Decision '08; the Greatest QB of all-time

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Top Properties

If you're tired of political rants or ever at a loss for discussion topics at a tavern, family event or at the office and in any vicinity of sports fans, there's always one debate that's sure to kill the next few hours for you.

Who is the greatest NFL Quarterback of all-time?

It's truly a debate that can rage on not only for a few minutes or hours, but possibly for all eternity. Everyo ne has an opinion on it and isn't afraid to let you know. You're at an establishment watching a baseball game with your buddy- you know the one. He's the guy that couldn't tell you the first stat about anything....not even the guy up two hitters ago (when they flashed ALL his statistics on the screen), probably doesn't remember his wife's birthday or anniversary either. Contradict his top signal-caller of all-time and to support his guy he'll roll out a list of credentials so long War and Peace starts to look like Cliffs Notes. I've raged debates like this for at least 5 years already. To even debate, one needs a field. I don't have time to type every QB that was good so the field is limited to 16. With that, I give you the contenders (with a little help from the hall of fame website):

The old-timers

These are the guys that my generation didn't get to see except for late in their career or old NFL Films footage. At that, most everything we HAVE  seen is a highlight. We don't get to see the dumper games that everyone occasionally has. We also have our dads, uncles and various other old folks' renditions of their greatness. This should be taken with a senile grain of salt.

"Slingin" Sammy Baugh: You can argue Baugh wasn't a top QB, though a top "player" because he split time between tailback, defensive back and punter. Premier passer who influenced great offensive revolution with forward passing in more than just necessary situations. NFL passing, punting, interception champ, 1943. Six-time NFL passing leader. Career records: 21,886 yards, 187 TDs passing, 45.1-yard punting average, 31 interceptions. 

 Bart Starr: A 17th round draft pick, Starr led the Packers to wins in Super Bowl 1 and 2 (MVP of both games). He led the Packers to six additional division and five NFL titles. The three-time passing champion was the MVP in 1966.

Otto Graham: A man's man, Graham played not only QB but also defense and kick returner in the mid-40s and eary 50s for the Cleveland Browns. Graham won 7 championships and was a 10-time All Pro.

 

 Johnny Unitas: Led Colts to 1958, 1959 NFL crowns, Super Bowl V victory.  Player of Year three times . MVP three times in 10 Pro Bowls. . . Completed 2,830 passes for 40,239 yards, 290 TDs. . .Threw at least one TD pass in 47 straight games.

Fran Tarkenton:  At retirement led lifetime passers in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003), touchdowns (342). Exciting, elusive scrambler that rushed for 3,674 yards, 32 TDs. . .Led Vikings to three Super Bowls. Pro Bowl selection nine times.

 

 Roger Staubach: Guided Dallas to four NFC titles, Super Bowl VI (MVP), XII wins. Career stats: 22,700 yards, 153 TDs passing; 2,264 yards, 20 TDs rushing. 83.4 NFL passer rating best ever at time of retirement. Four-time NFL passing leader. . .

Terry Bradshaw:  Led Steelers to eight AFC Central, four Super Bowl titles. MVP in Super Bowls XIII and XIV. Career stats: 27,989 yards, 212 TDs passing, 2,257 yards, 32 TDs rushing. NFL MVP, 1978. . recorded a country album.

 

The 80s and 90s

These are the guys that I grew up watching. They formed they was I think quarterback shoud be played. Unfortunately, very few of today's QBs must have been watching.....

 Joe Montana: Led 49ers to four Super Bowl wins. Named Super Bowl MVP three times. . .  . Selected to eight Pro Bowls. Career statistics: 3,409 completions, 40,551 yards, 273 TDs, 92.3 passer rating.

Dan Marino:  Most prolific passer in NFL history at time of retirement. Career statistics include 4,967 completions, 8,358 attempts for 61,361 yards, and 420 touchdowns. First player ever to pass for 5,000 yards in a season, threw then-record 48 TDs. Recorded thirteen 3,000-yard seasons. Selected to nine Pro Bowls. Never won a Super Bowl.

 John Elway: Led Denver to record 47 fourth quarter comebacks. NFL's Most Valuable Player, 1987. Elected to nine Pro Bowls. Career stats: 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns. Started five Super Bowls. At retirement, winningest quarterback in NFL history. Possibly the most-perfect combination of arm-strength, intelligence and legs in QBing history.

