In all of sports, there aren’t many positions that command the attention and respect that the quarterback does. Starting quarterbacks, particularly those who ply their trade in the NFL, are under constant scrutiny, and generally get most of the blame or credit for how their team performs. In the 150-year long history of American football, thousands of men have lined up behind the offensive line. However, there are few that can be considered as true legends of the game.
We’ve scoured through the illustrious history of the NFL and come up with what we consider to be the greatest quarterbacks that stepped on to the field. We’ve chosen the players based on their statistics, playoff performances, and their legacy.
5. John Elway
In his 16 seasons at the highest level, John Elway accumulated a monstrous amount of wins and passing statistics. The Broncos’ icon threw for over 3,000 yards in 12 of his 16 seasons, and he still holds a position in the NFL’s all-time top 10 in passing yards. He also had a reputation of performing when it mattered most. He ranks 7th in all-time game winning drives and 6th in all time leading comebacks.
4. Joe Montana
The highest praise that we can give the legendary Joe Montana is that he is the greatest big-game quarterback that ever graced an NFL field. He never tasted defeat in the four Superbowls he played, and even more impressively, he didn’t throw a single interception in any of them! While “Joe Cool” never led the league in terms of passing yards, he regularly threw over 3,000 yards. But Montana’s biggest strength was his accuracy, which few other players in the NFL’s history can rival.
3. Peyton Manning
If you said that no player in the history of the NFL was as respected and influential in their career as Peyton Manning, not many people would argue with you. On a yearly basis, his statistics were outrageous, which consequently lead him to be selected 7 times as an All-Pro. That’s an all time record. In his 17-season long career, Manning threw over 4,000 yards in all but three of them. And in 2013, when he was in the twilight of his illustrious career, Manning had the best passing season in the history of the NFL, throwing a ridiculous 5,477 yards and accounting for 55 touchdowns. These are all-time records as well. Record after record – that was Peyton Manning, ladies and gentlemen.
2. Drew Brees
If you’re a statistic geek, then Brees would definitely be your G.O.A.T quarterback. His career stats were just mind-boggling. Let us tell you what we’re on about – career passing yards, passes yards/game and pass completion percentage, Brees holds all-time records in each category.
But despite his ridiculous passing, he doesn’t rank in the top 15 when it comes to total interceptions. In an era where quarterbacks generate outrageous stats on a regular basis, Brees topped the passing leaderboard 7 times. He’s the only quarterback in league history to throw for 5,000 yards in multiple seasons. While he’s only won a single championship in his career, Drew Brees is a proper beast when it comes to pure quarterback play. And he’s still going strong at 40.
1. Tom Brady
This won’t surprise many people, but Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T in our opinion. When you combine clutch performances, consistency, statistics and regular season and playoff wins, nobody comes close to Tom Brady. While his statistics are not as monstrous as Brees’s or Manning’s, they’re still mighty impressive. Brady holds the crown of the player with most playoff passing yards; he ranks second in interception percentage, fourth in passing yards and the best of them all: he has 5 touchdown wins. Tom Brady has everything you want from a quarterback.