There are several reasons for arguing that Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre more than deserves his eighth Pro Bowl selection, which was announced by the NFL Thursday.
Among them are Favre's 27 touchdowns and 65.2-percent completion-percentage, which lead the NFC.
But if Favre picked up votes because he's played eight games (and counting) with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, the three-time NFL MVP isn't sure that's reason enough to be proclaimed an all-star.
"I'm sure that may have gotten me a few votes," Favre said of his ability to play through pain. "But is that a reason to vote for someone?
"I mean, that's a matter of opinion. But that's really -- in my opinion -- what you're expected to do: play with injuries."
Including the loss to the St. Louis Rams (Oct. 19), when Favre sustained the hairline crack in his right thumb in the first quarter, the Packers are 5-3 with their injured quarterback under center.
Three of those wins have come on the road, and all of them have helped the Packers claw themselves back into the playoff race.
But among fans and members of the media, Favre Mania has simmered somewhat this season, due in part to the Packers' shift toward being a run-first offense and also to Favre's tendency for turnovers, including 20 interceptions.
Thursday, Favre himself said that he isn't sure that he's played like one of the NFC's top-three quarterbacks this season. Of course, he hadn't worried about his ranking enough to research the matter either.
"Either way, I wouldn't have lost any sleep over it," Favre said of making the Pro Bowl. "When I was younger, I almost want to say it meant more. It seems like a lot of times as a younger player, you almost seek those types of awards. You want to be respected across the league and that's one way of feeling like you belong.
"But I feel like (the Pro Bowl is) unfair in the sense that there's a lot of guys who deserve to go that don't go, are not voted in. There are a lot of guys that get to go because of popularity, and that may be the case with me.
"There may be three quarterbacks who are more qualified this year to go, I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it.
"It still means something. But my sole purpose -- as it always has been, but I think I'm more aware of it now -- is to help these guys to the Super Bowl."
Favre's Pro Bowl selection is his third in a row, but injuries have prevented him from participating in the past two all-star games and might again this year.
Last week's 278-yard, four-touchdown performance against the San Diego Chargers might suggest otherwise, but Favre continues to play with pain and indicated Thursday that offseason surgery to repair the break isn't out of the question.
Meanwhile, not up for question among Favre's teammates is his place in the Pro Bowl event.
"In the league a lot of guys appreciate him playing with a broken thumb," said guard Marco Rivera, who isn't a stranger to playing with injuries.
"Here's a quarterback playing with a broken thumb that everybody is really taking for granted. We expect him to go out there and have a Brett Favre kind of day. I don't know if I could throw the ball with a broken thumb and he's doing a really good job, so I wasn't surprised when his name was called out. I kind of thought he was going to go."