Troy Aikman:  Led team to three Super Bowl wins. Winningest starting quarterback of any decade with 90 of 94 career wins occurring in 1990s. Held or tied 47 Dallas passing records. Named to six Pro Bowls.

 

 

 Warren Moon: Often overlooked because he began pro career with CFL's Edmonton Eskimos, winning five straight Grey Cups. Completed 3,988 of 6,823 passes for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns, 233 interceptions in 17-season NFL career. Nine 3,000-yar d passing seasons was third in league history. Named to nine Pro Bowls. . .Had four 4,000-yard passing seasons. Consider those first CFL seasons....had they been NFL seasons at an average of 2,500 yards and 10 TDs he would have retired at #1 and #2 all-time, respectively....not shabby. For my buck, the most overlooked QB ever.

Jim Kelly: Passed for more than 3,000 yards in season eight times. Guided Buffalo to eight post-season appearances including an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls. Named to five Pro Bowls. Career stats: 35,467 yards, 237 touchdowns, 84.4 passer rating.

 Brett Favre: The gunslinger of gunslingers. Favre no holds EVERY significant NFL QB record: yards, attempts, completions, TDs, wins. Also has one Super Bowl win in two appearances. NFL-record 3-consecutive MVPs in the 90s. Top it off with the fact the he's the NFL's Iron Man...hasn't missed a start since the fall of 1992!!!!!

 

The gruesome two-some

It's now necessary to include two others into the category of all-time greatest. One more for personal st ats and the other for wins when it matters most... but both belong, make no mistake about it.

Tom Brady: Enters 2007 with a record of 82-26 (.759) in regular-season and playoff games. It is the best record of any NFL quarterback in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966) with at least 40 starts. 12-2 Playoff record, only quarterback in NFL history to start and win three Super Bowls before his 28th birthday, having quarterbacked the Patriots to victories in Super Bowl XXXVI when he was 24 years old, Super Bowl XXXVIII (26) and Super Bowl XXXIX (27). Fourth quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to three or more Super Bowl wins, joining Terry Bradshaw (4), Joe Montana (4) and Troy Aikman (3). Two Super Bowl MVP Awards (XXXVI and XXXVIII). He is just the fourth player in Super Bowl history to earn multiple MVP awards, joining Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr.

  Peyton Manning: Manning has established several NFL records, including: most touchdown passes in a single season (49 in 2004), most consecutive seasons with over 4,000 yards passing (1999-2004), and most seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing in a career (7). Manning is second on the list for highest career passer rating, behind only the retired Steve Young. Manning is also the all-time career passing yards and passing touchdowns leader for the Colts franchise, having passed Johnny Unitas's marks. 8-time Pro bowl selection, 2-time MVP and the most recent Super Bowl champion.

 

 

There ya have it folks.....debate away. In a day or two's time I'll let you know my thoughts on the subject.

 

 

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Jim Ludes is a REALTOR with Century 21 Coleman-Hornsby in Grundy and Will County, IL. If you have a question about real estate that he might be able to help with, email him at Jim@JimLudes.com or call/text at 815-712-7786. If you'd rather observe from afar or become friends first, check him out at:

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Rainmaker
1,553,427
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County
OK, before I read any of this post the name that came to mind..Fran Tarkenton. Why/ Can't recall for sure but as a kid growing up he had the moves. Of corse I remember Starr and Uitas as well!
Dec 28, 2007 09:40 AM #1
Rainer
41,053
Frank Jewett
tech4REpros - San Jose, CA

Otto Graham was to quarterbacking what Babe Ruth was to slugging.  He's the greatest.

Dec 28, 2007 09:44 AM #2
Rainmaker
636,143
Peter Testa
Nationwide Homes - Danbury, CT
PETER TESTA
I'd like to open up a new category- STUPIDEST QB OF ALL TIME - Michael Vick
Dec 28, 2007 09:50 AM #3
Rainer
64,501
David Hood
Chino Valley Real Estate - Chino, CA
Very good post Jim, I will have too put some thought into this one.
Dec 28, 2007 10:20 AM #4
Rainer
139,950
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker
I have to agree with Frank, Otto Graham. There was discussion on sports radio here in Boston today about this same subject. Otto, which you mentioned, won 7 championships but he played in 10 Championship games in his 10 years of playing in the NFL and the All-America Football Conference. Playing on both sides of the ball has to say something too.
Dec 28, 2007 12:53 PM #5
Rainer
139,950
Jay McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Exeter, NH
Real Estate Broker

Jim, I wish you had also mention YA Tittle in the Old timer section along with Sammy Baugh. 

