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 AllGreenBayPackers.com 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 CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke