NFL's 15 Best Quarterbacks: Where Does Aaron Rodgers Rank?
This article will list the 15 best QBs in the NFL for the 2011-2012 NFL season (Hopefully, there is a season).
Quarterback is the most important position in sports, as NFL teams are rarely successful without a very good quarterback on their team. This list factors in the skills, consistency, leadership, intangibles, winning ability and postseason success for all quarterbacks and ranks according to their overall ability.
I would appreciate your input in the comments section about what you liked or did not like about my list and how you would change it. Thank you!
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15. Sam Bradford
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Sam Bradford had one of the best rookie seasons of all time, and will be much improved entering his second season.
He threw for 3,512 yards and had a 1.12-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio with 19 touchdowns (one rushing) to 17 turnovers (15 interceptions, two fumbles lost) with a 76.5 passer rating. He did this with a terrible receiving corps and average running game.
Next season, I expect the Rams to upgrade the receiving corps either through the draft or free agency, and with more experience, Bradford will make a significant improvement.
14. Matt Schaub
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Matt Schaub has been a very productive quarterback over the past few seasons. This past season, Schaub threw for 4,370 yards with a 1.6-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio with 24 passing touchdowns to 15 turnovers (12 INTs, three fumbles lost) with a 92 passer rating.
He has shown a better ability of staying healthy as he has not missed a start over the past two seasons, but he still has not been able to lead the Texans to their first postseason appearance in franchise history.
13. Jay Cutler
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Jay Cutler is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league with his great size and arm strength, but he needs to improve his consistency and decision making to become an elite quarterback.
This last season, he played behind arguably the worst offensive line in the league with a below average receiving corps. In 15 games, he threw for 3274 yards and had a 1.1-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio with 24 touchdowns (one rushing) to 22 turnovers (16 interceptions, six fumbles lost) with an 86.3 passer rating. Next year, he should improve as his offensive line improves and he becomes more familiar with Mike Martz's system.
12. Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan improved a lot last season after a disappointing second season. He led the Falcons to the best record in the NFC with a 13-3 mark. He threw for 3,705 yards and had a 2.33-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio with 28 touchdowns to 12 turnovers (nine interceptions, three fumbles lost) with a 91 passer rating. He showed a great ability to play well in close games, as he had six game-winning drives this past season. However, he needs to improve his yards per attempt (only 6.5) and postseason resume to move up on this list, as he is 0-2 with 4 interceptions and a 71.2 passer rating in the playoffs.
11. Joe Flacco
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Joe Flacco, like Matt Ryan, also made a big improvement in his third season. He led the Ravens to a 12-4 record and their third consecutive postseason appearance.
This past season, Flacco threw for 3,622 yards with a 1.86-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio. He had 26 touchdowns (one rushing) to 14 turnovers (10 interceptions, four fumbles lost) with a 93.6 passer rating. He also played well in close games as he led Baltimore to four game-winning drives. However, he needs to improve his playoff performance to rank higher, as he has a postseason passer rating of 61.6 with five touchdowns (one rushing) to seven interceptions.
10. Josh Freeman
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Josh Freeman may be higher than most people would think, but I don't think he got enough recognition for his amazing season he had this year.
In just his second season after starting nine games last year, Freeman led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record with five game-winning drives. Freeman had 3,815 total yards (364 rushing) while having a fantastic touchdown to turnover ratio of 2.78-to-1, as he had 25 touchdowns to only nine turnovers (six interceptions, three fumbles lost) with a 95.9 passer rating (fifth in the NFL). He will become better as he gains more experience, as he is only 23 years old and has started 25 games.
9. Tony Romo
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Tony Romo is a very good quarterback who needs more playoff success to become an elite quarterback. In each of the past five seasons, Romo has had a passer rating in the 90s. Over the past season and a half, Romo has had 38 touchdowns (one rushing) to 20 turnovers (16 interceptions, four fumbles lost) for a touchdown to turnover ratio of 1.9-to-1. He needs to win more playoff games to improve his rank and status in the league, as he is just 1-3 with an 81 passer rating in his playoff career.
8. Eli Manning
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Eli Manning is the lowest-ranked QB on this list who has won a Super Bowl title. This past season, Eli had a disappointing season, as he led the NFL in turnovers. He threw for 4,002 yards and 31 touchdowns, but had 30 turnovers (25 interceptions, five fumbles lost) while leading the Giants to a 10-6 record and having an 85.3 passer rating.
However, Eli had some bad luck as he had around 5-6 interceptions off his receivers' hands. He needs more postseason success as he has not won a playoff game outside of his Super Bowl run where he led the Giants to four victories, including the Super Bowl over the undefeated Patriots along with taking better care of the football.
7. Michael Vick
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Michael Vick had one of the best seasons in the NFL last season. He led the Eagles to an 8-3 record in his 11 starts. In 12 games, Vick had 3,694 total yards (676 rushing) with a 3.3-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio as he had 30 touchdowns (nine rushing) to just nine turnovers (six interceptions, three fumbles lost) with a 100.2 passer rating.
