Friday, September 22, 2006

The best quarterback of all time

I have been asked to rate the best quarterbacks of all time. Who am I to say no?

I will resist the urge to include those guys who are still playing. Although I will include references to current players where they are comparable or even better than the ones I list.


The first quality all rookie quarterbacks must learn is game management. By this I mean the ability to avoid mistakes. Bad game managers today include the likes of Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper. While these two are capable of big plays, they both try to do too much, effectively hurting their teams more than helping them.

On the barest levels, good game managers include Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Unfortunately for those two, that is ALL they are. But as they have proven, you have to be at LEAST a good game manager if you want to win a Super Bowl.

I am tempted to give the best game manager of all time to Sammy Baugh. To this day, he still holds the NFL record for most seasons leading the league with the lowest percentage of passes intercepted, with five seasons. There are five players tied with three seasons behind him. None of those five players are playing today.

But, if you look at Baugh's career as a whole, he threw more interceptions in 9 out of the 16 seasons he played.

For consistency over the entirety of his career, I have to give it to Neil O'Donnell. As soon as you clean your drink off your monitor, I will continue.

Believe it or not, O'Donnell holds the NFL record for lowest percentage of interceptions in his career (2.11). In his 13 year career, O'Donnell only had two seasons where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and he only played in 6 games both of those years.

O'Donnell did manage to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl in 1995, where they lost to the Cowboys 27-17.


In order to throw a lot of touchdowns, you have to be able to throw the ball in the red zone. You won't make a career out of only lobbing 70 yard bombs. You also have to be able to toss the little two yard pass to the tackle eligible in the end zone.

Of the current quarterbacks, Peyton Manning seems most ready to break some career records, having already obtained a few NFL records (most TD passes in a season with 49, most TD passes in his rookie season with 26, most consecutive games with 4 or more TD passes with 5).

Unfortunately for Manning, he still has a long way to go to catch Dan Marino's career touchdown pass record of 420. As of last year, Manning only had 244 TD passes.

While Marino may lead on quantity of touchdown passes over a career, we have to consider the pass-happy nature of the NFL during Marino's career. Even with Marino's prolific touchdown numbers, there is another quarterback who still holds a lot of significant touchdown records from a less pass-happy era: Johnny Unitas.

Consider Unitas's touchdown records. He is tied for most seasons leading the league in td passes with 4 seasons (tied with Len Dawson, Steve Young, and Brett Favre) but only Unitas's 4 seasons were consecutive (from 1957 to 1960). In football's version of Joe Dimaggio's famed hitting streak, Unitas holds the record for most consecutive games with a td pass, 47 (next closest is Brett Favre with 36).

In addition, Unitas is third on the list of career games with 4 or more td passes (17). Only Marino (21) and Favre (19) are ahead of him.

A quick release is not necessary to be a great quarterback, but it seems the great ones tend to have quicker releases than most quarterbacks.

The first quarterback to have an exceptionally quick release was Joe Namath, but the quickest of all time belongs to Dan Marino.

Of today's quarterbacks, the one who impresses me the most is Vince Young. If you watch him closely, you can see that his release is comparable to Marino's release. I won't say Young will be another Marino, but his release should help him to have a good career.


By itself, arm strength is nice, but it won't win games.

Early in his career, Doug Williams had the strongest arm I have ever seen. Unfortunately, when he threw little passes into the flat, the ball would bounce off the receiver because it was uncatchable.

For arm strength to be effective, it has to be combined with touch on shorter passes.

In this category, average gain per pass attempted tells us the quarterback is using his arm strength to its ultimate advantage.

Unfortunately, the two quarterbacks who rate the highest in this are from VERY different eras: Sid Luckman and Steve Young.

Luckman is second all time to Otto Graham in average gain (8.42 to 8.63). I don't include Graham because he only played 6 years in the NFL, whereas Luckman played 12 years.

In addition, Luckman holds the following records: led the league in average gain 7 times, and had the most consecutive seasons leading the league in average gain (5). Luckman also had the second highest single season average gain, with 10.86 in 1943.

While Luckman's records are impressive, I have to give equal consideration to someone I have actually seen play. In the modern era, Steve Young used his arm strength the best.

Young stands firmly in second to Luckman's NFL records for average gain. Young's greatest asset was his ability to stretch the 49ers West Coast Offense with his arm strength. Even though Young was not known for his arm strength, this is deceptive since he was nearly as accurate on deeper passes as he was on shorter passes.

