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Best quarterbacks ever

We had so much fun with the Hall of Fame survey — more to come on that one — that I figure we’ll keep throwing more surveys out there.

Here’s one: Rank the five best quarterbacks ever, 1 through 5.

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114 Responses to Best quarterbacks ever

  1. Peter says:

    1) Tommy Kramer
    2) Wade Wilson
    3) Joe Kapp
    4) Daunte Culpepper
    5) Moses Moreno

  2. Steve Holtje says:

    I can’t vote until you add Fran Tarkenton.

  3. Jeremy T says:

    I feel like I’m not nearly old enough to vote on this (23 years old, only really followed football for the past 5 or 6 years). With baseball, we can pretty safely say that analysis is at a level where we can rank players based on stats. With football, there are so many variables that you pretty much had to see someone play in order to have a real opinion. That combined with how much the game has changed makes it really hard to do “all time” rankings for football.

  4. drg137 says:

    Well said. Respondents should include their age and then that could be included in the data analysis.

  5. Keith Olson says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. ceolaf says:


    No. Those arguments apply to BOTH football AND baseball.

    We can still judge absolute production across eras. We can judge relative production across eras (by normalizing statistics).

    In fact, baseball has all these challenges. We do not really know how to adjust for defense. Rather, we just try to find the best ways we can do ignore it. But that’s not the same thing. So, we don’t adjust for pitchers who try to induce more ground balls because they have a better defense behind them. We don’t adjust for managers’ strategies about shifts or IBBs. And we CERTAINLY have no clue about how to adjust for catchers. Not even vaguely close.

    Baseball is complicated enough, and we fail to address enough of that complicatedness, that we cannot say that the baseball stats allow comparison whereas the football stats do not. As in most things, the quantitative measures are informative without being dispositive.

    • Jeremy T says:

      The arguments apply to both, but they seem much stronger to me when applied to football. Defense in baseball seems analogous to football as a whole, but hitting can be measured fairly simply, and pitching can easily get close enough to be useful with something like FIP. Baseball stats can’t allow perfect comparisons, but they can certainly provide usable ones, especially after adjusting for era and ballpark.

      Obviously, I’m only spouting my own opinion here, since I haven’t run the numbers myself. My impression, though, is that offensive contributions are essentially a solved problem with wRC+ (outside of baserunning contributions), and the components for that are consistent across eras.

      Football, on the other hand… It seems like every other month another passing record is broken and Goodell changed the rules again. It’s not just the tools and methods of measurement that are changing, it’s the sport itself.

    • olderholden says:

      Jeremy T,

      You are wise beyond your years.

  7. Keith Olson says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. JayHawklet says:

    He’s not top 5, but Len Dawson was better than half of that list. You could argue that he was pro football’s first true passing QB.

  9. ceolaf says:

    Prediction: Johnny U will not get the credit he deserves. I probably ranked him too low (#5, instead of #3).

    • Wilbur says:

      I had the same thought.

      I ranked him #2 – yeah, he was that good – but recognize if you haven’t seen him (or any quarterback) play, you really can’t hazard an informed opinion. I started watching sports in the 60s so I was lucky enough to have seen him.

      Even you have seen someone play, a truly informed opinion is probably beyond any of us Brilliant Readers.

    • Greg Pizzo says:

      I ranked him #3, but I am 53 years old and saw him play at the end of his career.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Unitas was a great passer in a run heavy league. An anomoly. It’s like a great hitter from the 60s in baseball.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Brendan says:

    Do we give Sammy Baugh credit for being a world-class punter and cornerback at the same time as a QB? I did. #1 for me…

  12. Marco says:

    Led the Browns to league championship games every year between 1946 and 1955, winning seven of them.
    More importantly, at the time of birth was the largest baby ever recorded in Illinois, clocking in at over 14 pounds.

  13. Joseph Finn says:

    Ugh, nasty choices have to be made in this, right? OK, just kind of spitballing here.

