Who Will Be The Top 10 Quarterbacks at the End of the 2010-11 Season?
Why do people always feel the need to figure out who is better: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?
Does it really matter who was better over the last decade or, is it more important to determine which quarterback will have a better season in 2010-11?
The last time I checked, Sports Illustrated was not running promotions for a quarterback being named "The Quarterback of the Decade."
SI makes those collectible footballs, commemorative DVDs, and whatever else they throw in the bag when quarterbacks win Super Bowls.
So be my guest and bang your head over that debate, because there is no end in sight and there is no reward for victory.
But whoever emerges with the top spot in this countdown will more than likely hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So I ask: Who will be the 10 best quarterbacks at the end of the 2010-11 season?
Players such as Kevin Kolb and Alex Smith are clearly not worthy of being considered a Top 10 quarterback. But at the end of the season will they be considered among the league’s elite?
And what about a guy like Ben Roethlisberger.
Surely you can't put him in the top 10 now. But when his suspension is over and he returns to the field to play at least 10 games, will he be considered one of the best?
And please don't mention Super Bowls in this argument (I'm looking at you Eli Manning supporters). This is all about who is going to be the best in 2010-11.
And just because a guy is not on the list does not mean I hate him or that I don't see him because he plays on the West Coast (my attention is now on you Philip Rivers fans).
Let the debate begin.
No. 10: Donovan McNabb
When you come in at No.10 you are obviously on the bubble and you can be seen at the person who kept Eli Manning and Philip Rivers off the list. You’re more or less the controversial figure.
So what better player to have on the list than Donovan McNabb?
In dead seriousness, I liked McNabb in Philadelphia, but it was time to move on. And even though I wanted him to move it doesn't mean I hate him.
It's like being in a relationship with a great girl for about 10 years only to find out the two of you aren’t compatible. Eventually, you agree to go your separate ways. Maybe you still hang out or call each other up at 2 a.m. and offer up strange propositions...
Look, McNabb has a lot of tools and I honestly believe he has some very good weapons in Washington.
To begin, he has a very reliable target in Chris Cooley. McNabb has always relied on tight ends throughout his career as seen through the outstanding production he had with Chad Lewis, and Brent Celek.
Santana Moss has incredible speed and will be a great option for McNabb when he throws the deep ball, which may be one of his strongest attributes.
Yes, the offensive line may be shaky, but McNabb still has plenty of mobility to buy himself time in the pocket. The downside to his mobility is that he thinks he has too much time and will hold on to the ball a little too long.
Ultimately, look for McNabb to have a good year in Washington. And if McNabb finds a way to lead the 'Skins to the playoffs (don’t laugh) he deserves to be considered a Top 10 quarterback with no questions asked.
No. 9: Joe Flacco
This may seem like a questionable selection, but I think Joe Flacco starts off his season well again this year and finds a way to continue his success throughout the season.
Flacco had two great weapons last year in Ray Rice and Derrick Mason. He also had reliable players in Willis McGahee and Todd Heap, among others.
But this year he gets Anquan Boldin who is the absolute best receiver to compliment Flacco's skill set.
Boldin is an incredibly physical receiver who can create separation against anyone. And if he gets even the smallest window of space Flacco can fit the ball in there with his outstanding accuracy.
And once Boldin and Flacco begin to connect on short passes, Boldin has the ability to get downfield for the occasional deep ball, which Flacco has been throwing better since his rookie campaign two years ago.
So is this ranking warranted because of Flacco's skills or the talent of those who surround him?
Well since I don't cut quarterbacks any slack when they don't have talent, I'm not going to discredit a quarterback who has the talent.
At the end of the day, the quarterback's talent and numbers shine through.
No. 8: Tom Brady
Things don't seem right in New England, do they?
The Patriots have not won a playoff game in two years, they won only one true road game last year, and Tom Brady may be headed for free agency thanks to the Patriots not restructuring his deal.