Joe Montana may get the kudos for the success of the West Coast Offense, but Steve Young took it to another level, all because Young could stretch the field with a greater arm strength than Montana possessed.

Of today's quarterbacks, Kurt Warner is the best in average gain, as he is already third on the all time list with 8.21. We will see if he can maintain or improve on that before he retires. At the peak of Warner's career, he was certainly comparable to Steve Young.


Accuracy is another of those areas where it is difficult to compare quarterbacks from the modern era, where short passes are more frequently thrown, with those from previous eras.

If you look at the record for highest career completion percentage, you will see three current quarterbacks (Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger, and Daunte Culpepper). But will they still be there when they retire? Perhaps Warner, but I would not bet on the other two.

For modern era quarterbacks, I would have to name Steve Young as the most accurate. having led the NFL in completion percentage 5 times, with 4 of them coming in consecutive years.

However, Len Dawson was the most accurate of the old era quarterbacks, having led the NFL in completion percentage a whopping 8 times, with 6 of them coming in consecutive years.

In a team sport, the championship stands out as the ultimate test of how much a quarterback is helping his team.

This is the biggest no-brainer of all the quarterback categories. Bart Starr stands above everyone with 5 NFL championships and the first 2 Super Bowl victories to his credit.

Currently, Tom Brady, with 3 Super Bowl victories under his belt, looks the most ready to challenge Starr's record.

Should running ability be considered when looking at great quarterbacks? Currently, I would say no. But after watching what Mike Vick did to the Buccaneers last weekend, I cannot say this will always be true.

Take college football for example. A great running quarterback can lead a team to a national championship (like Vince Young did at Texas). Could this happen in the NFL? History would say no.

But history also used to say that a team without a running game could not win a championship. Enter the 1981 49ers to prove that wrong.

Will Mike Vick redefine the quarterback position? Perhaps, but his talent is freakish.

Vick is clearly the best running quarterback of all time. However, for the sake of choosing a retired quarterback, I would have to name Randall Cunningham the best I ever saw, at least until Vick retires.

What I have shown to this point are the best quarterbacks in every facet of the quarterbacking position. But the ultimate test of a quarterback is the guy who can use the quarterback position to carry the rest of his team to victory. The best quarterbacks I have seen, in no particular order: Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Ken Stabler, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Johnny Unitas.

Of those, Steve Young stands out from the rest in most of the categories of quarterbacking excellence.

GAME MANAGEMENT: Young's career 2.5% interception percentage compares favorably with Neil O'Donnell's 2.1%.

TOUCHDOWNS: Young is tied with Unitas for seasons leading the league in td passes (4) and is second behind Unitas with 3 consecutive seasons leading the NFL.

RELEASE: Compared to Marino, this is Young's weak suit. However, Young's release was more than adequate.

ARM STRENGTH/AVERAGE GAIN: Young was the best of the modern era.

ACCURACY: Again, Young was the best of the modern era.

CHAMPIONSHIPS: With only one Super Bowl win to his credit (although Young was named the MVP), Young is pretty weak in this category. Still, there are plenty of great quarterbacks who would gladly switch places with Young (such as Fran Tarkenton and Dan Marino).

RUSHING: With 4,239 career rushing yards, 5.9 rushing average, and 43 rushing touchdowns, Young compares favorably to Randall Cunningham's 4,928 rushing yards, 6.4 rushing average, and only 35 rushing touchdowns.

Any mention of Steve Young as the greatest quarterback of all time will naturally draw the comparison to Joe Montana. Let us look at the career numbers (Young's numbers are shown first below. NFL career records are marked with an asterisk):

Completion Percentage: 64.3% vs. 63.2%
Average Gain per Attempt: 7.98 vs. 7.52
Touchdown Percentage: 5.6% vs. 5.1%
Interception Percentage: 2.5789% vs. 2.5783%
Super Bowl Championships: 1 vs. 4*
Average Rushing Yards per Carry: 5.9 vs. 3.7
Passer Rating: 96.8* vs. 92.3

When you consider Young's numbers are a little skewed by spending two horrendous years at Tampa Bay during the start of his career, Young's numbers are even more impressive.

One other thing to consider: If the 49ers had a better defense during the 90's, who knows how many Super Bowls Young might have won?


Myrhaf said...

Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas have the best names. They both sound like something a comic book writer would come up with.

"Joe Montana awoke to the sound of gunfire..."

EdMcGon said...

I can't argue with that logic! ;)

Myrhaf said...

