The age old debate of just who is the greatest Quarterback of all time recently seems settled to most people with Tom Brady winning his 5th Super Bowl surpassing Joe Montana in Super Bowl Titles and Super Bowl MVP'(4). I started off by listing every great Quarterback from every team in the NFL, I then listed off the top of my head my personal top 10. I then researched the career of every Quarterback on my list, after doing this I removed two Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. I didn’t feel their careers matched up with the other 8 in my top 10. I then researched my number 11-20 and came up with my two replacements. What you are about to read is my own personal top 20, I know a lot of people will disagree with me but, that’s what makes it fun.
1) Tom Brady – After Super Bowl LI Brady has to be number one, it’s hard to ignore 8 Super Bowl appearances. A record 5 Super Bowl wins, including 4 MVP’s to go along with 2 NFL MVP’s, 11 time Pro Bowler, not to mention the most wins in playoff history with 21. Not too shabby in the regular season where he is the 6th rated passer of all time (95.9). His greatness has to be unquestioned after the 2014 season when he beat one of the most dominant defenses in history with an almost perfect 4th quarter and then follows it up two years later with a comeback from 25 down late in the third quarter.
2) Joe Montana – 4 Super Bowl wins in 4 tries, never throwing an interception in a Super Bowl is why he is number 1 or 2 all time on most every bodies list. Along with Tom Brady, they stand as the only 2 players in NFL history to win 3 Super Bowl MVP’s. All-Time Record holder for Quarterback rating in the super bowl(127.8), most passes thrown in the super bowl without an interception(122). Was the winning quarterback on two of the greatest game winning drives in history, “The Catch” in 1981 NFC Championship game and in Super Bowl 23 drove the Niners 92 yards in a little over 3 minutes to win the Super Bowl. To me, my top 2 should be unquestioned by anybody!
3) John Elway – 5 Super Bowls with 2 wins and an MVP, NFL MVP in 1987, but to me what sets him a part are taking a Broncos team with no running game and a mediocre defense to 3 Super Bowls in the mid-late 80’s. Dan Marino fans argue that the reason Marino only went to one Super Bowl was an average defense and no running game. Elway had maybe the most iconic drive in NFL history when he led the Broncos 98 yards in the last minutes of the 1986 AFC Championship game, the drive ended on a TD pass, they preceded to win in the ensuing overtime.
4) Johnny Unitas – Johnny amazingly held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass for 52 years!10-timee all-pro, 4 NFL titles, and 4-time league MVP. Unitas revolutionized the position of NFL quarterback in the 1950’s and 60’s.
5) Bart Starr – Starr’s career has largely been overshadowed because of the great teams he played on. He was a quiet leader who had a passer rating of over 100 in every playoff and Championship game he ever played in. He led the Packers to 5 NFL Championships, including the first 2 Super Bowls where he was also named the MVP of both games. Throw in a career playoff record of 9-1 and you have one of the greatest of all time.
6) Otto Graham – It’s really hard to over look a man that played 10 years and led his team to the championship game every year he played, winning 7 Titles. Had an overall record of 114-20-4, plus add in a 9-3 playoff record and you have a genuinely great quarterback. Otto was a 3 time NFL MVP and has the best winning percentage of any quarterback in NFL history (81.4).
7) Steve Young – 2 times NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP also won a record 6 NFL passing titles, mostly overlooked because he followed Joe Montana. The early part of his career was spent in the U.S.F.L. and in the NFL with Tampa Bay, so you can only imagine what his career would have looked like had he not spent the first 6 years in some dangerous situations. Started his career as more of a running quarterback but, as he got older became a prolific passer and great leader.
8) Drew Brees – Brees has never won an MVP which is surprising, but he has usually been stuck on teams with a poor defense and average wide receivers. The fact is Brees takes bad teams and makes them competitive almost every year. If he could somehow win another Super Bowl he would get top 5 consideration.
9) Peyton Manning – Very similar to Marino, only he won two Super Bowls. Arguments against him would be he lost multiple home games as a 1 or 2 seed, and he was a big favorite in a lot of those games. The Super Bowl he lost was his best chance to prove himself and on the game winning drive, he threw a pick 6. He is a great regular season quarterback but far from it in the postseason where he has been one and done 9 times.
10) Dan Marino – His regular season numbers are undeniable, but neither are his postseason numbers. People can talk about his lack of defense and running game, but you have to remember he lost home playoff games as a big favorite in 1983, 85 and 92. Marino was an amazing quarterback but, his short comings in the postseason are hard to ignore.
11) Terry Bradshaw – Not the most accurate Quarterback, not the greatest mechanics, doesn’t possess any great NFL records. The reason he is here is quite simply one word-PLAYOFFS! 4 Super Bowl wins, 2 Super Bowl MVP’s but, what really separated him was the throws he made in Super Bowls when the game was on the line, great leader and competitor is what puts him on my list.
12) Roger Staubach – Staubach may have been higher on this list, but a military commitment at the start of his career and a series of concussions during his career shortened an outstanding career.
13) Troy Aikman – Much like Staubach, Aikman’s career was cut short by concussions. I believe that Aikman is one of the most underrated QBs of All-time.
14) Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers will probably be at least in the top ten when he retires and win another Super Bowl or two and he will be at the worst top 5.
15) Brett Favre – Favre’s time as the best QB in the league was short, as was his ability to make good decisions in clutch situations. He holds most of the good records, but he also holds most of the bad records also.
16) Ben Roethlisberger – One of the toughest men to ever play the position and another Super Bowl title puts him in top 10 consideration.
17) Ken Stabler – Not always the greatest in the stats department, there have been very few quarterbacks you wanted ahead of the Snake in clutch situations.
18) Fran Tarkenton – I think Tarkenton is another QB that is very underrated. His problem was going to three Super Bowls and losing to three of the greatest teams of all-time.
19) Kurt Warner – He had a weird career, but anybody who can take the Rams and Cardinals to three combined Super Bowls has to make this list.
20) Tie: Sid Luckman-Sammy Baugh – Luckman and Baugh were the first two truly great throwing quarterbacks in NFL history. They threw a bigger ball against tougher rules and they were the forefathers to today’s modern QBs.