NFL's 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All Time
After listening to so much talk about Peyton Manning's legacy following the Super Bowl (where he threw a terrible pick-six that cost his Colts the game), I decided to do some research and form a list of the top 10 QBs of all time.
Of course, if you have any problems with the list, feel free to voice your opinions in the comments.
10. Dan Marino
Marino was one of the best pure passers in the history of the league. He comes in at No. 10 only because he never won a championship.
In his 17-year career with the Dolphins, Marino threw for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns, and 252 interceptions (1.67 to 1 ratio), with a 59.4 completion percentage and an 86.4 QB rating along with nine rushing touchdowns.
He was selected to nine pro bowls and earned three first-team All Pro selections, including the 1984 MVP award. He won five passing yard titles, three passing touchdown titles, and one QB rating title.
However, he was only 8-10 in his postseason career. Marino threw 32 touchdowns to 24 interceptions (1.33 to 1 ratio) and had a 77.1 QB rating during the playoffs.
9. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw was an excellent player, especially in the postseason. In his 14 year career with the Steelers, Bradshaw was a three-time Pro Bowler and a one-time first team All-Pro as he won an MVP award in the 1978 season.
He threw for 27,989 yards, 212 touchdowns, and 210 interceptions with a 51.9 completion percentage and a 70.9 QB rating, to go along with 32 rushing touchdowns.
In 19 playoff games, Bradshaw threw for 3,833 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions with a 57.2 completion percentage and an 83.0 QB rating. He also rushed for 274 yards and three touchdowns on his way to a 14-5 record in the playoffs.
However, he played best in the Super Bowl, leading the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories. His Super Bowl stats are 932 yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions with a 58.3 completion percentage and a 112.8 QB rating (with a rating of at least 100 in each game).
His performances were good enough for two Super Bowl MVP awards as well.
8. John Elway
Elway had the perfect physical tools for an NFL quarterback as he was tall, strong, had good mobility and athleticism.
Not to mention he had one of the strongest arms ever.
In his 16-year career with the Broncos, Elway threw for 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns, and 226 interceptions (1.33 to 1 ratio), with a 56.9 completion percentage and a 79.9 QB rating. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls.
Elway was also a good running quarterback, rushing for 3,407 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career.
In the playoffs, he had a 14-8 career record as he threw 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions with a 79.7 QB rating. Elway also amassed six touchdowns and 461 yards on the ground.
He led the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances, winning the last two in his final two seasons.
However, he is not higher on this list due to his poor performances in the Super Bowl. He threw for 1,128 yards, three touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a 50 percent completion rate and 59.3 QB rating.
He did make up for some of it with four rushing touchdowns, but overall, his play was not good.
7. Steve Young
Steve Young is the only player to be great in replacing an all-time legend.
In his 15 year career, Young threw for 33,124 yards, 232 touchdowns, and 107 interceptions (2.17 to 1 ratio), with a 64.3 completion percentage and a 96.8 QB rating.
He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and earned three first team All-Pro selections, winning both the 1992 and 1994 MVP award.
Young led the league in completion percentage five times, touchdown passes four times, and passer rating an amazing six times. He was also the best runner on this list, as he ran for 4,239 yards and 43 touchdowns.
His best season was in 1994, when he threw for 35 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, good enough for a 112.8 QB rating and 70.3 completion percentage.
Young had an 8-6 career post season record as a starter, throwing 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a 85.8 QB rating. He had eight rushing touchdowns on 594 yards.
The former BYU Cougar led the 49ers to a Super Bowl in 1994, having the best performance ever for a QB in a Super Bowl. In that game, Young threw for 325 yards, completed 24 of 36 passes and threw six touchdowns for a 134.8 QB rating, adding 49 rushing yards as well.
6. Brett Favre
Favre is one of the most iconic NFL players ever due to all of his records and his amazing longevity and knack for incredible plays.
In his 19 year career, Favre leads all QBs in yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and completions: 69,329 yards, 497 touchdowns, 317 interceptions (1.57 to 1 ratio), and a 62.0 completion percentage. These numbers lead to an 86.6 QB rating to go along with 14 rushing touchdowns.
He has won three MVP awards and has led the league in completion percentage once, touchdown passes three times, and passing yards twice. He is also an 11-time Pro Bowler and three-time first team All-Pro.
Favre is 13-11 in his post season career, throwing for 5,855 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions, resulting in an 86.3 QB rating.
Favre led the Packers to one Super Bowl victory in two appearances, and he played well overall in those games, throwing for 502 yards while completing 56.5 percent of his passes.
He threw five touchdowns and only one interception, while having a 97.6 QB rating and one rushing touchdown.
5. Johnny Unitas
Unitas was the quarterback who really influenced teams to start throwing more, as he was a great passer in his era.
In his 18 year career, Unitas won three championships (one Super Bowl win in two appearances) and three MVP awards.
He threw for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns, and 253 interceptions (1.15 to 1 ratio), with a 54.6 completion percentage and a 78.2 QB rating along with 13 rushing touchdowns.
Unitas was selected to 10 Pro Bowls and five first-team All-Pro teams. He led the league in completion percentage once, passing yards four times, passing touchdowns four times, and QB rating three times.