But seriously, I'm sure your statistical analysis is sound. However, I wonder how you measure intangibles, such as will to win, work ethic, intelligence, etc. Do those traits show up in statistics? What if a great quarterback is on a bad team? And what about charisma, fame and overall impact on the game, as in the case of Joe Namath, who became a cultural icon? Should that be a factored in? Broadway Joe probably got more women to watch football on Sunday than anyone else in history. Isn't that important? Is there a difference between importance to the game and greatness as a quarterback?

EdMcGon said...

If we could measure them, they wouldn't be intangible. ;)

Seriously, I am going to address your question in a separate post.

Anonymous said...

Umm yea...ur an idiot brett favre is the greatest quarterback of all time ... not only has he won three Mvp's hes also started 200 something consecutive games....u can throw montanna's superbowls as ur arguement but favre has accomplished all of his stunning stats with shitty recievers and no running game what-so-ever to take the pressure or of him hes going to become the all-time touchdown leader soon.... so fuck all the rest Favre is the best

EdMcGon said...

Ok Anonymous, I will grant you Favre doesn't have much of a team around him now, but for the majority of his career he has had a ton of talent on those Packer teams.

No running game? How about Edgar Bennett, Dorsey Levens and Ahman Green?

No receivers? Donald Driver, Javon Walker, Terry Glenn (who had better seasons with Drew Bledsoe than with Favre), Bill Schroeder, Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Keith Jackson, Mark Chmura, and Sterling Sharpe.

I am NOT saying Favre was not a good quarterback. Certainly, he deserves consideration when talking about all-time great quarterbacks. I just don't think he is the best.

Truth be told, if you want to pick the best Packer QB of all-time, I would take Bart Starr before Brett Favre.

Sean said...

I couldn't agree more with this analysis. I believe Steve Young is one of the most under rated quarterbacks of all time, constantly living behind the shadow of Montana. I followed the 49ers religiously throughout the 90's until Young was plagued with head concusions and Rice semi-retired ( even tho he went to oakland, he still was just getting to old )

If it wasn't for a mediocore defense, the 49ers would have probally won 3 more superbowls in the 90's. Young was an amazing quarterback to watch and was so very accurate in deep passing situations. He was a true joy to watch, not to mention, some of the better receivers were trained by that offense, including the infmaous (I personally hate) Terell Owens.

Anyways, cheers to the research in this article!

- Sean

EdMcGon said...

Thanks for the comment!

I could not agree more. There were times when I would watch Young and my jaw would just drop in amazement. He could beat you in so many different ways it was just scary.

PeopleDntlisten said...

Steve Young was a great quarterback no doubt but i believe that the best quarterbacks find ways to win big games in big time situations, the only big game i saw him win was in a Wild-Card match against the Green Bay Packers... did you know that was the only time he beat Brett Favre's Packers in his career. Terry Bradshaw would be on my list over Young, probably not the best but over Young i think.... Dan flung the ball around constantly i still thing he was good but not as good as most say. The best Quarterback (when he retires) will be Tom Brady because he does what he needs to help his team win, the only team he struggles against is the Dolphins, and he never loses to an NFC opponent. but out of all retired football players topping my list would be Bart Starr, remember the Ice Bowl (and as you said 7 Championships 2 Super Bowls). followed by Joe Namath who led the biggest upset ever, an AFL team beating an NFL team in the super bowl was unthinkable, what was even crazier is that he guaranteed a win. now i've watched 1 game of each of these guys, the Ice Bowl vs Dallas for Bart, and his desire to win impressed me. and Joe's super bowl win against the Colts and the same was for him.

EdMcGon said...

One problem with picking Bart Starr is that I would not even call him the best of his own era. Johnny Unitas was a better quarterback, and the passing numbers bear this out.

As for Namath, he would not be starting in the NFL today. He threw way too many interceptions. The Jet team that won the Super Bowl did it in spite of Namath, not because of Namath. He gets too much credit for that victory.

Anonymous said...

look, this is going to always be a heated and unresloved debate. But i do personally think that brett favre was the best all time, but of cause it depends on what you look for in a qb, stats=marino/young, superbowls= montana, heart= favre. I'm not in anyway saying that steve young wasn't a great, actually i rank him higher that montana by a mile because of his speed and accuracy on the run, but with favre i just see this beacon of solid unmovable rock, the guy can do it all (even gamemanage), just imagine him playing on the colts offence nowadays, he can do more that peyton and whats more the only reason his stats arn't amazing is because, yes his team wasn't spectacular. If you agree please comment on it.

