So on the eve of the Super Bowl, it is always interesting to talk about who is the greatest at various positions, with quarterback being the most intriguing. Completely un-library related, but still a good topic to debate-- is Brett Favre one of the five greatest QBs of all time?
Interesting question, one that was debated on the local sports radio program last week. My take on it? In a word, No. He's a great QB, probably top 10 all time, but there are two factors that take him out of the running for top 5. 1) He holds the record for most Interceptions all-time. Partially a factor of his longevity, yes, but more a function of factor 2) The dude is too reckless, too impulsive, too much of a gunslinger to be rated at the same level as Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas.
The latest meltdown in the NFC Championship Game pretty much illustrates the point-- no, it was not Favre's fault that the Vikings put the ball on the ground as many times as they did, but once they started doing that, once the game was close despite the Vikings superior overall play, he felt the need to make a play. Force a play. And he did. And it probably cost the Vikings a trip to the Super Bowl.
A veteran QB, a future first-ballot Hall-of-Fame QB, has to know, simply has no excuse not to know, that the one thing you can't do is turn the ball over. At the end of the game, in field goal range, you simply must not give the ball away or take a sack that takes you out of field goal range. But Favre tried to make a play, to "sling it" into a place that he had busy trying to hit and which was absolutely disastrous for his team.
Do you recall Joe Montana doing that? Ever? Elway, Manning, Unitas, even Brady? Aikman, Bradshaw, Starr? They all make mistakes, and Elway tried to force some balls that he had no business trying to force, but not at the critical moment in the game where an interception absolutely destroys your teams chances.
So, despite all the records, all the great throws and unbelievable plays, Brett Favre is simply not one of the best 5 Quarterbacks ever. He has now cost two teams a chance to go to the Super Bowl by making a really bad decision at a really critical point in the game. A pretty good case can be made that Brett Favre should've appeared in at least four Super Bowls, but only made two because of his own flaws.
For the record, I'd take Joe Montana as the greatest QB in history, but if Peyton Manning wins today, and gets back to the Super Bowl a time or two more, I might have to reconsider that conclusion.