The NFL and its broadcast partner CBS blew a Kodak moment when they failed to stop the Jets-Bills game to mark a milestone that seemed literally unthinkable just a few years ago.
Brett Favre's 300th interception – easily the top mark in league history.
The No. 2 man on the all-time INT list is George Blanda (277 picks), whose career began in 1949 and ended three weeks ago. (Actually, the oldest player ever retired in 1976, at age 48 ... but you get the picture.)
We, and you, knew Favre would reach the 300 milestone here in 2008. After all, he joined the Jets with a record 288 picks in his career. And the last time he threw fewer than 12 picks in a season was back in his rookie year of 1991 with Atlanta , when Favre mustered just two INTs on four attempts.
Ahh, the good ol' days.
So 300 was inevitable, provided Favre stayed healthy. And, well, nobody can doubt the guy's physical constitution. We've thrown out our backs clicking the remote too quickly. Favre hasn't missed a game since the start of the Clinton Administration in a sport where the basic goal of the other 11 guys on the field is to shatter his spine into a million tiny pieces.
The guy can take a punch.
So Favre deserves plenty of credit. After all, he's the all-time leader in every other category in league history, too: from passing TDs and yards; to having fun out there and slinging the ball; to undeserved hype and letting down fans in the playoffs.
We just didn't know he'd reach this magical tri-centennial by the half-way point of the 2008 season. But with a league-leading 12 picks through eight games, Favre has shocked many observers with his determined quest for history.
Let the record show the milestone pick was made by Bills cornberback Jabari Greer. And, unlike other records and milestones that Favre was involved in, Greer didn't even have to take a dive to be a part of history.
Let the record also show that Favre's Jets won at Buffalo , 26-17, and that the Jets are 5-3 halfway through 2008, after a dreadful 4-12 season in 2007.
The Jets are better now than they were last year with Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens splitting time at QB. Of course, Miami has improved by even greater leaps and bounds with Pennington at the helm here in 2008. So who knows what the Jets would have done with a healthy, not hanging Chad .
But we do know this: the Brett Favre experience is something of a disappointment to Jets fans, grown men who snapped up No. 4 Jets jerseys after the aging old gunslinger was signed in August, only to watch his performances slip faster than the poor old lady in the LifeAlert commercials.
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Favre's passer rating of 87.8 is a perfectly mediocre 15th in the NFL today, behind such quarterbacking legends as Kyle Orton (90.8), Trent Edwards (90.8), Matt Schaub (91.) and Jason Campbell (100.5) – and, yes, even behind former Jets QB Pennington (95.2) and current Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (95.3). His passer rating is barely ahead of that of Matt Cassel – a guy who, famously now, hadn't thrown a pass in anger since high school.
And, of course, Favre's 12 INTs leads the league here in 2008.
The problem, though, is the trend. Favre threw six of his 15 TD passes this year in a single, seemingly fluky game against Arizona . It was the first six-TD game of his Hall of Fame career – kind of like a washed-up old pitcher in baseball stumbling into a no-hitter.
Since then, his play has been a borderline disaster: 3 TD passes and 8 picks against – other than Buffalo – some of the worst teams in football (Cincy, Oakland , Kansas City).
It's a sharp contrast from the way he started his days in the Meadolowands, with 12 TDs and 4 INTs.
- Favre's passer ratings in his first four games with the Jets were 125.9, 86.5, 92.5 and 123.7.
Favre's passer ratings in his last four games with the Jets were 73.9, 47.8, 76.0 and 73.7.
Anybody else noticed a trend?
And Favre might not even be done making history this season.
He committed another fumble Sunday – the 154th of his career – which jumped Favre past Dave Krieg and into sole possession of second place on the all-time fumbles list. Now Warren Moon's record 161 fumbles is in serious jeopardy: Favre has fumbled seven times (he lost only two) in the first eight games of the year, which puts him on pace to end the season tied atop the list with Moon.
Nobody, in other words, has been more careless with the football than the old gunslinger.
But there is one record that seems beyond reach, even for the great Ironman Favre.
Blanda, the former all-time INT leader, played until he was 48. Favre just turned 39. And, unless he turns full-time kicker like Blanda did late in his career, it's doubtful that Favre could match Blanda's record for longevity.
But Favre has proven the doubters wrong before.
So here's something to look forward to: If Favre comes out of retirement for each of the next nine years, he has a very good shot of blowing past 500 INTs.
We're begging the NFL to stop the game if he does.