Best Sports Debates - Best NFL Quarterback Ever

Okay, so there's a multitude of quarterbacks that could be included in the discussion for the best of all-time in the NFL. For the purposes of this debate though, we need to narrow the choices down a bit, and that will be done with statistics.

The stats which will be used to narrow down the quarterbacks are: career passing yardage, career QB rating, career TDs, career completion percentage, and number of championships won.  All stats are courtesy of pro-football-reference.com.

As of today, here are your top 5 career passing yardage leaders:
Brett Favre
Dan Marino
Peyton Manning
John Elway
Warren Moon

Here are your top 5 career QB rating leaders: (for a primer on QB or "passer" rating check see this WikiPedia article.)
Aaron Rodgers
Philip Rivers
Steve Young
Tony Romo
Tom Brady

Here are your top 5 career TD leaders:
Brett Favre
Dan Marino
Peyton Manning
Fran Tarkenton
John Elway

Here are your top 5 career completion percentage leaders:
Chad Pennington
Kurt Warner
Drew Brees
Peyton Manning
Matt Schaub

Here are your top NFL Championship leaders:
Bart Starr (won 3 NFL championships pre-Super Bowl, and 2 Super Bowls)
Joe Montana
Terry Bradshaw
Arnie Herber (won 4 NFL championships pre-Super Bowl, one of which he played tailback in)
Troy Aikman
Steve Young
Tom Brady
Johnny Unitas (won 3 NFL championships pre-Super Bowl)
Otto Graham (won 3 NFL championships pre-Super Bowl)

If a name appears on any of the above lists more than once, that QB will be included in the debate. The QBs that qualify then are:
Peyton Manning
Brett Favre
Dan Marino
John Elway
Tom Brady
Steve Young

I gotta say that those 6 QBs are all worthy of consideration and make up quite an impressive list of Hall of Famers (with three of them to be inducted in the future). The surprises excluded from this list, which I will no doubt hear about are: Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. I'm sure a few more will be noted in the comments, too.

In any case, these are the quarterbacks that the statics bore out, so now to compare the selected quarterbacks. Let's take them alphabetically by their last name.

Tom Brady
11 NFL Seasons
63.6% completion percentage
34,744 passing yards
261 TDs
118 career QB rating
3 Super Bowl Championships

John Elway
16 NFL Seasons
56.9% completion percentage
51,475 passing yards
300 TDs
105 career QB rating
2 Super Bowl Championships

Brett Favre
20 NFL Seasons
62% completion percentage
71,838 passing yards
508 TDs
109 career QB rating
1 Super Bowl Championship

Peyton Manning
13 NFL Seasons
64.9% completion percentage
54,828 passing yards
399 career TDs
118 career QB rating
1 Super Bowl Championship

Dan Marino
17 NFL Seasons
59.4% completion percentage
61,361 passing yards
420 career TDs
113 career QB rating
No Super Bowl Championships

Steve Young
15 NFL Seasons
64.3% completion percentage
33,124 passing yards
232 TDs
126 career QB rating
3 Super Bowl Championships (Was starting QB for 1 of those Championships)

We will give a point for each place in the comparative rankings of the respective categories, with ties taking the higher point total (for example if three players were tied in one category, and the player ahead of them was in the 5th position - with 5 points - and the player beneath them was in the first position - with 1 point - each of the three tied players would be awarded 4 points - the next highest total, rather than 2 points - the next lowest total).

Using the above logic, here are your top 6 quarterbacks of all-time:

1)  Peyton Manning - 23 points
2)  Brett Favre - 21 points
3)  Tom Brady - 19 points
4)  Steve Young - 17 points
5)  Dan Marino - 16 points
6)  John Elway - 13 points

I'm not very surprised by these results.  Peyton Manning is often mentioned as one of the best quarterbacks ever, and statistics have clearly shown that he is.  What are your thoughts?  Is Peyton Manning the best QB of all-time?

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  1. Anonymous3:57 AM

    Brady may prove that he's one of the top two, but you can't argue with the sucess of Montana, regardless of stats.

    How many people can do what those two did (assuming Brady pulls off the finale of an incredible year) with anyone and anybody as teammates?

    Those two can pull it off with me (6'0 200 lbs) as a guard on the line, or a TE, or a sloooow WR.. They have what it takes to reel in a championship with Whatever they're given..

    Nobody else on the list can do that, regardless of stats or teammates..

  2. Anonymous2:49 AM

    Only one QB in the history of Professional Football has ever led his team to TEN straight League Championship games. OTTO GRAHAM,1946-1956 Four League Championship wins in the All-American Football Conference, and three League Championships out of six played in the NFL. A record of 7 league Championships won out of ten played.
    No other QB comes close.

  3. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Analysis that doesn't recognize the massive rule changes in favor of the passing game instituted over time since 1980 isn't helpful.

    A FAR more useful tool would emphasize who dominated in their era by leading the league in important categories.


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