Fact Checked

Who is the All-Time Best Quarterback in the NFL?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Answering who the best quarterback of all time is will likely spark great debate since the criterion determining who the best is varies considerably. Some people examine specific statistics, like pass completion average, ability to run the ball, ability to come from behind, average touchdown to interception ratio, or quick release. Not everyone agrees on which of these statistics are most important, however. Further, many believe that since a quarterback should inspire a team, so the most important factor should simply be Super Bowl wins.

There is usually a short list of players up for the title of best quarterback, including Johnny Unitas, Steve Young, Joe Montana, Fran Tarkenton, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach and Dan Marino. Although their careers are still in full swing, Brett Favre and Tom Brady are considered by many football fans to be among the best as well. Looking at Super Bowl wins only, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are the two best. Bradshaw probably wouldn’t make it onto the list from many other perspectives, but he and Montana are tied with four Super Bowl wins.

Bart Starr also has to be considered, even though he only has two Super Bowl victories — in fact, the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. He won three NFL championships prior to the inception of the Super Bowl, however.

New England Patriots signal caller Tom Brady is considered one of the best active quarterbacks in the NFL.
New England Patriots signal caller Tom Brady is considered one of the best active quarterbacks in the NFL.

On the other hand, some great players never won a Super Bowl. This is the case with Dan Marino, who is generally considered to have one of the quickest releases and currently holds an impressive number of football records. These include lowest percentage of interceptions in a season, most consecutive seasons with 20 or more touchdown passes, and most games with four or more touchdown passes in a season. He also has the second highest rating of 4th quarter comebacks. He was not, however, a great runner. In his career he averaged only a yard per run with the ball.

Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl titles staking his claim as one of the top quarterbacks in league history.
Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl titles staking his claim as one of the top quarterbacks in league history.

Many believe Johnny Unitas to be the best ever to play the game. He holds three NFL championships, one of them the Super Bowl. Additionally, when he retired, he had many records, such as most pass completions, most touchdowns, and most consecutive games throwing touchdown passes.

Fran Tarkenton’s regular season record is stunning, but many dismiss his performance because his team did not win any of the three Super Bowls in which he played. He held virtually all passing records at the time of his retirement, however. Additionally, he had great ability to run with the ball, chalking up over 3,500 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. He is fourth in the list of number of rushing yards.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers great Terry Bradshaw is included in the discussion of top NFL quarterbacks.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers great Terry Bradshaw is included in the discussion of top NFL quarterbacks.

Many argue that Joe Montana is the best quarterback ever because he combined his Super Bowl wins with fantastic statistics. He holds the second highest passing record in a single season, the most consecutive games with 300 or more passing yards, most Super Bowl touchdowns, and most completed passes in Super Bowl history. He also holds the second highest career pass completion record, the third highest number of seasons with 3,000+ passes, and the third lowest interception record.

One of the top active quarterbacks, Peyton Manning ranks near the top of multiple statistical categories.
One of the top active quarterbacks, Peyton Manning ranks near the top of multiple statistical categories.

From a statistical standpoint, however, Steve Young often beats Montana. Montana had a far quicker release than Young, one of the quickest in NFL history. Many believe that Young might have had a better Super Bowl record with a better offensive line, and a better defense, than was available in the 1990s 49ers team.

Brett Favre must also be considered, especially in light of his late career resurgence. After mostly unimpressive years in 2005 and 2006, Favre came back with one of his greatest seasons ever in 2007, and now holds all-time records for passing yards and touchdowns. Favre has won one Super Bowl and three MVP awards, and has started more consecutive games at quarterback than any other player.

Throwing touchdowns is one of the criteria by which quarterbacks are judged.
Throwing touchdowns is one of the criteria by which quarterbacks are judged.

Tom Brady must now be included in any debate about the all-time best QBs. Brady had already won three Super Bowls by the age of 30 and two MVP awards. In 2007, Brady had a great season, breaking the all-time record for touchdown passes in a season with 50, and leading the New England Patriots to the first perfect 16-0 regular season record in NFL history. He was ranked as the best player in the league after the 2010 season and was the first player to be chosen as MVP by unanimous decision.

There are myriad considerations to factor in when naming best quarterback. He must inspire the team, but he has to have good receivers, good protection from his offensive line, and he has to play on a team with a defense that gives him opportunities to play. As part of a team, his statistics may rise or fall given the skill of other team members. As a result, it may be more valid to evaluate which football teams were the greatest ever, though here again, debate would be substantial.

Further, all statistics and career records are subject to change. Many look to the impressive statistics and skill of Peyton Manning, for example, and believe that many records now held by other players are well within Manning’s reach.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent Sports&Hobbies contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent Sports&Hobbies contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Tom Brady isn't in the top 5, he isn't even in the top 10. Why is it that football fans can't recognize Brady for what he is, a mediocre talent that has the best coach and front office in league history. He only has 3 seasons with more that 4000 yards, lacks arm-strength and mobility, and only looks good because of the phenomenal coaching he is getting. All he has to do is listen. And stop saying he is so great because of the super bowls, Terry Bradshaw was 4-0 in the big game and no sane person says he is the greatest of all time. That being said:

#1 Manning

#2 Montana

#3 Otto Graham (took his team to 10 straight Championships)

#4 Favre

#5 Johnny U


When looking at all the factors and in a historical perspective, Montana is the best of all time. He was a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame, and was a naturally talented passer and runner. He started with the 49ers when they were terrible and made them the most dominant team in the league. He had four Super Bowl wins and was undefeated in the Super Bowl. He had a good team around him in the late 80s, but he did a good job of orchestrating the offense.

In terms of most dominant quarterbacks notwithstanding the team (and coaches) around them, I think Manning gets a lot of points here. He has the record for most games with a perfect passer rating, he has better stats than Brady in the post-season (even though he has never had as good a team and coach, and therefore has not had as much success). He is a quarterback and an offensive coordinator in one. He has more yards than any quarterback in the league every season in recent history. He has a record 4 NFL MVPs.

If you were building a team around one quarterback, Montana or Manning would clearly be the top choice. It is not even close.


As of 2010, end of regular season. Let's face it, Tom is it. One more ring and it's over, enough discussion. enough arguing, enough. The guy's an unequaled messiah.

More records than can be mentioned, but here's a few highlights:

28 consecutive home wins, and counting. NFL record shattering 335 pass attempts and no interceptions, four for the entire 16 game season.

36 touchdowns this year, 50 in 2007 (all time record)

And let's not forget he was out for an entire season and came back from ACL reconstruction.

Three rings and counting, perfect regular season. Four years with 14 wins or more. One MVP and another coming this year, one Super Bowl MVP. Three fourth-quarter Super Bowl come-from-behind wins and counting.

Come on, it's not even close. Please research and see even more records toppled. That's what you call game over.


Lol. "Tom Brady is hands down the best qb of all-time! And he has done it with the least talent around him."

Oh, you mean the defense he had in two of those SB winning years where there were about six pro-bowlers? How about the year they went in 2007. They bought three developed great wide receivers that would be number one receivers anywhere else and he barely breaks Manning's record with 100 more pass attempts.

Manning has had to pass like that his entire to career to win because he has never had much of a defense, and all with receivers he has developed on his own, including Harrison, and sometimes a running game.

Brady did it to run up the score with a top ten defense on the other side of the ball stopping other offenses. Manning has never had a top ten defense like Brady almost always has, not to mention a running game too. Manning does much more with less. The proof is there. Just don't be ignorant.

If you're arguing the greatest player at a single position then do not throw out a team stat such as a Super Bowl win. Bill Belicheck is the reason they are so good. Matt Cassel was looking like Brady throwing three td's a game the year Brady got hurt. What's that say about Brady's importance? If they lost Belicheck they would be equally lost as the Colts would without Manning.

It's quite apparent when the stats are put side by side.

Manning is better. Manning is more important to his team. Manning is America's QB.


Greatest QB ever? John Elway still gunning, on the run, across the body 70 yard perfect spirals straight in the middle of the RBS numbers in his late thirties. Any questions?

By the way I still have these plays on video, so it's not my imagination. Dan Marino. Really? Well over 8,000 attempts and only a little over 4,000 completions.

Brett Favre? What a joke. And to the guy who said he accomplished more in his 16 seasons than Elway and Marino in their 18 seasons, check the records. Elway retired after his 16th season, ending with a Super Bowl win. Montana comes very close; the 49ers just did him wrong.

Elway is the complete package. He won more games with a crappy offense then any other QB. They can't do it all alone. And as for saying Favre is the toughest, come on! His body has never taken the punishment that Elway's has trying to get that extra yard. Also when Elway won his first Super Bowl, he was proud that Terrel Davis was MVP. Favre would never be so magnanimous. Why do you think he's still playing? Not for love of the game, but love of himself. He can't stand not being in the spotlight.

Yes I'm a Denver fan and proud of it. So, if you want to talk about greatest defensive players I'm throwing in mine now: the smiling assassin Steve Atwater gets my vote, and also the great Derrick Thomas, whom we lost to soon.

Getting ahead of myself. lol. just thought I'd put that out there.


It's hard to judge who the greatest was. I've seen everyone since the era of the 50s and there are many remarkable men. For example, Norman Van Brocklin won championships with the Rams, Eagles at both the beginning and end of his career and still holds the record for most yards in a game. Bobby Layne was like Roethlisberger, courageous and a leader and winner. The stat leaders are not necessarily the best overall qbs. Often, like Marino, they put up big numbers because the teams they were on couldn't run the ball. Bradshaw and Bart Starr have different kinds of stats because they were on running powerhouses but that means they were usually throwing the ball on third down so the defenses were waiting. Also, throwing deep balls gives a totally different stat line than a possession passing game like Peyton Manning, or Brady or Montana has. also all the rules about hitting the qb and the receivers have changed.

So for my money, Johnny Unitas was the best overall. he redefined the position, won championships, called his own plays. He could walk onto any team of his era to the present and qb the team in any system. Namath, Marino, Fouts and Peyton Manning all emulated his style: quick drop back and release. Hate to say this, but Tom Brady would be out of the league in about three games if he were hit the way qbs were in the Bobby Layne (who didn't wear a face mask or shoulder pads) Unitas, Otto Graham era. the guys today are bigger, stronger and faster but not nearly as tough as the WWII vets and steelworkers and farm boys.

So, its got to be: One: Johnny U. Two: Joe Montana. Three: Otto Graham. Four: tie Bradshaw, Bart Star, Troy Aikman, Tom Brady. The greatest QB is not the same as best passing stats. It's leadership, guts and a lot of x factors.


John Elway is the best. i don't know what's up with this Bradshaw crap.


Tom Brady is hands down the best qb of all-time! And he has done it with the least talent around him. For all those cheater comments, well let's just say the Pats got caught, and your team didn't! Get over it. Every team cheats, but not every team wins. If you think it's only one team you don't know sports and should stop hating on one qb because you wish your team had him.


Hello, Troy Aikman? He led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins (two back to back) and threw for 32,942 yards!


Top 5 all time

1. Troy Aikman

2. Peyton Manning

3. John Elway

4. Joe Montana

5. Dan Marino

Best current top 5

1.Peyton Manning

2.Aaron Rodgers

3.Drew Brees

4.Philip Rivers

5.Tom Brady

Best rankings now

best arm-Big Ben; most accurate-Aaron Rogers/Peyton Manning; most mobile-Michael Vick; most competitive-Tom Brady.


You guys are not giving Troy Aikman enough credit and if he was playing right now he would make you guys eat your words about not putting him in the top 5. You probably think I'm a dallas fan, but I'm not. I'm a hard edged 49ers fan and i seriously think that Troy Aikman is better then Joe Montana and no, I'm not drinking.


Tom Brady will be the best. Right now Steve Young is stats wise the best. The best to watch is Joe Montana.

As to the Brady "cheaters" comments, didn't the Broncos just get caught? They are like 4-7, so you do need talent to win? Think you do. 16-0 after the taping of a Jets game. priceless.


This is seriously tough but here is my list of the top 10, and this can change year to year but here it goes.

1. Tom Brady

2. Joe Montana

3. Peyton Manning

4. Brett Favre

5. John Elway

6. Dan Marino

7. Steve Young

8. Johnny Unitas

9. Fran Tarkenton

10. Roger Staubach


Best qb: Fran Tarkenton; Best arm: Dan Fouts; best two minute: Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler; most athletic: Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach; most underrated: Ken Anderson, Craig Morton; most accurate: Fran Tarkenton, Ken Anderson.


Best qb: Joe Montana; Best arm: John Elway; Best two minute: Joe Montana; Most athletic: Randall Cunningham;

Most underrated: Jim Everett; Most accurate: Dan Marino, Phil Simms.


Best qb: Favre, Elway; Best arm: Favre; Best two minute: Jim Kelly (even with lack of SB wins); Most athletic: Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Kordell Stewart; Most underrated: Mark Brunell; Most accurate: Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young.

2000s and current

Best qb: Tom Brady; Best arm: Donovan McNabb; Best two minute: Peyton Manning; Most Athletic: Michael Vick;

Most underrated: Phillip Rivers; Most accurate: Kurt Warner, Drew Brees.


Elway has to be near the top. If Bowls are not considered Marino high. I don't get all the P Manning hype? Heard a interesting stat: E Manning has had 10 number one picks as his receivers. Elway 1. I say Unitas, Elway, Montana, Marino, Staubach.


udupi do agree that john elway should be in the article because he is hands down in the top five quarterbacks but you also can't say that elway had no help. You look at just two players, shannon sharpe and Terrel davis, both big hall of famers. i mean you just can't put down the other players to raise up another. even with them though, you just can't beat elway's stats and actually he made it to six super bowls and won two of them.


what about john elway? he was the leader of the 90s broncos. they were the dream team and he was the dream quarterback.


Have watched every possible NFL game I could since 1978.

My Opinion: Everything considered: 1.Montana; 2.Manning; 3.Brady; 4.Elway; 5.Marino; 6.Favre.

Best with least talent around him: 1.Elway; 2.Marino; 3.Manning.

Best pure passer: Marino.

Smartest qb: Manning.

Best under pressure: Montana.

Luckiest qb: Bradshaw.

Toughest qb: Favre.


Joe Montana did win without Jerry Rice. He is indeed the greatest due to the fact how he played, where he played, who he played with and he won four super bowls and only one other QB has done that.


You may want to take the "wise" out of your title! How can you not have John Elway in your discussion? I agree with another poster, that Elway literally took his team to four Super Bowls. Granted, they were blowouts but I agree that they probably wouldn't have even made the playoffs had Elway not been the QB.

I like how you play the what if game with Montana and Young. How about this? What if Elway had not played under a coach dedicated to shove the run down your throat? What if Elway had a receiver taller than 5'8" to throw to? What if Elway played all those years with Jerry Rice, that line and that coaching philosophy? I dare say the discussion of who is the greatest QB would be an open and shut case.

Elway's hands down had the greatest head to toe skill of any QB ever. And no, I do not live in Denver. I live clear across the country in MI but I sympathize with the situation he was in for much of his career because I watched the same thing with Barry Sanders.

What if Barry Sanders had been a Dallas Cowboy all those years?


Geek, please get informed before writing something like this. There are only four names that are currently valid in this discussion (Manning and Brady will be in soon):

You could make a convincing case for any of them. In no particular order:

Graham, Unitas, Montana, Elway.

Graham: 105-17-4 record, 10 seasons, 10 championship games with 7 wins. That's one of the most mind-boggling stats in all of sports. All pro, pro bowl, all-time team selections, it goes on forever with this guy. Oh, and he also played a year of pro basketball, winning the title. 11 pro ball seasons, 11 championships. Pointing to Montana and Bradshaw as the all-time winners is just ignorant.

Unitas: A great leader, championships, all-time team selections, pro bowls, etc. Threw for over 40,000 yards in a time of 12 and 14 game seasons in an era when teams were just starting to think beyond three yards and a cloud of dust. Brought a wretched Colts franchise to a championship level.

Montana: 4-0 in super bowls with 3 SB MVPs. Accurate, smart and in control at all times. The knock is that he played for one of the greatest coaches for much of his career (Bill Walsh), was surrounded by immense talent and that Steve Young followed, had better stats and also won the SB with most of the same team. Can't deny, though that even though he played a good hand, it would have been hard for anyone to do better.

Elway: Played for Dan "Sammy Winder off-tackle 23 times a game" Reeves and still won. Surrounded by almost no talent for most of his career (The Three Amigos? That's a marketing ploy, not an NFL-level receiver corps) and still won. If not for Elway, those crappy Donkey teams wouldn't have made the Superbowl, wouldn't have made the playoffs, wouldn't have won more than 4-5 games a season (they actually were the winningest team overall during most of his time.) Very few players (maybe Barry Sanders) could be said to have done more with less than Elway. When he finally got a real coach (Shanahan) and a supporting cast he won two B's and rode off into the sunset.

Who's the greatest? Impossible to say with any certainty. Most people just say the guy from their favorite team. I'm from Minnesota but even I couldn't put Tarkenton or Favre into the discussion of the absolute best with a straight face.

Anyone who jumps in this discussion needs to take a step back from your team and your favorite guy and try to make an honest judgment.


Just my opinion: Well, to answer the question as to who is the best you have to ask yourself, What is a quarterback's job? Answer: to lead his offense down field, manage time wisely and score touchdowns. It is not to win! And nobody does that better than Peyton Manning. You can't argue.

Remember that a quarterback is only 1/11 of the offense and the offense is only half the team. The QB can't win alone!

Manning helped the Colts go to the super bowl this year with two starting rookie WRs. Rookies.

I am just waiting for the day, which might come, when Peyton Manning throws his 546th TD. (Exactly twice as many as Joe Montana.)

But this is just my opinion. I never saw most of these great players actually play. I go off of what I hear from others.

If it comes to championship wins then Otto Graham is the best ever. He won seven championships out of 10 seasons with great stats and he actually went to the championship every time but lost three. This was just before Super Bowls.


Montana is the best qb of all time. If Marshall had not knocked out Joe, and Seifert would have started Joe in the playoffs against Emmitt and the Cowboys in the playoffs instead of Young, Joe would have had six titles instead of being tied with Bradshaw with four Super Bowl wins as a starting qb.


Up to 2010:

1. Joe Montana

2. Peyton Manning

3. John Elway

The rest in the top 10 vary: Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach. Then you have old era QBs like Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Bart Starr and a few others.

The only problem I have with the old era great qbs is the fact that they might have been tough players, but most of them would not even be a starter in today's standards. Sure, they would put up more passing statistics than they did during their days, however back then there were 1/4th the teams as there are now, and nowhere near the talent we have now.

Only a couple teams dominated in that era, simply because all the good players were bought and put on the best team, while the other few teams that were even in the league had horrible players (most of them were just stalky farm boys who had little football experience). Of course, every decade has a little different era on how the game is played which makes it difficult to rate the best qbs who ever played.


Roger Staubach never lost a game, just ran out of time, enough said!


Otto Graham -- not even close. You cannot even compare QBs then and now as the same goes for WRs. The game is basketball on grass because rules have been changed to grossly favor the offense.

QBs now can throw out of bounds/to line scrimmage to avoid sacks which is ludicrous and just a shame. Poor Fran Tarkenton. If they had this asinine rule when he played and even the tuck rule or comical pass interference rules oh my what it would of done for his stats and Graham's. Comeback wins are a meaningless and hilarious stat now.


i see everyone mentioning these good qbs but i haven't seen anyone mention the one good qb that took his team to two super bowls in a row in two seasons and only had one loss in those two seasons and of course i am talking about bob griese. has everyone forgotten about him?


joe montana, hands down, for the best ever.


Where are more votes for Bradshaw and Dan Fouts, They can gunsling with the best. Too many people have short memories. Same thing happens in basketball when people say Kobe's better than George Gervin or Shag is better than Wilt. Give me a break!


John Elway was the best athlete to play the position. given the right system and players around him, he would have set every record possible. number two is closer. Steve Young or Warren Moon. then Joe Montana. Marino is the most overrated ever. Peyton and Johnny U. have the best brains in the game, but nobody had it all like John Elway.


The American Icon: Joe Montana.


favre has one of the best arms of all time, but one of the worst minds. Even as a sixteen year veteran he makes ignorant mistakes, and decisions that most rookies know better than. Brett Favre is deserving of a number one title though. Favre is the number one most overrated player in the history of sports.


while he may not be one of the top five, or perhaps not even top ten quarterbacks of all time, if you look at what he did, Sammy Baugh is undoubtedly the greatest football player of all time.

In an era of leather helmets and negligible body padding (the 30s and 40s) Sammy Baugh not only played, but started at not one, not two, but three positions for his team, and he kept this up for over ten years (closer to fifteen).

Playing as starting quarterback, starting cornerback, and punter, not to mention kickoff/punt returner and place holder for the redskins he was involved in every play of every game throughout his career. In one season, he led the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns as a qb, interceptions as a band punt average as a punter. An amazing feat that never has, and never will be matched.

In a time where the lack of padding left many players crippled for life, Sammy Baugh played not one, but all three sides of the game. Today's greatest players play on one side of the ball, and seem exhausted by the end of the game, even with frequent breaks.

Baugh kept this up for nearly fifteen years without ever missing a game due to injury (shorter season, 12 games I think). In one instance in particular, while taking the first snap of the game, Baugh was converged upon by a number of defenders and ended up at the bottom of a pile. When he got up the palm of his throwing hand had been cut deeply (a gash nearly four inches long) by an opponent's cleat and was bleeding heavily. This was in addition to what would nowadays be referred to as a hip pointer, which would sideline a player today for at least the remainder of the game.

Either of these injuries would end the game of today's toughest QBs, but not Baugh. Without even going to the sideline to bandage his bleeding hand, Baugh commenced to finish the drive with a touchdown, and continued playing all of his positions (yes he punted with a hip pointer). By the end of the game he had thrown for three touchdowns, had picked off the opposing QB twice, and led his team in tackles. That is a real man.

He did all this with a smile for a salary that wasn't even worth his time. During the off-season he returned to his farm until the first game of the next season.

So, due to the time he played, the team he played on, and the multiple positions he played, he may not make the list of greatest quarterbacks of all time, but anyone with an objective view can obviously see, that he is the uncontested greatest football player of all time.


The NFL did not want anything to do with the 1960

houston oilers AFC, because any who got to see a George Blanda to Charley Hennigan pass, or a Billy Cannon run can understand why the NFL wanted no part!


Favre is a failure at life. The fact that he is mentioned on this list is a slap in the face to all of the true greats listed here with him. He has no place on this list.


here is the answer, 1. Joe Montana; 2. Steve Young; 3. Dan Marino; 4. Roger Staubach; 5. Johnny Unitas, end of story, that's how it is. unless you were to amend the question to include members who played in the AFL prior to the merger, in which case Otto Graham would move into third, marino to 4th and staubach to 5th.


Montana----Best two minute quarterback I've ever seen.


Elway because he can play in any system because he has the strongest arm and is very mobile.


Troy Aikman has to be considered in the top ten of all time if you include Tom Brady and Steve Young. Aikman is a greater QB than Brady and Young. Young had the better talent when he played against the Cowboys in Candlestick Park.


Well, I think its an all time tie between Montana and Favre. Both of them know how to make plays and favre has like 25 qb records and has a ring so montana and favre are tied.


You guys are making a very short debate into a long one. It's Joe Montana, no question, no counterpoint no argument. And, the quarterbacks you are putting up against him say he was the best also! Move on.


Joe Montana is #1. That's just fact. Anyone who puts any one above Joe was drinking before they did the list. Steve Young is not in the top 10 -- maybe 20 to 30.


Post 140: Manning and Marino were in the league for two years together. What do you mean they played in different eras? I think both Manning and Brady are better QBs than Marino and will probably go down as the two best of all time if they play for five more years injury free at the level they have played at to this point.


It is hard for me to consider Favre as one of the all time best especially in the top Five. Anyone who is as good as Favre is and can last as long as Favre has will have many of the quarterback records.

Since football is a violent sport knocking out many of the great QBs Favre's impression is a great QB that lasted a long time. Most great QBs have done more in less time.


The Colts are at best an 8-8 team without Manning. That means by his mere presence they won six games last year. That is conservative. You have to give him the nod!

C'boys fan!


1. Montana

2. Manning

3. Elway

4. Brady

5. Young

It's hard to leave certain players like Favre and Marino off this list because I definitely like guys like Farve better than I like Brady but it is simply my belief that these are the best five of all time. I tried to find a balance between championships (four for Montana warrants a number 1 ranking) and talent at the position (Elway and Manning don't have as many rings as Brady but their athletic ability ranks them higher.

I had a hard time deciding which order to put Manning/Elway/Brady but I like my decision. I could also easily be swayed to replace Young with Favre or Marino on this list.


Otto Graham. 11 seasons, eight or nine titles, second the other years. A title game every season he played. He holds NFL title rings and an NBA title ring (as a player).

He should be considered with the winning record he had.


1. Joe Montana

2. Steve Young

3. Tom Brady

4. Dan Marino

5. John Elway

I think its pretty well decided by mass vote that Montana is the best, and he well deserves that number one spot. As far as manning goes, sorry but he can kill it every season in regular play, but when he continually chokes in post season, then there's a difference between him and Marino. Manning has a stacked team and there's no reason he shouldn't dominate post season play. It would be like Lebron and the Heat losing their first post season game.

Yes he has made it to the bowl twice. Losing once and then beating the bears and rex grossman, pretty much handed to him. I also believe that Tom Brady out performs manning almost every time they meet. Brady is the best quarterback currently in the game, and an argument could be posed for Brett Favre -- maybe.


There is no doubt. Look at all the records and Brett Favre holds most of them. He is without a doubt the most prolific QB and his tenacity and endurance speak to his "warrior like" attitude toward the game.

Not to mention he is fun to watch, more than any other QB. The man has "football charisma." Go Brett!


Otto graham: Seven nfl titles back to back; best ever hands down.


To the guy who posted stats



That was from 12 seasons. He has the best completion percentage, third highest yards per attempt after Unitas and Young (but remember manning has no running game to speak of), second best Td-int ratio and qb rating after young and most touchdown and yards per season.


If I could draft all off the greatest Brett Favre would be first pick no matter how many super bowls were won by others. He is the best of all time. The Gunslinger


There's been an official list from ESPN using a formula that includes rings, wins, td-int, etc. and weighs them all differently. Tom Brady was number one on that list, as he obviously should be.


The best quarterback ever was Cleveland Browns Otto Graham! Eight League championships, ten straight championship games! In a 10-year career! Better than Montana, Elway or whoever else you think!


Pretty decent arguments as to whose better Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Many refer to Brady as the better playoff quarterback. And I'll admit maybe at one point early on that was a good argument. Not now!

Let's take a look at last year's playoffs. Both the Colts and the Patriots played the same Ravens team in back to back weeks in the 2009 playoffs. What better comparison to debunk the Tom Brady is better in playoffs than Peyton Manning argument than these two back to back games vs a common opponent?

Six days after Brady plays the Ravens it's Manning's turn! Facts are hard to argue with! Pats vs. Ravens: Brady's stats vs Ravens in wildcard game Jan 10, 2010: 23/42, 154 YDS, 2 TD, 3 INT. Pats Lose 33 to 14. Brady looked horrible! Actually felt bad for him.

Just six days later, Colts vs. Ravens: Manning's stats vs Ravens in Divisional Playoff round Jan 16, 2010: 30/44, 246 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT.

Colts Win 20 to 3. Manning was awesome!

Any questions?


So, I took the best 15 years of these top QBs and compared them (Montana, Favre, Marino, Elway, Young, Tarkenton, and Unitas).

Att Com Yds Tds Int

Montana : 5391 3409 40551 273 139

Marino: 8208 4876 60143 415 249

Elway: 6991 4000 49812 293 212

Favre: 8065 5050 58260 441 244

Young: 4149 2667 33124 232 107

Tarkenton:5655 2605 41159 300 228

Unitas: 4902 2672 38687 282 233


my boy tom brady is the best quarterback in the NFL.


John Elway been in more post-season games than any other quarterback in the league. He led his team to five super bowls and six conference championship games.


Dawson was a very good quarterback (even winning a Super Bowl), but didn't compare to contemporaries like Unitas and Starr. He fits in that next tier with John Hadl.

Joe Namath's career was inhibited by his horrible knees, already severely damaged when he came out of Alabama. Another in that "next tier" with Dawson and Hadl. Warren Moon, another very good player, played his best as a big fish in the CFL's little pond. Sad. He was good in his late 30s, and I believe that he would have challenged defensively had he gone to the NFL instead.

My question is, why the silence about Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman or Y. A. Tittle? Each was dominant in their own time and deserves at least a consideration.


Quarterbacks are not the main reason that teams win Super Bowls. To say the man who had the luck to play on a great team that won a Super Bowl is the best is weak. What did the man do year i and year out with teams that were not so hot? A man who had to put up with weak defenses and poor offensive lines. Please give a little credit to those QBs.


has everyone forgotten Warren Moon? Super Bowl rings does not a good qb make. If that's the case where's Bradshaw, Dawson, Namath?


Top Modern Era QBs

1 Joe Montana

2 Steve Young

3 Peyton Manning

4 Tom Brady

5 John Elway

6 Ben Roethlisberger

7 Troy Aikman

8 Brett Favre

9 Dan Marino

10 Kurt Warner


So far there are 174 posts, and I have read all of them. So I thought is would be interesting to add up all of the #1 QB picks, and see which QBs are getting the most votes.

In the cases where a person mentioned a couple of QBs without identifying just one as the greatest, I counted both. When it is a list like a top 5 or 10, I only counted the #1 QB. And of course when its the clearly the same person posting more than once for a QB, I only count it once.

So out of 174 posts here's how it breaks down:

#1 Joe Montana - 30 posts

#2 Brett Favre - 16 posts

#3 Dan Marino and Tom brady - 15 posts each

#4 John Elway and Peyton Manning - 10 posts each

#5 Johnny Unitas and Steve Young - 9 posts each

#6 Bart Starr and Otto Graham - 6 posts each

#7 Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, and Kurt Warner - 3 posts each

# 8 Sammy Baugh and Dan Fouts - 2 posts each

#9 Tarkenton, Vick, Staubach, Tittle, Cook, Roethlisberger - 1 post each


What so many people forget is that what makes someone the greatest is a combination of things: records, achievements, and how they did it, and did they transcend the sport. It only applies to one quarterback. Joe Montana is the only NFL player everyone all over the world has heard of.

A Russian salesman I know even knows the story about John Candy and knows nothing else about the game -- enough said.

Montana was the most watchable quarterback ever. He had the opposition terrified by his presence.


It's as much to do with how montana did it as the records he has. You can't argue with four super bowls and zero interceptions, but it's his grace and leadership that transcends sport. Very few people ever transcended their sport and Montana was one of them.


Montana has to be the best currently. People knock him because they say he only played on great teams but forget that he didn't have rice and still trounced marino.

They forget that at the end of his career with a bad back and failing arm he still managed to take a mediocre at best chiefs team to the playoffs twice. His final year he managed to beat the eventual super bowl winner at home in his Typical comeback fashion against steve young with a far more talented team.

He played in an era with out all the pass happy rules that Brady benefits from.

He had the most severe injury to recover from and still won two more super Bowls. I suspect Brady will get his fourth SB victory before he retires but he will have done it at a time when it is easier to pass because of the rules and the cheating thing true or not will hang over him always.

That said, roll back the rules to what they were in the 70's and most of the top quarter backs from 80's to present would have a tough time. None but bradshaw could withstand the punishment players of the earlier years endured. This also taints stats for Manning and Favre.


" post 169 "

What mistakes has Montana made... in the Superbowl? Four Super Bowl victories - zero interceptions. 'Nuff said!


just a simple mistake on article 140. not reggie bush, Reggie White!


I am a Favre fan. i have watched him play in almost every game he has played in. The question of who is the greatest is a hard one to answer. So many greats. But to say that he is not in the discussion of the best only shows who the people are posting on this topic.

Get off of his back for his mistakes. they have all made them. Marino, Elway, Montana, Manning... the list goes on. Get a grip and try to understand the game, or at least ask someone who understands it and has played it!


to Posts 164 and 165: Eeryone should agree that using points like "he was a real leader" or "he played with a broken..." (mcnabb played three quarters with a broken leg, was the best player in the Super Bowl without an ankle basically). All the QBs mentioned are leaders, play hurt, etc.

The best way to quantify how great an individual player was or if he was "the best" is through his statistics along with other statistics such as "comeback wins", etc.

This is why i think Marino was far better than any of the others mentioned (montana, young, elway, etc). The best way to truly quantify player achievements is in direct comparison to other greats, not by how they did in a super bowl, etc.

I broke this comparison down in my post no. 140 to make it clear to others.

I would like to see other comparisons of greats to other greats. The reason we don't see this kind of comparison is because if you compare them to each other as individual players and not a player on a great team or system, Marino pretty much blows the others away.

I's all in post no. 140. I would like to hear other opinions based on my post.


In my opinion, Joe Montana was the greatest. A combination of comeback ability, running ability, field generalship, super bowl wins, stats, qb rating, and release time puts him in his own league.

other qbs have better individual stats, but no one did it all, the way montana did, as well as he did.


Tom Brady? Tom Brady? How can you even put him anywhere near this conversation?

How many rings has old Tommy gotten since he cannot cheat ?

/sarcasm on: Wow. That Tom Brady is awesome. It's like he knows exactly what the defense is going to do next! /sarcasm off


post 164: This is the same point I'm making in posts 152 and 158. Only difference is when I open my eyes I see Joe Montana leading my team. Joe is the safest bet in NFL history! You look up the word "clutch" in the dictionary and you see Joe Montana's face right next to Michael Jordan's.

Marino is right up there, for sure. But no way he was more reliable in big games than Montana, no way!

I put Steve Young and John Elway above Marino as well. What if the receivers are covered and you need a first down or the game is over? Young or Elway can find a way to get that first down even if they can't pass.

I can see an argument for Dan Marino, and I respect your opinion that you would choose him. Great for me if I have Montana and my team is playing yours!


Close your eyes and imagine two identical super teams getting ready to square off in an all-time everything game, the Megabowl. Now, the only difference between these two will be the quarterback, and you get to pick one of the all-time greats.

Who do you want leading your team to victory. Who would you pick? Montana? Elway? Brady? Bradshaw? I have an idea.

Open your eyes now and imagine your butt is on the line if you're wrong. That's what I thought. Marino is the best of all-time. Argument over.


I believe that John Elway was the best quarterback that I ever saw. John got his team to the Super Bowl five times.

In the first three appearances, John got his team there without a running game and with a mediocre defense at best. John was the Denver Broncos in those years. Can you name the wide receivers or the running backs that were on the Broncos in those years? Yes, they got blown out in each of those Super Bowls. But, they still beat out all the teams in the AFC in those years.

The other quarterbacks in the AFC had much more talent to work with during that time period.

It wasn't until John got a running game (Terrell Davis)that he was able to get his Super Bowl rings.

John was one of the most athletic quarterbacks to ever play the game. Of the names mentioned,only Steve Young and Roger Staubach could be considered in the same sentence as being athletic as John Elway.

My top twelve: Elway, Montana, Brady, Staubach, Manning, Unitas, Bradshaw, Young, Aikman, Marino, Starr, Favre.


Brett Favre needs to go mow some lawns in Hattiesburg, MS. Have you ever been to that forsaken part of the world? I can tell you: you're not missing much! He stinks! Geaux Saints!


I read every post, but there is no way to compare eras unless you use playoff games. There is one indisputable statistic that rings true: Joe Montana never threw an INT in a Super Bowl. You cannot compare Sammy Baugh or Otto Graham to anyone in the modern era. Just like you cannot compare Johnny Unitas to Joe Montana.

But you can say this: no one will ever break Joe Montana's record of zero INT's in four Super Bowls! When you think of Joe Montana what do you remember? To remember Montana to John Taylor to beat the Bengals! He is hands down the best QB of the modern era. Try to think of another QB that you can say that about? Oh, and let's not forget "The Catch". So just shut up and deal with it. And God bless drew brees. He reminds me of ole Joe!


You guys are probably too young to remember this. Joe Montana had two fractured vertebrae in an nfc championship against the giants. Had them removed and still went on to win two super bowls. The 9ers did have great teams but their first super bowl team was not that great. they had no running game but had a good defense. No Rice, no running backs. their first super bowl was all Joe Montana the greatest to ever play.


What about tom brady's stats: unbeaten regular season, three super bowl wins with a good possibility to win another before he's done.


post 155: Good point. However when you look at those Super Bowls with Joe Montana, and Steve Young for that matter, These quarterbacks were absolutely a huge part of their teams' success.

Joe Montana had clutch plays, clutch drives, when his team needed it most. Look at the game winning pass to John Taylor in Super Bowl 23, Look at that drive!

Also look at Steve Young's performance in the Super Bowl. Not only did he set a record that may never be broken with 6 touchdown passes, he also led his team in rushing yards. That's why he got the MVP.

These performances are a far cry from someone like Brad Johnson. Tampa Bay's defense should have been the league MVP that year.

Not saying the 49ers didn't have great teams. Of course they did! The combination of great all around teams, with great quarterbacks and great receivers, allowed the 49ers to win 5 Super Bowls before any other NFL team. That's special. But Montana and Young were the most important part of those great teams.

You can't just plug any good quarterback into those Super Bowl winning 49ers teams and say they would have the same success. No way! Maybe someone like Elway could have done it, he had a similar skill set to Montana and Young. Maybe Marino, but he wasn't so mobile, so the offensive system would have had to be different -- that's a harder one to judge. But would Brad Johnson or Terry Bradshaw have led the 49ers to five Super Bowls? No way! Could any quarterback have made the game winning plays that Montana made in Super Bowl and championship games? Maybe, but I don't think so.

So I guess the question is: who would you want as the quarterback for your team in the Super Bowl? Even if you had the greatest defense and the greatest offensive line in history, would you choose Brad Johnson just cause you think you'd win anyway? I don't think so.

That is the point I was trying to make. In the big game, when it's all on the line, who would you put the most faith in to lead your team to victory? I have never seen a quarterback I'd bet my life savings on before Joe Montana. No way I would trust Favre before him, that would be crazy! Steve Young is a close second, Elway and Marino are right up there as well.

So I think Super Bowl performance is a great way to judge greatness, it's just not the only way. There are other factors. And even without a Super Bowl win, those other factors landed Marino in my personal top 5. (post 135)

But, big plays in the most important game when the pressure is on, when teammates and fans are counting on one man to get it done when it might be the last chance -- and that man, that quarterback, gets it done! That's the stuff of legend.

An NFL quarterback probably plays the most difficult, important, and severely judged position in all of team sports. When a quarterback takes the field in the most important game of the year, a game that will be studied and talked about forever, and is able to play at his absolute best and really lead his team to victory, that is something that can only add to his legacy. You have to take great Super Bowl performances into consideration when ranking the greatest quarterbacks of all time.


This is why Brett Favre is one of the worst "top" quarterbacks in history. He may have broken some records but here's a top 10 list of his horrendous "clutch" performances, and it doesn't even include this year's debacle, despite the Vikings' fumbles. He had a chance to win or tie the game when it most counted. All he had to do was not screw up, yet again he did.

No way a list like this could be compiled on any of the other top QBs mentioned.


This year's Super Bowl defines why Peyton Manning cannot be considered in the discussion of best QBs of all time. He is a sensational regular season player, has terrific stats, but is mediocre at best when the bright lights shine. Now he is .500 (9-9) in playoff games. The truly great ones (Montana, Bradshaw, Staubach, Brady) rise to the occasion and find ways to win the big games.


To post #152: i generally agree with you, though i have to say that if you have a very strong team, you can win a Super Bowl. Quarterbacks don't have as much to do with winning a Super Bowl as does having a strong defense, good running backs, wide receivers, special teams, etc. If this was not the case, then scott norwood kicks a field goal and jim kelly would be one of the best ever.

when you look historically at all the quarterbacks who have made it to the super bowl, you'll see that there have been many who were just serviceable, decent guys (hostetler, rypien, dilfer, brad johnson, doug williams etc.) These were guys on great teams, many with terrific offensive lines, solid running games and good/great defenses. The same goes for the ones who made it but didn't win. These were solid, teams, not necessarily teams that needed a great, or even good QB to make it.

Dan Marino was probably the only one and maybe elway (though elway's teams won when he got a great O line and terrell davis), to make it to the super bowl with average teams. i'd say those two were exceptional QBs. The others were good/great QBs on great teams. I think if you gave these two guys a great defense, roger craig and jerry rice and john taylor, i'd say they'd probably be 4-0 in the super bowl too, meaning super bowl wins aren't important when gauging how good an individual player may be.


you're going to rip a forty year old man who's been getting hit in the head for nineteen years because he made one bad decision in the game?

if his team doesn't fumble five times then the vikings would be playing in the super bowl.

he doesn't have have reggie wayne or randy moss to count on and his offensive line is mediocre.


troy aikman i know his stats weren't the best but he knew how to win games and three super bowls.


"- mr analyst" RE: post # 187

Most of what you say about Favre is true.. and i agree. His career is amazing, his attitude is great, he's tough as nails and durable. With great risk comes great reward, and all that. And he did make my personal top 5 (post 135)..

But in my opinion this is not enough to make him #1.

If you only had 1 team for 1 game and you absolutely had to win.. Lets say its for your life savings or your house or all your worldly possessions, something like that. If you had to count on 1 quarterback to lead your team to victory, and it can be any QB to ever play the game.. Would you really choose Brett Favre!? Would you put it all in his hands over somebody like Joe Montana, or Steve Young, or Peyton Manning, etc. Would you go with a QB who is so set in his all or nothing ways that he throws an interception, in O.T, when his team is in field goal range, in a game that decides who will play in the Superbowl? ...

You are entitled to your opinion. But if you would be willing to bet it all on Favre over someone like Joe Montana, then we must not be watching the same sport in the same way. Sorry.

I have a lot of respect for Brett Favre, and everything he's done in his career. He is without a doubt one of the all time greats, and that will never change. But when it counts the most, when the game is on the line, there are a few quarterbacks mentioned in this debate I would have more confidence in.

And I don't agree that performance in the Super Bowl is overrated. First of all you have to get there, which means you had a great season. But more importantly this is the game when your team needs you the most. A Super Bowl victory is a dream that many great quarterbacks wish they had another shot at.. look at Dan Marino. So stepping up and playing your best when it matters most says a lot about the "greatness" of a quarterback, or any position for that matter. That is the ultimate challenge for an athlete: do it when it counts! Joe Montana played his best games when it counted most, and he's 4 and 0 in the Super Bowl, with zero interceptions! That's four rings, four trophies for a franchise, four games that will be talked about forever. That is NFL history. That is a legacy.

How can you overrate that?


while Otto Graham was QB for Cleveland has won a total of eight league championships. They won all four AAFC titles (including a 15-0 undefeated season in 1948), and after joining the NFL won four additional championships prior to the league's merger with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970.

Following the merger, the Browns were one of three NFL teams which joined the ten former AFL

teams to form the new American Football Conference. Despite having the sixth-highest winning percentage of all NFL franchises [1], the Browns have not played in a league championship game since the merger; however, they have competed for the AFC Championship three times. Having lost all three games, along with two NFL Championship Games of the Super Bowl era prior to the merger (in 1968 and 1969), Cleveland is one of four NFL teams that had yet to qualify for the Super Bowl.

Furthermore, Cleveland has never hosted a Super Bowl, making it the only NFL city to have neither

hosted nor sent a team to the Super Bowl.


Sammy Baugh played "old school" football - leading the entire NFL in categories on offense (passing), defense (interceptions) and special teams (punting) all in the same season! Factor in that he played "both ways" (on offense and defense) and that there were so fewer games per season, and Sammy Baugh should be included in any discussion of all-time greatest NFL quarterbacks!


to POST #147: The reason Favre is not thought of as the best is because of exactly what you mentioned: the guy has made the worst decisions at some of the most crucial spots. St the very time that he had to come through (not just to win, but to preserve a win), he's single-handedly lost the game. This year is a good example. And there's no way the guy's not doing HGH - he's already been known to be an alcoholic and painkiller addict. Why not something to make him play like he's 25 again? the same reasons bonds/mcguire/sosa etc couldn't do what they did at their older age, pertains to Favre: no one has ever gotten better past 35, especially in football. No one is beyond human as you saw in baseball.

i wrote the breakdowns in post #140.


The thing that bugs me a lot about this debate as to who is the best QB all-time is the emphasis on Super Bowls. The World Series plays the best out of seven. The Super Bowl is only one game. Give me a break! The playoffs for the most part have usually been more fun to watch, with the exception of some Super Bowls.

We are talking about an individual player NOT a whole team. Statistics matter over a time period and the faster they are broken also matters in a time period.

Now Brett Favre is in his last days as a QB. Three MVPs – he’s the only one to ever do that so far. Most yards, most TD’s, most consecutive starts, most playoff touchdowns, most wins as a QB, pro-bowl more than nine times. He had one of his best seasons ever for 2009 and the guy is 40!

O.K., you say, well, it is not all about stats.

He takes the hits and still plays. He has improvised like no other QB in the game. I doubt any QB would have thrown that fourth quarter TD against the 49ers. Plus, Brett Favre has never had as good of an offensive line as Brady or Manning.

Oh yeah, by the way -- for you young guys out there, he won the Super Bowl in 1996 against the Patriots, so the guy has a ring already. It seems to me that Brett doesn’t get his respect in this area because of all the young media guys and players who cannot appreciate who Brett Favre really is and what he has accomplished.

So he’s not the best because he throws and has thrown pics too many times. Well let me ask you guys out there: do you think Brett Favre would have the stats leading the NFL in most records at QB if he didn’t take those risks?

Look at baseball players-- there are guys that have struck out a lot. Would Hank Aaron have as many home-runs if he hadn’t made as many attempts and failed, or Willie Mays? Hank Aaron played for the Braves and was not on a World Series team but take a look at him as a whole player not just his home-runs. Why is it that just because Brett Favre is now an old guy in the NFL that he is not a factor?

Michael Jordan has been retired now from the NBA but he is still known as the greatest even by young guys. Hey young guys out there, all you Tom Brady lovers: did you see and watch closely Brett Favre play in his younger days? Well obviously not, because you were too young. I am not from Green Bay and I’m not a Packers fan either, although I don’t dislike them. Remember I am not talking about a team, but a player.

Since you are saying that a QB is great if he inspires his team, then again I would put Favre as a great motivator and a team leader when the game is on the line. When it comes to being in the clutch and the chips are down Brett Favre has had great success. What about the NFC championship game against Seattle? You think Tom Brady would have the presence to hand an underthrow as he did stumbling?

He takes and has taken the greatest risks more than any QB ever has. Does he blow it? Yeah sure, and it hurts, but there as many wins -- in fact, more -- when you look at his career stats. But he choked and still chokes to get to the big one. Yeah he has made mistakes, and foolish ones.

But I’m sorry. The Super Bowl is overrated. It’s one game. All you have to do is have a bad day and you’re done. The Super Bowl should be either play best out of three games or play Pro-bowl AFC against NFC and no prima donna rules but just as a regular game with all out guts. Now that would be cool to see and do it best out of three games. I think then you can judge better who is the best.

And another reminder Brett has won as a QB with Green Bay. So he has everything on his resume.

Last, I want to talk about attitude. Tom Brady is a pouter and even when he wins a big game, he is not that overjoyed about it. It is only a quest and he looks angry. He reminds me that like Kurt Warner says, well I’m glad that’s over and it’s work.

Brett loves the game and still at age 40! I am certain that Brady either would have gone out of the game if he was hit as many times as Brett was even at his younger age during the 2009 NFC champ game. Brett is 40 and he took the hits and kept coming back.

Arm strength -- Brett has always had a rocket arm and still does at age 40! Accuracy. When Brett is on, he is unstoppable and I think that is true for Brady to be fair and others. Why doesn’t Favre get respect for toughness and longevity at his position? The guy has been playing for 19 years! Montana not that long; Marino, no; Elway, no; Aikman, no. What does that say about the guy? And he has surpassed all these QB’s in stats already.

Let’s talk about Brett Favre’s emotions. So he broke down about his career and knowing he was never going to play again. What -- you think guys at war in Iwo Jima, including the Marines, never cried? It’s just emotion, that’s all. I say this because Deon is always ripping on Favre and Mooch.

I don’t care what the guy does off the field cries, swears whatever, you cannot not respect him on the field if he plays well.

Brett Favre is the best so far in the QB position, all-time.

And if you say, well IF Montana or Marino or in the future Brady or Manning may surpass him then, yeah. Then I will take a good look at the contender if they have the stats to prove it. But they haven’t yet. And Brett holds the records for a reason. He is a tough guy and has proven it time and again. remember his college game after his car accident? That’s Brett Favre!

Now a lot of people also can’t stand a guy just because a lot of people like him and he is mentioned too much. But just look at him objectively, as far as his stats alone.

Three MVP’s; do a little research online. All of Brett Favre’s stats are there.

I know forums and guys will rip the heck out of me sayingm are you in love with Brett etc. and this and will bring up Super Bowls like Montana etc. But I’m talking about the position of QB and I don’t think Super Bowls are everything. Stats over time and toughness and wins are more important. Super Bowls, one game.

Brett Favre: I think that as time goes by his legacy will even be more admired. Even if Favre just peters out as too old for the game he has already proven everything including a Super Bowl win since that means so much to some of you. Number four is a legend yet to be conquered or duplicated.


Koy Detmer


Hands down, Peyton Manning is the BEST quarterback ever to play the game of football! Second to Peyton Manning, the great Otto Graham!


As a Colts fan I am partial to Peyton Manning. Over the years of watching Peyton I can't believe how far he has come.

Yes he does have Reggie Wayne and did have Marvin Harrison for all those years (the greatest QB-WR combo ever), but it doesn't matter who you put out there as a wide out or in the slot or even at tight end. Peyton just makes them successful in the way he reads the defense and calls all the plays at the line.

He may not be the best QB right now, but maybe by the time he retires he could be. I think everyone would agree that he is the hardest working QB of all time and if not, just watch the Colts play one whole season.

When the Colts played the Jets in the 2010 AFC Championship the Jets had a great defense going into that game, and they even got to Peyton a couple of times. Then did you see him on the sidelines looking at the printouts of the defense? He figured out exactly what they were doing and in the second half he tore up the defense.

It's just amazing at how he can adjust and make everyone around him adjust and they just go to work.

The Colts defense of the last century was pretty sketchy and they still won more games in the last century than any other team or any other century that came before that. So to say that Peyton wasn't the main reason why is just insane.

The end of the regular season the Colts were 14-0 and winning against them, yet in the third when Coach Caldwell decided to bench him, and the Jets came back to win that game. The Colts ended the season 14-2 because they benched him the last two games? We will never know.

What I'm saying is Peyton is the best leader of a team I've ever seen and he makes everyone around him better because of his hard work and dedication to the game. Don't get me wrong -- he still has several things to prove before he goes down as the NFL's greatest QB of all time, but he is on his way and I don't think he is slowing down anytime soon.


How can you not include Kurt Warner? When it comes to impact, he's the only QB to bring two of the worst teams to the Super Bowl and winning one of them. Look what happened to St. Louis once he got hurt and eventually dismissed.

When it comes to Super Bowl appearances, he's been to three of them. When it comes to records, he's got the top three passing records in the Super Bowl, to go along with numerous other records and he did it all in 12 years and at an older age.

And most important of all, when it comes to humility and integrity, he was above the rest. There shouldn't even be any talk of whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame. If the HOF voters had any integrity and if some of them can overcome their prejudice against Christians, then Kurt Warner should be a first ballot HOF.


I admittedly haven't read every post so, perhaps this has already been talked about. But, when his day is done, Peyton Manning will be the unquestioned greatest QB of all time. And, I say this as a Cowboys fan with no remorse (sorry Roger/ Troy).

He has done more with less than anyone. Example: Brady goes down for the season after one of the greatest seasons of all time. In comes Matt Cassel, who hasn't started a game in seven years and leads the Pats to an 11-5 record, then goes to KC and is terrible. Which goes to show you that anyone with an arm and a brain can run Belichick's offense. The Colts lost their head coach and they ended the season 16-2 and on the verge of another Super Bowl. Lose Brady, you're 11-5. If the Colts lose Manning? What? 8-8? Maybe? It won't be close once Manning gets another couple of rings and every QB record (save INTs) in a few years.


Some facts to think about:

Marino in 17 years, compared to other QBs mentioned here:

Montana in 15 years: 147 TD less, about 21,000 yds less, 42 yds less passing per gm, never had a 4000 yd season compared to Marino's 5 and Marino had 1 5000 yd season.

Young (in his defense, spent early years in USFL) in 15 years: 188 TD less, about 28,000 yds less, 57 yds less passing per gm, two 4000 yd seasons

Elway in 16 years (could only win the super bowls when he had Terrell Davis, further proving complete teams win SBs, not individuals): 120 TD less, about 10,000 yds less, 33 yds less passing per gm, one 4000 yd season.

Manning and Brady have yet to finish their careers, played in a different era.

Favre is a tough comparison because he won early in his career when he had reggie bush and a great defense. He has broken Marino's TD and yardage records but has played two years more. He still has fewer yards per game than Marino, but has thrown almost 1,000 more passes which shows poorer efficiency per pass/per game.

Favre is undoubtedly probably the worst decision maker of all these top QBs. He has single handedly lost many important games for his team (as we again saw this in this year's playoffs).

Teams win super bowls and Al Pro games, MVP wins, etc. are arbitrary non-quantifiable accolades (fans voting, team success, etc). If they weren't arbitrary or had to do with a team's overall success, then Chris Johnson would easily be MVP but his team stunk, so it will probably go to Manning.

Bottom line: As of now, through these factual important QB statistics that are not team-related and not opinions (such as "he's a leader" etc..they were all leaders, great ones!), it's proven how dominant Marino was, compared to all the others that are mentioned here.

None of the other top QBs even come close to what he did -- period.

If Montana, Young, Elway and crew were on those horrible Dolphin teams, would they have been able to do what Marino did? How many Super Bowls would Marino have won on those 49er teams? Who knows? What we do know is that as individual quarterbacks, no one comes close to what Marino did. The facts are right in front of us. Opinions may be different but facts are facts.


I hate the Broncos, but John Elway was the best: he had the most super bowl appearances (five), he proved he could lead a team by winning two of them in the twilight of his career, and in terms of pure numbers he is one of the few members of the 50,000 yard club.

Montana should be no. 1 but he had far too much help from the organization, not to mention had the undisputed best receiver ever (Rice) to throw to. I would, however, say that Montana was the best leader.


Elway! why do so many people forget Elway?


I think winning big games and stats are both important to consider. But it is also important to look at who stands out among their peers in their era. Changes in rules, and both offensive and defensive strategy, can affect stats over the course of NFL history.

Its also important to look at how great a QB played at the height of their talents rather than just compiling a bunch of numbers at the end of their careers, and then comparing them to other greats.

For example, Brett Favre has had one of the most impressive and heroic careers of any NFL player in any position. He has had a long career and he was always one of the best QBs in the league almost every season he played. Favre holds a lot of records because of this, and deserves a lot of credit for that.

However, I think there are quite a few QBs on this list who played at a higher level at their best, even though they won't retire with Favre's list of records. So Favre is and always will be one of the greats, but his records alone are not enough to make him no. 1 in my book.

Steve Young makes another good example of this. He spent part of his career, when he almost certainly would have been putting up Pro Bowl numbers, as a backup. He also had a career cut short by injuries. But when he was able to play at his best, he performed at a level few quarterbacks in history can even come close to competing with. He produced record breaking numbers in both passing and rushing.

Steve Young stands out as arguably the best quarterback of his era, and this was a stacked era for QBs. Elway, Marino, Favre, Aikman -- the list goes on. But Young at his best was arguably better than any of these guys! But he doesn't have the longevity stats of guys like Marino or Favre, even though his numbers for the best years he played are much better.

I also don't think it's fair to rank guys who still have a long way to go in their careers. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will almost certainly be among the top 10 when they retire, and even if they retired now. But they still have a lot of football to play, and they could get even better, but they could also lose something and start slipping in the ranks, doubtful as that may seem. So their place among the all time greats remains to be seen -- and yes, their futures on this list look very bright.

And with very honorable mentions to guys like Graham, Starr, Fouts, and Unitas, I'm going to keep it a little more modern.

So this is my list:

#1 Joe Montana - (sorry Steve). Joe is the greatest ever because he has everything that's important when ranking the greats. He has four Super Bowl wins where he led his team to victory (sorry Terry). He was the undisputed best QB of his generation. He has some of the most impressive stats on the list. He was a great leader. And above all he was clutch. I mean clutch! He had that rare gift that only the greatest of the great in any sport possess. When the game is on the line, and you need that game winning play, no one in NFL history compares to Joe Montana, period.

#2 Steve Young. Based on ability alone, Young is no. 1. On paper he was better than Joe, and pretty much every other quarterback we always talk about. But Montana just had that little bit more magic when it counted, and four Super Bowls. That being said, Steve Young is nipping at Joe's heels for the top spot. Young is the most accurate, highest rated QB ever.

He is the best rushing QB, with the most rushing touchdowns ever. He has the best Super Bowl performance ever. He has more consecutive seasons as the NFL's best passer than anyone, ever. He was also great in the clutch and a great leader.

And, like Montana, Young was the best QB of his generation. The 90's was arguably one of the most talented decades in NFL history, and many of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game saw their primes in the 90's. Steve Young was *the* quarterback of the 90's, and he set a new standard for his position by which QBs of the next generation would be compared to.

Also the only Hall Of Fame QB to directly follow another Hall Of fame QB -- impressive. If Hearst had not broken his ankle against the Falcons in the '98 playoffs, and if Young's career hadn't been cut short by concussions, it is very likely he would have two or three Super Bowls, and there would be no doubt in anyone's mind he's the best ever. But history only graced Young with one great Super Bowl, and a career cut short.

So even though at the height of his greatness he may not have had an equal, he just doesn't have the multiple rings that would secure him in the no. 1 spot.

#3 John Elway (sorry Brett). John Elway has similar talents as the first two quarterbacks on my list. He had a great arm, he was a great scrambler, he was very clutch, and a great leader.

Elway was a QB who could beat teams in a lot of different ways. He went to five Super Bowls and won two. He ended his career dramatically and heroically by winning back to back Super Bowls.

While it is true that Terrell Davis was a big part of the Broncos’ winning formula, it would not have happened without Elway. In my opinion a great quarterback that relies on great protection is not so great and like the top two QBs on my list, John Elway could scramble. He could make something out of nothing as well as almost any QB ever, and he had a great arm.

His consistent great playing, his well rounded abilities, his leadership, the faith his teammates had in him, and the storybook ending to his career, earn him the #3 spot on my list by the skin of his teeth.

#4 Brett Favre. Brett Favre is the ultimate working man's quarterback. A man among men. A blue collar hero. The bottom line is that Brett Favre is one of the toughest S.O.B.'s to ever step onto a football field, and he loves the game as much as anyone who ever played it. That is his legacy.

Beyond the record books and the MVPs and the winning seasons. Game after game, year after year, Favre shows up to play ball, his way, no matter what. But Brett's greatest strength is also his downfall. His gunslinger mentality has lead him to throw the most interceptions of any QB ever, many of them in big games on critical plays most recently in O.T. against the Saints, when his team was in field goal range.

By contrast Joe Montana lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories without throwing even one interception. Anyone who says Brett Favre is not one of the greatest players in NFL history is crazy. The man has a Super Bowl ring, a bunch of records, and a huge fan following, and one of the most memorable careers in any sport. But he has also dropped the ball, when it counted most, more than the top three on this list.

It's always a roll of the dice with Brett, win big or lose big. This will always keep him out of the super-elite top 3 in my opinion and after a couple of the current generations QBs are done, I honestly don’t think Brett will break the top five. Unless of course you count sentimental value, in which case he will always be no. 1 in the minds of many loyal fans, and he deserves it.

#5 Dan Marino. Dan Marino was amazing. Ask anyone who knows anything about football and they all know that Dan Marino had one of the best, most reliable arms of all time. He also played without the benefit of great running backs or defenses. He never won the Super Bowl, and history will judge him harshly for that. Because of these things he will always be judged for his arm only, which is one of the best ever.

As a pure passer there are few QBs in NFL history that compete with Marino. He had a quick release and was hard to sack, but wasn't much for making something out of nothing. Where other QBs on this list would find a way to make a play, Marino would probably just throw the ball away and try again the next down. That being said, he held a lot of records for a long time, and although many are being broken by Favre, and then Manning, Marino will go down as one of the best pure passers to ever play the game.

The fact that he did it without great teams around him adds to his legacy but when it comes down to it, the lack of a Super Bowl ring will eventually push him out of the top five.

If you consider the whole of league history and really talk about great QBs like Graham and Unitas or if you fast forward some years and consider the careers of Manning for sure, and maybe Brady if he actually leads his team to another Super Bowl victory then the four and five spots on my list will get bumped down, although they both probably stay in the top 10 for a long time. The number three spot will almost certainly be overtaken by Manning But no. 1 and no. 2 will be much harder to overtake. Montana and Young were just too good, and their positions at the top will never be beyond argument.


Manning is hands down the best of all time. and the dude that said manning won't win another ring, we will see feb 7!

he's the fastest player to hit 50,000 yards. he has four mvps, one super bowl ring and about to win his second. he's the best decision maker to ever touch a ball. he runs his own offensive, calls his own plays and he will crush favre's records.

favre stinks. he chokes and make poor throws. only thing manning lacks is toughness. he's scared to get hit and can't take a hit. other than that his crazy stats speaks for themselves. brady is a good qb but also won super bowls because of their defense. two years ago they lost six pro bowlers on their defense. manning never had a defense. you give manning a solid defense and the colts are unstoppable.


