Fran Tarkenton rips Brett Favre again

Never shy about publicly criticizing Brett Favre, former Vikings’ great Fran Tarkenton took aim at No. 4 after his play in the NFC Championship Game while speaking on sports radio 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia last week.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Tarkenton was asked to assess the Vikings’ performance in the NFC title game against New Orleans.

“I think the Vikings were clearly the best team,” Tarkenton said. “They held this New Orleans offense to under 300 yards. They made Drew Brees look ordinary. He didn’t even throw for 200 yards. The guys have been throwing for 400, 500 yards. They were the better team. Their offense turned the ball over five times, the Viking offense. But still if (Favre) didn’t make that stupid play at the end of the game they would have won the game. Now you are in Philadelphia, remember a few years ago when Green Bay played you guys? . . . I mean he throws the ball straight up in the air, free falls. Do you remember that? I have never seen any quarterback much less, well he is going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback, make plays like that at a critical time. He has done the same thing in the Giants’ game (2007 season). He plays at home, has the better team and plays against Eli (Manning). He was a young kid right? And he throws the pick…. and then he does what he did the other night which was just shameful because great quarterbacks, and he is a great quarterback, they don’t do that. You don’t see Peyton Manning do that.”

Tarkenton isn’t looking at the big picture here. Yes, the interception at the end of the game was bad – a rookie mistake even. And yes, the interceptions that Favre threw in previous playoff games were bad, too.

But Tarkenton saying that the Vikings would have won the game had Favre not thrown the interception is shortsighted. There’s a huge possibility that Ryan Longwell would have missed the 50-plus yard field goal had Favre thrown the ball away or ran for four or five yards like many people are suggesting. (By the way, Favre had been abused all game and was playing on a bad ankle, so to say that he could have even run for four or five yards is a little shortsighted in itself.)

The point is that the Vikings didn’t lose the game on Brett’s throw – they lost because they turned the ball over five times. Tarkenton can believe that the Vikings were the better team and maybe they were. But teams that turn the ball over as much as they did don’t usually win and one play doesn’t determine the outcome of a game.

Favre’s decision to throw across his body was stupid – I’ll give Tarkenton that. But to say that the Vikings would have won if only Brett didn’t throw the pick isn’t a statement of fact, but of suggestion.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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