A Statistical Approach: 30 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History

Kyle EggemeyerCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2011

A Statistical Approach: 30 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History

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    George Rose/Getty Images

    “Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.”

    -Don Shula

    Rather than let bias skew my rankings, I created a formula (depicted above) to do the sorting for me.

    This formula uses 18 different variables, each weighted in such a way that no one attribute, such as a high quarterback rating or low playoff win average, will cheat a worthy quarterback out of a good score. It looks at a quarterback's entire body of work.

    I do not have the time to test every quarterback in NFL history using this formula, so I picked 30 well-known quarterbacks, both from the past and present.  For this reason, this list is not a true "Top 30," however, it gives a rather good indication because most of the NFL's most iconic quarterbacks are included.

    Below are the 30 quarterbacks that are included in this list, arranged in alphabetical order:

    (NOTE: Is not the ordered list, just an alphabetical overview of the quarterbacks I test.)

    Troy Aikman
    Drew Bledsoe
    Terry Bradshaw
    Tom Brady
    Drew Brees
    Len Dawson
    John Elway
    Boomer Esiason
    Brett Favre
    Dan Fouts
    Jim Kelly
    Peyton Manning
    Dan Marino
    Donovan McNabb
    Steve McNair
    Joe Montana
    Warren Moon
    Joe Namath
    Philip Rivers
    Aaron Rodgers
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Phil Simms
    Ken Stabler
    Bart Starr
    Roger Staubach
    Fran Tarkenton
    Joe Theismann
    Johnny Unitas
    Kurt Warner
    Steve Young

30. Joe Namath

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    Score: 40.351

29. Aaron Rodgers

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Score: 40.753

28. Boomer Esiason

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Score: 42.664

27. Drew Bledsoe

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Score: 43.156

26. Dan Fouts

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    Tony Duffy/Getty Images

    Score: 44.164

25. Warren Moon

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Score: 48.490

24. Philip Rivers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Score: 49.707

23. Drew Brees

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    Score: 50.178

22. Phil Simms

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    T.G. Higgins/Getty Images

    Score: 54.042

21. Len Dawson

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    Score: 56.471

20. Steve McNair

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    Score: 58.471

19. Troy Aikman

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Score: 58.676

18. Kurt Warner

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    Score: 60.801

17. Joe Theismann

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    Score: 61.008

16. Jim Kelly

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Score: 61.101

15. Ken Stabler

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    Score: 61.416

14. Bart Starr

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    Score: 61.772

13. Fran Tarkenton

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    Score: 62.026

12. Dan Marino

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Score: 65.439

11. Donovan McNabb

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Score: 65.874

10. Ben Roethlisberger

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Score: 71.612

9. Terry Bradshaw

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Score: 72.664

8. Johnny Unitas

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    Score: 76.071

7. Roger Staubach

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    Score: 81.474

6. Steve Young

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Score: 82.831

5. Brett Favre

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    Score: 83.973

4. John Elway

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    Score: 86.174

3. Peyton Manning

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    Score: 90.933

2. Joe Montana

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    George Rose/Getty Images

    Score: 92.024

1. Tom Brady

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    Score: 94.451