Green Bay Packers

If Brett Favre Doesn’t Retire…

Will Brett Favre retire? Should Brett Favre retire? Are the team and management letting Brett Favre down? Is Brett Favre letting them down? Who hasn’t asked these questions about the most beloved player, by media and fans, in football today? For weeks now, questions about Favre’s future have been as persistent as any other subject, including the Colts run towards perfection.

Most football analysts claim that Favre, at age 36, still has plenty of gas left in the tank. According to the analysts, the Packers are 3-11 because Favre has a weak supporting cast. They say he has no running game, a porous offensive line, and no playmaking receiver. To them, Favre’s play is never the culprit when the team fails to perform adequately. However, any astute analysis will show that it’s Favre who hasn’t performed adequately – for years.
In his last 5 playoff games, Brett Favre has thrown 13 interceptions. His team’s record in those games is 1-4. The lone win came in a game where Favre didn’t throw an interception. Imagine that! Of those 13 interceptions, 6 came in a 2001 debacle against the St. Louis Rams, 4 were last year against the Vikings, and who will ever forget the overtime interception against the Eagles? In between all of those, was the first home playoff loss in Green Bay Packer history, where Favre threw 2 interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons.

It hasn’t just been in the playoffs where Favre’s mistakes have added up. In the 9 years since the Packers won the Super Bowl, Brett Favre has averaged 19 interceptions per season. He has thrown more than 20 in almost half (4) of those seasons, and finished at the top, err, bottom of the list twice.

The analysts would say that Favre’s foibles were because he had to do too much, he had to carry too much of the offensive burden on his shoulders. Well, that’s not exactly true. Beginning in 1997, the Packers have failed to have a 1,000 yard rusher only twice. As a matter of fact, in three of those seasons the Packers had a running back finish in the top 5 in rushing yards. Oddly, in 2003 when Ahman Green had almost 1,900 yards rushing, Brett Favre was second in the league in interceptions with 21.

Another flaw in the `weak supporting cast’ argument revolves around Brett Favre’s performance early in his career. The season the Packers won the Super Bowl, 1996, they didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher or receiver, yet they were still ranked number one offensively. That’s a credit to Brett Favre’s play. He effectively dealt with injuries and inconsistency at the receiver spot, and a running back by committee. If he could win, then, when he was the sole generator of the team’s offense, why can’t he do it now?

Well, he’s old! He’s way past his prime. And, he doesn’t know it. Instead of growing old gracefully, Favre has grown old recklessly. His playoff interception versus the Eagles, his 20+ interceptions in 2 of the last 3 years, his constant throwing into double and triple coverage, his adherence to a playing streak, all exhibit a quarterback whose ego has superceded his common sense. When Favre played through a broken thumb in 2003, he threw 12 interceptions in the 9 games after the injury. Obviously, he was playing to keep his starting streak alive.

Favre’s ego will not allow him to recognize that he’s hurting the team. When you have a running back that’s second in the league in rushing, you shouldn’t throw 21 interceptions. When your running back shreds a defense for 156 yards on 25 carries, you shouldn’t throw the ball up for grabs in overtime. When your running back is averaging 4 yards a carry, you shouldn’t have 6 and 4 interception games.

Apparently, the problem is not a weak supporting cast for Favre, it’s a weak ego that refuses to let others make plays. It’s an ego that says `if I can’t be the hero, if I can’t make the play, I’d rather lose’. It’s an ego that will pass everything except the torch. That’s a shame. When great quarterbacks get great running games, they’re supposed to perform better. Steve Young had possibly his best year, late in his career, when Garrison Hearst rushed for over 1,500 yards. John Elway had some of his best years when he had perennial 1,500 yard running back, the last three years of his career.

I don’t agree with those who say Favre should be allowed to leave the game on his terms.  Others have not been given those considerations. Both Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were shown the door in San Francisco when their effectiveness hurt the future of the team. Both Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith finished their on-field careers out of a Cowboy uniform. If Brett Favre doesn’t retire after this season, the Packers should bench him, trade him, or cut him. It’s time to rebuild, and you don’t rebuild with 36 year old quarterbacks who can’t live with the fact that time has passed them by.

6 replies on “If Brett Favre Doesn’t Retire…”

Really good article I really liked your arguement.  You supported it with excellent facts and it was really wel represented.  I’ve always believed that Favre has to go, but your article definitely strengthened my belief.

Also technically Emitt Smith finished playing in Cardinals uniform, but he retired as a Cowboy.  It’s no big deal but you may want to tweek that sentence.

favre I liked this article, though I think you should have devoted a paragraph to explaining where Favre’s ego comes from. I think it is a combination of the media’s relentless and often irrational praise, and playing in a place that is obsessed with football. I’ve never liked Favre myself, and will always consider him to be the most overrated football player of all time. He won only one superbowl, and for the most part played fairly poorly in the playoffs, particularly recently as you document. Nice article…

Thanks, Thanks Nickels. I’ll tell you, I think all quarterbacks are overrated. They say defense wins championships, but quarterbacks are always given the credit.