We have grown so accustomed to the Pats winning in January, beating opponents no matter where they play, and Brady being a part of the franchise that both statements seem kind of surprising.
To make things worse for Brady, Wes Welker, the team's leading receiver the last two seasons, may not be the same after he returns from ACL and shoulder surgeries this offseason.
Brady always finds a way to get things done, but with so many strange things occurring in New England, would you really be surprised if Brady struggles at times this year?
Without Welker in the playoffs last year, Brady threw three picks, and only racked up 154 yards on 42 pass attempts.
That could be a case of the Ravens playing well with a huge lead or it could be a sign of things to come for the sure-fire Hall of Famer.
I have a strong suspicion that it is a sign of things to come this season for Brady.
Yes, I know it was only one game and the guy is arguably the best quarterback of all time.
But when you start to take into account all of the dynamics shaping up in New England, I think it will be difficult for him to be the player we are used to seeing.
No. 7: Tony Romo
Oh, how I hate thee.
Yes, I am an Eagles fan, but I have to be honest here and put Tony Romo on the list.
Cowboys fans can spare the hate mail. The reason I hate Romo is because he serves as a serious threat to beat the Eagles every time the two teams play.
When Romo first came into the league he seemed like a poor man's Bret Favre. He tried to make something out of nothing, came up with clutch plays, but he was snake-bit with costly picks and never found a way to win.
Now it seems like Romo is making smarter plays by calculating the risk versus the reward and he might be getting an idea of how to win.
In his first three seasons with the Cowboys he threw 13, 19, and 14 interceptions. Last year the number dropped to nine and it was no coincidence that it was arguably the best season of his career.
With an incredible running game highlighted by Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, a young receiver in Miles Austin who continues to improve, and a reliable tight end in Jason Witten, there is no reason to think Romo will struggle this year.
A huge obstacle facing Romo will once again come at the end of the year when he finishes on the road against Arizona and Philadelphia.
Two wins there could give the Cowboys home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
And if secures that, a strong argument could be made to put him higher on the list.
No. 6: Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub is not a household name with the casual NFL fans so this ranking may actually surprise some people.
On the other hand, those who follow the NFL closely can argue he should be higher on this list.
In his first full season as a starting quarterback he threw for over 4,000 yards and led the Houston Texans to their first winning season in franchise history.
I expect his production to remain around the same this upcoming season while the wins will increase.
Schaub may have a tendency to hold the ball too long and not take risks, but I think all of that is going to change now that he can trust some of the great weapons around him.
With Andre Johnson lined up at receiver Schaub understands he has a premiere talent that runs strong routes, catches the ball well, and has an incredible ability to make big plays in clutch situations.
The only reason he is not higher on the list is because I'm not confident that he will find a way to beat the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.
And in order to crack the Top Five, you have to find a way to beat the league's best teams and quarterbacks.
I know football is a team game, but when quarterbacks are judged, critics look to see who you beat.
The good news for Schaub and the Texans is they host Peyton and the Colts Week one. Can you say statement game?
No. 5: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger can easily be seen as the most controversial selection here and it is due to his six-game suspension, which may be reduced.
So here’s the big question: How can Big Ben be ranked this high if the list is supposed to be about which quarterbacks will have the best 2010-11 season?
He’s ranked up here because I believe when he returns he will lead the Steelers from the middle of the pack in the AFC to the hottest team going into the playoffs.
This is not about evaluating character or passing judgment on someone’s personal life. This is all about football, and as far that goes, Roethlisberger is one of the best in the NFL.
He not only has a knack for winning, but he does it in the most clutch situations.
Roethlisberger's won a Super Bowl on the final drive of the game, he’s won regular season games on the final play of the game, and he is a consistent winner in the playoffs.
Look at the final 10 games of the season, which he will definitely play in barring an injury or another off-field incident, and check out who he gets to play against.
He gets to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, the highly thought of New England Patriots, and last year’s AFC surprise in the New York Jets.
He also gets two shots at hated rival Cincinnati, and one game a piece against divisional foes Baltimore and Cleveland.