EdMcGon said...

As I said before, I don't think Favre was even the best Packer quarterback of all time. Bart Starr was a better quarterback overall.

monterey said...

spot on analysis, it's funny how he dosen't get much mention by the media for all time great. he's as good if not better than all the passing quarterbacks and can run for the first down or TD, better than all of them. Football is a team sport so it's unfair to judge their careers mainly on championships, especially with the salary cap. For every great Brett Favre game there's an equally horrible one, Steve Young was more consistent.

Anon II said...

I can't believe that there is not one mention of John Elway in your blog. Might this be because you're a Raiders fan ;-) hmmm? Curious too that none of the responders have mentioned Elway.

Here's what it comes down to: If we're picking teams like we all did as kids on the school yard, who would you pick first? I'd pick Elway for the awe and fear he created in opposing defenses and coaches.

EdMcGon said...

Thank you! :)

Anon II,
Good points, but...

Elway himself was never actually that good against the Raiders until Shanahan got to Denver. Prior to that, the Raiders tended to split the series with Denver.

I will grant you Elway was talented. But Steve Young was just as talented, and made better use of his talent.

Anonymous said...

sorry to burst everyones bubble, but i cant believe brett favre isnt even considered the greatest quarterbacks of all time. he has the records and is still playing at one hell of a level for a 37 year old. by the way. peyton manning sucks

EdMcGon said...

Favre is NOT even the best Packer quarterback of all time, let alone the best overall, as I pointed out in this post:
"The Best Packer Quarterback"

Football priest said...

Statistically speaking, anyone who questions Steve Young as the overall best should recheck the record books. Considering the relatively few years Young started, and considering his mind-boggling efficiency and consistancy and his scrambling ability, he clearly was the best. I can't understand why he is so underrated. For the (record)four years in a row he led the league in passer rating, he shattered the competition statistically, often ten or even twenty rating points ahead of the next closest QB. Had he not been so often injured from 1995-98 he might have led the league in passer rating for THREE more years instead of TWO (which would've been SEVEN straight) (now do the math: When Steve Young was the 49ers starter, he lead the NFL in passer rating for SIX of his [only]EIGHT seasons as starter!) Not to mention he had TWO of the top all time ten fantasy seasons (that means he had TWO of the all time 10 best statistical seasons...)
He made it look routine. No one has approached that level of performance before or since.

EdMcGon said...

Football Priest,
Thanks for the support! :)

Anonymous said...

I must say for people who actually believe Young was a better QB than Montana, Marino, Elway or Unitas automatically proves they know squat about the QB position. Why no mention of Elway proves even more of your ignorance to the game and the position. Elway had a MUCH better arm than Young and he could scramble as well. He went to Five Superbowls and won two, if he had not retired after 1998 he would have won his third in a row. He also had passing records which i believe to be the most important most wins and most come-from-behind wins. Marino was a better QB than Young as well, Marino never had any help, he was the Dolphins there was rarely any other talent around him.
Young had better receivers and the System the coach he had helped much more. I believe Young is a Top 10 QB but not the greatest
1. Elway
2. Unitas
3. Montana
4. Marino
5. Manning
Manning is already a better QB than Young, Manning's football IQ is the best i have seen than any other QB and he has very accurate arm to match it. Manning pretty much calls his own plays and he won a Super Bowl doing that.

EdMcGon said...

I will admit that Manning will deserve serious consideration after he retires.

As for Elway, he really doesn't stand out in the record books. While he was a great come-from-behind quarterback, and he was a good all around quarterback, I would not even put him in the same class as your numbers 2-4.

It's easy to sit here and second guess Elway's career based on the "no talent around him" factor. But if we do that, what about Archie Manning?

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a Favre fan, so I guess that makes me biased. But I was also a Montana and Young fan. But to the point of who is best. I do not think there is any such answer. only a grouping that appear to be above the rest. I do wonder sometimes when I read these debates how often Favre is excluded. When measuring their greatnest what stats should we use? If it's sheer wins, seems unfair as the quarterback only plays half the game. it takes a defense to win as well. But, Favre is 2 wins away from being the all time winningest QB of all time. If we judge by passing stats, as we do when we claim Marino as the best, then Favre will pass nearly every significant passing record of Marino this year. If we rank soely by superbowl wins, then we would say montana, bradshaw, aikman, brady would be the best in that order, and that would also make dilfer better than marino. the degree of talent around the QB is a valid arguement. I havent taken the time to compare how many hall of famers or probowlers played with each QB. i suspect montana and bradshaw and aikman had more than favre. elway had maybe even fewer. I guess i sum it by saying, that many claim montana the best because of superbowl wins. many claim marino the best because of pure stats. others claim elway as the best because he has stats nearing that of marino but also has two superbowls. well, favre is surpasing marinos stats and has one superbowl. throw in that he shows up everyweek for 16 years making him the most reliable, i think there should never be an "all time best" conversation that doesnt at least include him.