    1. Sid Luckman
    2. Peyton Manning
    3. Roger Staubach
    4. John Unitas
    5. Joe Montana
    6. Steve Young

    Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably give a different list (jeez, that’s a lot of good players in that poll).

  14. prophet says:

    Baseball has the batter-pitcher confrontation at its heart, which makes it relatively easy to analyze. It is not at all clear how to adjust for, say, Troy Aikman having Emmet and Irvin plus Flozell Adams blocking. Even Football Outsiders has a well-worn caveat saying, in essence, “When we say Peyton Manning produced this much value, what we really mean is Peyton Manning produced this much value with the blocking of X, running/faking of Y and catching of Z, backed by the defense P”. It’s very very hard to tease out individual contributions from team performance.

    • AdamE says:

      Funny you should mention Peyton because we all saw what he ment to the team when he sat out the 2011 season. The supporting cast wasn’t exactly the same in those two years but close enough for comparison.

    • LargeBill says:

      However, his point remains. In baseball every player in the lineup gets to bat. Each player gets a chance. In football a coach can choose to avoid whole aspects of a game. Playing against great corner? #2 received gets targeted more. Fall behind early? RB gets less carries. That also can skew defensive stats. Denver isn’t #1 against run only because of a great front seven. No, they are also #1 against run because teams are having to pass a lot to keep up with Manning.

    • Rob Smith says:

      It’s a passing league these days. Stopping the run is highly overrated. Having a good running game is now a nice to have, not a requirement to be a winning team.

  15. -Peder says:

    Am I the only person that wanted Warren Moon on the list?

    • LargeBill says:

      No. I don’t see him in top ten, but he is clearly better than some on that list. Nameth? Jurgenson?

    • Rob Smith says:

      I wanted to make the case for Jurgenson because he was quite the gun slinger in a run happy era. But, although he did have a handful of excellent years, and threw for a lot of yards for his day, his teams sucked, he threw a lot of picks and the overall value just wasn’t at the level of these other guys.

  16. Van Brocklin should be on the list. He led 2 different teams to NFL Titles and was the only QB to play for a team that beat Lombardi’s Packers in a championship game.

    I am also on the Namath is overrated bandwagon. Yeah he was a spectacular QB to watch and all and he has a SB MVP even though that SB was won with Matt Snell’s running and the Colts turning the ball over. Heck, had Namath had the same career he had but played in a not-so major market, he’d not even be on the list . After all, Len Dawson is not on the list even though he has 3 AFL Titles, 1 Superbowl, 1 SB MVP, and a combined 7 AFL All-Star and Pro Bowl selections all because he played in KC (and the second team in Dallas before that).

    • KHAZAD says:

      I agree. Namath is probably the most overrated NFL QB in history. Certainly Van Brocklin and Dawson were much, much, better.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Van Brocklin had talent, but he doesn’t belong on this list. He only played six full seasons, and parts of others, and didn’t even hold the starting job consistently. Bob Waterfield often started or replaced him mid game…. it was kind of a crazy setup for the Rams in those days with two talented QBs. but, An argument could be that he wasn’t even the best QB on his own team.

  17. Bryan says:

    you should comapre top 5 best ncaa qbs with top 5 best nfl qbs… i bet you have no duplicates

    • Rob Smith says:

      Manning would be there. Steve Young would be there. Elway would be there. Marino’s Jr. year was great, then the team backslid his senior year, which led to him falling to the last pick of the first round. Aaron Rogers was a great college QB (probably unappreciated because he played on the West coast & games started too late for people to see). He was a real thorn in the side of the great Bush/Leinert USC teams. I’m sure there are many more.

    • schuyler101 says:

      Absolutely Bryan. Andre Ware, Ty Detmer, Tommie Frazier, Michael Vick, Charlie Ward. Tim Tebow, Vince Young

      These guys don’t even sniff the NFL list

      The best fit for both lists has gotta be Sammy Baugh, an amazing college qb at TCU.

