I think it’s pretty safe to say that after Super Bowl 51 Tom Brady became the best quarterback in NFL history. I don’t care if you’re a Patriots hater, the guy has been to seven Super Bowls and has won five of them (shout out to my man Eli for not letting him go seven for seven). The run Brady has been on for his entire career is something I don’t think we’ll ever see again in the history of the NFL, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like the Pats.
Whether you or not you like Tom Brady or even agree with my stance, you’d have to be the most stubborn person alive to not give the man his due credit, but that also brings up a greater question: Who are the top five quarterbacks in NFL History? Everyone has their opinions about this, and I’m not saying my top five is more accurate or holds more credibility than your top five (for the record it does), but it’s still a great argument to have.
I may be a youngster at the ripe age of 25, so I haven’t seen a lot of the greats play, but here are the five quarterbacks I think are the best in NFL history.
5. Aaron Rodgers (2005 – Present)
Born: Chico, California
Weight: 225 lbs
This one may draw some criticism, but bring on the hate. I’m well aware that Rodgers hasn’t been doing it as long as the other quarterbacks on the list, only has one Super Bowl title, and had to sit for the first few years of his career, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve ever seen someone throw a better ball than him. He’s on this list just because of his talent alone, as well ask his two NFL MVPs and Super Bowl MVP. Some of the throws Rodgers has made in his career shouldn’t be physically possible for a human to make, but yet he still does it. And although he’s a more of a pocket passer than he is a scrambler, he’s got great mobility and is absolutely incredible at throwing on the run. I think another Super Bowl title for him will validate me putting him in the top five with still a lot of career left in him, but on talent alone, I’m not sure if I’ve seen anyone as good as him.
Career Stats: 36,827 passing yards, 297 touchdowns, 72 interceptions; 2,544 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns
4. John Elway (1983 – 1998)
Born: Port Angeles, Washington
Weight: 215 lbs
I was close to putting him third on the list, but the guy ahead of him has him beat statistically. John Elway was one of the most hyped prospects in NFL history, and boy did he live up to the hype. After being selected #1 overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, but then being forced into a trade to the Denver Broncos, Elway went on to have one of the greatest careers by any quarterback in the history of the NFL. Elway reached the Super Bowl five times, losing the first three times he went, but then closed out his career by winning back to back Super Bowls in his final two seasons, while claiming the Super Bowl MVP in his final career game. He was MVP of the league in 1987, and retired with more wins than any other quarterback in league history, though that has now been surpassed. Much like Rodgers, Elway was a pretty mobile quarterback who was great at throwing on the run. He also had an absolute rocket of an arm. Since retirement, Elway has moved to the Broncos front office, and added another Super Bowl ring to his resume after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50.
Career Stats: 51,475 passing yards, 300 touchdowns, 226 interceptions; 3,407 rushing yards, 33 touchdowns
3. Peyton Manning (1998 – 2015)
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
Weight: 230 lbs
Let me start off by saying that I like Peyton’s younger and more handsome brother Eli much more than him. Now that I got that off my chest, let me say this, Peyton was so freaking good. He holds just about every important quarterback record in NFL history: most touchdown passes (539), most passing yards (71,940), tied with Brett Favre for most regular season wins by a quarterback (186), most NFL MVPs (5), passing touchdowns in a season (55), passing yards in a season (5,477), and a bunch of other records that I don’t feel like listing, but you get the point. He’s also the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams in the Indianapolis Colts, where he was MVP of Super Bowl XLI, and the Denver Broncos. The reason Peyton isn’t higher on this list is because it took him a while to start having as much postseason success as the two quarterbacks on this list who are ahead of him, and many people expected him to win more Super Bowls than just the two that he did. Regardless, he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Career Stats: 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdowns, 251 interceptions; 667 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns
2. Joe Montana (1979 – 1994)
Born: New Eagle, Pennsylvania
Weight: 205 lbs
I wasn’t alive for his prime and was too young to remember the end of his career, but Joe Montana was the man (according to my dad, who saw him play). “Joe Cool” (even his nickname is sweet) was an excellent regular season quarterback who won two NFL MVPs, but was mostly know for coming up huge in the postseason, with plays like “The Catch” where he threw the winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark with 51 seconds left in the NFC Championship game to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, or the game winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left in Super Bowl XXIII to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals. All of his big postseason moments resulted in him going four for four in Super Bowls and being named MVP in three of those games. Along with Joe Namath, he’s the only quarterback in the history of football to win a national championship at the collegiate level, as well as a Super Bowl. It wasn’t until the last few years that he was dethroned from the title as “Best Quarterback in NFL History” to the following quarterback.
Career Stats: 40,551 passing yards, 273 touchdowns, 139 interceptions, 1,676 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns
1. Tom Brady (2000 – Present)
Born: San Mateo, California
Weight: 225 lbs
I thought the debate was over after he won his fourth Super Bowl title in 2014, but after winning his record fifth Super Bowl title this past Sunday coming back from a 25-point deficit late in the third quarter, I don’t think anyone can argue Tom Brady as the best quarterback of all-time. By now you all know the story, sixth round draft pick who ran a hilarious 40-yard dash and just didn’t look the part to be an NFL quarterback, got his opportunity to play because of a Mo Lewis hit on Drew Bledsoe. Five Super Bowls, four Super Bowl MVPs, two NFL MVPs, and a whole bunch of other accolades, the rest is history, with the list possibly still growing as I don’t think he’s going away anytime soon. And spare me your Deflategate/Spygate bullshit. If you think that played any part in all of the success that Brady has had over his career, then you’re a flat out moron. Am I a Tom Brady fan? Eh, not really, but I respect the hell out of everything he’s accomplished and can understand that everything he’s done in his career is truly something remarkable.
Career Stats: 61,582 passing yards, 456 touchdowns, 152 interceptions; 940 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns