Favre: Ratings and INTs pale to winning

Brett Favre is having the best year of his career as far as passer ratings, and he leads the NFL. He also is on pace to throw by far the fewest interceptions of his career. He addressed the importance of the statistics to him.

Among the things that Brett Favre has been known for during his career are his ironman streak of consecutive starts, winning games and throwing touchdowns. But, included on that list has to be throwing interceptions.

With all of his records, the one record Favre would just as soon forget is his record of throwing interceptions. When he came to Minnesota, he brought with him records for most yards gained (65,127), touchdowns (464) and interceptions (310). Perhaps it was part of his gambling ways as a quarterback, but since becoming a starting in 1992, Favre has never thrown less than 13 interceptions in a season and, on five occasions, he has thrown more than 20 picks in a season (1993, 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2007). It was part of the Favre package that the Vikings bought into.

But a strange thing has happened since Favre came to the Vikings. Through nine games, he has just three interceptions. He said there are probably a number of reasons for that.

"The run game has played a part in it. I think the threat of the run game has helped. There's no doubt that we've thrown a lot so it's not like it's 10 of 15. I'm just thinking out loud," Favre said. "Really only two games, and if you want to break (it down) one, where it was an all or nothing type game and that was San Francisco, where that drive could have easily ended in a pick. But its got to end with a throw more or less. The other games, not so much."

Then there is the confidence in his receivers. Favre said they have bailed him out on a few occasions, pointing specifically to a deep throw down the middle of the field that he made in Green Bay. Percy Harvin was cutting across the field and beat three Packers defenders to the ball. They all appeared to make contact. Harvin came down on his feet and the defenders fell to the ground and couldn't catch Harvin before he made it to the end zone.

"It was really late and it allowed the safeties to potentially make a play on it. I threw it over Charles (Woodson) – that part was good – but Percy went up and made a play, got the ball and then made an outstanding run afterward. Just the fact that he caught it was huge. It goes without saying what Sidney (Rice) did this past week," Favre said.

But head coach Brad Childress doesn't want to discuss Favre's lack of interceptions for fear he'll jinx it.

"I'm superstitious. I don't really want to talk about those lack of picks. I don't really want to engage in that. Let the numbers stand as they are," Childress said.

Favre's lack of interceptions has put him on pace to shatter his season best in that regard and, in the process, could set a personal best for passer rating. For all his skill, Favre has never had a passer rating of more than 100.

"I'm not worried about the ratings or anything like that. Stuff like that gets brought to my attention," Favre said.

Even in his MVP season of 1995, his passer rating was 99.5 – due in large part to his interception numbers. As the NFL begins its 11th week and all 32 teams are preparing for their 10th game, Favre has a passer rating of 107.5 – the best such number in the NFL. He is averaging one interception per every 95 passes. That number is quite astonishing considering that, over the four previous seasons, in 64 games with the Packers and Jets, he threw 84 picks – the most in the NFL.

While his name gets only occasionally mentioned in the early discussion for the league's Most Valuable Player, his numbers should do most of his talking for him. His performance this year is akin to a singles hitter leading Major League Baseball in home runs or a guard known for his assists leading the NBA in scoring. What he is accomplishing is unprecedented in a career that has lasted 19 seasons. For those who questioned whether the Vikings should have brought him in to begin with, most of those worries centered around his propensity for throwing interceptions. If you need any reason to explain why the Vikings are 8-1 on the season, look no further than No. 4. He is having the greatest statistical season of his Hall of Fame career, and, if it continues, he might be adding another MVP trophy to his growing trophy case, but that's not the only trophy he's like to win.

"I think the key to any good team, and I'm talking specifically about an offense, is first of all it's about winning," Favre said. "That's the only thing that matters. We all get blinded by statistics, how they scored, how they won, all those things. And the bottom line is it's about winning – winning only."

WINFIELD WORKING WAY BACK

CB Antoine Winfield said he is making progress with his injured foot. "I got here, went though the individuals, the group session, did some running on my own, just to feel it out – see if I could plant and run. It feels pretty good," Winfield said after Wednesday's practice.

Asked if he considers himself green-lighted for Sunday's game, he said, "As far as I'm concerned, yes. I'm excited. It's been a while since I've been on the field. Anxious to get back out there. Definitely want to play it smart. If I get out there on Sunday and it's not feeling too good, I might not be out there."

Childress said the defense hasn't been limited in its play-calling without Winfield the last three games.

NOTES

  • An interesting video posted on NFL.com gives a little insight into the type of fun Favre has on the field. Favre was mic'd up for the Lions game.

  • WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), CB Benny Sapp (groin), FB Naufahu Tahi (ankle), CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and Favre (groin/hip) were limited in practice Wednesday. DT Fred Evans was ill and did not participate. LB E.J. Henderson (knee) participated fully after being limited last Wednesday and Thursday.

  • For the Seahawks, DT Craig Terrill (shoulder), CB Marcus Trufant (concussion) and CB Josh Wilson (concussion) did not participate. RB Julius Jones (chest) has already been ruled out of Sunday's game.


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