down hill the last two years. He has become amd will be known as a playoff bust if he gets his ass kicked again this year.

vj_ostrowski's picture

Last two years? So his 2nd MVP season didn't do much for you?

Google exists, you know. Rely on it, rather than your clearly faltering memory and slanted agenda.

vj_ostrowski's picture

That goes for you too, cow pie

Nick Perry's picture

Last year I'll give you, 2014 he was playing with torn calf muscle for the last 3 games of the season, a season he won his 2nd MVP. He beat the Lions for the NFC North, the Cowboys to go to the NFC Championship, and had it not been for the worst ST Coach in NFL History, a number of plays he had absolutely nothing to do with, and don't forget he lead the Packers down the field to TIE the game with seconds left to even send the game to OT. Hell even in 2015 with his top 4 WR out of the game he got the Packers to OT against Arizona.

Nick Perry's picture

Ummmm...Again, playing with a torn calf muscle in Seattle and he had them ahead. Blame MM, blame Bostick, blame Slocum for not conceding 3 points and guarding against ANY chance at a fake, don't blame a QB playing on one leg against the #1 defense in the NFL that year!!! Last season he was playing Arizona with Janis, Abby, and James Jones. Great players overcome obstacles before the obstacles becomes to big for ANYONE. I'm quite certain if you took Gronk, Edelman, Vereen (Or who ever is the 3rd down back that year) and Amandola away Brady or anyone else would be F----D!!

NOW after that comment you can take your place next to Al Bundy!! The Daily Norseman needs you both!!!

4thand1's picture

Go lick the glass at the viqueen jersey in Canton. The one in Favre's locker.

al bundy's picture

You have to look at the whole picutre and thats so hard to do with evrything to consider. I put him up there with the best. Durable, adventuresome, re cord setting. What more can you ask. He did it all.

PaulRosik's picture

GOAT is one of those silly things the NFL channel will make a show about or that people argue about over a pitcher of beer - or on the internet like here.

Favres stats are his stats His number of wins is what it is. He came to a team that had been in the playoffs twice in 25 years, and made them a contender. He brought excitement to a team that had not had excitement in decades.

In the end I don't really care who is the GOAT, but I will remember thinking the season was over if the Majik man was hurt bad and here came in this "Favor" guy. Then I learned how to say his name and I got to watch him play in Green Bay for 16 fun seasons.

Nick Perry's picture

Excellent comment Paul. I'd also say Favre was much like Rodgers where he's made some teams around him better solely because of them. You can make arguments for several different players for GOAT. Favre was at minimum a Top 10 to have played the position, not too shabby considering the number of players who have played the game. Opinions are part of this board, but to sit and try to tear down a guy who held every passing record when he retired is ridiculous!!

DannyPatterson's picture

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John Galt III's picture

Football did not start in 1983. Your QB's you listed are w/o question great but to leave out:

Bart Starr
Otto Graham
Sammy Baugh
Johnny Unitas
Len Dawson

I'm old and saw all these guys play live except Baugh. It's a team sport and running used to be a bigger deal, but with modern training methods all of these guys would excel today. They had talent, brains, technique and could run any offense you could come up with.

4thand1's picture

Also these guys were targeted. Kill the QB was the norm back then.

MarkinMadison's picture

Bart Starr has the titles/rings. So does Brady. If that is your criteria then Favre is one of many with one ring. There are 12 guys with multiple SB rings, including Starr who has two despite playing the bulk of his career in the pre-SB era. If SB wins, or probably even SB winning percentage, are your criteria, then Farve isn't even in the top 10.

Favre has 3 MVPs, as does Unitas. So if that is where you want to go Favre has as good an argument as anyone, and better if you want to talk about a player when they were at their peak v. taking a total career perspective.

I don't care about retirementS, Sterger/being a ho, or Vicodin for the purposes of this conversation. If you want morality in a QB then Bart Starr is THE man. But let's stick to football.

Can the guy with the most INTs in NFL history be the greatest QB ever? I don't think so. Not unless you believe he is the best QB who was stuck with the worst teams. Relatively speaking, Marino and Elway rank higher on that chart than Favre in my book.

Favre is top 10. I can't put him ahead of Unitas, and I'd put him behind Brady, Montana and Elway for certain. I'd probably also have to think a lot harder before putting him ahead of Marino, Manning or Starr.

Yeah, it's the INTs and the NFC Championship game losing INTs against the Giants and Saints that stick out the most. Top-10. Not GOAT.

Flow49's picture

Without Terrell Davis, Elway would be Jim Kelly 2.0. Similar stats and great at losing Super Bowls.

MarkinMadison's picture

With the possible exception of Dan Marion I don't think anyone has ever done more with less than John Elway did in his prime. Jim Kelly had solid teams around him. Elway had squat.

calabasa's picture

From Favre's speech last night:

"From Atlanta to Minnesota, 20 years. But make no mistake about, I will be remembered as a Packer."

Way to say absolutely nothing, Brett. I would have loved for him to say "I will always be a Packer."

Lphill's picture

Favre , love him hate him, I am at Canton for the weekend , emotional speach , he said he will always be a Packer ,it's a sea of Favre jerseys and nothing but love for him , and it's official, Viking fans are pure dicks .

Handsback's picture

Favre gave a great "from the heart" speech and came across as a true Packer. It reinforced his accomplishments and explained his drive. He's an HOF QB and a true legend.

lucky953's picture

Favre was very lucky to come to GB. I'm going to be honest. As someone who grew up watching Bart Starr, I'm sick of people telling us how "lucky" the Packers were to get Favre. Favre owes a debt to GB. I don't think he understands that and that's why, for me, he'll always be in a lower league than Bart. He played for his dad. Bart played for Lombardi.

scullyitsme's picture

He's not the best ever because his cock is all over the internet. Hopefully I'll never have to hear his "folksy Wisdom" and pontificating ever again.

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