Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Damn. Almost.

I was pulling for a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl -- perhaps not as passionately as I'm rooting for an Obama-McCain matchup, but still. My rooting interest was partly informed by the fact that I just don't like the Giants. But a much bigger factor was Brett Favre. If the Patriots hadn't gone 276-0 this year and fixed the national health care system, Favre would have been the sports story of the year.

His list of accomplishments is just silly: He hasn't missed a start since 1992. (And with respect to Cal Ripken, this is more impressive to me; Ripken didn't have 300-pound men throwing him into the ground every time he took the field.) He holds the NFL career record for most passing touchdowns, most passing yards, and most completions. He's won the MVP award three times. His middle name is Lorenzo. Need I go on?

Putting aside his stats -- and his dazzling ability to throw a football like Nolan Ryan threw a baseball -- Favre is fun to watch because he plays with joy. You know those sullen or bored athletes who look like they're being paid six dollars an hour to work crowd control at a Yanni concert? He's the opposite of them. He most often looks like -- well, like you're paying him millions of dollars to run around the street and try to beat the other kids before mom calls him home for dinner. (I just found this compilation, which is pretty entertaining and helps to illustrate the point.)

But over the previous two seasons, Favre, who's now 38, had seemingly lost a good deal of his formidable skill. Especially lame was 2005, when he threw 29 interceptions. (For those of you unfamiliar with football, that's a ton. For those of you really unfamiliar with football, interceptions are bad.) In 2006, he played just well enough to erase some of the shame, but it, too, was clearly among his worst seasons. A la Roger Clemens, Favre has often played the will-I-retire-or-will-I-not game with the media, and it seemed reasonable, given his decline, that he really would exit soon.

Instead, this year Favre put together maybe his best season: the highest completion percentage of his career, the third most passing yards, and 28 touchdowns to 15 interceptions (a very good ratio by his standards). What's more, the Packers went 13-3 and fell one win short of a game I would have loved to see. To me, Favre at 38 taking on the undefeated Patriots and the awesomely talented but hard-to-love Tom Brady would have been the best game (on paper) in ages. Favre is arguably one of the three or four best quarterbacks of all time, and if he'd managed to cap his resurrection by spoiling New England's perfect season, or even giving them a scare ... let's just say I dislike the Giants even more today. How dare they keep that from me. From us! I say we form a mob and storm the team's training facility -- at which point we'll all be dismembered by the gargantuan players, but can say we left this world for a cause.


Post a Comment

<< Home