Brett Favre has just about every significant passing record in the NFL. He continues to increase his lead for touchdown passes (485), completions (5,936), attempts (9,590), yards (67,609) and victories (178) as a starting quarterback.
He's seen and done just about everything as an NFL quarterback, and this weekend he will break former Viking Jim Marshall's record for most consecutive games played in NFL history for a position player.
So which of those marks matters most to Favre? Winning is one of the statistics he highlighted Wednesday, but he said one of the areas that brings him the most pride is his accuracy.
"I think I'm throwing it with a lot of velocity now. I don't think I'm throwing the ball near as far as I used to. That's really not a factor," Favre said. "I think one of the things that I've only been proud of in my game is my accuracy, even though it's never really talked about. It maybe gets a little bit more attention now, but I've always thought I could make some of the most accurate throws from the most awkward positions. This year is no exception."
Favre has completed 69.7 percent of his passes this season for 21 touchdowns and three interceptions. His 112.1 passer rating is easily the best of his career – he's never been over 100 in a season.
But his accuracy suffered heavily at the end of last year with the New York Jets when he was dealing with a partially torn biceps tendon. After completing 67 percent of his passes or better in all but one of his first 11 games last year, his accuracy waned greatly in the final five games. So did the wins. He went from 8-3 to start his first season with the Jets to losing four of the last five. It was no coincidence that he had only one game in which he completed more than 60 percent of his passes down the stretch.
"Last year, even when my footwork was right and everything seemed to be in line as the season progressed, I wasn't sure where the ball was going to go," he said. "For me, I'm pretty sure if I'm rolling to the left and I've got someone in my face and I've got a tight end coming across the middle at 20 yards, to me, it's no big deal to put it right there. Most of the throws I can point to this year, the ball has gone where I've wanted it. That's not to say it's going to be complete, but at least I put it in a position where I would've liked. It is, at least up to this point statistically speaking, the most accurate (season), but I feel like I have that accuracy and arm strength and that for me makes the biggest difference."
Ironically, Favre had a career-best 88 completion percentage Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which he also set an NFL record with 22 career games with four or more touchdowns passes. He is also easily on track to throw the fewest interceptions of his career.
In 2007, his final year with the Packers, Favre completed a career-high 66.5 percent of his passes. That might be one of the reasons he was so put off with the way things ended with the Packers, who eventually decided to trade him to the New York Jets and included a poison pill in the trade agreement that made it unrealistic for the Jets to trade him back into the NFC North.
Shortly after Favre talked his way into being released by the Jets after they drafted Mark Sanchez in the first round, the rumors of Favre making a comeback with the Vikings started. It wasn't until he had surgery to complete the tear of the biceps tendon in May that he was able to realistically consider that comeback. After a summer of throwing to high school kids down in the Mississippi, he didn't decide to return to professional football until the Vikings had completed training camp and coach Brad Childress made one last recruiting call to Favre.
While Favre immediately boosted the Vikings at the quarterback position, no one could have predicted the success he's had so far. His new team is 9-1, thanks in large part to his accuracy. His lack of interceptions is the easiest statistic to support the claim.
"That's what everyone else wants to think is the most glaring statistic. Believe me, for anyone that's a good statistic," he said.
But he is quick to say that doesn't mean he's not taking any chances. After settling into the offense for the first two games with mostly a short passing game, he is throwing the ball down the field and his receivers are making the plays.
"I think by not throwing that many picks you'd think, ‘OK, he's not taking any chances.' And I think that, to a certain extent, that's true, but then again, giving guys chances down the field, it's not like some of these passes I'm throwing down the field, mid-range, guys are just wide open. I'm willing to give these guys some chances, and as I said the other day, they're making me right," Favre said. "You'd love to drop back and guys just be wide open, and you throw it and go, ‘Man, this is easy.' It's never easy. But there has to a trust factor that's there, and that has held true."
After a career-low 12 interceptions thrown in 1992, 1995 and 1996, Favre is now on pace to throw only five with the Vikings. That might be the most amazing statistic of them all for the king of quarterback records.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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