Dan Fouts!


re: post #128. can you defend what you mean by Marino (and possibly Brees) "choked"? is that because Marino's teams always stunk?

No one could stop Marino. When teams played the Dolphins, they had to stop one guy and one guy only, and no one could ever do it. Opposing defense never had to worry about a running back and never had to worry about scoring on the Dolphins' defense. All they had to do was just slow down Marino. No one could ever do it.

Knowing this fact, he not only broke but shattered every single passing record during his years. Even though Manning and Brady have now, after 20 years, finally barely broken his TD record by 1 and tdz, no one has yet been able to break his single season yardage record.

Every single QB mentioned here had many strengths on their teams and the Super Bowl winners had strength across the board.

No one came close to Marino during his years. A similar player today would be Manning. Not to say there haven't been many great QBs, but for the modern era (after 1960s), I think the numbers speak for themselves.

It's the same reasoning that places Barry Sanders above Emmit Smith.


Brady is not one of the best QB's of all time. He broke Marino's touchdown record by design as he continued to play in games after winning the number one seed and by throwing on all downs when within the ten yards of the goal line. As for the nearly "perfect" season, same thing.

And let's not forget that this was all the year the team was "caught" cheating big-time. Like that didn't help all the stats.

When Marino broke that touchdown record it was by necessity as they had no running game and the defense couldn't stop anyone.

Had the field goal kicker missed in each Super Bowl, Brady would be like Jim Kelly with decent stats through the season culminating into nothing.

Best Overall QB = Joe Montana

Best Passing QB = Dan Marino

Best Scrambling QB = Fran Tarkenton

Toughest QB = Brett Favre

Brady will not see another Super Bowl, and Manning will not win another one.


If you look at the QBs that are considered historically the best, all have had a strong running game, and a top receiver to work with.

In Tom Brady's three championships, he has never had a dominant running back (or running game), nor a top receiver, ever, to work with. He has taken whomever he has been given, and has made them champions. Only four QBs have ever won three super bowls. Tom Brady is one of them.

Not considering Tom Brady to be a top five ever to play the game is unfathomable.


Joe Montana: four Super Bowls with four totally different teams. Twice he won the big game with an all but perfect team and twice with a great team.

Second, I like Big Ben. They talk about Peyton and Favre but this guy really does come back from behind to win the Super Bowl.

Brady is great but he has the advantage of being in a great system that was ahead of its time and when they were on top and had the deepest bench in the NFL, he was just a great player in the system.

Breeze is also great but can only be super great if he can win the big game. If not, he is in the Marino category, good but chokes.


"young was a great QB but saying "he was the greatest running QB" is like saying a running back was the greatest passing QB! makes no sense."

What? It makes perfect sense. First of all, running backs don't throw passes, but quarterbacks run all the time. Some better than others.

Steve Young's ability to run is part of what made him one of the great quarterbacks ever. Young was always a threat to run for a first down, or a touchdown. This gave defenses one more thing to worry about, and helped open up the field for his passing game. Not to mention putting points on the board. Young has rushed for more touchdowns than any QB ever!

There is more to being a quarterback than having a great arm. Marino had a great arm, and so did Steve Young.

But its not just about Young's rushing yards or touchdowns. He had the ability to scramble and complete passes outside the pocket and under pressure. Being a quarterback is about making plays. Steve Young could make a play in a situation where Marino would throw the ball away.

That doesn't mean his running alone is enough to put him in the top 10 or even close. Don't forget Young is one of the greatest passers in NFL history. He is the most accurate passer ever, with the best touchdown to interception ratio, and he has the highest career QB rating of all time. So even without the running Steve Young would still be one of the greatest ever based on passing alone.

And the argument about it being the system doesn't hold weight. Sure the niners had a great system, but it takes a great QB to make it work. And Steve Young's versatile skills would make him fit into any offensive system and be successful.

I have a lot of love for Dan Marino, as well as most QBs on these posts. But personally I rank Steve Young higher. He had a more complete and effective skill set.


Wow talk about haters. All the QBs deserve to be on this list for different reasons. Many played in different eras, as in today’s era where it is a pass happy league that the NFL has taken much of the defense out of the game with newer rules that ‘may’ have allowed others like Warren Moon or Dan Marino to even put up more ridicules numbers than what QBs are doing now.

It is all about what you look at as a winner, regardless of not having this or that and trust me, look at some of Marino's team mates; he had plenty of talent around him. Much more than what Brady had for his SB wins (go ahead and name any offensive player besides Brady on those teams that have done anything since leaving him).

Then there is Peyton. I am sorry, but this guy is the smartest QB I’ve seen. He knows what the defense is doing before they do, but to say he doesn’t have a defense? Take a look at Indy’s defensive stats, regular season and playoffs.

Kurt Warner is a difference maker in the locker room, he has turned around two awful franchises ie St louis and Phoenix – just waiting for him to come to Detroit to turn them around.

Bret Favre whoever doesn't enjoy watching this guy play isn't a fan of the game. I will agree that his off the field issues (retirement, etc.) are disappointing but it's about what they do on the field, and he is the only one who was able to do it week in and week out for almost 20 years, and if you think he is the only one to ever take pain pills to play football you probably also think only the baseball players caught taking HGH were the only ones doing it.

Montana, Bradshaw and Aikman had the most talent around them hands down…

I am amazed by Peyton's smarts, Brady's accomplishments with lesser talent, Favre's kid like attitude out there on the field, but I would say if Moon was able to play his enter career in the NFL he’d have the numbers everyone would be casing…

Anyone listed can be the best in anyone's eyes, but this hating is nonsense


For anyone to bring up Jim McMahon, that's beyond delusional. I think the top quarterbacks in no particular order are Favre, Montana, and Brady. Favre wins the Super Bowl and he would be considered the best ever.


All those people talking about Brady being among the best QB are retarded. Manning has much better stats in every category. The only one that he is behind is super bowl wins. But if you gauge best QB by super bowl wins what about regular season wins, which Manning has the most this decade. So calm down with the brady talk.


i'm amazing how no one suspects any fishy business from Favre? there has never been a player in any sport who has become better than he was in his prime years without having cheated (bonds, mcguire, sosa etc.), especially in a sport like football which physically breaks you down.

None of the best QB's got better as they surpassed 35 years of age except for this guy. i'm sure he'll be exposed in due time, not to mention he already had pain killer drug abuse. it's a matter of time - and he's never been hurt? there's no way he should be considered in the top 10. just as bonds, mcguire, sosa were doing things that no one ever has, and so is Favre. he should never be considered as one of the best!

as for young and montana, i don't think either would be as effective in a different system - they both had great defenses, great running backs and some of the best receivers ever.

Marino did everything by himself - no defense and no RB. he was like jordan. Teams that played him only had to do one thing: stop marino. none of them could. he shattered every single passing record and not because of longevity.

All one needs to do is look at his statistics and the facts -- not a bunch of opinions such as "this guy was a leader" or "that guy could throw outside of the pocket" etc. The facts are that Marino destroyed opponents single-handedly his entire career and never had any help around. young was a great QB but saying "he was the greatest running QB" is like saying a running back was the greatest passing QB! makes no sense.

The bottom line is no one could sack Marino. He wasn't fast but was impossible to sack because of his quick feet and unreal ball release.

if he was on those great systems like the 49ers, there would never be a doubt about who was the best ever!


Favre is now the best.


Nice to see some love for Steve Young on here. The best rushing QB ever with the most accurate passing and the ability to make big plays down field. Best touchdown to interception ratio ever. In the pocket, out of the pocket, on the run, whatever the case Steve Young could make a play. This combination just gave defenses fits. Everyone talks about Marino and Elway, who both belong in the top 10. But Young should be ranked higher than both without question. These guys were great, but Steve Young at his best was greater on a higher level!

Without a doubt the best quarterback of his era by far, and belongs among the top five quarterbacks all time by any standards. And don't forget he has the best Super Bowl performance ever: six touchdowns!

Cold hard football facts calls Steve Young "possibly the most unstoppable quarterback to ever play the game." Opinions very but the numbers don't lie. Guys like Marino and Favre may have the "longevity stats" because they were consistently good for longer careers, But Young has the stats that matter.

At his best he played at a higher level than almost anyone on this list and that is a fact. You put him in any offensive system and he would succeed because he was so versatile: long passes, short passes, in shotgun, under center, in the pocket, out of the pocket, under pressure, on the run. You name the situation and Steve Young was one of the most effective and dangerous quarterbacks to ever play the game. Sure Vick can run, but he is a below average passer. Marino had an amazing arm, but he couldn't scramble. Steve Young brought the best of both worlds: the most accurate passer ever, the best running QB ever. This combination of skills is still unequaled.

Steve Young is underrated on most top 10 lists. He should be in the top five or top three by any standards period. He might even be no. 1 when it comes to pure ability. On paper he was better than Montana, but Joe may have had a little more magic, while Young had more physical ability.

Maybe it should be a two way tie. The no. 1 NFL quarterback of all time is a tie between Joe Montana and Steve Young. That's reasonable. It makes a lot more sense than Favre, who throws too many interceptions, or Brady who needed the kicker to win the Super Bowls.

Manning will probably be in the second or third spot by the time he is done. Some good posts on here.


Kurt Warner is the best. He has never played with a good defense, yet look what he has done with what he has had. Anybody else has had top ranked defense.


Peyton Manning is better than Brady. Also, Manning didn't need to know the other team's playbook to win.


What about Kurt Warner? The guy is an incredible QB.


Johnny U is still the greatest. What he accomplished was amazing in his time. He was the ultimate team leader on the field. His will and example inspired his team to achieve more than they could have. Just think what he would have done with today's offenses! His stats would have been untouchable.

Of course he would have done this playing for the Baltimore Ravens and not the Indianapolis Professional Football Team. Speaking of them, look at Peyton Manning. Does he remind you of his Dad Archie? Hell No. He styled himself after #19. The ultimate compliment from this era's greatest QB.


I think it should be Montana and bradshaw because a QB has to be a leader to be called a good QB.


I think if you put Dan Marino on the 49ers he would of at least won 4 Super Bowls or more. Marino to Rice and Taylor with James and Clark -- good defenses. Of course the other greats would have won with those 49er teams but Marino had every pass in the book and quicker. Best arm ever.


ben roethlisberger


What kind of argument is "Brady, Joe and Favre need their teams to win, but Manning does it all by himself"? It is like Batman trying to make sense of the Joker.

