Brees, Brady, Rodgers: Who's the Best Active Quarterback in NFL?
What quarterback in the NFL has set themselves apart as the best of the best?
Who has been doing it the longest and has the hardware to show for it?
Let's look at the career numbers of some of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL in an era marked by unprecedented quarterback greatness.
(Statistical Source: Pro-football-reference.com)
Honorable Mention: Peyton Manning
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The Colts look like they have nearly locked up the No. 1 overall choice in next season’s draft as they march toward a season of perfect imperfection.
With Peyton’s career and status as the future quarterback for the Colts completely up in the air, it appears as if Peyton may be finding a new home next season to continue his illustrious career.
Here are some career numbers for one of the best to ever play the quarterback position: Over 208 games he has 54,828 yards in his career. He has passed for 399 touchdowns to only 198 interceptions. He has the best all-time quarterback rating for an entire season in 2004 (121.1).
His lifetime passer rating is a stellar 94.9. In his career, he has four perfect (passer rating) games, one of those in the playoffs (highest of any quarterback ever). Before his injury, he had set the record for most consecutive games to start a career (208).
He is head and shoulders above all other active quarterbacks with 35 fourth quarter comebacks and 46 game-winning drives. When it comes to clutch, he is arguably the best all time.
Even from the sidelines, Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks on the field.
Honorable Mention: Eli Manning
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Eli Manning isn’t injured but he doesn’t have nearly as many records as his older brother, Peyton. Many thought that Eli’s claim to be an elite quarterback in the NFL was ludicrous at the beginning of the season when he compared himself to Tom Brady, a quarterback he beat in Super Bowl XLII. But this season, the best quarterback in the league’s little brother has proven himself to be elite. I would not say top three, but definitely one of the best.
Eli has completed 62 percent of his pass attempts this season and ranks fourth in the league in passing yards with 4,105. He has tossed 25 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions. Also, his quarterback passer rating is fourth best in the league at 95.5 while only taking 21 sacks for the year.
Not only has Manning shined statistically, he has also orchestrated several late-game comebacks this season. This season Manning has racked up six game-winning drives, most recently against the division-leading Dallas Cowboys to keep their playoff hopes alive, and against one of the game’s best, the New England Patriots in Week 8. In his career, Manning has 23 game-winning drives and 19 fourth quarter comebacks.
4th: Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers is just getting started. He is having one of the best seasons of all time putting up a ridiculous 123.3 passer rating and a mind-boggling 39 touchdown to six interception ratio. His percent completion rate is almost 70 (69.6 percent to be exact) and he has his Super Bowl defending Green Bay Packers at a perfect 13-0 in only his fourth full season as the starting quarterback.
Rodgers is on pace to break records this season and for many seasons to come if he stays healthy. The fact is though, this is only his fourth year as the team’s starting quarterback. He needs to do it for more years at this rate consistently in order to move up on this list.
This may occur and I don’t doubt that it will, but right now he has to wait in line to achieve the same status as those ahead of him.
In his career, Rodgers has 126 touchdowns and only 38 interceptions. His career passer rating is over 100, at 103.7. He also has only three fourth quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives in his 60 NFL starts. Rodgers looks poised to return the Packers to this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis to repeat as champions, unless someone can stop him.
3rd: Ben Roethlisberger
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Big Ben is better than Aaron Rodgers?! Yes.
He has been one of the best quarterbacks consistently in his eight seasons in the NFL. He has also won two Super Bowls in those eight seasons. But I thought he was a game-managing quarterback?
Statistically, Ben has been one of the best. He has a career completion percentage of 63.2 and has thrown for 26,028 yards in his career. Yes, those passing yards trail Eli Manning (26,751 yards), but he also has the clutch performances and Super Bowl rings that outnumber Eli, Peyton and Rodgers.
In his eight seasons, Roethlisberger has 19 fourth quarter comebacks and 25 game-winning drives.
Ben hasn’t always been flashy putting up amazing numbers, but he is always reliable about pulling out victories when the Steelers need it the most.
2nd: Drew Brees
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Drew Brees is on pace to not only break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record, but to smash it. He has racked up a total of 4,368 yards, averaging 336 yards per game. On that pace, Brees will pass for a total of 5,376 yards (Marino’s record for the most passing yards in a season was 5,084). He currently ranks second all-time in passing yards in a season with 5,069 (2008).
Not only has he passed for a record-breaking amount of yards thus far this season, but his pass completion percentage is also off the charts at 70.9 percent. That’s higher than his record-setting season in 2009 when he had a completion percentage of 70.6.
Brees has started 150 games over 10 seasons in the NFL. That is slightly below Tom Brady who has started 158 games in 11 seasons.
Brees has also been one of the best when it comes to the clutch factor. He has 19 fourth quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives.
1st: Tom Brady
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Tom Brady was a diamond in the rough that Bill Belichick discovered after Drew Bledsoe went down early in the 2001 season. After handing over the reins to Brady, the Patriots have not looked back. Brady has started 158 games in 11 seasons, with one of those seasons almost completely lost after tearing his ACL in the first game of 2008.
In his career, Brady has 39,017 yards passing and a career completion percentage of 63.8. Brady has tossed 294 touchdowns and only 114 interceptions. He has also won three out of four Super Bowls.
Brady is also tops in the NFL with 24 fourth quarter comebacks and 33 game-winning drives. These numbers are good but 10 comebacks and 13 game-winning drives less than Peyton Manning. Still, Brady is one of the best in an era of quarterback greatness that is unprecedented.
The distinction of most Super Bowl wins by any active quarterbacks while consistently being atop the list statistically in the passing game has earned Brady the title of the top active quarterback in the NFL.