Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Favre or Ripken?

Sources tell me that instead of another Desperate Housewives promo before this week's Monday Night Football game, ABC was planning to have the entire media, clad only in towels, kneel before Brett Fav-ruh and collectively suck him off to completion. That really wouldn't be all that groundbreaking, though, as it happens every single Sunday or Monday.

People hate how the media gush over Favre's game...I, on the other hand, adore it. I don't think you can say enough about Brett Favre. I'd watch an all-Favre network on satellite television -- well, if I had satellite television, and if satellite television actually had an all-Favre network. To me, this guy is the epitome of a football player, a classy guy who compliments his awesome play on the field with that boyish "I can't believe I get paid to do this" quality. His receivers step up and make big catches for him. His running backs step up for him. And he's even got a great American story: Married his high school floozy, fought through a painkiller addiction, played through emotional torture on national television after his father's sudden death, continues to take the field while supporting his wife through breast cancer. Great stuff, great Favre.

But last night was a bit much, even for my Favre-sucky-sucky standards. Favre started his 200th consecutive game, a pretty arbitrary number considering the season is played in 16-game intervals. It's not like he passed #1 on the list last night; that, he did about five years ago when he started his 117th game and passed my favorite ESPN football analyst Ron Jaworski. This is the equivalent of ESPN scheduling a national television broadcast for Cal Ripken's 2,500th consecutive game, a number that means next to nothing.

But here's the real question: Which streak is more impressive, Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 consecutive game streak or Brett Favre's 200 games? A clear case can really be made for both, and both of these streaks certainly deserve to be praised to the fullest extent. The raw numbers alone point to Ripken, as his streak involved 2,400 more games and was four years longer than Favre's (although the latter is still ongoing, of course). But football is obviously a much more brutal sport, with Favre taking bone-crushing hits from 300-pound dudes on a regular basis. Favre, though, had the help of painkillers, while Ripken was never proven to take anything. But Ripken MAY have had the help of a grand conspiracy to cancel an Orioles game after he beat up Kevin Costner for sleeping with his wife, which is one of my favorite conspiracy theories ever.

There are countless other ways to look at it, and some make sense, some don't hold water at all (does the defense's case hold watah? Noooo. The defenssse is wrawwwng). How many guys play a full 162-game major league season? Not many. How many play a full 16-game NFL season, though? Plenty. Advantage: Ripken. But you could also argue that Ripken playing all those games without a rest hurt his team and his own body, and Favre was more valuable to his team when he played hurt than Ripken was. Advantage: Favre. And so it goes...

I don't know which guy's streak is more impressive to me, I really don't. I'm a baseball freak first and foremost, so I'd probably argue for Ripken just out of party loyalty. But you cannot overlook a QUARTERBACK who plays that many straight games, it's almost inconceivable. Perhaps the only thing that puts me firmly in Ripken's camp is that nobody, no-fucking-body, will break Ripken's streak, and nobody's even close. But if Favre's streak stops soon, and Peyton Manning continues his for another six or seven years, we've got a new undisputed heavyweight champion of gluttony for punishment. So I guess I'll say my vote's for Cal...

Weigh in with your comments below, who's streak do you think is a better achievement? Sound off...


At 1:33 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

i am goin with ripken too, i thought what was cool was that they showed how many players in any sport have played 200 consecutive games, baseball only tejada and another guy had it in baseball and they were below 400 consecutive (if my burnt brain is correct), which, when u look at cals record, makes u wanna throw up in your mouth

At 2:16 PM, Blogger ethan said...

im with you on thinking favre rules but to me ripken is the no-brainer. as was pointed out, a lot of guys play 16 straight football games, but playing a full 162 is fucking ridiculous in itself, let alone 15+ straight seasons or whatever cal did.

plus, the whole football is more brutal argument doesn't hold watah (nice vinny ref) because it is cancelled out by the 6 days of rest they get between games. baseball players play a less brutal game, but get 24 hours or less off between games.

also, i don't think a qb doing this makes it more impressive than someone playing any other position - in fact i think it makes it less impressive, what with all the "don't hurt the qb" rules now implemented. i'd say the qb gets hit roughly 10-20x less than a rb or lineman.

on the converse, i think this mode of thinking makes ripken's streak even more impressive: he played the position that requires the most movement/is involved in the most plays on the field (other than the catcher).

now if you'll excuse me i'll get back to building up my tolerance to iocane powder.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Good points poophop and Ethan...and excellent Wallace Shawn retort. That guy rocks.

Anyway, Ethan, I agree with most of what you had to say except the part about the shortstops -- see, if a catcher played in even 1,000 straight games I'd agree with you, that would be something. But a shortstop to me is no different than the second or third baseman in this example. Just because a shortstop gets a couple more balls a game, doesn't necessarily mean he has more opportunity to be injured. A catcher, however, all that crouching and balls deflected, now THAT would really be an accomplishment.

Also, just because the QBs are protected more these days doesn't mean they don't take absolutely vicious hits. I'm sure Favre has been hit harder in one game than Ripken has over the entire life of his streak.

I truly don't know which one is more impressive...I'm confused. Often.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger ahren said...

first, i'll admit that i'm way biased. brett favre is my favorite athlete of all-time and i've always hated cal ripken. second, i'll admit that i'm undecided on which streak is more impressive.

that said-- 2 points in favre's favor:
1)favre played most of a season with a broken thumb on his throwing hand... that's gotta count for something
2)totally ignoring their actual value as players for a second-- single games are marginally much more important in football than in baseball, so while baseball plays many more games and ripken's streak is comparable to favre's and vice versa when it comes to length, the cost to ripken's team of him ending his streak is marginally much less than the cost to favre's team would be, because it only takes 1 game to end the streak either way. in a sense, this makes favre's streak more important, since 15/16 is much smaller than 161/162. or put another way, if ripken never had a streak, and just played 161 games/year, it wouldn't really have cost his team in a tangible way. that's why i never got the emphasis on his streak-- sure it was cool, but realistically it didn't benefit his team very much.


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