Where Do Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Rank All-Time? The Debate Begins...Again

Sam AliContributor IIIJanuary 27, 2011

Where Do Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Rank All-Time? The Debate Begins...Again

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    Another year and another heart-breaking loss for the two most prolific quarterbacks of the last decade.

    Tom Brady has become synonymous with playoff wins while Peyton Manning has been known for his numbers. However, lately both quarterbacks have been slipping in terms of winning the big one.

    Brady's last trip was in 2007 where he his undefeated season came to a close thanks to an upset by the New York Giants and Manning's costly interception during last year's Super Bowl sent the New Orleans Saints home as champions.

    Now this year both Brady and Manning are one-and-done in the playoffs and, oddly enough, by the same team, the New York Jets.

    How does this year effect their rankings among the greatest to ever play?

    I will countdown my top 10 greatest QBs of all-time and show you where I think Brady and Manning stand today.

10. Troy Aikman

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    Although he started off (and ended) pretty bad, in his glory days, Troy Aikman was on top of his game.

    He has the most wins in the 90's. In his first Super Bowl appearance, he was 22-30 for 273 yards and four TDs. And nobody can deny that this man took some brutal hits over the course of his career.

    He said himself that he was just a beneficiary of a system and was honored to play with the likes of Emmitt Smith and Micheal Irvin.

    I still think he put up great numbers and should be given some credit for them.

9. Steve Young

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    Another QB from the 90s who dominated was Steve Young.

    He is widely considered the best left-handed QB of all-time. A duel-threat on the field, Young took over for superstar Joe Montana in 1991 and almost lost his job to productive back-up Steve Bono.

    Then in the next three years, Young went on to lead the league in TD passes and had double digit win totals in each of those three years.

    The third year saw him destroy the San Diego Chargers with six TD passes in Super Bowl XXIX, an unmatched record to this day.

    Many people wonder if he would've panned out in Tampa Bay had they kept him.

8. Peyton Manning

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    Why so low many of you will say?

    Here's why: When it comes to the big games, Peyton Manning tends to fall flat. And a career 9-10 postseason record doesn't really help at all.

    And when it was actually the defense that won his only Super Bowl ring, well that just cements everything people say about Manning.

    If you compare his numbers to the entire league, they aren't so amazing: He led the league in completion percentage once, passing yardage twice and touchdown passes three times.

    Huge numbers, but he didn't dominate the league like many people think. He was just ridiculously consistent.

    But if we're going to take into account all aspects of the game, Manning needs to take his team deep into the playoffs and win the big games to step into the top five.

7. Terry Bradshaw

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    A four-time Super Bowl winner, Terry Bradshaw was the epitome of toughness in a time where quarterbacks were manhandled by defensive players.

    A powerful arm and the ability to call his own plays led Bradshaw to be a part of some of the greatest plays of all time, including the "Immaculate Reception" and his TD pass to Lynn Swan in Super Bowl X.

    Some say he had the benefit of playing with players like Swan, John Stallworth and Franco Harris. The Steelers also had the vaunted "Steel Curtain" defense.

    But his performances in Super Bowls XIII and XIV solidifies his spot in NFL history.

6. Tom Brady

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    Most people put Tom Brady this high because of the improbable story.

    Guy gets drafted 199th overall by the New England Patriots and doesn't play much in his rookie year. Star quarterback goes down and the rest is history.

    Brady became arguably the best playoff QB of all time. And when his numbers came into question, he destroys every record in the book in 2007 while going 16-0. 

    He then sustained a knee injury the following year and came back the next year without missing a beat.

    Feel good story right? Not exactly.

    Since the "Spygate" allegations came up, Brady hasn't been able to achieve much success in the playoffs.

    In his last three playoff games, teams have proved that if you rattle Brady just enough, he will make some very bad throws. Conspiracy theorists have correlated this to Spygate but no evidence really can prove it.

    If Brady doesn't win another playoff game, let alone another Super Bowl for the rest of his career, his legacy will take a major hit. 

5. Johnny Unitas

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    Johnny U revolutionized the QB position and some may say that I don't have him high enough.

    His 47 consecutive games with a TD pass is a record many consider unbreakable. Unitas was a 10-time Pro Bowler and three-time NFL MVP. He won two World Championships and won the first Super Bowl after the NFL-AFL merger.

    Unitas set the standards for the QB position.

    He threw for over 3000 yards three times in his career and in the 60s, 3000 yards was downright ridiculous.

    If Peyton Manning played in the same era as Unitas, I'm sure Mr. Manning's career would be a lot shorter due to the rules of the game at the time.

4. Dan Marino

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    Dan Marino was Peyton Manning before Peyton Manning.

    His sophomore season still remains one of the greatest of all time and he holds or has held every major passing record in the NFL.

    Even though he has only one Super Bowl trip to his name, the numbers are simply too much to keep this guy out of the top five.

    With no consistent running game, Marino's hopes of a Super Bowl title became less and less possible until a 62-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and countless knee injuries forced him into retirement.

    He has the third most all-time wins for a starting quarterback. That alone warrants a discussion for Marino as one of the greatest of all time.

3. Brett Favre

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    Love him or hate him, you can't argue the fact that this guy is a soldier.

    Brett Favre has taken several hits throughout his 20 years and the fact that every year we don't know if he is retiring or not is amazing. This man does not give up.

    He is the only QB to throw for 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns and that is not to mention he started 297 straight games at quarterback (321 if you include playoffs).

    He is an 11-time Pro Bowler and won league MVP three times in a row, sharing the third with Barry Sanders.

    Two trips to the Super Bowl and one win. How's that for a resume?

    Lately, his off-the-field problems have been in the limelight and may even affect his right to be called the greatest ever.

    But despite all that, the "Iron Man" deserves to be on this list.

2. John Elway

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    Five career Super Bowl starts. Back-to-back Super Bowl wins to end his career.

    John Elway didn't dominate statistically. He has one regular season MVP award and the only time he dominated statistically was in 1993.

    So why is Elway No. 2 on this list?

    One word: clutch.

    His 98-yard game-tying drive in the AFC Championship game against the Cleveland Browns was so unbelievable, football historians couldn't find a better name for it other than "The Drive."

    And his "Helicopter Play" in the Super Bowl is constantly shown on highlight reels.

    In his first three trips to the Super Bowl, this man carried the entire team on his shoulders. An awful team, might I add.

    The Denver Broncos should be overjoyed that he is the man running their franchise right now.

1. Joe Montana

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    Joe Montana is an eight-time Pro Bowler and a two-time NFL MVP.

    Not good enough?

    He is also a four-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time Super Bowl MVP.

    Still not good enough?

    Montana has a 95.6 career passer rating in the playoffs and has thown 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions in four Super Bowls.

    Enough said.

Let The Debates Begin

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    Please leave your thoughts and comments—and instead of bashing my rankings, leave your own.

    The purpose of this article is to analyze where Peyton Manning and Tom Brady land in the rankings.

    It's a very opinionated topic so nobody will have the perfect list.

    Let's see what the people think.