Lombardi: Other QBs vs. Brett Favre

Brett Favre may be leading the league in interceptions this season, but he always gives the Packers a good chance to win. In his column, John Lombardi compares other starting quarterbacks in the NFL to Favre, and who he would want lining up behind center for each team.

I was watching the Monday Night Football game between the Cowboys and the Eagles with Chuck Lane, former Packer executive and longtime family friend, when he made a comment that got my brain turning. During the halftime highlights, we watched a poorly thrown Eli Manning pass get picked off. Chuck said, "We are so spoiled up here." I asked him what he meant by that and he responded, "With Favre … we have gone 15 years without worrying about poor quarterback play."

Brett will have an off day, but Chuck is right. Packer fans are spoiled.

This exchange, coupled with the Terrell Owens stipulation that the Eagles would be better off with Favre got me thinking. What other teams would be better off with Favre as QB? Throw out age and career prospects and let us analyze what Brett could do for them today.

NFC North
Chicago – Kyle Orton is managing the games well for the Bears, but he is not the passer, the leader or the player of Favre's caliber. Brett has tormented the Bears for years, but they would take him in a minute.

Detroit – need I even go there?

Minnesota – Daunte Culpepper is a phenomenal talent. He is big and strong and fast and can throw the ball with the best of them, but he is a psychological disaster area. Randy Moss and Mike Tice and all this other junk surrounding this team has scarred him. If he can shake it off, he will come back from this injury a better player, just not as good as Favre, who would look good in Purple.

NFC South
Atlanta - Mike Vick is a great football player. He has amazing talent and competitiveness. He is a game changer. I would guess that other teams game plan against him more than they do any other quarterback in the league, including Manning. He has the ability to change the outcome of a game all by himself. But, he is an average passer. He is improving and there is little reason to doubt that he will become a good passer, but he is a liability at times if and when the Falcons need to throw pass. He does not throw many interceptions, but he will never carry the team with his arm when they need it.

Carolina – Jake Delhomme is a good player who has led his team to the Super Bowl. He has presence and leadership ability. He is tough and makes the players around him better. He is one of the top QB's in the league. Because of that, the Panthers are a favorite to get back to the big game again this year. Jake is a poor man's Brett Favre and Brett would vault the Panthers ahead of any other contenders for the top spot in the NFC.

New Orleans – Aaron Brooks is one of Favre's former understudies to be starting in the NFL. He has loads of ability, but is very inconsistent and makes poor decisions too often. There is no comparison here. Favre wins going away.

Tampa – Whether it is Brian Griese, Chris Simms or Phil Simms for that matter, Brett beats them all.

NFC West
Arizona – Is Neil Lomax still their quarterback?

St. Louis – Marc Bulger puts up big times stats, but as a leader he comes up short. Put Favre in that offense with those receivers and he would probably break every record in the book by a wide margin.

San Fran – Alex Smith might be good some day, but not today.

Seattle – Matt Hasselbeck is another Favre backup starting in the league and he has crafted a good career for himself. But if you reunite Favre with his old ball coach, Mike Holmgren, and with Shaun Alexander in the backfield, this team is the prohibitive favorite to win it all.

NFC East
Dallas – Drew Bledsoe is having a good comeback season and he has had some good statistical season over the years, but he is not the player that Favre is. I would love to see Favre and Parcells play nice together.

Giants – Eli Manning may approach his brother's stature some day and even Favre has had some awful days here and there, but the young man is not there yet. The Giants could have beat the Vikings last week with Tiki Barber as there quarterback.

Philly – McNabb is struggling mentally and physically. He is as talented a player there is in the league, but Favre would make this team better, especially given McNabb's condition currently. T.O. was right about this, but only this.

Washington – Mark Brunell, another Favre backup, was given up for dead last year and has had a decent bounce back season. But he is not in Brett's league now or in his heyday with the Jaguars.

AFC North
Baltimore – Offensive genius Brian Billick would give his first born for Favre, but I think he would probably screw it up some how.

Cincy – Carson Palmer is having a breakout season and can be talked about in elite company, but he will need to win some big games and do it consistently for me to even think about taking him over Brett.

Cleveland – Trent Dilfer beat Favre this year and has a Super Bowl ring. He is a tough competitor who can lead a team, but to even compare the two is pointless.

Pittsburgh – Big Ben is on a run that is the envy of the league – he has lost only two games in the last two years. He is everything the Steelers need at quarterback. But he does not have Favre's talent. This is a toss up, but only because of the team chemistry angle.

AFC South
Houston – Pretty boy David Carr could be a good QB if he survives this season. One thing he and Brett have in common is toughness. No one gets knocked around more than Carr.

Indy – Peyton Manning is the current NFL poster boy for a quarterback. His stats are unreal. He has a wholesome image and is probably a good guy. But he is a front-runner. As long as things are going well, he has it together. But faced with adversity, he will crack. Playing the Houston Texans, I take Manning. Late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, down by six with a ferocious rush, I take Favre.

Jacksonville – Byron Leftwich is a good tough QB. He is not better than Brett Favre.

Tennessee – Steve McNair has talent to spare and plays hurt and is surrounded by nobodies, but this former MVP is not in Brett's league. He has developed into a good passer and can beat you with his legs, but Favre is better.

AFC West
Denver – Jake Plummer is having a MVP season in some folk's eyes, but he is too inconsistent and will break your heart eventually.

KC – Trent Green has played as well as anybody over the past few years, but Favre gives this team a better chance of winning.

Oakland – Kerry Collins is a walking disaster. He will tempt you with his talent and ability, only to implode at a moments notice.

San Diego – Drew Brees had a great year last year and is playing well this year, but it was not so long ago that they were ready to dump him for a rookie. Show me a few years more of production and I will believe it.

AFC East
Buffalo – J.P. Losman. "Nos man."

Miami – There is no way that Nick Saban and Brett Favre get along, but he would be better than Gus Frerotte.

Jets – Who is the Jets QB? Chad Someone? Vinny Testeverde? The Wisconsin quarterback before John Stocco? Jay Fiedler? Some guy named Kliff?

New England – Tom Brady is the only guy in the league who I think is better for his team than Favre is for Green Bay. He is a winner and a leader unlike any we have seen in many years. He is perfect for the situation in New England. Favre has more talent, and would probably fit in on this team, but why mess with success? Makes you wonder what the Packers might have achieved if Mike Holmgren had not left for greener pastures.

So the next time Favre throws a couple picks in a game, give him a break. Who else would you want lining up behind center?


John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.


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