A couple issues ago there was an article that compared the physical youth of Aaron Rodgers against the seasoned veteran of Brett Favre. Well after twelve games for both quarterbacks, it is time to revisit the debate and see which one is winning out.
Green Bay Packer’s Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been under intense scrutiny this whole season. He has been mocked by NFL fans at sports bars and ESPN Pundits alike. No, it is not because of a losing record or awful play calling. In fact many people forget that the Packers were 7-4 going into Monday night’s game against the Ravens and in the thick of the wildcard race. No, Mike McCarthy has been blasted this season because of Brett Favre’s performance with the Vikings. Football fans across the country this season have wondered how the Packers let this quarterback get away from them after being deemed as “too old to play”.
Well in reality, Coach McCarthy never said that about Brett Favre and really never made the decision to not have Favre on his team. Brett made that decision when he retired…the first time. With Brett Favre’s performance in Minnesota, NFL fans have almost forgotten that Green Bay already has a younger Pro Bowl bound quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy may not have expected Brett Favre to have an incredible and drama-filled career after his departure from Green Bay, but its time people get off of his case because he made the right decision.
Okay. Right now everyone has to be wondering how I can say the Packers would not be playing better without Brett Favre on their team. In all honesty, if you look at the stats, it might look like the old gunslinger might have thrived in Mike McCarthy’s offense. Through week 13, he has thrown for 3149 yards with 26 touchdowns, only five interceptions and a passer rating of 108.5.
One stat that people forget to look at though is the number of times he has been taken to the ground by opposing defenders. Over the past 13 weeks, Favre has only been hit 57 times, while Aaron Rodgers has been hit 72 times through 11 games. Even though Rodgers has played behind a far inferior offensive line in comparison to Minnesota’s line lead by All Pro Steve Hutchinson, he still is on pace to out pass Favre’s 2007 stats. That is the same year they went to the NFC Championship Game.
More importantly, you cannot believe that a 40 year old man coming off of arthroscopic surgery to complete a tear in his throwing arm would survive an entire season with the Packer’s line. Favre would reinjure himself one way and the Packers would be in the same situation they are in today except Aaron Rodgers would have a lot less experience and confidence.
Speaking of injuries, it was exactly two years ago this week that Brett Favre hobbled off of the field in Dallas after two first half interceptions with shoulder and elbow injuries. Aaron Rodgers stepped in and threw for over 200 yards and a touchdown with 69% completion rate. It’s easy to see McCarthy’s logic when Brett Favre unretired himself. One choice is the legendary quarterback who has played well, but is very injury prone and has a tendency to throw interceptions in critical games and the other is a first-round draft choice with only upsides who has had his team build around him for two years now. McCarthy chose Rodgers and as they say, the rest is history.
So here we are today. Both quarterbacks are playing well, but if you watched this past Sunday night game, you may have noticed a change in Favre. In the Vikings loss to Arizonia, Favre threw two picks even though he had only thrown three in all of his previous games. Both interceptions were not overthrown passes or ones caused by a deflection from a defensive player. Both were thrown while Favre was under pressure and he forced a pass to one receiver who was well covered by multiple defenders. Classic Brett Favre picks. No doubt the ones Packers fans would see plenty of if Favre was under the pressure Rodgers has been under this season, and who has only thrown five interceptions himself.
You can pass it off as just an off game for an otherwise great player. Even Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have bad days, but then you remember this time last year. The Jets looked like great super bowl contenders with an 8-3 record going into a final five game stretch. In those final five games, Brett Favre blew the team’s playoff hopes with an abominable 1-4 record, throwing for only two touchdowns versus nine interceptions with a dismal passer rating of 55.4.
Could this be history repeating itself for Brett Favre? Only time will tell, but if you were a playoff contending team fighting for a wildcard spot like the Packers, would you really want this 40 year old gunslinger leading your team? Fortunately for Mike McCarthy, that is one decision he will not have to make.
by Bradley Wilson