He had a 6-3 record in the playoffs, throwing seven touchdowns to 10 interceptions for a 68.9 QB rating. Unitas also scored one rushing touchdown and gained 92 yards on the ground.
Note: The average QB rating when Unitas played was in the mid 60s, as defensive players were much more physical with receivers then.
4. Peyton Manning
Manning really hurt his legacy with last Sunday's performance, and he would have been No. 2 on this list had he won the game.
So far in his career, Manning has thrown for 50,128 yards, 366 touchdowns, and 181 interceptions (2.02 to 1 ratio), with a 64.8 completion percentage and a 95.2 QB rating to go along with 17 rushing touchdowns.
He already has the most MVP awards in league history with four, and has led the league in completion percentage once, passing yards twice, touchdown passes three times, and QB rating three times.
He has been selected to the Pro Bowl 10 times and the first-team All-Pro team five times.
However, despite already being arguably the greatest QB in regular season history, his postseason resume is not nearly as stellar. He has a 9-9 career postseason record, throwing 28 touchdowns to 19 interceptions for a 87.6 QB rating (three rushing touchdowns as well).
In his two Super Bowl appearances, Manning has thrown for 570 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for an 84.9 QB rating. He also threw one of the worst interceptions in Super Bowl history late in the fourth quarter when he was attempting to make a comeback in the game.
He needs at least one more Super Bowl victory to move up this list.
3. Bart Starr
Bart Starr was the greatest quarterback of the Dead Ball Era, which ended in 1978, due to his combination of winning and numbers.
In his legendary 16 year career with the Green Bay Packers, Starr threw for 24,718 yards, 152 touchdowns, and 138 interceptions (1.1 to 1 ratio) with a 57.4 completion percentage and an 80.5 QB rating (the league average was in the mid 60s when he played) along with 15 rushing TDs.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and the first-team All-Pro team once. Starr won the MVP award in 1966 as he had an amazing 105.0 QB rating that season. He led the league in completion percentage three times and QB rating three times.
However, he was at his best during the playoffs as he went 9-1 in his postseason career. Starr won five NFL championships, including the league's first two Super Bowls, earning the MVP Award in both games.
In the playoffs, Starr threw for 1,753 yards, and 15 touchdowns to three interceptions for a record-104.8 QB rating. He threw for 452 yards, three TDs, and one interception on the way to a 106.0 QB rating in the Super Bowl.
2. Tom Brady
Brady is still the best quarterback of this generation due to his amazing postseason resume along with brilliant regular season numbers.
In eight full seasons with the Patriots, Brady has thrown for 30,844 yards, 225 touchdowns, and 99 interceptions (2.27 to 1 ratio) with a 63.3 completion percentage and a 93.3 QB rating along with six rushing touchdowns.
He has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times and the first-team All-Pro team once. He has led the league in completion percentage once, passing yards twice, touchdown passes twice, and QB rating once.
He won the 2007 MVP award as he had one of the greatest seasons ever, throwing for 4,806 yards, 50 touchdowns to eight interceptions (6.25 to 1 ratio) with a 68.9 completion percentage and a 117.2 QB rating.
Brady is also one of the best postseason performers ever as he has a 14-4 career record in the playoffs.
In postseason play, he has thrown for 4,108 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, good for an 85.5 QB rating. He also has two rushing touchdowns.
He has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories, and it would have been four had it not been for a miracle catch by David Tyree that ended their quest for a perfect season.
In his four Super Bowl games, Brady has thrown for 1,001 yards, seven touchdowns to one interception, and a 95.1 QB rating, winning the Super Bowl MVP Award twice.
He has a really good chance at ending up at No. 1 on this list with a few more healthy seasons and one more Super Bowl victory.
1. Joe Montana
Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback of all time along with being the best NFL player ever due to his great regular season numbers and an unmatched ability to come through in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl.
In his legendary 15 year career, Montana threw for 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns, and 139 interceptions (1.96 to 1 ratio), with a 63.2 completion percentage and 92.3 QB rating, along with 20 rushing touchdowns.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times and the first-team All-Pro team three times. He led the league in completion percentage five times, touchdown passes twice, and QB rating twice.
He won back-to-back MVP awards in the 1989 and 1990 seasons.
Montana's best season was in 1989 when he threw for 3,521 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions (3.25 to 1 ratio) with a 70.2 completion percentage and a 112.4 QB rating. His aerial assault went along with 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games.
Montana is No. 1, though, because of great performances in the postseason and in the Super Bowl. He went 16-7 in his postseason career as a starting QB.
He threw for 5,772 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions (2.14 to 1 ratio), with a 95.6 QB rating, in addition to 314 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories, winning every time he made it to the "ship." His total Super Bowl numbers are 1,142 passing yards, 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions on a 68.0 completion percentage, and 127.8 QB Rating, along with 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
He had at least a 100.0 QB rating in all four games.
His worst performance in the Super Bowl was his first one, when he threw for 157 yards and only one touchdown to zero interceptions. The performance was still good enough for a 100 QB rating, and he managed 18 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Finally, he had a game-winning, 92 yard drive to defeat the Bengals in that game.
In No Particular Order: