Which QB would AJ McCarron really want to be compared to? Brett Favre

Brett Favre played the game with a child-like enthusiasm that Bengals QB AJ McCarron can relate to. Sporting News via Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- By now, you're probably familiar with the casual comment Cincinnati Bengals second-year quarterback AJ McCarron made after last Sunday's game, connecting himself to Tom Brady.

Although McCarron was merely referencing the similarities between the circumstances that gave them both their first meaningful snaps, the comparison sent social media into a frenzy.

While McCarron eventually felt compelled to admit he wasn't trying to place himself on the same pedestal with Brady, there is one legendary NFL signal-caller whose style of play he hopes to emulate Sunday when he gets his first career start. By the end of McCarron's career, if his name can become synonymous with Brett Favre's for the way that he played the game, he would feel his career was worthwhile.

"It always looked like he was that 4-year-old kid that just won the starting job by raising his right hand and his left hand, and getting it correct and being the only one," McCarron said. "That's what I love about the game, because it's a game. Yes, we get paid a great amount and it's a blessing. But at the end of the day, it's a game and you have to play it like you're a kid in the backyard just having fun."

To McCarron, that kid-in-the-backyard fun epitomized Favre's career. That's why Favre was always his favorite quarterback.

"It's not just because of all his decision-making, but the way he played the game, too," McCarron said.

When the Bengals' backup officially takes over for the injured Andy Dalton he will be the 28th player in Bengals history to line up behind center. He also will be out to showcase a leadership style comparable to Favre's; one that hinges on pushing his teammates with intense, yet lighthearted energy and putting them in situations that can result in end zone spikes and not club-level punts.

It was immediately after McCarron delivered a 66-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green in his relief appearance last Sunday when an overly enthusiastic Green punted the ball well into the stands. It was McCarron's first career touchdown pass; a ball that got chucked into the abyss of a sold-out crowd.

"We got to the sideline, I was like, 'Hey, you got that ball?'" McCarron said, "He said, 'I'm so sorry.'"

McCarron took the blame for the punt-celebration, though. He implored Green to do a little something more than his normal flip the ball to the referee the next time he scored.

"You can lead by all different ways," McCarron said. "Mine, I just feel like I always play the game with passion. I try to get everybody else to show a side of them they might not want to show or might not show all the time. Show a little excitement, do a little crazy dance, do something. So I kind of told A.J. that, and then he punts the ball. I wish I had taken that back, but that's the way I've always played the game before."