The NFL has had horrible, trashy, decent, average, good, better than good, damn good, elite but very few have been GREAT QUARTERBACKS. That’s what this list is all about, naming the 14 greatest men to ever play that definitive position better than 98% of their peers. The criteria of this ranking have been based on the impact on the game, the talent, the rings, the clutchness, the success, how they impacted defenses and legacy.
13. Joe Namath
The man to guarantee a Superbowl and win it, the first man ever to throw for 4,000 yards, the man who put the NFL on notice and cemented the status of AFL. Also becoming a two time MVP wasn’t too shabby either.
12. Roger Staubach
Captain America wasn’t just a quarterback, he was America’s quarterback. He played for eleven years and went to the Superbowl 5 of them bringing two championships out of it. Roger was victorious in 75% or more of his regular season games.
11. Ben Rothlisberger
The man and his teams are always a threat. Big Ben may be the most under-appreciated quarterback of all time. Every person heading into a game against the Steelers always feels like “damn don’t give him a chance.” He has won two super bowls in epic games against the Seahawks and Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. Out of 19 career playoff starts he has 13 trying him in top five all-time with Brett Favre surpassing guys like Troy Aikman, Kurt Warner, Steve Young, and Marino.
10. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw is well known for his fine color commentary work on FOX NFL Sunday. Yet his work as a Pittsburgh Steelers QB was pretty damn good too. He was the first quarterback ever to win 3 rings then made history again winning the 4th one along with taking home two Superbowl MVPs. First to ever repeat SB victories back to back.
9. Jim Kelley
The King of Buffalo Jim Kelley was extremely good. In eight out of 11 of his NFL seasons, Jim Kelly passed for at least 3,000 yards and averaged about 3,200 yards per season for his career. He also led the Buffalo Bills to the Super Bowl four times, which means he made trips to the Superbowl in more than one-third of all the seasons he played.
8. Steve Young
Whether he was in this league or a different one his greatness stuck with him. He still managed to win a Superbowl, AP MVP twice, seven pro bowls, led the NFL in passer rating 6 times all this after his stint with the USFL. He is still ranked fourth all time in career rushing for a QB with 4,239 yards behind Newton, Vick and Cunningham.
7. Peyton Manning
The sheriff, nobody could manage a game and change plays at the line like Manning. Arguably the greatest regular season quarterback in history also racked in a record 5 MVP’s and 2 Superbowl wins. Manning went onto break all of Favre’s passing records. Manning defeated Cam Newton and Rex Grossman. He leads the league in game-winning drives.
6. Drew Brees
By the time its all finished he will have surpassed every quarterback in statistical numbers. He is the only quarterback to throw for 5,000 passing yards multiple times. He’s led the league in passing yards 7 times and that’s amazing given he has never been surrounded by big names in doing so. By the end of his career, he will surpass Dan Marino. He won one Superbowl against Peyton Manning and the Colts. 1 SB MVP.
5. Dan Marino
The purest quarterback ever. The greatest quarterback never to win the Superbowl. When Marino retired he held nearly every passing record in a season and career. Regardless of them being eclipsed now the work speaks for itself. He was ahead of his time. Rookie of the year. 1 MVP.
4. Brett Favre
The biggest must-see quarterback in NFL history. The Iron Man, he was human, he made mistakes, he was us. The first man ever to win three consecutive MVP’s, 2 super bowl appearances, 1 SB victory, the only man on any list in football to start over 297 consecutive games. The first man to break Dan Marino’s records. The first man ever to receive a $100 million contract.
3. John Elway
King of the 2-minute drill, the comeback kid, the Babe Ruth of Denver. He holds the record with 47 drives to tie or win football games within the final stanza. He had been to 3 super bowls prior to his last stage as a quarterback. Elway had finally won a ring and beaten Brett Favre and the Packers, but that wasn’t enough he came back and won another the next year against the Falcons and Deon Sanders for a picture-perfect ending. 1 MVP. 1 SB MVP.
2. Tom Brady
The only man who rivals Michael Jordan and Joe Montanas greatness if not for the losses in the Superbowl among other things. He would be number one but, the manner in which his teams won those first three super bowls is still in question. Deflategate and Spygate have hurt the man’s legacy, rightfully so. He won 5 Super Bowls. Brady beat Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Russel Wilson, and Matt Ryan. 2 MVPs.
1. Joe Montana
Without a doubt the most clutch quarterback ever, the moment was never too big for “Joe Cool”. The man with the Hollywood name was born to do one thing and that was to win SuperBowls, four of them, he is undefeated. Montana defeated John Elway, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and Ken Anderson who didn’t make this list but could’ve. 3 SuperBowl MVP’s. 2 MVPs.