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The incomparable one?

I don’t drink any more, but once in a while, I get a few ideas for a drinking game.

If it’s a Tuesday with a Democratic or Republican primary, take a drink every time a news network shows an analyst circling a state or a county on one of those fancy computer maps, and you’ll be done before the first returns come in.

If you take a drink every time CNN’s Wolf Blitzer says “You’re watching the best political news team on television,” you won’t be breathing when Larry King comes on the air. (Yes, I’m way too into this campaign already.)

And when a Green Bay Packers game is on TV, you play the Brett Favre drinking game. Every time anyone starts gushing about the Packers quarterback ” the incomparable Brett Favre, the great Brett Favre, the legendary Brett Favre ” you get the idea ” you drink. Upon further review, maybe that’s why Packers fans wear those silly cheeseheads.

So upon his surprising retirement ” at least for a guy who seems to have been mulling retirement obsessively for the last few years ” a few thoughts.

– His record of 253-straight starts is impressive. No one’s coming close to that one.

– Favre ” his name really should be spelled Farve if that’s how you’re going to pronounce it ” helped usher in the era of the mobile quarterback along with Steve Young and Randall Cunningham.

– He won a Super Bowl and is the last link to the NFC’s days of dominating the NFL.

– OK, I said three nice things about the guy and I can’t do it any more. He was a good quarterback. If I had a vote, I’d put him in the Hall of Fame, no question, but Favre is just downright overrated.

His supporters will throw out his records of 61,655 yards passing, 8,758 attempts, 5,377 completions and 442 touchdowns. That’s a product of playing after the bump rule was instituted in 1978, and an even more strict enforcement of pass-interference rules enforced in the 1990s. Remember that Favre came into the league in 1991 with the Falcons “whoops, they’re still looking for a quarterback ” and he played 17 years in the pass-happy NFL.

If you go to the NFL record book, most of the yardage, passing attempts, completions and touchdown passes were set by quarterbacks after 1978. That isn’t a coincidence.

Don’t tell me that Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, Johny Unitas, Joe Nammath and the likes couldn’t have put up those numbers if they played during this era.

Quarterbacks in this era also get a lot more protection from the refs, which helps you stay in one piece long enough to put up these numbers.

Heck, Favre isn’t the best quarterback in his franchise’s history. I heard that Bart Starr-guy won five NFL crowns.

– I will never get the whole gunslinger image-thing. His fans call Favre’s penchant for throwing into double- and triple coverage gutsy. I call it stupid.

For all of Favre’s accomplishments, there were times he just wasn’t a smart quarterback. There is really something to be said for throwing the ball away and living for another down as opposed to trying to make something happen. Yes, you look like a genius when you squeeze the ball in among three defenders to your receiver, but, as indicated by the fact that he’s thrown the most interceptions in NFL history, more often than not, it doesn’t work.

Ironically, the year that Favre reined it in and listened to then-Packers coach Mike Holmgren was the year he won the Super Bowl. That isn’t a coincidence.

– I can’t believe that Favre retired right now. A few seasons ago when the Pack was dreadful? Sure. But coming off throwing an interception which led to the Giants winning the NFC title at Lambeau Field is strange. Especially given the wide-open nature of the NFC these days, I thought he’d be back.

Then again, his retirement sure beats the flurry of stories of whether Favre will retire. Yes, he’s a god in Green Bay and can pretty much do whatever he wants, but he was putting himself above his team by drawing it out every year.

The funny thing tough is that on ESPN.com Tuesday, the main poll question was who will be Green Bay’s starting quarterback next year? Favre got 17 percent of the vote.

We might not be done with the incomparable Favre yet.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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