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Matthew Stafford vs. The Greats: Brett Favre

Taking a look at the similarities between Brett Favre and Matthew Stafford

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

Earlier this week, we took the first step in our new “Matthew Stafford vs. The Greats” series by comparing Matthew Stafford to Dan Marino. What we ultimately learned is that even though Stafford and Marino look similar on the stat sheet, they’re quite different everywhere else.

Today is different. Today we talk about the legendary Packers quarterback that ruined so many of your nights and made so many of John Madden’s.

In my opinion—and I stubbornly don’t think I’m wrong about this opinion—Roger Goodell went to a dark and scary castle on the side of a cliff. You know, the kind of castle that has lightning striking in the background every time you look at it. With him was a Brett Favre jersey, a lock of Favre’s hair and a text message from Brett. I won’t say what the text said, though.

Goodell’s idea was to clone Brett Favre to make sure the NFL could have a gunslinger take over once Favre decided to work full time with Wrangler jeans. During the cloning experiment, Goodell knocked over a can of Surge onto the gizmos and the experiment went haywire.

Instead of cloning Brett Favre, he created Matthew Stafford. and I imagine he did this, too.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that Matthew Stafford is a slightly flawed or a slightly cleaner version of Brett Favre. Let’s take a look at the stats and the style of play to see if I’m right.

Just like last time, I’ll put a small disclaimer in there: These articles are not about team achievements. Quarterback wins is not a real stat. With that said, these articles are also not about claiming that Stafford is better or as good as any of these quarterbacks. It’s just a comparison.

The Stats

Stafford vs. Favre (Full career)

Quarterback Brett Favre Matthew Stafford
Quarterback Brett Favre Matthew Stafford
Completions 6,300 2,634
Attempts 10,169 4,285
Comp % 62 61.5
Yards 71,838 30,303
Touchdowns 508 187
INT 336 108
Rate 86 86.8

Eureka! Look at this. It’s like looking in a mirror. What do we know about Stafford? He has a lot of attempts. Brett Favre has the most attempts in NFL history. What else do we know? Stafford has made some bad decisions and thrown interceptions. Nobody has thrown more interceptions than Brett Favre in the history of football.

But the other thing we know about Stafford is that he gets yards and he gets touchdowns. Favre is second all time in both of those categories. Stafford is 10th among active players in yards and ninth among active players in touchdowns. He’s the only one in his 20s on both of those lists, for what it’s worth.

Even completion percentage and passer rating are almost dead on. Just 0.5 and 0.8 off, respectively. The career numbers really seem to support my theory here. Let’s check out Favre’s first eight years versus Stafford’s eight years.

Stafford vs. Favre (First eight years)

Quarterback Brett Favre Matthew Stafford
Quarterback Brett Favre Matthew Stafford
Completions 2,318 2,634
Attempts 3,756 4,285
Comp % 61.7 61.5
Yards 26,803 30,303
Touchdowns 213 187
INT 118 108
Rate 89.1 86.8

Again, this is pretty similar. Stafford wins out on yards on this go round, and Favre is ahead on touchdowns and rating. Otherwise, everything is very close. The other thing that I found interesting is that both Favre and Stafford played limited games in their first two seasons. Obviously for different reasons, but I thought that was interesting.


This is where things get spot on. Before I explain, watch these videos. First here’s Brett Favre.

Now here’s Stafford

Look at the similarities. The leaving of the pocket, the crazy throws across the body or off the back foot that somehow seem to get into the receivers hands. Also, neither quarterback was scared to tuck the ball away and truck a guy.

I’m just saying, Brett Favre is exactly 18 years older than Matthew Stafford. Brett Favre did lead Southern Mississippi to 27-14 loss to Texas A&M shortly before Matthew Stafford was born in Texas. Read into it how you want.

The Conclusion

There’s only one way to conclude this. Matthew Stafford is the Brett Favre gunslinger-type of this era. He’s the guy whose hands you want to be on the ball late in the game, and he’s the guy that’s willing to take the crazy risks. Sure it doesn’t work sometimes, and other times it can make you a legend. It remains to be seen if Stafford can achieve the latter portion of that.

Writer’s Note: Matthew Stafford is neither the son of Brett Favre nor the result of a lab experiment gone haywire.

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