EdMcGon said...

As I said at the beginning of the post, I was not ranking guys who are still playing. Favre is still playing.

After he retires, he certainly will get consideration.

Anonymous said...

for ed mcgown if you said that brett favre had a a running game when he had ed bennett you dont know what your talking about... bennett only rushed for a 1,000 1 time as a packer and every other year he was well under a 1,000 here are his stats as a packer
16 | 61 214 3.5 0 | 13 93 7.2 0 |
| 1993 gnb | 16 | 159 550 3.5 9 | 59 457 7.7 1 |
| 1994 gnb | 16 | 178 623 3.5 5 | 78 546 7.0 4 |
| 1995 gnb | 16 | 316 1067 3.4 3 | 61 648 10.6 4 |
| 1996 gnb | 16 | 222 899 4.0 2 | 31 176 5.7 1 |
and not that every year but 1 he is under a 1,ooo dorsey levens was the same thing only 2 years with a 1,000 every other year he was well uner ... the only time that he ever had a running back that was when he go ahman green and by theat time he had shitty receivers all for javon walker(who left after his 1 good year) and donald driver.... Montana and Elway always had talent around them... the 49ers when montana was there had an amazing team cause even after montana left they won a super bowl with steve young... taking nothing away from young but he stepped in a won a super bowl just like montana cause the 49ers where stacked and when Elway won the Super bowl His team was loaded... terrel davis best running back in the league, Shanon Sharpe the best tight end in the league, rod smith and Ed mccaffery 2 very solid reacivers and an outstanding offensive line... you give that to brett favre he would have won as many super bowl as montana... favre has never had that complete team that montana and elways had... when they won the superbowl they had no running back just good receivers and a good line

EdMcGon said...

Anonymous, you're kidding right? Favre has killed the Packers as many times as he's saved them, as evidenced by the fact he will probably finish this year as the NFL's all-time interception leader. You can argue that "he never had a running game", but that doesn't force him to make bad decisions too often.

Since you brought them up, I would consider Elway or Montana BEFORE Favre for best of all time. You mentioned running games? Montana won his first Super Bowl with Ricky Patton (remember him?) as his starting running back. And Elway at least made it to the Super Bowl multiple times with some second rate running backs, not winning it until Terrell Davis got there.

Anonymous said...

Unitas and Montana sit atop the list. Depending on your age, you'll pick one or the other.

No disrespect to Favre, but if you're going to throw him on the list, then you need to add Staubach and Bradshaw. These two arguably QB'd some of the greatest teams in the modern game. Their Super Bowl and Conference Championships will vouch for their credibiity.

Anonymous said...

The 1981 49er offense was all Joe Montana. No jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Tom Rathman, or Roger Craig.

EdMcGon said...

Anonymous, there is one caveat to giving Montana credit for that '81 Super Bowl: no one had ever defensed the West Coast offense before.

Anonymous said...

Once you cull the all-time list down to a reasonable number (5-10), the greatest QB is no longer a statistical argument, but a belief on whose going to give you the best chance to win. As a Packer fan, I'm not taking Favre as he's just as likely to win a big game as give it away (although the argument about Starr being the better quarterback is laughable). I'd want a tough quarterback who could win multiple ways (throw deep, manage a game, run, etc.) For my money, Montana is the man, followed by Elway, then Young, and finally Marino. I can't comment on Unitas as I didn't seem him play.
Finally, to the person who posted that Favre had solid backs and receivers through most of his career....compared to whome??? Edgar was the slowest back in the NFL and was go for two December games a year. Dorsey was above average as a receiver, but was only slightly above average as a runner (and only for a couple of years). Bill Schroeder, old man Terry Glen, give me a break. With the short stints at GB by some of the receivers (Jackson, Walker) and the injuries to the others (Sharpe, Brooks), Favre has generally had to carry the team (Ron Wolf has said many times that he wished he had gotten Favre a true game breaker - this was after Sharpe was injured).

