Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Case Against Brett Favre, and For Lorenzo Favre

Let me start by saying that Brett Favre is a great, great quarterback, probably top 10-15 all-time. Broke a bunch of records, won one Super Bowl, seems to be a fairly respectable guy. My question is how did this very good quarterback become a cross between George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bart Starr? Here is a list of problems I have with Brett Favre (really more of a problem I have with the media's handling of him):

1). His abuse of drugs was glossed over. In 1996 Favre became addicted to pain killers, had a seizure because of his addiction, subsequently fessed up, and eventually received treatment. Now I have no problems with Favre's struggles, everyone has serious personal problems from time to time. What I don't like is how the media conveniently forgets this dark chapter to the Favre legend while simultaneously vilifying other NFLers who have used drugs or were suspected of using drugs. Guys like Ricky Williams, Michael Vick, and Quincy Carter get skewered for allegedly smoking a little grass but Favre is allowed to pop much more potent and dangerous drugs and he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don't get it. (Actually, I think I do get it, unfortunately).

2). "He's just a regular guy, like me." I hate this one. He's not like me at all. He's a football legend from the deep south who makes money hand-over-fist, could sleep with any chick he wanted to, and is beloved by millions and millions of people. That doesn't sound like me. Let's re-examine that statement with my comparison to Favre in parenthesis:

He's a football legend (close, I was the punter on my college's D-III football team) from the deep south (I'm from New England, swing and a miss) who makes money hand-over-fist (living at home is a great way to save...), could sleep with any chick he wanted to (I'm just going to move on before I cut myself), and is beloved by millions and millions of people (maybe, maybe a dozen).

Ya see. It would be pretty hard for me to find somebody who is more different than me than Brett Favre. He's not a regular guy, he's a superstar quarterback! Get this through your head people.

3). "He's having fun out there." If you listen to any media-type person talk about Brett Favre within 10 seconds you will hear some variation of the above phrase. Listen, we get it, he likes playing football, good for him. I never really understood why this was such a big deal, it never allowed him to be better at his job, did it? Some guys who play professional sports love playing and are very happy to be paid for doing something they love; other guys just see it as a way to make a bunch of money. Why is it so much more important to be in the former group and not the latter? In the grand scheme of things it isn't. Also this just proves even more that he's not a regular guy. What type of jerk loves his job? The type of jerk that pisses me off, that's what type of jerk loves his job.

4). "His father died and he went out and had a great game a day later." I have to tip my hat here. He did play a hell of a game, however it was ruined by every media member not trapped under a rock proclaiming it being the BEST PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME in the history of NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. I'm fortunate enough to still have my dad around (granted I'm half Favre's age) and I can imagine how tough it would be to go out and do anything for a while after he passes. Still people's dads die all the time and many of them are still able to perform their jobs. I just think it was blown way out of proportion. Also the media forget that Brett had a loving relationship with his father for most of his life (I assume) while a great many players had abusive/non-existent fathers. To me, making it to the NFL without a dad is much more impressive than having a great game shortly after your loving father passes.

5). Brett Favre. Not that good. He was a great, great quarterback but let's be real, there are a number of quarterback's who are significantly better than him. That's a fact. I'm not going to dig into stats or anything but Favre is what we in the business (not sure what business I'm referring to here) call a "compiler." Someone who accumulated statistics and records by playing a ton of games. I have nothing against compilers, sticking around and playing well in a sport is a skill/talent as surely as foot speed and hand-eye coordination are but for me it doesn't go hand and hand with greatness (not that any one skill/talent does).

Anyway, what it comes down to for me is his one championship. Winning just one championship in football is very difficult and deserves respect but if you want to be considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time I need at least two rings. I'm not saying he's in the same league as other one-time Super Bowl champions such as Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, Doug Williams, and Brad Johnson but he's a long way away from the likes of Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Otto Graham, and, of course, Tom Brady. Anyway I get my pro football information from Cold, Hard Football Facts and they have Favre at No. 10 on their greatest quarterback's list. I can live with that. I'd probably have him a bit lower because of his tendency to choke hard in playoff games: like his 6 pick game against St. Louis in 2002 and the 2008 NFC Championship game against the Giants where he gift-wrapped the victory for them. So like I said at the beginning I have him around 10-15 greatest QB's in history, very good but not deserving of the fly-your-flag-at-half-mast treatment most media members are giving his retirement.

One thing I learned about Favre that makes me like him more is that his middle name is Lorenzo. I probably wouldn't have written this article if he went by Lorenzo Favre.

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