Tom Brady vs. NFL's Greatest Quarterbacks

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IFebruary 3, 2012

Tom Brady vs. NFL's Greatest Quarterbacks

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    With a win over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could join the company of Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four Super Bowl wins.

    Excuse Brady if he doesn't seem to care about any of that.

    "Honestly, I haven't really given much thought to any records or anything like that," he said, according to "For me and for our team, it's really about this one game and the challenges that the Giants present to us."

    It's okay for Brady to just "do his job" as Bill Belichick preaches, because ranking the quarterbacks is our job.

    So how does Brady stack up against some of the best to ever do it?


    Erik Frenz is the co-host of the PatsPropaganda and Frenz podcast. Follow Erik on Twitter. 

Dan Marino

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    Why Marino is better: Dan Marino was putting up big numbers before big numbers became pedestrian. His record of 48 touchdown passes in a single season, set back in 1984, stood until 2004.

    Marino was ahead of his time and did it when the rules didn't so heavily favor the offenses. Brady is just now getting his taste of carrying the team to victory, but Marino did it for a long period of his career. 

    Why Brady is better: As prolific as Marino was as a passer in the regular season, Brady has been more efficient when the stakes are higher. Brady's postseason passer rating of 87.6 may be tame by his lofty standards, but it's still better than Marino's 77.1.

    Just like Marino can't take the blame for having never won a Super Bowl, Brady wasn't the only reason the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years, or that they've been to five in 11 years.

    Who's better?: Tom Brady

Brett Favre

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    Why Favre is better: Favre's ability to move around in the pocket, keep plays alive and improvise was his strong suit. He loved taking shots and getting big plays, and it showed in his stats.

    He had 30 or more touchdown passes in nine seasons, an NFL record.

    Why Brady is better: To say Favre was playing a free-wheeling game of backyard football would be an understatement, and at times, that got him into trouble. Brady is simply more safe with the ball, and won't make the big mistakes in key situations.

    Favre led the NFL in interceptions three times, and had six seasons of over 20 interceptions.

    Who's better?: Tom Brady

John Elway

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    Why Elway is better: Even into his late days, Elway always brought that "highlight" possibility. He could do damage with his legs, just as he could with his arm.

    He was known for his velocity and often left bruises on players from where his throws would hit them. 

    Why Brady is better: All other accomplishments aside, Elway only completed over 60 percent of his passes three times in his 16-year NFL career. Brady, on the other hand, has never completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in a season save for his rookie year, in which he threw just three passes. As much as Elway brought the mobility, Brady brings the accuracy. 

    Also, Elway was a burden in the postseason, completing just 54.5 percent of his passes and compiling a 79.7 passer rating.

    Who's better?: Tom Brady

Peyton Manning

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    Why Manning is better: Manning has been dropping the statistical hammer on defenses for years. Yards and touchdowns have been the benchmark by which Manning has been compared to other quarterbacks, and he has thrown an average of 31 touchdown passes per season.

    He's also been deadly accurate though, having completed 64.9 percent of his passes in his career and completing over 65 percent of his passes in every season since 2002.

    Why Brady is better: In one word, rings. The Patriots quarterback has three of them, and after Sunday, he will have been to the big game five times compared to Manning's two.

    Manning shouldn't take the responsibility for the struggles of the team, as it became clear that he masked those struggles in 2011, but he has underwhelmed in postseason play with just 29 touchdowns against 19 interceptions.

    Who's better?: Tom Brady

Terry Bradshaw

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    Why Bradshaw is better: Bradshaw brought his A-game on the biggest stages, going 14-5 career in the postseason and throwing for a whopping 8.4 YPA in playoff games.

    His 7.2 career YPA may seem low by today's standards, but that number came in an era where downfield passing was much more difficult, and Bradshaw was known as one of the best.

    Why Brady is better: Brady is superior in nearly every statistical category, from completion percentage to passer rating and even in YPA, which is considered to be one of Bradshaw's strong points.

    Bradshaw threw nearly as many career interceptions as touchdowns. Of course, none of that stopped Bradshaw from winning four Super Bowls, so we might be splitting hairs.

    Who's better?: Tom Brady

Joe Montana

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    Why Montana is better: Unlike almost any other quarterback in NFL history, Joe Montana actually embraced the bright lights of the postseason. In fact, he was better by a full three points in passer rating in the postseason (95.6) than the regular season (92.3).

    He is also the Super Bowl leader in passer rating and set the record for single-season passer rating in 1989 (only to have his record broken five years later by Steve Young).

    Why Brady is better: Both Brady and Montana had good defenses when they won Super Bowls, but Brady enjoyed his Super success without the blessing of top-quality receiving talent. Brady has also been a far more efficient passer on his career, a 96.4 career passer rating to Montana's 92.3.

    That being said, it's far easier to be more efficient these days than it was when Montana was torching defenses in the '80s.

    Who's better?: Joe Montana