The Burke Blotter: Manning Deserves Favre’s Record

Records are made to be broken, or so the saying goes.

Yes Packer fans, even Brett Favre’s.

After yesterday’s slate of games, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning stands five touchdown passes away from tying Favre’s career total (and NFL record) of 508 touchdown passes. He’s also around 5,500 yards of breaking the former Packers quarterback’s career passing yardage record as well.

As the inevitable moment approaches, there are going to be as many mixed reactions to seeing Favre’s record (or records) fall as there are about the ok’ gunslinger himself.

Regardless of where you fall, Manning should be congratulated and praised for one of the best careers in NFL history, amount of Super Bowl rings be darned.

In fact, Manning DESERVES to break Favre’s records. Why?

He is the better quarterback. Hate to say it Packer Nation, but it’s true. Manning will very likely pass all of Favre’s records except one–the interception record, though Jay Cutler may lay claim to that before he’s done.

The first reason why he is a better quarterback is that Manning is playing his 17th season, though he missed all of 2011 so this year is technically season 16. Favre played 20 and basically did nothing during his rookie season in 1991 with the Atlanta. Favre never missed a start and Manning might have threatened that record too if he hadn’t missed 2011

The victory record Favre holds will also fall should Manning play next year, barring injury. Some think he will play until he’s 50 but if the Broncos win the Super Bowl this year all bets are off.

Favre had plenty of awe-inspiring moments with coming back from injuries, including concussions and broken thumbs. Manning’s comeback from multiple neck surgeries in 2012 has been just as remarkable. So both quarterbacks are two of the league’s most prominent iron men.

Manning’s style of play was also much different than Favre’s but also just as fun to watch. While Favre’s seat-of-your-pants play was wildly entertaining to anyone who watched him play regardless of football knowledge, Manning’s been just as much enjoyable to watch except maybe for the more football-inclined. His pre-snap adjustments and his mastery of audibles is incredible to watch.

While Favre would throw the football where angels fear to tread, Manning has been much more surgical. Favre’s high risk/high reward style won him plenty of games but it also lost him quite a few, especially in the playoffs. He would give his coaches indigestion over his decisions on where to throw the ball but was rarely reprimanded if it worked.

Manning is more like a well-oiled machine. You turn it on and just let it do its work. He hasn’t always had the best defenses behind him (neither did Favre except for the mid-1990s) but he often never needed one either, at least in the regular season.

Speaking of the playoffs, both quarterbacks have one ring for now. Manning has taken his teams to three Super Bowls while Favre had two (the 2007 Packers team should have been the third save for a poor Favre overtime decision). Neither performed well consistently as Manning would suddenly struggle and the Favre interception machine often went into overdrive. This is probably the area the quarterbacks are almost identical.

One area people would point out in favor of Favre is he had lack of receiving talent that he constantly made look better than they really were. That is a valid point. He had a revolving door at wide receiver and Manning practically had Marvin Harrison and then Reggie Wayne the whole time he was with the Colts until they released him in 2012. Favre had Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman early and then practically just Donald Driver until later in his career.

Then there is the off-field stuff. Manning has shown nothing but class the entire time he has been in the NFL. He’s in a lot of commercials that entertain on varying levels, but he’s kept mostly out of the public eye when he’s not on the field save for some charity works.

Meanwhile, Favre was all over the place. His party antics in the early days of his career are well documented, as well as his Vicodin addiction and the issues he has had in his marriage. Throw in his waffling about retirement and “Favre Watch” was a national past time from 2005-2010.

This isn’t to say Manning is the better person. This is is just pointing out the contrasting styles. Favre was a lot more public than Manning and that endears him to people just as much as it rubs others the wrong way.

Whether it’s this week or two weeks from now, at least take a moment to congratulate Manning when he breaks Favre’s career touchdown pass record. While you might feel sadness about seeing #4’s record fall, this writer is of the belief that greatness should transcend team loyalty and Manning is greatness personified.

So was Favre. Greatness has many looks and legends have different styles.