  18. Wilbur says:

    A reasonable argument could be made for Staubach on both lists.

  19. doc says:

    I can’t vote because context matters, and this seems totally context-free.

    • Wilbur says:

      Context always matters, but it’s just for fun.

    • Rob Smith says:

      The context is that it’s on a blog. Therefore you can do whatever you want & put whatever context to it that you want. If you don’t comment, nobody can even berate you for your poorly thought out choices. This isn’t exactly the same as being Fed Chairman and determining when to raise interest rates so as not to wreck the economy.

  20. Matt Kendall says:

    I’m going to ignore the rules and list the top 5 from every decade.

    1930s: Arnie Herber, Ed Danowski, Harry Newman, Sammy Baugh, Benny Friedman
    1940s: Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh, Cecil Isbell, Tommy Thompson, Bob Waterfield
    1950s: Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Charlie Conerly, Bobby Layne, Y.A. Tittle
    1960s: Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen, Milt Plum
    1970s: Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Ken Anderson, Ken Stabler, Bert Jones
    1980s: Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Dan Fouts, Ken Anderson
    1990s: Steve Young, Brett Favre, John Elway, Warren Moon, Jeff George
    2000s: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre
    2010-2012: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan

    • Mr. Spears says:

      Jeff George?!? Oh Mylanta!

    • Ken Anderson started 61 games in the 1980s. John Elway started 98.

      And there’s no universe in which Jeff George was a better QB than Troy Aikman. Drew Bledsoe was also better than George.

    • Ed says:

      Dan Marino was still better in the 90s than Jeff George.

    • Matt Kendall says:

      I’m really thrilled that my Boomer Esiason selection escaped scrutiny.

    • Rob Smith says:

      I think people saw Ken Anderson & Bert Jones and just moved on to the next comment.

    • schuyler101 says:

      Philip Rivers instead of…well anybody?

    • MAGold says:

      between Boomer and Anderson I’m sensing a lot of Cincy love there…No Bradshaw in the 70’s?

    • Chris M says:

      Yea, the Philip Rivers inclusion is absolutely baffling. First of all, you said 2010-2012, not sure why you’re not including this season, but if you were I don’t see how Peyton isn’t one of the best 5 QB’s since 2010, even factoring in his missed season. Since 2010, Rivers has thrown 96 TD passes and has 53 interceptions. Peyton has thrown 90 TD passes and 29 interceptions. Peyton might end up passing Rivers’ TD passes by his bye week.

      But if you’re not counting 2013, I don’t see how Eli isn’t ahead of Rivers. Their numbers are very similar (Rivers with slightly more yards, Eli with a few more TD’s and INT’s), but when you factor in that Eli won a Super Bowl and Rivers, well, is Rivers, I don’t see how he could possibly be on that list.

  21. Mr. Spears says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. 1. Montana
    2. Manning
    3. Baugh
    4. Unitas
    5. Brady

    I can’t believe I had no room for Graham. Picking just 5 is crazy hard. I couldn’t even consider a guy like Tarkenton, whom I believe wildly underrated.

  23. Unknown says:

    1. Montana
    2. Manning
    3. Elway
    4. Marino
    5. Unitas

  24. Herb Smith says:

    It’s funny how Otto Graham was a contemporary of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, and yet he’ll be considered too “dark ages” to make the Top 5 in this poll.

    • Rob Smith says:

      He took his team to the championship game 12 years in a row and won 7. And it was an offense that was, in some ways, like the wide open offenses of today. Passing and draw plays mostly. Imagine if someone put together a record like that today. He’s number 1 on my list.

    • Rob Smith says:

      *Correction: 7 out of 10 years.

    • David says:

      That’s because, for most NFL fans, everything before the Super Bowl era was the Dark Ages. It’s why Unit as will be underrated, as well as Graham and Baugh.

