Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greatest QB of All Time

I caused a stir on my radio show on 1460 KXnO in Des Moines the day after the Super Bowl by saying that I didn’t think Peyton Manning was a Top 5 QB all time.  And I still don’t.

During the show, I mentioned that I didn’t have the list set in my head but I had Manning in the Top 10 All Time but I didn’t get how in the world people thought that Manning, with a career playoff record of 9-9, was on his way to being the best to ever play the position.

Now, Manning does a ton for his team and has more freedom than any other QB in the league but that doesn’t make him the best ever when you break it down.

Jason Whitlock wrote about this today and he doesn’t have Manning in the Top 5 either.

So here’s my Top 10 after thinking about this for a few days. My criteria are based on these factors:

  1. Championships. This why we play and it should carry the most weight.
  2. Records and Numbers: What did you accomplish while playing
  3. Come from behind wins in big moments: did you have a “moment”? What did you do when all the chips were down and you had the ball in your hands. 
  4. Surrounding Cast – who was around you when you won.
  5. If you had 1 game to win, who would you pick to be your QB?
 10. Troy Aikman: 61.5% completions. Nearly 33,000 passing yards. 6x Pro Bowler. 3x Super Bowl Champion. Pro Football and College Football Hall of Famer. Super Bowl 28 MVP.

Aikman was surrounded by OUTSTANDING talent in Dallas. The Cowboys were built to be dominant and they were while Aikman was their QB. Facts are facts for me though - the guy won. 

9.   Peyton Manning: 64.8% completions. 50,128 passing yards. 10x Pro Bowler. 1 Super Bowl Championship. 4x NFL MVP.  

For all the records and numbers that Manning has, he is just 9-9 in the playoffs and threw a costly interception that was returned for a TD in Super Bowl 44 that led to another playoff defeat - this time in the biggest game. That playoff record is huge for me. Manning is great, there is no question, but there are others who are better in the playoffs. He is tied for 2nd with 34 come from behind 4th Qtr regular season wins which puts him above Aikman.    

8.   Dan Marino: 59.4% completions. 61,381 passing yards. 9x Pro Bowler. 1984 MVP. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer.

Marino is hurt big time by the one lacking thing on his resume – Championships. He only played in 1 Super Bowl – a loss. To me that’s huge but he goes on the list because of outstanding numbers and he’s number 1 with 36 4th Qtr come from behind wins.

7.   Brett Favre: 62% completions. 69,329 passing yards. 11x Pro Bowler. 3x NFL MVP. 1 Super Bowl Championship.

Favre has played in a record 309 consecutive games. He is the toughest player ever to play the position. Favre is the only quarterback to have led a team to victory over all thirty-two teams in the league since the NFL first expanded to 32 franchises in 2002. If the game is on the line, Brett Favre can win it or lose for you with one throw but you want the ball in his hands regardless.

6.   Steve Young: Highest QB rating ever for a career of 96.8. 7x Pro Bowler. 2x NFL MVP. 43 rushing TDs. 3x Super Bowl Champion. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer. Super Bowl 29 MVP

I need to thank Jason Whitlock for pointing out Steve Young’s career because I really forget it all the time. Young was the first QB that showed you could run and throw at the position and win a Championship doing it. He lost some years due to the USFL and waiting his turn in San Fran but he was awesome once he got his chance.

5.  Terry Bradshaw: 27,989 Passing Yards. 3x Pro Bowler. 4x Super Bowl Champion. 1978 NFL MVP. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer. 2x Super Bowl MVP.  

Bradshaw won. Period. That’s the reason he’s this high to me and it wasn’t just cause of the running game and defense. He also had a stellar career passing the football.  

4.  Johnny Unitas: 54.6% Completion 40,239 passing yards. 1970 Super Bowl Champion. 2x NFL Champion. 10x Pro Bowl Selection. 3x NFL MVP. Pro Football Hall of Famer

I’m too young to say I’ve seen Johnny U play but he revolutionized the position. He showed coaches you could throw the ball down the field to win football games. His record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games (between 1956-1960) remains unsurpassed. Unitas is tied for 2nd with 34 come from behind wins in the 4th Qtr.  