The 85 Bears, 74-75 Steelers, 2000 Ravens, this year’s Bears, and plenty of other teams have proven that you can have success without ‘great’ quarterbacks or ‘great’ quarterback play. Remember, in the Super Bowl that the Packers won, the defense dominated the fourth quarter, and the Special teams won the game (Desmond Howard, kick returner, MVP of the game).

An interesting fact, there are more ‘great’ quarterbacks without Super Bowl rings, than ‘great’ quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings.

solid article, but biased you obviously know quite a deal about the game of football, but you have to look at the situation in Green Bay, and give Favre the credit he deserves.  Being a bears fan, i have seen him twice a year for over ten years, and he is definatley a top 3 qb of all time, behind Elway and Montana.  Yes he does throw interceptions in bunches, but he also makes plays that nobody else in the history of this league could make, and its his style.  And when you do his TD/INT ratio, it still ranks higher than Elway, Unitas, ect.  The most over-rated player in history is an unintelligent comment, he plays with a fire and a toughness unmatched to anybody before him.  His winning percentage ranks 4th all time, even with this poor season.  He has played at a hall of fame caliber throughout his career, with different coaches recievers, offenses, ect.  Montana had Rice and Craig and Taylor, and Young had Rice, Marino had Clayton and Duper, but who did Favre have? Bill Schroeder and Antonio Freeman weren’t 1,000 yard recievers until the came to green bay, and weren’t 1,000 yard recievers when they went elsewhere.  And yes, Favre did struggle in the playoffs RECENTLY, but remember if his defense could have stopped a 4th and 26, he wouldnt have made that throw to Dawkins.  Just make sure you reflect upon a career when you make these statements, not somebody’s last game.  One more thing, how did Dan Marino’s last game turn out?  I think he had a solid career, but a poor end.  Well, not everyone can be John Elway and be on a stacked team with a 2,000 yard rusher.

Clarify… bearsfan, you should clarify who you’re making your comments to, because it was not me who said that Favre was the most overrated player in history. That makes me question whether your READ the column or merely glossed over it.

Another thing, I indeed give Favre his credit in the column. Did you just miss the paragraph about the Super Bowl season? And, when posing the question of whether someone should retire or not, do you look at what he’s done recently, or do you look at his performance of 8-9 years ago?

As far as Favre’s receivers, none of them could have had 1,000 seasons before coming to GB because they were drafted by GB. And, you need to know the history of GB receivers. Favre inherited a two time pro bowler named Sterling Sharpe when he got to GB. Sharpe was widely hailed as the second best WR in the league behind Jerry Rice.

Sharpe went to 5 pro bowls before his career ended due to injury. 2 before Favre, 3 with Favre. Once Sharpe got hurt, Robert Brooks stepped up in his 4th year and picked up where Sharpe left off. He had been a second WR for 3 years next to Sharpe, and when he became number 1 he had over 100 receptions for just shy of 1,500 yards.

Then, Brooks blew out a knee, and the guy who had been second to him, Antonio Freeman stepped in. In Freeman’s 2nd season with the team he became option number 1 and had almost 1,000 yards. He then topped the mark for the next three years and made a pro bowl.

In 2000 Freeman had 900+ yards and Schoeder, the number 2 guy had 900+ yards. Freeman left via free agency, and Donald Driver stepped in in his 4th year.

Only Freeman had a real opportunity to do anything once he left GB, the other guys were hurt. And, Favre has had each of his receivers for years before they had to step up as number one guys. In other words, the receivers had time to learn the system, work their way into the system, and have the quarterbacks confidence when they became starters.

Further, Ahman Green had 1,883 rushing yards, and Favre threw 21 interceptions. When Elway had his 2,000 yard back, he threw 10 interceptions.

Another thing, Brett Favre has had the same offense since he came to GB. Even with coaching changes the offense stayed the same, even the terminology.

Lastly, Favre’s fire and toughness is not unmatched! Have you ever heard of Roger Staubach? How about Jim Kelly? Brett Favre is one of the games greatest quarterbacks, but he’s not top three!!! He’s top ten, but he’s in the bottom half of the top ten!

Elway, Unitas, Marino, Young, and Montana are the top five. Young and Montana are the two highest rated passers in history, and great decision makers. Marino, do I need to say anything about him? Unitas put quarterbacking on the map. And John Elway led his teams to Super Bowls when he didn’t have a number 1 ranked defense. And there is a little thing called “The Drive” that Elway pulled off. Favre’s greatest games have come during the regular season. And when GB won the Super Bowl, their defense was ranked NUMBER ONE in the league. You do remember Reggie White, don’t you?

Lastly, it’s only bias when the data doesn’t support your position!

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