    • vtmike says:

      This is the only stat I EVER hear on Graham. Ever. From anyone. “He won 7 titles in 10 years”. This is a little too much like the pitcher win for me, and therefore I pretty much dismissed Graham in this discussion–I never saw him play, and of course don’t know any stats other than “he won a bunch of titles back when there were only 12 teams”.

      And then a funny thing happened, I went to and looked up his stats. Completion percentage is pretty terrible (by today’s standards), 55% for his career….but good enough that he led the league 4 times. And he threw 135 interceptions in 126 games, not exactly legendary stuff. But for me yards per attempt is maybe the best raw statistic for comparing QBs, and Graham’s career YPA is 9.0, best in history. And not by a little–next highest is 8.4. Of the top 50 guys, the average is 7.6. Graham was head and shoulders above everyone in history in moving his team down the field per pass attempt. Why does no one ever mention this?

    • Rob Smith says:

      Yeah it’s pretty interesting. My parents were actually Browns season ticket holders during the Otto Graham era. They definitely described a passing attack that was spectacular and unmatched by any other team. Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie and Marion Motley…. a definite set of weapons for Graham. Then there was the two minute drill. Apparently it was a given, in a close game, that Graham would drive the Browns down the field and win the game. Obviously I never saw him play, but the descriptions from my parents and the historical record suggest he was one of the greatest QBs of all time, if not the greatest.

  25. 1. Montana
    2. Manning
    3. Elway
    4. Brady
    5. Marino

  26. Jim says:

    1. Otto Graham and its really not even close
    2. Tom Brady
    3. Sid Luckman
    4. Joe Montana
    5. Manning

  27. 1. Otto Graham
    2. Joe Montana
    3. Tom Brady
    4. Dan Marino
    5, Tie: John Elway/Johnny Unitas

  28. Tom Geraghty says:

    1 Otto Graham
    2 Sid Luckman
    3 Steve Young
    4 Roger Staubach
    5 Sammy Baugh
    6 Norm Van Brocklin
    7 Len Dawson
    8 Joe Montana
    9 Tom Brady
    10 Kurt Warner

    Younger QBs who would be in the top 10 if they retired today:

    3 Aaron Rodgers
    9 Phillip Rivers
    10 Tony Romo

    • So…you’re saying if Phillip Rivers retired today, you’d slot him in at No. 9 and bump Brady down to 10 and Warner out of the top 10? Wtf?

    • Rob Smith says:

      You lost me at Phillip Rivers and Tony Romo. They’re not even in the Top 10 of today’s QBs.

    • Tom Geraghty says:

      Brady, Rivers, and Romo are actually pretty similar statistically. Here are their career numbers:

      Compl. %
      Warner 65.5
      Romo 65.1
      Rivers 64.2
      Brady 63.5

      Romo 5.5
      Brady 5.5
      Rivers 5.4
      Warner 5.1

      Interception %
      Brady 2.0
      Rivers 2.6
      Romo 2.7
      Warner 3.1

      Yards per Att
      Romo 8.0
      Rivers 7.9
      Warner 7.9
      Brady 7.5

      Yds per Compl.
      Rivers 12.2
      Romo 12.2
      Warner 12.1
      Brady 11.8

      Career Rating
      Romo 96.6
      Brady 96.1
      Rivers 95.3
      Warner 93.7

      Hard to see why Brady should be considered significantly better than Romo or Rivers as a QB, unless you put all the weight on postseason success. Which is at least as much a question of how good their teammates are as how good they are.

    • Tom Geraghty says:

      Manning’s also pretty similar:

      Comp % 65.5
      TD % 5.7
      INT% 2.6
      Yds per Att 7.7
      Yds per Cmp 11.7
      Career Rate 96.7

      I have Manning at #14:

      11 Bart Starr
      12 Ken Anderson
      13 Tommy Thompson
      14 Peyton Manning
      15 Trent Green
      16 Dan Fouts
      17 Johnny Unitas
      18 Sonny Jurgensen
      19 Fran Tarkenton
      20 Bert Jones

    • Tom Geraghty says:

      Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger would also be in my top 20 if they retired today.

