Who’s The Greatest?

By Chris Johnson
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It’s hard to turn on the TV nowadays and not hear Tom Brady, Eli Manning or Peyton Manning being compared to each other.  Is Brady the greatest of all time? Has Eli moved into the elite quarterback status?  Is this the end for Peyton, or does he have a few more years in the tank?

Any time the names Manning or Brady come up there is always the argument of who is the greatest.  But how do we define the greatest?

One of the main arguments when it comes to being “the greatest” is Super Bowl rings, and to many people, the man with the most wins.  I can see this argument, and I understand why it is made, but I don’t think the number of rings is the end-all-be-all of the greatest.  While it takes a lot to win a Super Bowl, it is not just one person.  You can look at the list of Super Bowl winners, and not all the names on there deserve to be put in elite status: for example, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler (although he did have a great stashe) and Mark Rypien.  I think multiple rings should be factored in, but it is not the whole shebang.

So what about stats?  Sure, lots of quarterbacks can be great on the fantasy football field, but can that make or break you as one of the greatest?  Stats should weigh as part as what a player is capable of, and many folks like to say numbers never lie, but are you truly great if you have the best numbers in the world but can’t take your team anywhere?  If you were to look at quarterback passer ratings alone for their careers, you would find the numbers to be very skewed.  The top five quarterbacks with career passer ratings are Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Steve Young, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.  Do all of these guys deserve to be in the conversation of greatest current or all time? Sure, But if you look at names like Daunte Culpepper, David Garrard, and Shaun Hill and see them ahead of John Elway and Troy Aikman, you know that can’t be the best way to figure it out.

How about the intangibles that don’t show up on the stat sheet?  The locker room presence, the poise, the ability to come back in the fourth quarter – all are things that a quarterback should possess to even be part of the conversation.  Some guys have it and some don’t.  These are the kind of things that you can’t find in any box score or game recap.  When you are watching a game and they are down seven with a minute and fifteen seconds left, you have no doubt that they are going to get this done.  I call this the clutch factor.

There are all kinds of ways you can look at who belongs as the greatest: MVPs, Pro Bowls, playoff wins, regular season, wins and passing titles.  I don’t think the argument will ever be settled, so it’s mainly what means more to you.  Here is my list of the greatest in the past 25 years and the greatest among who is still playing right now.

In The Past 25 Years

1 Joe Montana

2 John Elway

3 Tom Brady

4 Brett  Farve

5 Peyton Manning

6 Dan Marino

7 Troy Aikman

8 Steve Young

9 Jim Kelly

10 Kurt Warner


Playing Now

1 Tom Brady

2 Peyton Manning

 3 Drew Brees

4 Aaron Rodgers

5 Eli Manning

6 Ben Roethlisberger

7 Donovan McNabb

8 Michael Vick

9 Philip Rivers

10 Tony Romo


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