Peyton Manning is the clear cut winner in this years top five, and has been top of the charts for some time now.
He has separated himself as the NFL's top signal caller through his second to none control of his offense and rock solid mechanics. Year after year his receiving cores have great seasons, they over perform because of Manning. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are great receivers, but could they put-up similar numbers with any other Quarterback? We will never know, but I have my doubts.
Manning has been associated with good decisions since the day he was drafted. That day the good decision was not his, but the General Manager's who did not take Ryan leaf, who believe it or not actually showed great potential. This decision changed the course of Colts history and single-handedly took them to two Super Bowls, winning one. In the latest Super Bowl Manning made a uncharacteristic bad decision, but this does not change his place in history, as the greatest Quarter Back of all time when all is done. Brett Favre has thrown many costly interceptions but he's still an NFL great. Manning is no less of a legend than ever before.
Drew Brees, He is coming off a terrible injury and is just too old. That is what the Chargers thought when they moved on. The Saints acquired the Boiler Maker "far past his prime" as a transition Quarter Back to hold a spot until they could draft their franchise player. They did not expect Brees to be a star or for the Saints to win. They were right, at first but the Saints went on to shock all. They went to the NFC Championship, but lost to the bears. It looked like they missed their boat when they did not replicate the success the next season. But now they are Super Bowl champs and that is all that matters. Brees has been much more than a "transition" player and has brought pride to a struggling city.
Brees had an incredible season and led the NFL's most explosive Offense. He threw touchdowns, but not interceptions. Completed a high percentage of passes, and still had a solid average. And most importantly his team won, and they would not even been there to compete without this man.
Aaron Rodgers, he has worked his way to the top of the charts. He is the new great quarterback in the NFL. He has great arm strength and accuracy and most importantly, he takes care of the ball. He threw over 4,000 yards, 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
What separates him from the pack is the circumstances he has performed under. First, he has to be the guy to replace the legendary Favre. And to make matters worse this was made more difficult because of the Favre Drama. Then, he was forced to actually play Favre twice this year, and worst of all, Favre was playing for Green Bay’s most hated opponent. It is hard for a fan not to like Rodgers because of the way he handled all the distractions.
Although he has not had playoff success thus far in his career, this is not his fault and he should not be penalized in this list. He had to play the whole season with tolerable to bad to just atrocious pass protection. What separates Rodgers is the production with the crippling 50 sacks and off-field distractions.
Philip Rivers, he had an all around amazing season but for some reason went under the radar. His team had an extremely successful season despite the disappointing conclusion. Rivers has proved he is consistently at the top of his game and deserves recognition for what he has done and what he will do. He had a very respectable 105 passer rating. Rivers loses to Rodgers because Rivers has had a good amount of starting experience and is far closer to his “ceiling.” Rivers also has had a more ideal situation, leading me to believe Rodgers is more talented.
Manning, Brees, Rodgers, and Rivers are clearly the best in the NFL with little outside competition, but that fifth spot has become quite competitive.
Tom Brady, two years ago he might be at the top of this list, but times have changed. He has not played well since his Knee injury, and the great season Matt Casel had made what Brady did seem less impressive. It made many wonder if Brady is actually a top talent, or if he has just benefitted from great teams and great systems. I have long thought he was an overrated player, who is way above average, but not great. He misses out because of his dwindling performance and questions about his ability.
Ben Roethlisberger, he has had great success throughout his career, but has never really been the driving force behind his two Super Bowls. His teams, that won, had terrific defenses and a great running game. Passing has never been a large strength of the Steelers with Ben as quarterback so is he really great? Roethlisberger misses the cut because his best asset has always been winning, and he didn’t do much winning this year.
Tony Romo has proved that his success after replacing Bledsoe was not a fluke, and has become a solid starter in the NFL. He doesn’t make this list because of his lack of playoff success on some pretty good teams, and he wasn’t voted into the PRO BOWL despite all of the great weapons Dallas has. He did go to the PRO BOWL, but he made it as an alternate.
Matt Schaub led the NFL in passing yards this season, so his success in this year alone earns him a spot in this list. He has put up very good numbers in recent seasons and this season was his best. The attack of Schaub, Andre Johnson, and for part of the year Owen Daniels was very formidable. He passed for nearly 4,800 yards and has nearly a 100 passer rating.