However, Vick needs to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire season while maintaining similar production to the season he just had, and lead the Eagles deeper into the playoffs, as they lost at home to the eventual Super Bowl champs Packers in the first round of the playoffs on his game-ending interception.
6. Philip Rivers
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Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the league outside the elite group, and the best one without a Super Bowl ring.
This past season, Rivers led the league in passing yards with 4,710 as he nearly averaged 300 yards a game. He had a 1.77-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio, as he had 30 touchdowns to 17 turnovers (13 interceptions, four fumbles lost) with a 101.8 passer rating.
Rivers has consistently put up great numbers as a starter in the regular season, but that had not translated to the postseason. In seven career playoff games, Rivers has a 3-4 record with a 79.2 passer rating while having nine touchdowns (one rushing) to nine interceptions (at least one interception in each playoff game).
5. Ben Roethlisberger
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Ben Roethlisberger is the definition of a winner as he has a career 69-29 record in the regular season and 10-3 playoff record with two Super Bowl titles and one other appearance in just seven seasons. This last season in 12 games, Big Ben had 3,376 yards (176 rushing) with a 2.38-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio as he had 19 touchdowns (two rushing) to eight turnovers (five interceptions, three fumbles lost) with a 97 passer rating while playing behind a terrible and severely injured offensive line.
In his playoff career, Roethlisberger has an 84.5 passer rating with 22 touchdowns (three rushing) to 16 interceptions, which is a 1.38-to-1 Ratio. In each playoff game Big Ben has started, the Steelers have scored at least 20 points. In his three Super Bowl appearances, Roethlisberger has a 69.9 passer rating with four touchdowns (one rushing) to five interceptions.
4. Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning is one of the most prolific and greatest quarterbacks of all time. This past season, Manning threw for 4,700 yards with a 1.83-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio as he had 33 touchdowns to 18 turnovers (17 interceptions, one fumble lost) with a 91.9 passer rating. Manning led the Colts to a 10-6 despite several injuries to key members of their team.
However, Manning needs to improve his playoff record and win another Super Bowl to improve his legacy. Currently, he only has a 9-10 career playoff record with one Super Bowl title and an 88.4 passer rating. Manning also did not even play well in his only Super Bowl run, as he had a 70.5 passer rating with four touchdowns (one rushing) to seven interceptions during the Colts' title run.
3. Drew Brees
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Drew Brees has been a great player over the past few seasons with the Saints. This past season, he threw for 4,620 yards with 33 touchdowns to 24 turnovers (22 interceptions, two fumbles lost), which is a 1.38-to-1 ratio. He led the Saints to an 11-5 record following their Super Bowl win during the previous season.
Brees gets the advantage over Peyton Manning in my opinion because of his far superior postseason resume. In seven career playoff games, Brees has a 4-3 record while having a fantastic 102 passer rating and an amazing 15-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio while averaging 293 passing yards a game. In his only Super Bowl, Brees had 290 passing yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and a 113.5 passer rating.
2. Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers has had as good a first three seasons in a career as any quarterback ever. In just his third season as a starter, Rodgers had 4,278 yards (356 rushing) with a 2.67-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio as he had 32 touchdowns (four rushing) to 12 turnovers (11 interceptions, one fumble lost) with a 101.2 passer rating. He led the Packers to a 10-4 record in games he completely played in despite numerous injuries and a terrible running game.
However, Rodgers is above Big Ben, Peyton Manning, and Brees because of his amazing postseason success in so little time. In five playoff starts, Rodgers has a 4-1 record, with his only loss coming last season when he led the Packers to 45 points against Arizona. Rodgers has a record playoff passer rating of 112.6 and an amazing 16 touchdowns (three rushing) to only three interceptions, a 5.33-to-1 ratio.
He also would have had two other 70-plus yard TD passes if James Jones knew how to catch. In his only Super Bowl, Rodgers had 304 passing yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a 111.5 passer rating despite four or five drops by his receivers.
Overall, Rodgers is showing everyone that he is similar to Brett Favre in his ability to make any throw and make plays out of nothing, but without the terrible interceptions. He will end up an all-time great quarterback when he retires due to his amazing ability to throw without making mistakes, and his great running ability and mobility in the pocket.
1. Tom Brady
Tom Brady had arguably the best season ever for a quarterback this past season. Brady led the Patriots to a 14-2 record and the best record in the AFC while throwing for 3,900 yards and having an unheard-of 7.4-to-1 touchdown to turnover ratio, as he had 37 touchdowns (one rushing) to only five turnovers (four interceptions, one fumble lost) with a league leading 111 passer rating despite an average running game and average receiving weapons.
Brady is also one of the best postseason quarterbacks ever, as he has a career 14-5 playoff record. In the playoffs, Brady has an 85.7 passer rating with 32 touchdowns (two rushing) to 16 interceptions, a 2-to-1 ratio. Brady has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in four appearances. In his four Super Bowls, Brady has played great, as he has a 95.1 passer rating with seven touchdowns to only one interception.