Graham: Likeable, but not the best

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Luke Graham

Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Luke here.

— So if Favre decides to come back for one more try at a Super Bowl title, it's certainly fair to assess his place in football history.

Favre has the classic gunslinger persona, loveable demeanor and too many NFL records to count. No doubt Favre is a great quarterback. But 10, 20 or even 50 years from now, Favre will be more remembered for the type of guy he was than the player he was. He appeals to the average person. Favre's had his problems, dealt with them and continued on.

But I have a hard time placing Favre near the top of the list of all-time greats considering - in a pure playing sense - he wasn't even a top quarterback during his era.

Consider Favre's 17-year career - 16 of them spent with Green Bay - and compare him to the other top quarterbacks from those times. It's a pretty easy breakdown.

Steve Young and Troy Aikman were better than Favre during the early part of his career, John Elway was better during the middle part of Favre's career, and Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are better than Favre now.

In my book, the best way to compare players from different eras, similar eras and in general - no matter the sport - is winning.

Yes, Favre has more wins than any other quarterback in NFL history.

But if you're going to be a winner, you have to win the big game. Marathon winners aren't heralded for winning the first 25 miles but finishing second in the final 1.2 miles. Sure Favre has one Super Bowl and three Most Valuable Player awards from the mid-1990s, but Young, Aikman, Elway and Brady have multiple Super Bowl wins while playing during the same era. Manning conceivably has six good years left to win his second title.

Favre was at his peak from 1995 to 1997. He won three straight Most Valuable Player awards. But Favre won the Super Bowl only in 1996. From 1993 to 1995, the Packers fell three straight times in the playoffs to Aikman's Cowboys. In 1997, he lost to Elway and the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Favre supporters will say "what if" Favre had more support around him throughout the years. What ifs in sports are garbage. What if Elway continued to play four more years? What if Aikman's career hadn't been cut short because of concussions? What if Young would have started in San Francisco earlier? What if Brady and Manning continue on their current paces?

It would be nice to see Favre go out on top. It would certainly add to his place in the history of the game.

Favre is one of the best guys in sports. He very well might be the most beloved. But based on credentials, Favre's place on the playing field puts him behind a number of his peers.

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