    • Tom Geraghty says:

      OK maybe not Schaub . . . .

    • Jason Dennis says:

      I think this model puts a relatively low weight on interceptions. If I made a model, more of a weight would be put on picks, which would make Brady look better than the other three. Incidentally, it would make Warner look worse, and Manning would also be depressed.

      However, there needs to be a scalar along with all of these rate stats. Long-career guys like Marino, Elway, and Manning would be helped by that, while peak careers like Steve Young wouldn’t.. The best should have both peak and longevity. This model strikes me as a peak model. All of the stats cited as support were rate stats, which theoretically could be depressed with a greater sample size. That’s like saying the best pitcher in baseball history corresponds completely with ERA+, K/9, and like stats pooled together. But many on those lists are short-career pitchers. Only when you combine those rate stats with a scalar do you get a truer picture of who the best in history was.

  29. The list should look like this:

    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Y.A. Tittle
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Charlie Conerly
    Eli Manning
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms
    Phil Simms

  30. Unknown says:

    1) Joe Montana
    2) Johnny Unitas
    3) Otto Graham
    4) John Elway
    5) Peyton Manning
    6) Dan Marino
    7) Brett Favre
    8) YA Tittle
    9) Sammy Baugh
    10) Steve Young

  31. Before he died two years ago, I asked my dad who was the best QB he ever saw, and the Notre Dame grad (class of ’50) said Unitas.

    Montana was the greatest champion and most clutch- even back to his ND days (’77 National Champ victory over earl Campell’s Texas, and ’78 Chicken soup Cotton Bowl victory over Houston- down 20 points with 7 minutes remaining).

    Manning is playing the position better than is has ever been played, but he is Tiger to Montana’s Jack until he wins two more rings.

    Unitas- I never saw him play, but I respect my father’s opinion enough to put him at three.

    Brady- If not for incredible luck by the lesser Manning, he would be far and above #1. It’s ironic that Eli is keeping Brady from being ranked over his older brother. Maybe I should re-think this…..

    Elway- most exciting QB to ever play the game. If he had a team around him in his early years, there’s no telling how many rings he would have.

  32. This is more difficult to do than ranking baseball players. Football has changed so much over the years.

    1. Elway (hurts to type that)
    2. Manning
    3. Montana
    4. Unitas
    5. Graham

    I’m not much of a football historian, so the latter two are really from the list of others.

    • MrJMR1970 says:

      You didn’t watch enough football if you rank Elway over any of those guys you mentioned.

    • KHAZAD says:

      I am older, and have watched more football than you, and I had Elway 2nd. And I can’t stand the guy. But if my team is up 6 with two minutes to play, who would I least like to see QB’ing the other team? It’s that ^#$%#* Elway.

  33. Unknown says:

    Bert Jones was a hell of a QB. He’d be like Brees easy in today’s game. Manning, Montana, Unitas are locks for me. So tough to fill out the last 2. Otto, Marino, Fran, Roger.

  34. Mark Daniel says:

    Now, Johnny Unitas, there’s a haircut you could set your watch to.

  35. David Morgan says:

    1) Manning
    2) Montana
    3) Elway
    4) Brady
    5) Unitas

    (1 and 2 interchangeable in my opinion, went with Manning as Montana had a better supporting cast over the years, i.e. defenses who could stop people when it truly mattered)

  36. MrJMR1970 says:

    My Top 5:

    1) Montana- Hands down #1. When you play in 4 Super Bowls, win 3 MVP’s and throw 11 TD’s and ZERO INT’s, there was no better big game QB in the league
    2a) Manning-
    2b) Brady-
    (I am torn between which one of these guys I want. We are talking about two guys with 200 more TD passes than INT’s thrown for crying out loud. Manning better in the regular season, Brady in the post season. Too tough to call)
    4) Unitas- The QB that everybody wanted to be before he was passed by many.
    5) Otto Graham- Another truly big game winner. I wonder how his legacy would be looked at if he played in Super Bowls.

