Favre brings out best in NFL

Quarterback stays out of trouble and entertains all those who watch

Sunday, Packers quarterback Brett Favre will likely make NFL history. He needs just one touchdown pass to break a tie with Dan Marino to own the career touchdown pass record by himself.

Favre has 420 TD passes, but that's not all that makes him one of the NFL's treasures.

Favre has been a favorite of many for the way he has played the game. He plays through injuries, as his record start streak for a quarterback suggests. He's not afraid to "muck" it up with defensive linemen, like Warren Sapp, for example, when Sapp was with Tampa Bay.

He plays the position the way you'd never teach your kid. He doesn't set his feet, he doesn't square up, he throws off the wrong foot and he takes too many chances.

His arm, which has been one the strongest since he entered the league, has made him a gunslinger. For most of his career he's been a chance-taker, which is why he appeals to so many. Watch Brett Favre and you won't be bored. He has passion and flare.

But that aside, there's another reason Favre should be treasured. Since coming to Green Bay, all Favre has done is play football. OK, in his early days he was a little wild and had the battle with Vicodin, but he's never given the NFL a bad name.

Think about what happened this off-season. Michael Vick, one of the NFL's faces, is going to jail for dog fighting, in addition, he just failed a drug test, testing positive for marijuana.

Tank Johnson, formerly of the Bears and now with the Cowboys, is suspended because he likes firing guns more often than firing past offensive linemen.

"Pac Man" Jones repeatedly has been in trouble with the law since he came into the league two years ago with Tennessee. He's been suspended for the season because of his off-field behavior, which included "making it rain," during the NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas.

The Cincinnati Bengals. Do I have to say more about them?

Favre, meanwhile, goes home after the season, rides his tractor and maybe plays a little golf. When trying to think of negative things to say about Favre, it might be about him complaining the team didn't go hard after Randy Moss in a trade, or he's not at minicamp so he can spend family time.

We're searching here.

Favre has been in the NFL since 1991, and he had his day in the league when everybody put him as the face of the league. His prime is past, although he's playing like an MVP this season, but what the NFL may need to do is sit back and think about who makes this league look good. LaDainian Tomlinson with out a doubt. He's classy. Peyton Manning is a TV pitch man for the NFL. But the league may want to rediscover Favre. He's about to become the NFL's new touchdown pass leader. To gauge how big this is, this is like Barry Bonds setting the home run record. Everybody knew what Hank Aaron's home run total was.

Also, it's like Tiger Woods' pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors he won on the PGA Tour. As Favre started getting close to Marino's record, it was discovered 420 was also a magical number in sports.

Some may argue the rushing record is, but without looking can you tell me how many yards Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time rushing leader, ran for? I can't.

So, as Favre trots on to the Metrodome field Sunday, sit back and take in one of the NFL's best quarterbacks of all-time.

And when he throws that touchdown pass, give a little cheer for No. 4. But also remember, Favre has been so great for so long because he's what's right about the NFL today.

He doesn't get in trouble, he doesn't say dumb things. He just puts his jersey on every week and plays the game like it's his last. It's too bad more players aren't like Favre, but if they were, then maybe Favre wouldn't seem so special. As Favre approaches Sunday, he talked with the Minnesota media this week and was asked about the touchdown passes record.

Said Favre: "I'd much rather win. Reliability, durability, and winning, the other things come with that. I've played a long time. Fortunately for me, I've been involved in a lot of wins. "Because of that, I've been able to play year in and year out. All of the individual statistics, they go with that. I appreciate everything that I have accomplished. Believe me, I'm aware of all of that, but I'm still playing. I'm still trying to help this team win."

And he's doing it the only way he knows how – the right way.

Doug Ritchay is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at dritchay@sbcglobal.net

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