EDEN PRARIE, Minn. -- The numbers make a compelling case. His team’s record couldn’t be much better. Heck, even ESPN.com’s Mike Sando ranks him atop his weekly list of MVP candidates. So on Wednesday, I asked Brett Favre the question:
Is this the best you’ve ever played?
Favre grimaced as if it was the last thing he wanted to talk about. (Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.) But three days after what might have been the sharpest game of a stellar season, Favre didn’t put up much resistance.
“It’s been pretty good, no doubt,” he said. “Statistically, and that’s what most people are going to point to, I think the most important statistic is 9-1. We would not be 9-1 if it were not for a lot of things. And all of the things I thought would make this team very good -- and it has been good -- have held up.
“And I had hoped by coming in that I could play at a high level and take it to the next level. So I’m very pleased with, up to this point, how I’ve fit into this team. But also there is a lot left to do, but when you play 19 years, stuff starts running together a bit. We had some pretty good runs back in the '90s and in the early 2000s we had some pretty good teams as well. But it has been a really good stretch.”
As you can see in the chart below, Favre is on pace for career highs in completion percentage, touchdown-interception ratio, passer rating and yards per attempt. There is no perfect way to measure a quarterback’s overall performance, but those categories -- combined with the Vikings’ win total -- make a pretty compelling case.
We touched on it a couple of weeks ago, but the most surprising development in Favre’s performance continues to be his lack of interceptions. The NFL’s all-time interception leader has the fewest interceptions (three) of any NFL quarterback with at least 200 attempts. His interception percentage of 1.0 is also a league best.
And even Favre noted Wednesday that he hasn’t played with particular caution this season. His 8.0-yard average per attempt, in fact, is tied for the seventh-best mark in the NFL and represents a substantial allotment of downfield passes.
“[The interceptions] are what everyone else wants to think is the most glaring statistic,” he said. “Believe me, for anyone that’s a good statistic. Not just me. Believe me, I know that. That would be one of the things I would point to, but I think by not throwing that many picks you’d think, ‘OK, he’s not taking any chances.’ And I think that to a certain extent that’s true, but then again, giving guys chances down the field. It’s not like some of these passes I’m throwing down the field, mid-range, guys are just wide open. I’m willing to give these guys some chances … and they’re making me right. … You’ve got to be willing to take the chance, and I feel like I’ve done that and given our guys opportunities, but also been cautious enough to not put us in too many bad situations.”
Indeed, Favre is simply throwing to the player he believes has the best matchup. Through Week 11, in fact, the Vikings were the only NFL team to have six players with 25 or more receptions.
Favre noted that he was having a strong season last year in New York before a partially torn biceps tendon derailed his season. But I don’t think it compares to what he’s done so far in Minnesota. Through 10 games at least, it’s been an all-timer.