I thought it might be fun to put together a top ten list of quarterbacks in the NFL today and see what happened. Here’s my list and I’m hoping it will spark quite a bit of debate and controversy here on BR. That’s pretty much why I ever go on this site, so please feel free to post any comments, no matter how nasty and rude they are.
10. Chad Pennington
At this point you might be saying: Whuh??? Chad Pennington?
Well let me explain. First of all, he’s sixth in the league in yards per attempt at 7.92. If you look at the Dolphins, they have improved from 1-15 to a potential playoff team and one of the biggest changes that they have enacted is a new quarterback in Pennington. His top wide receivers are Greg Camarillo and Ted Ginn Jr. That’s not exactly Harrison-Wayne or Moss-Welker. Obviously, the Dolphins are a run-first team, but Pennington has been very effective and mistake prone when he needs to throw the ball. This is a different player than the one that we had seen with the Jets over the past few years.
9. Jay Cutler
The Vandy Dandy exploded at the beginning of the year and looked like one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Since the first few games, he cooled off, but he is still one of the top ten in my book. The guy has a rocket arm and is a major reason for the development of guys like Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.
Right now, I think he’s a poor man’s Brett Favre. He has the ability to win games, but he can also lose games with mistakes. If the Broncos ever get a defense around him, look out.
8. Philip Rivers
This Bolts leader has been very effective this year. He’s second in QB rating and first in touchdowns. He’s also had to carry an offense that has regressed with an aging LaDanian Tomlinson. Rivers is a gutsy leader who has shined despite a disappointing season for the Chargers.
7. Brett Favre
Now a lot of folks would put Favre higher up on this list. Not me. Favre has certainly been good this year, good enough to be the number seven quarterback. But there seems to be an argument out there that he is the sole reason behind the Jets’ improvement. He certainly has had a big effect; their offense is averaging about 50 yards more per game.
But let’s not forget that the Jets had one of the worst QBs in the league last year in Kellen Clemens. It’s not a shocker that their offense got so much better. Plus, Favre has a bad habit of throwing interceptions, he has 14 this year. Favre is a very good quarterback, but he is no longer a great quarterback.
6. Drew Brees
I think Drew Brees is great, but I just couldn’t justify putting him any higher so he comes in at number six. Here’s a guy who has never had a truly great wide receiver and always makes the guys around him better. Look at Lance Moore, Marques Colston, and Antonio Gates. He’s a smart player who has consistently put up big numbers without a ton of talent around him. I think he would have a ring by now, but he’s never been in the right situation.
5. Tony Romo
I know there are going to be some objections to this one. Let me justify myself.
Tony Romo leads the league in QB rating and yards per attempt. The change in the Cowboys since he came back has been dramatic. True, he’s been fortunate enough to play with unbelievable weapons for his whole career. And he has never won that ring. I think it is unfair to call him a choker, though. Ok, so he dropped a snap and that was stupid.
But, we don’t judge quarterbacks on holding anymore than we would judge a running back on their ability to kick. So let’s not blame that on Tony Romo the quarterback. Holding is not a part of the quarterback position. He really wasn’t that bad last year, either. He threw for 201 yards with one touchdown and one pick against the Giants. Those numbers are pretty respectable. This guy’s a leader and a franchise quarterback. He’s the best quarterback without a ring.
4. Eli Manning
Eli showed a lot of cojones in beating the undefeated Pats last year. Quite a departure from the spoiled kid who refused to play for the Chargers. He’s been outstanding this year as well. There’s a good chance that Eli will win another ring this year. He has really matured into a confident, seasoned NFL quarterback and one of the better in the league.
Yes, Big Ben has a ring. And yes, he wasn’t really the most important player on that championship team. But since then, he has evolved into a player who can do more than just not lose games. Now, he can win them himself. On top of all that, the guy is just a warrior. He will play hurt and can take a hit with the best of them. If he continues on this path, I think the Hall of Fame could be in the future for this linebacker-sized passer.
Peyton proved that he could win a championship two years ago in Miami, so now there’s nothing keeping from the Hall of Fame. Peyton is a guy who is a meticulous worker and a tremendous leader. He has practically willed the Colts through some games this year. He has inferior stats this year because he has been nicked up, but in the past he has been the most prolific passer in the league. He’s not better than Brady though.
Here are a few reasons why Brady is better than Manning, if he has a healthy leg:
Three > One- Brady’s got three rings and Peyton’s only got one.
Talent Around Him- Brady has had consistently subpar wide receivers compared to Peyton. Yet, he still has been able to put up respectable numbers during most of his career. In fact, the one year when Brady had receivers that were comparable to Manning was last year and Brady put together the greatest single season of any quarterback in NFL history.
Listen, I’ve heard all the counter arguments. Brady has had better teams around him and that has allowed him to win more rings. Fair enough, but Manning’s stats are only better because he has had more offensive talent around him. I just have to go with my eyes and my heart and from what I’ve seen, Brady is the better player. But it’s very very very very very close, with the emphasis on the very. I think that Brady is a smidgen better and is the best quarterback in the NFL.