Why Brett Favre's Prime Wasn't Wasted

I wanted to talk about narrative.

We’ve seen a narrative grow unchallenged in the world of the Packers, and now it’s bordering on ridiculous because it’s starting to creep further back into history.

This narrative should be pretty familiar to you if you spend any time around the Packers and have seen the state of things over the past couple weeks. With the departure of Ted Thompson, we’ve seen a resurgence of the “the Packers are wasting Aaron Rodgers’ prime” argument, and as a result of people looking back into the Packers history books, Brett Favre has begun to get caught up into that discussion as well.

Now, people are claiming that the Packers wasted a lot of Brett Favre’s prime through various decisions, and I would like to make the case that in fact, the opposite is true: Brett Favre actually wasted a good deal of prime years for the Packers.

Look at how the Packers exited the playoffs each season from 2001 to 2007. In playoff games in that stretch, Brett Favre was downright abysmal more often than not. He threw 13 touchdowns against 16 interceptions in those games. In losses, he threw seven touchdowns against 15 interceptions. Twice he threw four or more interceptions in playoff games.

In 1999 and 2000, two years in which the Packers did not make the playoffs, Favre completed less than 58% of his passes and threw 42 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.

In 2005 and 2006, two other years in which the Packers did not make the playoffs, he completed less than 59% of his passes and threw just 38 touchdowns against 47 interceptions.

It may be true that the Packers could have done more in Brett Favre’s career to get talent around him, but it’s also true that Favre was terrible a lot of the time, especially when the Packers did get back to the playoffs.

Favre was often a big reason they left the playoffs. He wasted as much of the Packers’ time as they wasted his because he was often so out of control that he eliminated a lot of the Packers' chances to do anything in the playoffs.

The game that will always stick in my mind is the 4th-and-26 game in Philadelphia. The defensive breakdown was bad, but things ended in overtime with Brett Favre essentially not throwing an interception as much as throwing a punt to Brian Dawkins. It was an absolutely unconscionable decision and one that never seems to come up.

If Brett Favre had been 50% more under control, maybe the Packers would have gotten back to another Super Bowl with Favre under center, and maybe nobody would have ended up wasting their time at all.

This post is an adapted transcription from the most recent episode of Blue 58, a Packers podcast from The Power Sweep. Listen to the full episode below and subscribe on iTunes.