EdMcGon said...

As a Packer fan, I'm not taking Favre as he's just as likely to win a big game as give it away (although the argument about Starr being the better quarterback is laughable).

You just made my point for me. Starr would NOT give the game away, as opposed to Favre.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely one of the best topics to debate about and it seems like most people have strong arguments. So maybe there is no one single best quarterback because of all the factors involved.

Anyways, my opinion, which is worth about 1 cent would be...

top 4 might be Unitas, Starr, Montana and Brady if you had to win a big game

or it might be Manning for overall mastery of the position

or it might be Elway or Favre for sheer athleticism

or it might be Marino, Manning, Favre, Young, Montana or now Brady based on statitistics

or it might be otto graham, sid luckman or sammy baugh for the earlier eras that didn't play in a league with the number of teams or rules that favor the quarterback

if you had to consider running ability along side all the other quarterback skills, would any one beat Young?

and then there are others..Staubach, Bradshaw, Kurt Warner, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Aikman, and even Warren Moon who have at times done some of the most amazing things ever seen

BUT if you had to win one game and only one game (like a super bowl) would you pick Marino? Manning? Steve Young? Favre? Elway? or Bradshaw?

Probably not...

You would probably end up with a list that looks like this:

Unitas, Starr, Graham, Montana, Brady

Now with all things considered you might end up with a tie for best all-time QB


and from that top three you might choose Unitas over Montana because of the differences in eras. Montana would probably beat Brady (whose career is not nearly finished)

In your top five you would probably have to include Manning and Marino

and in your top ten you would need to include Favre, Elway, Starr, Graham, and Young.

So the top ten, for overall mastery of the position might look like this:

1. Unitas
2. Montana (practically tied for first)
3. Brady (might rank higher after career)
4. Manning (will break stats records)
5. Marino (will always be in the top five)
6. Favre (in some ways the best ever)
7. Starr (one of the best leaders ever)
8. Graham (possibly the best winner ever)
9. Elway (perhaps the most raw talent ever)
10. Young (no one did it better at times and had the most complete package)

Anonymous said...

How could Staubach not be on a list of top QB of all time? The only one who ever came close to Staubach is Montana. Unitas well he lost to Namath AND to Staubach so do the math people! The Cowboys never ha a losing season with Staubach and his leadership and ability to make comeback was legendary. Only the ignorant would exclude this man from this list. IMHO

EdMcGon said...

Staubach might make it to the list, but he certainly wouldn't be at the top. Heck, if you rated the great quarterbacks of the 70's, Staubach would still fall behind Terry Bradshaw.

Anonymous said...

what makes me think that your ranking is absolutely garbage is that you talk about Kurt Warner... he had a couple good seasons, yes... but ive never heard anyone this side of a mental institution who talked about him in the conversation of best quarterbacks

EdMcGon said...

In his prime, Warner WAS one of the best. Mind you, I did NOT call him THE best.

Let me put it this way: If you discuss the greatest overall offenses of all-time, wouldn't you mention "The Greatest Show on Turf"? To ignore the quarterback from that team would be truly insane.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with this post. You people are taking this post way to far. I have read all the comments and what you are forgetting is that Brett Favre wasn't retired when this post was made. Now Brett Favre is retired I think we should try matching his stats next to Youngs. But none the less this was about RETIRED Quarterbacks not ones still active.

Anonymous said...

1 Unitas
2 Graham
3 Montana
4 Baugh

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You've got to consider come from behind or tie break performances in the 4th quarter or overtime to really evaluate ALL the variables.
Elway, Montana, Favre are right there with Brady and Manning closing in.
Not so surprisingly, Jake Plummer is almost at the top of that list despite no name receivers and a terrible "D" in Arizona most of his career.
Had Jake potrayed a more high profile personna (more suitable for Shanahan)Cutler would not have been drafted by the Broncos.
2009 would have found Plummer w/HOF numbers and w/ Denver's aweful "D", might be pushing Elway on come from behinds.
Wanna get the most accurate reviws of QBs, interview players who've teamed with 2 or more. The 'believe in' factor I'd guess from that standpoint would be Graham, Starr, Unitas, Montana and Elway. Followed by Young and Manning then Namath and Plummer in spite of their diverse topical expression.


I would also use career longevity to rate the best quarterbacks of all time. I mean it’s great to play well over a few seasons but whoever can consistently perform throughout their career deserves to be on that list.