Damn, I need to get me a pair of Wranglers.
After another stellar Sunday in which Brett Favre dissected an opposing defense with surgical precision for the 10-1 Purple, dude could probably slap #4's upon jars of Mississippi mud and we'd line up to buy them with a fervor matching the 40-year-old gunslinger's leather bullets.
Only Favre and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning can lay claim to thrice being named MVP of the National Football League, and through 11 games the two find themselves as frontrunners for the award alongside New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, the NFL's leader in rushing with nearly 1,400 ground yards, is also in play for MVP.
Since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, 21 of the 31 MVP winners (68 percent) have been quarterbacks. (In 1987, Denver's John Elway won the award, but his numbers are excluded from the following analysis due to the league's strike-shortened campaign that year.) Entering Week 12, Favre -- winner of the award in 1995, '96, and co-MVP with Barry Sanders in '97 -- owns the league's second-best passer rating at 112.1 (behind Brees at 112.6) and is tied for the second (with Manning) in touchdowns throws, with 24 (Brees has 27). Favre is also second in completion percentage at 69.3 (Manning leads at 70.4), while his diminutive three interceptions are the fewest for any quarterback with at least 118 pass attempts.
With the aforementioned five games left to play, here's a look at how Favre's projected 2009 numbers compete with the stats for his three MVP seasons with Green Bay (BOLD denotes "league leader"):
Year-------Yards-------TD's------Completion %-------INT's-------QB Rating
2009 4180 35 69.3 4 112.1
1995 4413 38 63.0 13 99.5
1996 3899 39 59.9 13 95.8
1997 3867 35 59.3 16 92.6
Along with the very high likelihood that Favre will take the Vikings to the postseason (which all previous QB winners since '78 have done), his chanches of claiming that fourth MVP are readily behooved by the exceptional "QB Rating." Of the 20 previous winners, 12 of them have led the league in quarterback rating. Among the other categories listed above: 11 have led the league in touchdowns, seven have led the league in completion percentage, and six have led the league in yards. None of the 20 have led the league in interceptions.
Extending comparisons further, here's a look at how Favre's projected '09 numbers compare with the median stats for the 20 winners considered herein*:
2009 (projected) 4180 35 69.3 4 112.1
QB MVP average 4061 34 64.1 13 101.4
*(In 2003, Manning shared the award with Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair. Their numbers from that year have been averaged for number-crunching purposes).
To see how Brees' and Manning's numbers compare, please click here.
As discussed in this space last week, the Vikings' have opposed a fairly puffy schedule, with opponents offering a woeful collective win percentage of just .360 (up from .350 after 10 games). The Purple's ensuing two matchups against division-leaders Arizona and Cincinnati should offer more resistance than the cupcakes of the last three weeks -- results of these showdowns will offer a far better temperature of both the Vikings' merit as a title contender, and Favre's status as an MVP favorite.
For a preview of the Sunday eve game against Arizona, please check back later in the week. Until then:
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