Monday, November 01, 2010

The Great Misspelled One Isn't Quite Done

So, there is massive speculation flying around that Brett Favre won't be returning to play in the NFL.

After breaking two bones in his foot and ankle one week, then a mild concussion (the team isn't reporting it, but there's no way with that kind of shot he didn't get some brain jouncing), and possible jaw dislocation the next week...

People are asking, how can he possibly play... He has to quit now doesn't he?

Not a chance in hell.

Childress says Favre will start next week.

Brett Favre isn't playing football today because he needs the money.

He's beat all the records he's going to beat. He's won all the superbowls he's likely to win... though another would be nice...

There are three QBs playing today that will almost certainly make it onto everyones "top 10 of all time" list 20 years from now: Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady.

Favre is the only Quarterback to have 180 wins (he's got 183 as of today with a .627 pct. Elway is second with 148 and .643. Manning is second active with 135 and .682)

Favre is the only QB to throw for 70,000 yards (70,779 as of today. Marino is second at just over 61k. Manning is second active at just over 52k)

Favre is the only quarterback to have over 500 touchdowns (504 as of today. Marino is second with 420. Manning is second active with 379)

Favre is the only quarterback to have over 10,000 pass attempts (10,023 as of this week, Marino is second with 8358. Manning is second active with 6,492)

Favre is the only quarterback to have thrown 6,000 completions (6,209 as of this week for a .620. Marino is second with 4,967 for a .594 and Peyton Manning is second active with just over 4,204 for a .648)

...are you seeing a pattern here by any chance?

Favre is also the only QB to have thrown more than 300 interceptions (328 as of today averaging 1.12 per game and 3.3% of all passes thrown... the second worst 100 start QB in the game today after John Kitna; though only 100th worst of all time. Manning is 35th on the list, with only 183, and 2.7% averaging just under 1 per game. Brady is 98th, and is the third least intercepted 100 start QB of all time, and second least active - both behind Donovan McNabb - at 2.3% for 103 total interceptions, averaging only .75 per game)

Favre is the only QB to have more than 130 fumbles, and one of only 7 to go over 100. He also loses over 50% of all his fumbles, one of the worst 100 start QBs of all time (Manning has only 53 in his entire career, and his loss precentage is only 30%. Brady has fumbled 12 more times than Manning, and has lost about 45% of those fumbles).

Favre is the only QB besides Elway to have taken more than 500 sacks (he's at 518 right now, and likely the only one to ever hit 525 or even 550 as he averages 1.8 sacks per game on 5.2% of his plays, averaging 6.7 yards lost per sack 6th worst active 100 start QB. Actually Favre is tied for percentage with Tom Brady, who has 10 more sacks than Manning, for 62 fewer games, but who runs far more plays per game and FAR fewer yards lost per sack. Brady actually loses less yards per sack (avg 6.1) than any other 100 start QB. Manning is 8th worst in total sacks at 221 just behind Brady, 9th worst in percentage, and averages 6.5 yards lost per sack)

Favre is one of only four QBs to have lost more than 3400 yards (though he's only fourth at 3445, behind Dave Krieg at 3794, Elway at 3785, and the all time sacks per start champion - 164 starts, 485 sacks - in the 100 starts club, Randall Cunningham 3537. Manning isn't even in the top 50, having only been sacked 221 times for 1423 yards lost in 198 starts. Brady has lost 10 more yards than Manning, on 10 more sacks, and is essentially tied).

Again, do you see a pattern here?

Brett Favre is playing football today for one reason: Peyton Manning
Note: Obviously, Bradys career overall numbers aren't going to ever get close to Mannings or Favres, because he spent his first couple seasons as a backup, and has had a couple of major injuries, leading to missing a large number of games... and Neither Manning nor Favre have ever missed a game. However, on a play per play, or game per game basis, Brady is probably the better player, as most of his stats show, and as the record of the Patriots with Brady shows.
Favre has only one thing left to protect... His position as the greatest career NFL quarterback of all time.

He does that, by continuing his streak, until Manning misses a game.

Favre started at QB game four of 1992, and has started every regular season game played in the NFL by the team he was signed to ever since. That's 19 seasons of consecutive starts, a record no-one is close to matching... YET

Favres record currently stands at 292 consecutive starts. He is one of only five QBs to make more than 100 consecutive starts, and the only quarterback to make 200...