    Now, I have seen several comments regarding John Elway being anywhere from 3rd to 5th. To me this is absurd. When the biggest game was in his lap, he simply blew it. The fact that this guy won a Super Bowl MVP is a joke. In 5 Super Bowl match-ups, 3 TD’s and 8 INT’s. If he did not have Terrell Davis, he would have gone 0 for 5.

    • DALdawg says:

      You know there are 21 other starters for a football team right? You don’t think having the best WR in the history of the sport helped Joe Montana win Super Bowls? Or perhaps the greatest offensive coach ever. Or the best safety ever. You’re right. The Joe Montana Montana’s won 4 super bowls with Joe Montana throwing to Joe Montana and handing off to Joe Montana with a block from Joe Montana. Great tackle Montana!

    • MrJMR1970 says:


      Joe Montana won his 1st two Super Bowls with Freddie Solomon and Dwight Clark, not exaclty HOF players. Solid, but not spectactular.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Montana had weapons, true, what great QB doesn’t when they win the Super Bowl? But I watched him carve up my Rams for years. The Rams had goog to great defenses in those days, but not good enough. I will say, however, that Eddie DeBartolo bank rolled those teams with whatever they needed to win Super Bowls, in the pre salary cap NFL. So Montana was certainly in the right place at the right time.

    • DALdawg says:


      I agree that Montana was great, I put him second on my list. My point is similar to Joe’s point about the pitcher win. A pitcher can only do so much in a game, those things he can somewhat control (K, BB, and to some extent HR) and those he can’t (fielding, hitting of his own team, etc.) A football team has even more variables to deal with than a baseball team. A QB can be the best there ever was but it’s hard to complete a pass from your back. And as we saw last weekend with Romo, a QB can have a absolutely spectacular day and still come up with a loss. Montana had a big part in 4 SB wins but he didn’t win the things by himself so putting him at #1 because his teams won a lot of big games doesn’t resonate with me. Montana was paired with possibly the greatest offensive mind ever in Bill Walsh. Put him with Joe Gibbs in the 80’s and he would be further down this list, even with multiple SB wins, as they relied more on the running game.

      I put Manning ahead of Montana because I believe what Manning does for his team, play QB and basically be the OC, is more impressive than anything any other QB has ever done. His mastery of offensive football is what seduces me. It is truly special to watch.

    • MrJMR1970 says:


      I am a big Manning fan as well. However, playing football in the 80’s is a lot different than playing them today. The offense is set up to succeed more than the defense is. The rules have changed quite a bit. I remember a game I saw where Montana was getting killed by the Eagles and destroyed every time they snapped the ball. They were losing that game 28-10 at one point. The final score of that game was 38-28, 49ers, thank to the 4th quarter heroics of Montana. The one factor that I also took into consideration was “That Moment” play. “The Catch” and “The Drive” are all time great plays in history. Manning for all his brillance, has never had one of those signature moments.

    • DALdawg says:

      Manning’s signature moment is the comeback to beat New England in the playoffs the year Indy won the Super Bowl.

  37. Rob Smith says:


    Manning, Montana and Staubach, to me, were the toughest QBs to play against of the ones that I saw much of. They were the ones that I feared as a season ticket holder for 10 years & of course, more than that of couch potatoeing on Sundays.

    There are other old timers, I know, that warrant consideration…. but Unitas & Graham were the Tops 2. They were both wide open passing QBs that were far ahead of the competition at the time. Graham was also a great runner, and that added dimension is often overlooked.

