Monday, March 10, 2008

Amen, Bob Ryan

Brett Favre was a great player and very good both for the Green Bay Packers and for the NFL. But can we stop hyperventilating about him being one of the top five quarterbacks of all time? Bob Ryan writes some of the things I have been arguing for the last week or so. A sample:
Beyond that, I cannot rank Brett Favre much higher than 8 all-time, and that's just among the guys whose NFL careers began after 1970. I would definitely place John Elway, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, and Steve Young ahead of him. Oh, and was he really better than either Dan Fouts or Warren Moon? Then you enter into another generation from the '50s, '60s, and '70s that includes Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, Y.A. Tittle, Bobby Layne, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw, Sonny Jurgensen, and, of course, Starr. Favre was better than some of these guys, but not all. And if you really want to get historical, consider Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh, and Frankie Albert. Let's just say Brett Favre should be honored to be in their company.

That seems about right to me. Favre was a great player. And it is no insult to be one of the greatest of all time. But anything beyond that is hyperbole derived of presentism.


g_rob said...

Can't ignore the success nor all the records. Not saying that means he is the best or even top 5, but it's hard to argue with the stats.

mgarc said...

I am such agreement with you that my blog posting was about the same topic.

dcat said...

G-Rob --
But whose arguing? It's just that all of the guys in the top five or ten or twenty have damned impressive resumes. It is hardly an insult to say a guy is a top ten or fifteen quarterback in the history of the NFL. No one';s denying his numbers (like, say, the most interceptions all time) but we are simply saying that numbers are one factor, and an important one. careers can be short in the NFL, though, so aggregate numbers makes up only one component. I like Brett Favre a lot. I just think that our presentism forces us to overrate the guy who just retired sometimes. (Oh -- and I do not recall Aikman being on Ryan's list, but he at least deserves to be among the second or third five in any post-1970 list of quarterbacks).

M-Garc --
Will check out your post asap.