There is only one debate, as it relates to who the best quarterback of all time is. Brady or Manning? It starts and ends there. However, before the debate begins we need to establish why many other great quarterback are not being considered. The answer is simple. They were not as good. I don’t wanna hear about Sammy Baugh, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen or any other old time player, who put up great numbers in “their” day. The job of the quarterback is to throw the ball, and even if the old school guys did it less, it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t do it as well. Lower completion percentages, and more interceptions, are tangible statistics, no matter how much you throw the ball. There are only six QB’s, that played before 1970, who were even in the top 100 for career completion percentage, and the highest one, Bart Starr, was #75.
As for the post 1970 quarterbacks, the only ones that would even be considered in the argument are Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Joe Montana and possibly John Elway. That’s it. Nobody else. With all due respect to the Roger Staubach’s, and Fran Tarkenton’s of the world, they just aren’t worthy of top status. So let me breakdown the four I mentioned.
First to go is John Elway. He is the only one in this group with a career QB rating below 80. He also has the lowest completion percentage. In addition, he has 10,000 yards less passing than Marino, and 120 less TD’s, in only 9 fewer games. If you can’t beat Dan, then what is there to discuss? The two rings are nice, as are the Super Bowl and league MVP’s, but it’s not enough for the top spot.
This leads me to Marino. Currently #2 all-time in yards passing and touchdowns. He played 58 games less than Favre. If he had averaged just 200 yards and 1.5 TD’s per game, 58 more times, he would be #1 in passing and one touchdown behind Favre. Who am I kidding. He would have averaged 1.6 and been #1 there too. With that said, he never won a superbowl, and had only one MVP. Like Elway, his completion percentage was below 60, and his QB rating was below 90. Great numbers, but not good enough.
Next up is Favre. I don’t care what the numbers are, does anyone outside of Green Bay REALLY think he is the greatest of all time? I made this argument in a different blog, as it related to Emmitt Smith. Just because you have the most yards and the most touchdowns, does not make you the best. He has the worst touchdown to interception ratio amongst the quarterbacks mentioned. He also has a sub 90 QB rating. The 3 MVP’s are nice, but he only has 1 ring. In the end, nobody thinks this guy was the best QB of all time. Hell, in another 6 or 7 years, he won’t even be the best Packers QB of all time. Thank you Mr. Rodgers.
Now comes Montana. The only guy that even has a chance to supplant Brady or Manning. His overall numbers are not staggering by any stretch. However, he does have a completion percentage over 63. He also has a TD to INT ratio that’s just shy of 2, and his career QB rating is 92.3. All extremely good, but let’s face it, the big numbers for Montana are 4 rings, 3 Superbowl MVP’s and 2 league MVP’s. The dude was awesome. No getting around it. In this blog though, it’s not enough for the top spot. Here’s why.
Aside from the Superbowl’s, Manning has Montana beaten or destroyed, in every other category. 2 more MVP’s, a better completion percentage, more touchdowns and more yards. Likewise, by the end of this season, Brady will only trail in Superbowls. In Brady’s case, he will have done it in less games than Montana. If Joe had played more games, I might change my argument, but longevity does factor in a little. Shut up Brett. You’re already out. Then there were two.
In this corner, wearing the white helmet with the blue horseshoe, all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana, the 4 time NFL MVP, and 1 time Superbowl champion……….Peyton Maaaaaaaaaanning. “CUT THAT MEAT! CUT THAT MEAT!”
And in this corner, wearing the white helmet with a Pat Patriot on the side(screw the flying Elvis), hailing from Foxboro, Massachusetts, the 2 time NFL MVP, 3 time Superbowl champion, and 2 time Superbowl MVP, Tom Braaaaaaaaaadyyyyyyy. “CUT THAT HAIR! CUT THAT HAIR!” Oh wait, he did that.
Here we go. Yes, Manning will have more TD’s and yards passing than Brady, when they are both done. That is obvious. Unless, of course, Manning is injured worse than we think, and his career is cut short. The fact is, Manning averages 20 yards per game more than Brady, and less than 2 more touchdown per year. His completion percentage is 1 point higher, but Brady has a better TD to INT ratio and a better career QB rating. If Manning didn’t have a 3 year headstart and another season without Brady playing, their overall numbers wouldn’t be that far off, although Peyton would likely still be ahead. Also, Manning has had a far better supporting cast during his career. Hall of fame receiver, and tight end. 2 pro bowl running backs and other high end players. Who the hell has Brady ever had? The one year he did have a top notch receiver, he threw 50 touchdowns. This year he might do it again.
The bottom line is that the statistics show things to be much closer than most people would think. They’re certainly not different enough to warrant Manning being better than Brady when you start talking hardware. Brady destroys him in that category. Hell, nobody has EVER been a unanimous MVP until Brady. If not for some jackass Brett Favre suckup, being the only non vote for Brady in ’07, he would have done it twice. The dude is money. Period. ESPN can poll as many people as they want. More people will pick Brady as the QB they want in a big game. To me, that’s how you decide who the best quarterback in NFL history is……….Plus, his wife is smokin’ hot. 😉