3.  Tom Brady: 93.3 QB rating, 30,844 passing yards. 5x Pro Bowler. 2007 NFL MVP. 3x Super Bowl Champion. 2x Super Bowl MVP. 2009 Comeback Player of Year.

Brady goes this high to me because of the 2 things I want from my QB – I want a winner and I want someone who can lead me to a victory on a final drive of game. Brady did this against St. Louis and Carolina in the Super Bowl and against Oakland in the playoffs. When the game is on the line, you don’t want Brady to have one more shot at you. Brady has a 3-1 record in the Super Bowl. The only loss coming after his defense let him down following a great drive to put his team ahead late against the Giants. I have said this before – Brady is one SB win away for him to have a serious shot at the No.1 spot to me.

2. John Elway: 51,475 passing yards. 9x Pro Bowler. 1987 MVP. Super Bowl 33 MVP. 33 Rushing TDs. Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Elway led Denver to 34 comeback wins in the 4th quarter and overtime.  “The Drive” against Cleveland was incredibly influential on my life as a sports fan. A 15 play, 98 yard drive during the AFC Championship game to send the game to OT where Denver won will be remembered as an EPIC moment for me. Elway is No. 2 because of his 2-3 record in the Super Bowl.  Canon arm and great escapability - he could hurt in so many ways.

1. Joe Montana: 40, 551 passing yards. 8x Pro Bowler. 4x Super Bowl Champion. 3x Super Bowl MVP. 2x NFL MVP. 1986 Comeback Player of Year.   

“The Catch” against the Cowboys in 1982 and the game winning drive against the Bengals in Super Bowl 23 are just some of the amazing moments of Montana’s career. Joe threw 45 post seasons TD’s – the most ever. In the Super Bowl, Montana threw 11 Tds to 0 interceptions and never lost. Only player to be MVP of the Super Bowl 3x.  



Mike said...

I can agree with the list more or less. I might rank one or two a spot or two different from where you have them.

I agree with your placement of Brady. He doesn't get enough credit for having 3 rings, mostly because everyone is in love with Manning.

If I wanted to win a game in October against Cleveland, then yeah, I want Manning QB'ing my team. But if the game means something, no thanks.

David said...

No Joe Namath?????

Matt Perrault said...

Nope - he actually has a losing record as a QB. One big moment can make or break a career. Manning will know all about that unless wins another one.

Central Park Fitness said...

I honestly might have to give the Nod to Brady for Greatest of all time. First of all, he won 3 super bowls so if that is your criteria, Bradshaw is ahead of him, montana and aikman is tied with him. Montana had Jerry Rice; Aikman had Michael Irvin; Who did brady have? Troy Brown???? ( I do think Troy was always underrated but cmon, no comparison to the other 2)

Steve Young was my favorite QB of all time. In my opinion he was tougher than Favre because Favre didn't really make many plays with his legs like Young did. Too bad thats ultimately what ended his career. The Fugees had Lauryn Hill who could sing as good as any R&B singer and Rap as good as any Rapper. Young could throw with the best of them and run with best of them.

Anonymous said...

Tom Brady is too high on the list. It could be said that while he is indeed very good, he is a GREAT system QB. Look what Cassel did for us when Brady was hurt.

Bradshaw is FAR too high and may in fact be the most overrated QB in the HOF. He won, yes. But are you kidding me about his defense and running game not playing a LARGE role????

Steve Young & Kurt Warner are interchangeable to me. They both lost years (USFL and AFL). They both were winners. They have similar statistics. Young could run, Warner was a gunner. Warner should be there if Young is there. Warner turned around 2 franchises that were horrid.

Marino is FAR too low on the list. #3 All-Time, AT LEAST. Marino is the best pure passer that the NFL has ever seen. Montana and Elway have rings because of their cast. Give Marino John Taylor, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, etc. and he would win at least a couple as well.