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Marino vs. Favre

Without a doubt, one of the most talked about things of this year's season will certainly be Brett Favre and his chase of Dan Marino's 2 career passing records, touchdowns and yards. I know this because the media, especially ESPN as well as John Madden, absolutely love this friggin guy. Seriously, how many times do we have to hear the media just make verbal love to Favre. It's sickening. But I digress.

As it stands now, Favre is 6 touchdowns and 3,861 yards behind Marino's record. It's almost certain that, barring injury, Favre will throw for at least 7 touchdowns, breaking Marino's record of 420. The yardage, however, is not as certain. The past 2 years, Favre has thrown for 3,881 and 3,885 yards respectively, so it's likely to be a close call and will probably depend on his health and on how the Packers' season is going. I mean, they have to get Aaron Rodgers experience sometime, don't they?

Anyways, the idea of what I wanted to do here is to examine the numbers of Marino and Favre and see who is the better QB, statistically at least. So let's first look at the career numbers of each QB:

Player G Comp. Att. Pct. Yds YPA TDs Ints Rating Record as Starter
Dan Marino 242 4967 8358 59.4 61361 7.3 420 252 86.4 147-93
Brett Favre 241 5021 8223 61.1 57500 7.0 414 273 85.1 147-90

As you can see, the stats are pretty close. What you will notice, however, is how many more interceptions Favre has thrown. Also notice that whenever Favre passes Marino for TD passes and/or passing yards, it will have taken him more games to do so. So what I wanted to do was break the numbers down to per-game averages. Here those figures are:

Player Comp. Att. Pct. Yds YPA TDs Ints Rating
Dan Marino 21 35 60 254 7.3 1.7 1 86.6
Brett Favre 21 34 61.7 239 7 1.7 1.1 85.9

Those figures show just how close these 2 QBs are, statistically speaking. However close they are, though, remember that when Favre is breaking Marino's TD pass record, he'll be doing it in more games. And although the media, who simply can't get off of Brett's junk long enough to criticize how selfish he has been the last few years by continually making his team wait for months before deciding if he will play, will probably not bring up the fact that it took more games for Favre to reach Marino, all of us Dolphin fans can take comfort knowing that when you look at all of the stats, it's clear that Marino was the better quarterback. What's unclear is if Favre is even a top 5 all-time QB. Yes, he has his one Super Bowl ring, but that's more because of Dorsey Levens and Desmond Howard than it is Favre, isn't it? Eh, who knows? These are the debates that can rage forever.

What I do know is that the numbers prove that Dan Marino was better than Brett Favre. Now, you can argue all day about who has more MVPs (Favre 3-1) and who has more titles and who has more pro-bowl appearences (Marino 9-8). You can even talk about the subjective things like who had more talent around them and who was a better leader, etc, etc...What I know, however, is that the best way to judge a player is by production and the best way to judge production is to look at the numbers a player puts up over an entire career. When you do that, Marino beats anybody.

Which, of course, brings me to my top 5 QBs of all-time. It's a great debate and one that will never, ever end. But if you ask me, I'd tell you that they are (in no particular order): Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, and Peyton Manning. As for Favre, he'd be somewhere between 6-10. But no matter what, I'll tell you one thing that will forever stand true: if I had to pick one QB in their prime to by my QB for one big game, I'd pick Danny Marino any day of the week...and twice on Sundays!