Just be thankful you got to watch both legends play the game they (and we) love so very much.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


24 thoughts on “The Burke Blotter: Manning Deserves Favre’s Record

  1. Kris – you are correct. Records will be broken, whether it’s Peyton Manning or another QB, Favre’s records will be broken and probably Manning’s as well someday in this pass happy NFL. But let’s keep a few points in mind that were not covered in your article. When Favre ‘s career began the NFL was not as pass happy as it is now. By the time his career ended the league was much more pass happy than it was back in the mid-late ’90s. Next, Favre played most his career outdoors and nearly half of all his games in Green Bay, which is not exactly a passer’s paradise weather wise. While, Manning played nearly all of his career home games in a dome under perfect conditions. Manning is still playing well in Denver but he has not played in any where near as many cold and bad weather games as Favre. Even on the road Manning probably played in at least 2 more dome games per season. Also, Favre usually faced more difficult divisional opponents than Manning’s divisional foes, Titans, Texans and Jaguars. Finally, Manning has played much more of his career in an environment that is much more rule friendly to the passing game than Favre did for most of his career. I take nothing away from Manning, he is a great player and worthy of any records his achieves, but I think that he and Favre not only had very different styles but for the most part played under different circumstances. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. The surface of the dome provides a fast track which helps receivers get open and cover more yards. A natural outdoor field causes receivers to slip and fall while running their routes especially in wet weather. Again I take nothing away from Manning, he has been a model for consistency and great longevity. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. While it is true that Manning has never been a good bad-weather QB, in the end these records are all about longevity, and both of these guys had it.

      Will these records be broken? Maybe not. The style of play is so much different and coaches (and the NFL) are far more cautious with injuries now than they were even 5 years ago. I just don’t see the modern, mobile QB having this kind of shelf life.

      1. Dobber – agree about the mobile QBs, but if Andrew Luck stays healthy he is someone that I see with a chance to break all the records. Of course he is a pocket style passer. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. He has so many of the characteristics you need: size, arm strength, intelligence. The question is whether or not he’ll be lucky enough to avoid significant injury and fortunate enough to not decline rapidly as he ages. The fact that he’s mobile helps, so long as he doesn’t get his bell rung too many times.

    2. You wrote what I mentioned to write. But, of course in much better and more clearer way. For Brett Favre there was not help from NFL to make him get another ring, what we see today, for Manning… Nevertheless, Payton had nice, long and succesfull carrier, and he belongs to elite QBs of NFL…

    3. Yes, Favre was certainly hamstrung by that West Coast System he played under, with all those dink and dunk passes and yards after catch that contributed to those 70,000 yards. And Favre retired in 2010! There’s something sad about people who try and portray that Favre played in some long ago era when everything was in black and white and everyone ran around faster. Favre began as a starter just five year before Manning. Let’s not make out like there’s twenty years between the end of one and the beginning of the other.

      And if people really want to do comparisons, pro-football-reference has done the math which measures how QB rated against their peers and immersed in their particular eras. For what it’s worth, Manning rates significantly higher in his comparisons to peers than Favre did to his. This is so even when restricted to respective “tenderloins” of their careers (25-31). Simply put, Manning is/was better than Favre. That doesn’t mean Favre wasn’t a HOFer, merely Manning is a top ten guy (a Staubach/Unitas guy) while Favre was a second ten guy (a Kelly/Fouts guy). It was massive media hype that somehow pounded Favre up into his own demi-god status hovering above mere mortals like Otto Graham or Joe Montana.

  2. Call me crazy, but I always thought that the guy who “deserves the record” for the most passing yards is… um… the guy who actually passes for the most yards. Or touchdowns. Or whatever.

    Sorry, but some of these articles are just getting embarrassing. Maybe not quite as embarrassing as saying that Manning “has eluded nothing but class,” but still pretty embarrassing. So I guess Manning was able to escape and avoid class, but he was not able to escape or avoid anything else.

    Just out of curiosity, has Manning been “able to exude the rush?”

    1. Pardon the typo oh holy and perfect one. Guess we aren’t as perfect as you oh sultan of spelling. Even the big names make mistakes.

  3. Manning is the more technical qb for sure. Favre is the toughest qb ever. He endured hits that most players today would end up on injured reserve just watching them. Not saying he was the best qb ever, but hands down the toughest…

  4. I’ll take Favre over Manning any day of the week. If Manning had had to play with the receivers Favre had, behind the lines Favre had, in the conditions Favre had, he’d have broken like crystal.

    Nobody played the game with more heart than Favre and his iron man streak is something that’s worth way more than all the TD and yards records in the world.

