Best Quarterbacks of All Time

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Best Quarterbacks of All Time: The Top 10

1. Joe Montana: Sure, stats are an important method used to gauge greatness and Montana certainly has great numbers. But if the true measure of greatness at the quarterback position is clutch play and championships, then Montana cannot be denied. A 4-time Super Bowl champion, Montana was magic–with a slew of clutch big plays that turned big games in the Niners’ favor.

2. Johnny Unitas: Today, every other team has a powerful passing attack. When looking at the old Colts teams, however, it’s important to note that they were ground-breaking, as no teams really emphasized the high-flying pass game until Unitas and Company came around. He is a member of the 75th anniversary all-time team and considered by many to be the greatest quarterback who ever lived.

3. Tom Brady: History usually needs time to percolate. A player’s true scope of greatness sometimes takes years to develop. But even as an active player still in his relative prime, Brady’s body of work stands out as true greatness. And he didn’t get there the easy way. Not even a regular starter in college, he wasn’t picked until the 6th round. But once he latched on, forget about it. 5 AFC championships and 3 Super Bowl rings attest to what he has done for the Patriots. In a little over a decade, he is already nearing 40000 yards and has 300 touchdowns against only 115 interceptions., showing tremendous grit and leadership to win.

4. John Elway: The embodiment of late-career redemption, Elway was always a great quarterback, but it was hard for Elway to shake off the indignity of not only losing Super Bowls, but suffering mind-numbing blowouts, as well. He finally made it right, winning consecutive Super Bowls to close out his career. Talk about going out on top.

5. Terry Bradshaw: When a team wins four Super Bowls under your stewardship, it cannot be ignored. Sure, Terry had one of the best casts to work with–playing with a gaggle of Hall of Famers on both sides of the ball, but the Steelers certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed near the same success if not for Bradshaw.


6. Bart Starr: Though his stats were better than the bulk of his contemporaries, this is another guy where numbers only tell a small fraction of the story. With 5 championships under his belt, Starr trumps everyone on this list. His team was the last to win 3 consecutive NFL titles. His clutch was off-the-charts, as attested by his winning play in the famous “Ice Bowl” in 1967.

7. Brett Favre: He had the numbers, the championship, and a certain element of magic that you only see with the greats. The 11-time Pro-Bowler was picked in the 2nd round and it took a while before he found his footing. Let go by the Falcons, he latched onto the Packers, where he would spend 16 seasons, before spending his last 3 seasons with the Jets and Vikings. In 20 incredible years, Favre passed for 71838 yards and 508 touchdowns. For 18 and a half years, he never missed a single start. Any questions?

8. Dan Fouts: OK, so he didn’t win any championships. It’s not as if anyone from this list could have done any better. As the pilot of Air Coryell, Fouts captained a passing attack of the likes that had never been seen before. In a lot of ways, Fouts showed the NFL world what was possible in a passing attack, redefining the parameters and laying the foundation for what we see today in the NFL. You give this man a defense and the rings would be there.

9. Dan Marino: Is there anyone on this list or any other who had a better arm? Marino was the prototype, the model of the ideal quarterback that is still adhered to today. In 16 seasons as the Miami Dolphins field general, he threw for 61361 yards and 420 touchdowns. Marino was a 9-time Pro Bowl selection.

10. Peyton Manning: To really understand how great Peyton is and how valuable he is to a team, look at what happened to the Colts without Manning in 2011. They went from a perennial contender to a laughingstock, illustrating how important he truly was to the team. The 11-time Pro Bowler now hopes to add to his already-immense legacy as a member of the Broncos. He has already thrown for almost 55000 yards and was the Super Bowl XLI champion. One of the purest quarterback talents ever.

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