  38. blahblahblah says:

    Let’s see if I can remember
    Staubach, Baugh, Unitas, Brady, Montana

  39. bache89 says:

    Elway and its not even close

    • jim louis says:

      Elway WAS a great quarterback. Maybe the most entertaining QB to watch ever. I rated him #3 when I voted. I regret that after studying a little bit. Elway’s completion percentage isn’t very good, and his Super Bowl stats are poor (3 TD’s, 8 INT’s, 60 QB rating).

      I think Elway is comparable to Brett Favre, and Favre should probably get the slight nod. Both of those QB’s could be frustrating in portions of games, but were fearless and seemed to play their best in the most desperate of situations.

      Joe Montana seems the “not even close” #1 QB to me. He was lucky to have Bill Walsh as coach and to have Jerry Rice to throw to, but his Super Bowl #’s are amazing. And he seemed to have the perfect disposition and personality for a QB.

      Unitas and Graham sound like top 5 QB’s, though I never saw them play.

      I’d put Brady ahead of Manning on any list, only because of the post-season.

    • Adam Reuter says:


      FYI, I did some looking at and a strong argument can be made that Brady does not have a better overall career post-season performance than Peyton. Overall, their career postseason stats are pretty similar. Brady was just very fortunate to join a team that was very good before he got there. Thus the three early super bowl wins.

  40. Mike H. says:

    Surprised Warren Moon wasn’t at least on the list. Not sure that he’s top 5 all-time, but when you include what he did in Canada – when forces beyond his control kept him out of the NFL – his record is astonishing. Heck, even without his work in Canada, his NFL career was pretty danged good.

  41. invitro says:

    I hope he does the NBA too :).

  42. 1. Elway
    2. Montana
    3. Marino
    4. Unitas
    5. Young

  43. I made a point of including Bart Starr in my Top 5 because I think he’s the most underrated quarterback ever.

    Some will scoff, “How can a Hall of Famer be underrated”? And others will argue, “Come on, everybody knows Starr was just a nickel and dime passer. The Packers won with the power sweep, the running game. Starr just threw the occasional short pass to keep the defenses honest.”

    Yes, EVERYBODY knows that. And it’s completely wrong. That’s why I think Starr was the most underrated, underappreciated quarterback ever.

    The 1966 Packers won the first Super Bowl.In 1966, That season, Bart Starr averaged 9.0 yards per attempt. Two years later, he averaged 9.5 yards per attempt. Johnny Unitas and Dan Marino ever had such a high average.

    In 1966, what was the Packers’ average rushing yards per attempt? 3.5 yards per attempt.

    In other words, the Packers rushing game was anemic in 1966. Far from being a nickel and dime passer, Bart Starr was a hell of a deep passer, and he was carrying the Packers on his shoulders.
    Bart Starr was a GREAT passer, and the Packers’ offense relied on HIM. He wasn’t just along for the ride.

  44. […] ← Previous Next → October 11, 2013 […]

  45. Bobcat says:

    Montana is the modern version of Otto Graham.
    Brady is the modern version of Bart Starr.
    P. Manning is the modern version of Johnny Unitas.

    I’ll take the original in each case.

    Elway was a sort of composite of Starbuck (by way of Tarkington) and Bobby Layne.

    #1 is Unitas. He not ony more or less invented the modern QB position, he more or less invented the modern OC position, always thinking field position and two or three plays ahead. Calling play X to set up play Y, with both X & Y meant to set up play Z, which is the one he really wants to run.

    Side note on Kurt Warner: could be argued he is the greatest football player ever. Rams stink, they get Warner; Warner doesn’t start, Rams stink; Warner starts, Rams go to superbowl; Warner leaves, Rams stink. Cardinals stink, they get Warner; Warner doesn’t start, Cardinals stink; Warner starts, Cardinals go to superbowl; Warner leaves, Cardinals stink.

  46. vjb007 says:

    While one can’t compare athletes of different eras, in any sport (especially football, where the rules have changed so much we’re not even talking about the same game anymore), my FAVORITE is Unitas.

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