Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Iron Man vs. Gunslinger

Everyone is talking about the Brett Favre streak but I ask just how impressive is it? A WCVB Boston poll asked if Favre's consecutive games started streak was more impressive than Cal Ripken, Jr.'s consecutive games played streak and an overwhelming 82% of fans said that Ripken's streak was more impressive. I think that many casual fans would favor Cal because, overall, he was a very likeable guy. Favre has gotten under our skin over the past four years due to his waffling about whether or not he was going to play or retire. But lets put this streak into perspective by asking two questions: (1) What are the chances of the record ever being broken and (2) How does it compare to other consecutive games played streaks? 297 consecutive starts is impressive and great but when I look at records in the sports world I don't see this record as one that will never be broken and the main reason why is that Peyton Manning has started 205 consecutive games. Peyton is 34 and if he starts for five more years and nine games, he will pass Favre (and that is assuming the league doesn't go to an 18 game schedule and there is no lockout of games entirely). That doesn't seem very unlikely considering that of any NFL quarterback of this generation, Peyton Manning's jersey seems to stay the cleanest at the end of games. The guy never gets hit and he doesn't scramble out of the pocket to buy time. He is a quick release guy; a guy that watches film and studies the defense and makes quick decisions, not someone like Favre, a certified gunslinger who could turn a broken play into a big play by moving out of the pocket and often taking a brutal hit. Manning is the picture of stability and as long as he decides he wants to continue playing the game I strongly believe the record will eventually be his.

Ripken played in a MLB record 2,632 consecutive games. The player that had the best chance of catching him was Miguel Tejada, who had a streak of 1,152 before his wrist was broken by a pitch in 2007. The current player with the longest consecutive games played streak is Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. His streak is at 204. In today's game, it is not realistic to think anyone will even come close to Cal's record because managers give players days off all the time whether they want them or not. Also, there are so many games played during the season that sometimes it makes sense to have a guy sit a game or two against a bad team to have him fresh for an upcoming series against a team you might be battling with in the standings. I don't ever see anyone in today's game approaching what Tejada did, and he didn't even make it to half the games played that Ripken did.  Favre's record is most impressive when you look at it like this. Since Ripken played in a 162 game season and Favre played in a 16 game season, lets round the season to 160 games and divide Ripken's games played by 10, in order to even the playing field. So Ripken, on a scale of a 16 game season would've had around 263 consecutive games played to Favre's 297. That's a 30 game advantage for Brett. Add in the fact that he played in a far more physically demanding sport and #4 does deserve all the attention. In my opinion, Favre was a throwback to the sport we will never see the likes of again, a true warrior. But his record appears to be reachable and therefore I would focus more on other attributes and great things he brought to the table more than his consecutive games played streak.

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