Until two weeks from now, when Peyton Manning hits 200 that is.
Note: Originally I wrote Favre was the only player to have broken 200 consecutive starts. This was incorrect. The stats I was looking at apparently broke pre-merger and post-merger into discontinuous blocks. Defensive end Jim Marshall had 270 consecutive starts (across the merger) from 1961 to 1979 while playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Thanks to Heartless Libertarian for the tip. 
You see, Favre preceded Manning into the league by seven years (though he didn't start any games, and only played in two games, in the 1991 season he was signed to the falcons), and is 94 games up.

The problem is, Manning started the first week of his first season, Favre only played two games in his first season, then played the second and third game and started the fourth game of his second season. If Manning completes as many seasons as Favre does (which seems likely) without missing a game, he will beat Favres streak.

Not only that, but Manning is on a pace to exceed Favres total wins, total yards, total touchdowns, and total completions record; and already has a higher completion percentage, a lower interception and sack rate, and a higher win percentage.

Manning will almost certainly have more superbowl starts than Favre, by the end of his career, and likely more victories; as they are both currently tied at 1:1 (vs. Brady at 3 for 4, the third best quarterback in superbowl history behind Bradshaw and Montana both at 4 for 4. Elway started 5 but only went 2-3).

Mannings career QB rating at 95.5 is a full 10 points higher than Favres (in fact it's the second highest of any QB with more than 100 starts behind Steve Young) and is still going up, while Favres is going down.

At the end of this season, Favre will have had 301 starts for 305 games, and Manning 208 starts for 208 games. If Favre retired today, and Manning kept his own streak going, in 2016 he would beat Favres streak... and that is just unacceptable to Favre.

If all football were to end right now today, Brett Favre would go down in NFL history as the greatest quarterback of all time. If Manning were to beat his streak, AND any of his other major records (especially since he is intercepted and sacked so little) then Manning will go down as the greatest.

 A side note:  if I have been differentiating between "Best" and "Greatest", because I think they are two different things. Best is about talent and exceptional performance. Greatest may not be the single highest performer, but if they're in the top few, for 20 years, you just have to count them as "greatest" 
Tom Brady makes it two more seasons to beat Steve Young on games and starts, and remains performing at his current level or higher, he will probably be regarded as the "best" quarterback in terms of "talent" in the history of the NFl, though NOT the "greatest" in terms of overall career. 
As of today, I personally believe Brady is the most "talented" ever (with Marino just behind, who never turned the talent into victories; and Elway who lost as much as he won, and who was intercepted nearly as many times as he made touchdowns), and if he continues his career in this way he WILL be the "best"; but Young, Montana, Marino, Bradshaw, and Elway are currently all ahead of him because of the totality of their careers. 
Young, and Montana would still be on the list if it weren't for the teams they were  playing with; but on any other team, including todays Patriots, they'd be lower down on the list. On the other hand, Kurt Warner might have been on this list, if he had played with better teams. 
Neither Manning, nor Favre are as talented as Brady or any of the list above (though Manning is very close), and are not competing with the others for "Best", but because of their careers, one or the other must be considered the "Greatest". Right now it's Favre, but if Manning plays as many seasons as Favre, it will be Manning. 
But Brady, with 3 for 4 superbowl victories, and holding every single game, and single season passing record in the NFL and the superbowl, and probably several more superbowls left in him; barring injury I don't think it's in doubt. 
Brady  has the second highest career active QB rating at 93.5, 2 points behind Manning (and .2 behind Kurt Warner and 3.3 behind Steve Young). On any given Sunday, Brady he is a better QB than Manning, or Young (I discount Kurt Warners second highest passers rating, as his career overall doesn't warrant being rated so high). 
Bradys career rating is also still going up; and on average he makes more completions, touchdowns, and yards per game than either Manning or Steve Young, with fewer interceptions, and lower lost yardage. 
Brady is 62 games behind Manning, though only two seasons behind; because he started out the first two years of his career as a backup QB, and has had a few serious injuries missing 20 some games over his career as a starter. If he can avoid more serious injuries and maintain his performance for say, four more years, he is likely to retire with the highest QB rating of all time, as well as the third best superbowl record even presuming no more superbowl appearances. If he has one more start that ties him with Elway for starts, and even a loss beats Elways record. A victory would make him 4-1 in superbowls, tieing Montana and Bradshaw on appearances and beating them on victories.  
That still won't make him "the greatest", which will have to go to Favre, or Manning if he matches Favres longevity; but it will make him "the best" 

And that friends, is why Brett Favre still puts the pads on every Saturday.

He will not willingly retire until either he, or Peyton Manning, misses a game; or he tanks his QB rating so bad to continue would be an embarrassment.

I fully and firmly believe that the day either one misses a game, will be the day before Favre announces his retirement.