No Dan Fouts ? 

Dec 28, 2007 12:56 PM #6
Rainer
69,601
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR

Great comments guys.... to be honest, I started this thing toward the end of the day and was supposed to leave the office and go somewhere with the misses and kids at 5:00...you'll see I ran a half hour over, so I sorta lost momentum and threw the end together.

The great part of this debate is that you can throw a YA, Baugh and Fouts onto the list....gotta remember, I'm 28 so anyone pre-mid-80s is before my time. That's probably how a Jim Kelly gets on my 15 instead of Baugh who should  be on my list.

I can't see any justification to put Fouts with the top-ever. He threw for some nice yards and played in a legendary playoff game, but winning only 3 divisions and owning no passing records doesn't do it for me....he's kinda like Dan Marino but nowhere near as good.

Dec 28, 2007 04:39 PM #7
Rainer
234,220
BLR Guy
BLRGUY(Beach & Luxury Realty Inc) - Saint Pete Beach, FL

Wow..this is a great post!My football memory only goes back as far as the late 70's and is much clearer through the 80's.

Marino and Fouts are probably the best QB's to never win anything.

It will be Tom Brady by the time he hangs it up...but this is very tough!

Dec 28, 2007 09:11 PM #8
Rainmaker
129,654
Kevin McGrath
Long & Foster Real Estate Companies- Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania - Fredericksburg, VA
Long & Foster Real Estate Companies
You are the man with the stats - that is for sure. I think it is a bit age related - who we grew up with is more in our minds - for me it is Bradshaw and Montana.
Dec 28, 2007 10:52 PM #9
Rainer
69,601
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR

Kevin, you are absolutely right! ('cept those stats were provided by other sources than my brain)  I never saw Fouts or Bradshaw play a live game....my oprinion is that one's a bearded QB of the Air Coryell system that never won anything and the other a blonde idiot that won because of his cast as much as anything he contributed.....but what do I know?

BLR- Brady has got a looooong way to go to catch Favre. He trails Jim Everett in TD passes for Pete's sake! :) He does have a pretty nice 'iron man' streak going (will be alone at 3rd longest with tonight's start). 

Dec 29, 2007 04:06 AM #10
Rainer
23,008
Photo Photo
Chicago, IL

This debate will go on forever...I think there should be an actual election where all worthy candidates have touring campaigns. It would be thoroughly entertaining for us sports freaks. When this era ends, Tom Brady will be the greatest of all time. Although, the argument will roll on because of the many X factors. Arguing points such as, the talent of the team surrounding him, the pass first/run second era, cover two defenses, the machines that current players are compared to those of the past....and on and on and on.

Dec 29, 2007 06:36 AM #11
Rainer
64,501
David Hood
Chino Valley Real Estate - Chino, CA

Joe Montana: Led 49ers to four Super Bowl wins. Named Super Bowl MVP three times. . .  . Selected to eight Pro Bowls. Career statistics: 3,409 completions, 40,551 yards, 273 TDs, 92.3 passer rating.

 

Joe is still the best IMO.

Dec 30, 2007 01:11 AM #12
Ambassador
934,329
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA
FrankRubiRealEstate.com
Jim, you do have an impressive list in your post. Pro and Cons every where. They were all good in their time span. Archie Manning is my favorite. If only in his prime he would have been with Dallas who know where he would be on your list.
Dec 30, 2007 01:16 AM #13
Rainer
64,501
David Hood
Chino Valley Real Estate - Chino, CA
Archie Manning with a better team, he would have won a few SB, he was that good.
Dec 30, 2007 01:41 AM #14
Rainer
69,601
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
That's the beauty of the list and debate fellas.... and if Joe Montana was the Tampa Bay QB- he'd be an afterthought and maybe  a top-50 QB of all-time..... lots goes into the debate.
Dec 30, 2007 12:23 PM #15
Rainer
64,501
David Hood
Chino Valley Real Estate - Chino, CA
and if Joe Montana was the Tampa Bay QB- he'd be an afterthought and maybe . Jim I have heard you say this before. Heck all of the QB on this list wouild be afterthoughts, I guess it works both ways.
Dec 31, 2007 02:55 AM #16
Anonymous
Nick Campagna

Johnny U Is the best man and what about Phil Simms and Drew Brees

Nov 06, 2009 02:32 AM #17
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