For someone who always finds a way to be clutch I can see Big Ben capping off the season with a lot of people saying, “Roethlisberger is the MVP of the second half of the season.”
No. 4: Peyton Manning
Going back to 2000, the loser of the Super Bowl in the previous season failed to reach the playoffs the following year.
The only teams to pull off the feat were a pair of NFC West teams in the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
So what gives? And does that mean bad things are in store for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts?
Conventional wisdom says no considering Peyton has made the playoffs in 10 of his 12 years in the NFL, including eight straight trips to the postseason.
But maybe Peyton Manning is about to face a bit of test this year and his production may drop enough to knock him down a few pegs on the list.
Don’t forget that Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, his two most productive weapons, are over 30 while Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon have combined to start in 18 NFL games.
What happens if Wayne and Clark decline this season?
Are the two young receivers ready to step up?
Last year the Colts won their first 14 games, but eight of those were decided by eight points or less.
How many times can Colts continue to pull those games out?
The obvious answer is for as long as Peyton is their quarterback.
No. 3: Brett Favre
First I am projecting that Brett Favre is going to play in 2010-11 and then I am projecting he is going to have the third best season among quarterbacks.
While those projections may be uncertain in the minds of some, one thing is certain: If he plays, he will win.
Favre has been a starting quarterback in the NFL for 15 seasons and only once (2005 in Green Bay) has he ended the season with a losing record.
So why should I believe things will be different in Minnesota where he has an incredible running game thanks to Adrian Peterson and some of the best young receivers in Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice?
To make things better for Favre is the fact that he has a strong defense playing behind him and gets to enjoy playing in a dome when the weather takes a turn for the worse at the end of the season.
Checking out the Vikings schedule, Favre gets to play indoors for four of his final five regular season games. That is a huge advantage for Favre and it is something that will help the aging quarterback finish the season strong.
But in the end it comes down to the old man not throwing the ball aimlessly in the air and turning it over.
Consider this stat: Over the last three seasons, including the playoffs, Favre is 6-10 when he throws two or more interceptions.
No. 2: Drew Brees
When you win a Super Bowl, your life changes in ways that no one can imagine, or at least that's what we are led to believe.
Drew Brees has done God knows how many interviews, traveled all over the country, and probably not focusing a whole lot on football.
Ya know what though? Who cares?
Brees can skip training camp and sleep walk through most of the regular season and still find his way to the second spot on this list.
The NFC South stinks and he has enough talent around him that he can go through stretches where he struggles and still survive.
Too bad for everyone in the NFC that he won't struggle.
He will probably have another season where his numbers are off the charts.
But in the end I think the rest of the NFC is going to catch up to the Saints and prevent them from getting back to the Super Bowl.
Since the NFL is a league where people ask, "What have you done for me lately?” it seems like Brees has to get back to the Super Bowl to hold on to the top spot in the league.
At the end of the day, there are too many hurdles outside of the division for the Saints to clear and it is the only reason he will take a backseat to the No. 1 man on this list.
No. 1: Aaron Rodgers
Since Aaron Rodgers took over for Brett Favre as the starting quarterback in Green Bay, he has gone on to throw for over 8,000 yards, tossed 58 touchdowns and completed 64 percent of his passes while only being picked off 20 times.
The numbers are clearly there, but the winning eluded him in his first trip to the playoffs last year.
Rodgers and the Packers ended last season on fire as they won seven of their final eight regular season games.
In the playoffs they somehow got bounced by the Arizona Cardinals thanks to a defense that could not find a way to hold on to win despite being given 45 points.
Rodgers is the next Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and whoever else you want to throw in there.
He makes every throw imaginable, he doesn't throw many picks, he spreads the ball around, he extends plays when facing pressure, and he puts points on the board.
The only thing he has not done yet, which was mentioned earlier, is win in the playoffs
That will be laid to rest when Rodgers brings the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay and celebrates as the league MVP.