Is Favre really overhyped?

A national columnist recently stated reasons why Brett Favre's NFL career has been overrated by many in the football world.'s Doug Ritchay counters and explains why the former Packers quarterback is one of the NFL's best ever.

The last two weeks, it's all been about Brett Favre, after the future Hall of Fame quarterback called it quits after 17 years, 16 with the Packers.

Where does he fit among the best quarterbacks of all-time?

How great was he still playing?

Was he the best ever?

All great water-cooler talk.

This we know: Favre will go down as one of the top 10 quarterbacks all-time and maybe the greatest competitor ever at his position. However, one national columnist questions Favre's greatness. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, who has covered the NFL for years, says Favre was overrated.

Not to promote another Web site, but Paolantonio wrote on after Favre's retirement the quarterback wasn't as great as the sports world made him out to be.


What does this guy know?

Before you start sending Paolantonio e-mails about how you're going to shoot his dog, give his column a read. Or, better yet, here are some reasons Paolantonio believes this.

* After beating San Francisco in the 1997 NFC Championship game, Favre was 3-7 in the playoffs the rest of his career.

* Favre's passer rating over the past 12 postseason games was a mediocre 77.8.

* In his final eight postseason games, he threw 14 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions.

* Favre is the only quarterback to throw interceptions in two overtime postseason games. Both led to losses.

* In the first 81 years of the Packers, they were 13-0 at home in the playoffs. Since then, they are 2-3.

* Favre's career playoff record is 12-10 and he threw 28 interceptions in those games.

These are facts; they're not made up. Paolantonio has a good defense for his opinion.

But anybody who has followed the NFL knows quarterbacks get too much credit and too much blame.

Was Favre's 3-7 playoff record after the 1997 NFC title game all his fault? I know in that first loss after the NFC title game, the Packers' defense stunk against Denver in Super Bowl XXXII. Is the passer rating a legit argument? To a degree. But was every Favre pass thrown that was catchable caught? No.

Is every interception the quarterback's fault? No. Could be miscommunication with a receiver, which happens all the time, a tipped pass or something else. I'll be the first to admit Favre threw more potential interceptions that were dropped than any quarterback I've seen. Still, he's not responsible for each one of them.

The 2-3 playoff record since a 13-0 start at Lambeau. Favre's fault? He and the defense must confess. How did the Packers defend Atlanta and Michael Vick in that 27-7 wild card loss in 2003?

This can be debated to the end of time. Paolantonio has a good case and if this went to court who knows what would happen? Was Favre overrated or not?

Watching him and covering him for 16 seasons, it's hard for me to go that way. He played 275 straight games, including the playoffs. An NFL record for quarterbacks. He's the only three-time NFL MVP, he has NFL records for passing yards, touchdown passes, games won as a starting quarterback and, oh yeah, interceptions.

He also had one losing season in his 16 years. Guess how many losing seasons John Elway and Dan Marino had?

Elway had two and Marino had one, so he's right with each. Yes, Elway won two Super Bowls, but anybody who watched the Super Bowl win over the Packers knows Terrell Davis won that game with 157 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Elway threw for just 123 yards and one interception.

Meanwhile, Marino was 0-1 in the Super Bowl. Bottom line is, Favre was great. All the numbers he piled up and the awards he won were not all because of him. He needed help, just like all the great ones.

I can't say Brett Favre was overrated. If I did, I'd have to e-mail myself something nasty.

Doug Ritchay is a regular contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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