    It’s like asking who would rather see live? Hendrix or Kansas?

    1. Let’s not have this revisionism. Favre played behind very good offensive lines from 1994-2004. It is so tiresome that the idea that Favre did everything all by himself. While we’re at it, Driver is the all time receiver (played 75% of his career with Favre) and Ahman Green is the all time leading rusher. The notion that Favre had NOBODY to play with nonsense. And finally, the West Coast System is DESIGNED to spread the ball around, therefore not many skill players in WCO systems, other than QB’s, make the HOF. Please review the list of skill position HOFers who made their marks in West Coast Systems who are in the HOF. One, of course, Jerry Rice. As of two years ago, there was ONE other.

      In the end, during the Favre Era with Green Bay, the Packers had the best regular season record, and they had the second highest APPROXIMATE VALUE for ALL PLAYERS according to pro-football-reference. I’ll certainly admit, as a HOFer, Favre CATALYZED the surrounding talent, but that talent had to be there. It’s not like Archie Manning made anything out of the sows ear of the Saints. There has to be surrounding talent, and the Packers had it. And that’s not even getting into the scouting and coaching talent in the Packers organization in the Favre Era that dispersed into the rest of the NFL.

  5. Let’s see:

    (1) Interceptions – Favre has twice as many as Manning

    (2) Fumbles – Favre has twice as many as Manning

    (3) Sacks – Favre was sacked twice as many times as Manning

    Yep, you’re right, there’s no comparison between Manning and Favre, at least when it comes to mistakes. Another stat I bet Brett owns is the most TD passes from inside the 5 yard line.

    The only stat that Favre owns that is amazing ion a good way is most consecutive games played – he was an ironman. I will give the devil his due.

    One Super Bowl win is a fart in the win. Ask Ron Wolf.

  6. Bart Starr was great. Bret Favre was what he was. Aaron Rodgers is for the ages. Ranks with the greats of the game e.g., Johnny Unitas, etc.

    1. Bart Starr was great. but he didn’t play in the free agency, salary cap era like Favre did. The ’60s Packers would never have remained together if he did. Starr was smarter than Brett and he rarely made a play which hurt the team. However, on his best day Bart never had the arm that Favre had. I also don’t know if Bart could have survived some of the shots that Favre took and kept playing. From ’95 – ’98 Brett was the best QB on the planet. I’m not sure if Bart was ever the best QB since he played during the same time as Johnny U. Maybe 1966 I would say Bart was the better QB for that season. Bart’s team dominated the 1960’s no question, but Johnny U was the dominant QB for that decade. I know this, I am very happy that Starr, Favre and Rodgers have all been Packer QBs. I have been and still would be happy to have any one of them as the Packers’ QB. Thanks, Since ’61

  7. Will there ever be a time when the comparing of apples to oranges or the mere thought that both are even comparable has ceased?

    These type of articles run rampant when a record is near breaking regardless of sport….writers with ‘a record is a record regardless’ vs ‘the wielder of the asterisk’ doing battle.

    End numbers can never be refuted,but the circumstance(s) of obtaining them will always be under a microscope….

    Lets play ‘ThermoNuclear War’….winners none. 🙂

  8. I don’t know if anyone will break Favre’s iron man record– that might be one of those unbreakable records.

  9. Favre was a great qb under Holmgren. One of the best ever during that short span. After that he was just an above average qb who we couldn’t trust to win the big game. Manning is pretty much the same so that is where they compare the same to me. Both always tend to make that one huge mistake in the biggest of games. Both have one super bowl win.
    What will always stand out to me with Favre is/was his mental and physical toughness. Nobody to this day could put up with the pain and continue to play thru some of those games like Favre did. His toughness as a player to me is much more impressive than any of his statistics as a passer. Favre blows Manning and any other qb away in the toughness category.

    1. Physical toughness all day long. Mental toughness? Favre was pretty much a thirteen year old girl with the cramps when it came to mental anything. It’s what killed some games, many seasons, and too many playoff runs. Favre had little to no discipline to do the mental things necessary to be a modern QB. The days of gunslinging had given way to “sharpshooting”. Favre didn’t have the mental chops or patience to be a sharpshooter. I have no doubt it was part of the equation back in 2008 for Thompson and McCarthy.

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