So far it's safe to say that 2011 has been the year of the quarterback. We've seen better quarterback play this year that we've seen...maybe ever?
The star power at the quarterback position this year is incredible, even without Peyton Manning.
Even the rookie quarterbacks—who usually aren't supposed to make big splashes in the league—have stepped up and given us reasons to be excited about them, despite the fact that they had a very short length of time to prepare due to the lockout.
It is true: the league has turned into a passing league. No longer is it possible to just run the ball up the gut and expect to win. If you want to develop a dynasty, you need a reliable signal-caller that can throw for around 4,000 yards a season.
With that being said, who are truly the best of the best this year? Who constitutes the group of quarterbacks that have played above and beyond the norm of NFL? Who are considered the elite QBs?
It was hard to pick just 10 quarterbacks, considering how many good ones there are, but this is what it should look like.
Say all you want about Tim Tebow, it's very hard NOT to put Tim Tebow on this list.
You can look at the quarterback position two ways: personal stats and wins.
Nearly all the quarterbacks on this list have a very impressive stat line, but not all of them are a clear-cut winner.
Tim Tebow is.
As a coach, you don't ask for your quarterback to throw 300 yards to go along with three touchdowns a game—you ask them to win, no matter what it takes. And it's kind of hard to argue with a 7-1 record. A 7-1 record: I know you've heard it all week, but let that sink in.
I'm not going to go off on Tim Tebow too much—ESPN has already done that for me—but there are very few reasons why he shouldn't be at least No. 10 on this list.
The Lions may have trailed off a bit since that hot start, but there's no denying how good of a quarterback Matthew Stafford has become.
His 3,754 passing yards and 29 touchdowns don't look as impressive as some of the other superstar quarterbacks out there, but any other season those would be mind-boggling numbers at this point in the year.
His 14 picks might be a little high for my liking, but there's no reason why he shouldn't sit comfortable at the No. 9 spot.
The Ravens aren't by any means a passing team, but a quarterback doesn't always need to pass every down to be considered elite.
The Ravens have had—for the most part—a very good running game this season, which has opened up the passing game for Joe Flacco. He has definitely taken advantage of it.
His statline won't wow you, but he gets the job done. He has a firm grasp of this Baltimore Ravens offense—leading his team to a 10-3 record and a good shot at winning the AFC North.
Slowly, he has shown he can play in the big game, pulling off two HUGE wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Matty Ice" has more than a few weapons to work with on offense.
From Roddy White, to Julio Jones and the always reliable Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan has one of the best receiving corps in the league. Not to mention: Michael Turner has been instrumental in establishing the run early in the game.
Matt Ryan has evolved into one of the better drop-back passers in the game right before our eyes.
Like Joe Flacco, he hasn't been tearing up the air at record-setting paces, but he has led his team to a 9-5 record and an easy wild-card birth.
One of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league today, he has slowly evolved from a baby-faced rookie to a quarterback who's playing in his prime.
Tony Romo could have been so much more at this point in the season: He could've been 10-3, could've... could've...but he's not.
That still doesn't take away from what Romo has accomplished this season. He's thrown for over 3,600 yards and 26 touchdowns and only nine picks. Not to mention he STILL is in first place in the NFC East, tied with the New York Giants.
Tony Romo has a long way to go in terms of silencing the critics, but there's no doubting that he has become one of the elite quarterbacks in the game today.
It's safe to say that the Giants aren't having the season that they wanted, but Eli Manning is still playing better than he has in maybe his entire career.
He is giving Dan Marino a run for his money for most passing yards in a season, with 4,105 and three games to go.
Something that he is doing this year that he hasn't been able to do consistently in the past is playing in the clutch. His showing against the Cowboys was one of the best quarterback performances of the year.
He may not be Peyton Manning when he was in his prime, but he's close to it.
With the exception of the two losses to the Ravens, the Steelers have looked virtually unstoppable this year. While defense will always be the name of the game in Pittsburgh, Big Ben is still doing a good job airing it out downfield.
Big Ben has evolved from the wide-eyed rookie to the grizzly veteran in the locker room, even at the ripe age of 29.
Not to mention—he's been one of the toughest quarterbacks to take down. It's nearly impossible to sack this guy: He's so big and strong.
That and a 10-3 record make him one of the game's elite passers.
Tom Terrific: maybe one of the most reliable year-in and year-out quarterbacks. You can't go wrong with Tom.
He is also on record pace to break Dan Marino's passing record, and has an astounding quarterback rating of 106.
The Patriots defense has not been up to par or near where it should be, but Tom has saved them with his arm.
In any other year, you would probably see this guy as No. 1.
Doesn't it seem like this guy has thrown for over 300 yards and three touchdowns every game for the last five years?
You know what you're going to get out of Drew Brees: a lot of yards, a lot of TD passes and a lot of wins to go along with them.
If it wasn't for a certain guy, Drew Brees would be a run-away for the MVP award, and he will more than likely break Dan Marino's passing yards record going down the stretch.
What else can you say about this guy? If he wins another Super Bowl and keeps this up, he might go down as one of the best there was.
What did you expect? This guy is the man in Green Bay.
When looking at his numbers, two things stick out: A mind-boggling 123.3, which through 13 games is amazing, and 13-0.
If you were to ask Rodgers, I'm sure he'd say 13-0 is all that matters.
You hear it every Sunday morning on every pregame show: Aaron Rodgers is playing the quarterback position better than anyone has, maybe EVER.
He's making guys like Tom Brady and Drew Brees look like afterthoughts, and playing some of the best football we've ever seen, as well.
He's young, he's arguably the face of the NFL and he's what every NFL quarterback strives to be.