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One of the greatest debates in football, and in all of sports is who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. It may be a little bit hard to single out just one, so I have decided to list the top 5 quarterbacks in NFL history. This list will have nothing to do with personal opinions, and will be based solely on career stats and events.
1. Dan Marino
There is some debate to who the best quarterback of all time is, but Mr. Marino leaves little doubt as to who should top the list. You could argue that Brett Favre has almost 4,000 more career passing yards (65,127), however it took him almost 1,000 more attempts. Marino is second on the all time yards list (61,361), and is about 10,000 yards ahead on John Elway (51,475) in third place. When it comes to career touchdown passes, Marino is second all time, behind Favre (464) once again. However as we have already established, Favre had almost 1,000 more passing attempts in his career. Marino (420) is a whole 78 touchdowns ahead of Fran Tarkenton (342) who is currently third. The one stat that really hurts Brett's case for this list is the fact that he holds the all time record for career interceptions thrown (310). Marino kept his total down to a much lower 252.
Here are just a couple more mind boggling facts that put Dan on top:
He holds the records for highest completion percentage and passer rating as a rookie.
He holds the record for most yardage in a single season.
While many of Dan's records have been broken recently, it has been done by a variety of different players. Despite having won no super bowls, Dan Marino wrote the record books for modern day quarterbacks.
Yes, it is plausible for a guy who is still playing to make this list. The stats and records are so mind blowing even while his career is unfinished, that he had to make the list. Think of this guy as the modern version of Dan Marino, he may be the all time best by the time he retires. Manning is currently second all time in career passer rating (94.7) is seventh on the career passing yards list (45,628) despite having played only 11 seasons, and is 4th on the all time in passing touchdowns (333). Did I mention his career completion percentage of over 64%? And for those of us who think that Brett Favre's games played streak should move him up the list, Manning has played in 176 straight. This means that he has started every regular season game since coming into the league in 1998. Remember that record that Marino used to hold for most touchdown passes in one season? Manning has already broken that one. And On top of all that Manning is just about all you can ask for in terms of being a winner. During his rookie year, the Colts went 3-13, and in the 10 years following have only fallen short of 10 wins in a season once; not to mention the massive piece of jewelry on his ring finger. When it is all said and done, Manning is already one of the best ever, and is on pace to be THE best ever.
Let's be honest: Johnny U had to make the list. In a time where the league was a run first, run second, and run third league, Unitas was the best of the best. Many consider Unitas to be the father of modern quarterbacks, and had he played at a time where the passing game was more heavily used, he would most likely be remembered as the best ever. Unitas ranks 7th on the all time touchdowns list (290), and 11th on the all time yardage list (40,239). Here is the stat that will really blow your mind; Dan Marino had (8,358) career passing attempts, and Peyton Manning had (5,960) as of now. Unitas had a minuscule (5,186) for his entire career. Unitas was selected to 10 Pro Bowls, and was voted AP NFL MVP 3 times. Unitas also won 2 NFL championships for the Colts, including a win over the Giants in 1958 in the "Greatest Game Ever Played". This was more than just any old NFL championship, it laid the foundation for what the NFL has become today. For those of you who like to pretend the NFL didn't truly exist until 20 years ago, Johnny Unitas was the first truly great NFL quarterback, and without him the NFL is not what it is today.
4. Joe Montana
When it comes to picking a quarterback that was flat out the man, Joe Montana is the one and only. Joe is 5th all time career for that all important stat, passer rating (92.3). Montana completed 63.2 percent of his passes for his career, threw for over 40,000 yards, and is in the top ten all time for touchdown passes (273). But as I said before, when it comes to looking at the best quarterbacks of all time, winning is the most important stat of all. Montana won 4 Super Bowls with the 49ers, and was named the Super Bowl MVP 3 times! Joe has the most yards (5,772) in postseason history by more than 800, most completions in postseason history (460), most postseason passing touchdowns (45), and did I mention the 3 Super Bowl MVP awards? Joe Montana was a great regular season quarterback. The thing that puts him on this list is that right now he is the best post season quarterback ever.
5. Tom Brady
The knee injury suffered last season may slow and or stop Tom Brady's climb up this list. What he does from this point on may affect whether or not he gets to be considered the best of all time, but for now he has locked up a spot in the top 5. When it comes to quarterbacks, stats are the most important judge of skill, but Super Bowls are the best measure of overall success. After all, quarterbacks are drafted to do one thing, and that is win Super Bowls for that franchise. Combine Tom Brady's career stats with his 3 Super Bowl rings and you have yourself an all time great. An outstanding stat when judging a quarterback is passer rating, and Brady is fourth all time on that career list (92.9). At 197, Brady doesn't even crack the top 20 all time in touchdown passes, but in fairness he has only played 7 full seasons. There are a couple of main reasons that Brady is 3rd on the list and so much better than most everyone else; his career passer rating, his season of pure insanity during which he threw 50, yes 50 touchdown passes, only 8 interceptions, and 4,800 yards, and last but not least his three rings. The fact that Brady has one of the best career passer ratings of all time, had the best season of any quarterback ever, and has 3 Super Bowl rings earns him a spot amongst the best of all time.