What does Manning do, toss the ball to himself, run down the field and score? Does he handle the entire defense as well? Don't be crazy. Of course his team helps him set records. Having good players to catch the passes, run the balls and protect you while you do these things are a big part of any offense. Defense gets you the ball back while holding the other guys at bay. Football is a team sport by which all players are judged, and there is no other way to do it.

There is no 'best of all time' to me. There are simply great QBs in every era. Stats are one way to judge, along with Super Bowls, finding ways to win in adversity and so on. But it is obvious when a QB has game over the life of his career - bowl win or not.

I have my personal favorites, but that doesn't blind me to the greatness I see in play by the others. Right now we have Brady (team on a roller coaster), Manning (team flying high), Favre (looking good) and in addition, some impressive QBs who just may be on the rise and also end up noted in history. I'm just glad for the great ball.


johnny unitas is the best ever case closed. he called all the plays, created the 2 minute drill, and when he retired he held 22 nfl records.

don shula claims that unitas was the toughest player to ever play the game. peyton manning also said that unitas did so much for football that an award in the sport should be named in honor of him.

manning also said that if unitas played today that he would set records that nobody would ever touch.


There have been many great QBs. I think the only true metric you can use is statistics based on years played.

Many posts here are made by younger guys which is why they mainly mention guys they have seen play (favre, manning, brady).

If a statistical metric is used (this will eliminate Super Bowl wins, etc., which are team-based results and not that of only one player), you would certainly have to put Marino at the top, based on what he did during his time.

He still holds almost every passing statistic out there, even though he hasn't played for a while now. In any other sport, his accomplishments would put him at or near the top of his sport.

Just recently is Favre breaking some of his records.

If any running back held the record for most TD's, most rush yards, highest yds/carry, most yds and TD's in a season, etc. -- basically all the RB stats -- he would be hands down the best RB historically, especially if he was able to hold all of those statistics during the years he played. Especially if he blew the previous numbers away.

Marino broke the TD record in his second season by 33 percent - his single season pass yards (5084) has yet to be broken - and still holds i believe 23 passing records.

These are the only metrics that should matter when judging a QB. Many average QB's have won super bowls. Until someone can prove how intangible qualities which cannot be measured are what determines the best QB, then I will listen. Until then, only Marino's numbers matter.

To put into perspective, Brady and Manning would have had to score 64 TD's in their record breaking years in order to accomplish what Martin did, and neither have been able to break his yardage record. These are the facts, not opinions.


Let’s talk about three guys that weren't mentioned at all anywhere in the article but no question deserve consideration. Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, and Sammy Baugh. I will address all 3.

1. Otto Graham. He was brady before brady was even alive. He was a great player on one of the best dynasties in history. He put up good stats but not the gaudiest numbers. His teams were extremely successful and he won three league championships and made it to about three others. In his era, most quarterback play was short passing because it was still early in NFL history. He was the first vertical passing quarterback. He did have a very good team around him, but he was so smart. He was mobile and a coach on the field in one of the most innovative offenses in history.

2. Sammy Baugh. He didn't put up spectacular numbers either but that was also a product of his era. He was a smart guy who won two championships during the 40's. He was the first true quarterback star and also starred at punter and defensive back. He was the most accurate quarterback in history with a career completion percentage over 70 percent.

3. Sid Luckman. He only won 1 championship but put up a little more gaudy numbers than baugh when it came to yards. He was the first true quarterback after the invention of the forward pass.

These guys all revolutionized the game and didn't put up gaudy numbers because of the era. If these guys had been born later and played in this era, they would have put up amazing numbers too.

I don't think people realize how much more physical football was. There were no facemasks, eye gouging was okay, no illegal horse collar tackles, no pass interference, no roughing the passer. all these penalties have been created and/or revised in the last 10-15 years.

in this era, there has been a surge in offense, especially passing offense. the NFL is built for high statistical numbers for quarterbacks right now. Jack Lambert, legendary linebacker for the steelers said that we should just put tutus on the quarterbacks right now. the great teams buy high priced guys to protect the quarterback, and back then, that wasn't a priority.

I don’t think stats should matter for the position of quarterback anyway, because it is about your leadership, your will to win, and overall, how cerebral you are. It is easy for brady to be cerebral when he gets 10 seconds to think, but if people notice, he is back to mediocre when he isn't protected.

These guys revolutionized the game of football and the position wouldn't b at all the same without their efforts and guys like brady, favre, and manning would put up nowhere near the same numbers.


I think # 105's dedication to Brett Favre is that of an excellent one. Favre is a great QB and does deserve to have extremely loyal fans. I would vote him as the QB that I'd most want to go fishing with too. He takes more chances then anyone not concerned about his stats just trying to have a chance to win the game.

If he wasn't one of the greatest, then why would the Vikings give him $25 million for two years at the end of his career?

I am very happy to see him still playing. No one has more love for the game then Brett. I do think he has a fair shot at even making it to the Super Bowl this year. Who else is great during the present era? Peyton Manning and Brady are also pretty great and I do think they could fill Brett's shoes, but Brett is his own exciting man and even more fun to watch then any other present day QB, and fun to watch is more important then greatness and he has both.

Peyton is also fun to watch and Brady is a little like a well oiled machine to watch. Could Favre fill Peyton or Brady's shoes? Probably not, so I will put him fourth and like most of the rest of the world, Joe has to come first, leaving fifth to any number of the left over greats like Elway, Young or even Kelley.

I think Marino was probably great but I have a hard time getting by his post season games, and I also think if he had a better team around him that he might even have made the top five. Marino shot a lot of 7 to 10 yard bullets that didn't get caught. If he had learned to use a soft touch now and then it might help boost my opinion too, but instead he cried and screamed at his receivers for not catching them.

All the great ones had the occasional easy pass when the receiver is wide open, but not so much for Dan. After all he did play plenty long enough to have the best possible team around him. Maybe it was his attitude or maybe it was the franchise not putting in the right people that would make Dan shine. Either way I can't put him in the top five.

Some opinions on here are based on the people's own personal favorites, rather then having an open mind and watching the actual quality of the QB.

All the QBs are pros and deserve a lot of credit for making it and like everything in life, some fit better then others and in certain teams an inferior QB may even shine, and like Brett I would never retire if there is someone out there to pay what he is making. I would QB a team for 15k a year even though I'd be laughed at and made fun of because they would never have to cover more than 30 yards down field. What an interesting life a QB has; forget about being a rock star.


Get a clue dude. The 49er were no longer a great team with bono and elvis, and got rid of Joe because they thought their future was brighter with Young, and sure he was great too, but not the clutch performer like Joe

To put Marino at the top is crazy. his 3 step drop was simple to keep great stats but only won during regular season, not post season when the best were left to defend his pass game.

Marino could keep them barely with a winning record much better than an average QB, but only pretty good in my mind. The so called system, as you say, carried these QBs to greatness? every great aspect of any great system has been adopted by any team who wants it. you can't patent it and be the only team allowed to use it, so it comes down to coaching and players more than system.

Like west coast offense and run and shoot at. You also say that Pats won before and after Brady with Cassell and Bledsoe? get real, dude. those two can't compare to Brady, but I will admit that Peyton could probably do just as well as Brady in their system but no one else could.

The best QB's of all time are cool Joe, the great Peyton, the almost unreplaceable Brady and the rest don't matter because they can't compare to the greatness of these three.


#89 is almost word for word what I might say, being about the closest to what is non biased and true. It is only opinion and not hardly anyone has posted theirs on here.

For people who include Aikman, would need to include Phil Sims but they are dumb to include either. sure they are very solid players who stayed perfectly in the game plan, just like Bradshaw, but just watching them and trying to put them with Peyton Manning is foolish.

They are all pros so they are valid qbs. To say winning super bowls is the most important thing is retarded, unless they are the single most important element -- like Montana was and Bradshaw wasn't.

For the active qbs it's hands down P Manning then Brady. They are the only elite ones out there today and honorable mentions such as Favre, E. Manning, Rivers,and Warner. So the al time greatest is a little different with Joe Montana topping the list, then Peyton Manning, Bret Favre, John Elway, Tom Brady, Steve Young, Johnny Unitas, Jim Kelley, Warren Moon and to round off my top ten, I can't pick # ten, I want to say Marino but I can't. Instead I would like to say a few QB's that were around longer then they belonged: Rodney Pete, Jay Schroeder, Bernie Kosar, and soon to be more obvious of being a hack, Matt Cassel, who brought the most stacked team in NFL history only to a disappointing 11-5. when I believed the Patriots would go all the way with almost any decent QB, that's why I didn't put Brady at the top: because he has been playing a great role for a stacked team, and fits like a glove, better then Bradshaw could ever be, but not quite the Joe Montana that he is seeming to get credit for.

But these are opinions of the fools like me that watch the game, but it is so easy to rule out the dumb ones just as someone may rule me out. I do win a lot of football pools and have a better record then the odds makers every year I make my picks.

Anyone can enjoy watching a game but it takes a true fan to observe the game without being biased. It's more enjoyable to have 10 favorite teams than just one or two.


Wow. All I can say is wow. Reading through this one has to make a person wonder how many individuals in this thread actually watched games that were played by the individuals they are bashing!

First off Brett Favre is one of the few quarterbacks I can confidently say is one of the greatest of all time! But what I do know for sure is that he is my favorite of all time. Let's not confuse our bias for the QB's we love with their skill! Brett has a cannon for an arm and in his early career in which he was very lucky and blessed to be surrounded by two individuals that pointed him into a Hall of Fame Career: Mike Holmgren and Jim McMahon.

If Mike stayed at GB this conversation would actually be almost pointless because I do believe that Favre would have blown the bar of the elite NFL QB beyond any level thought possible but alas that did not happen and Brett got stuck with schmucks for management around him like sherman and the new cast of dumb and dumber!

Things I do know is Brett played the game because he loved the game. He and Reggie gave up large chunks of their salary to put together one of the greatest teams ever to bless the field! And won the Super Bowl with that team! It had it all: Defense, running and receiving. Brett hasn't seen a team of that caliber around him until this current season with the Vikings.

Brett was blessed with a Super Bowl win. Does that make him the best? No. If Marino had that team he would have won the Super Bowl too! It's not the stats that make the player the greatest of all time.

It's things like Joe Montana did at the end of the game to bring the niners back into the game and win it! It's the leadership on the field and the ability to win! Some QB's have it in spades: Montana, Elway, Marino, Favre, Unitas, Bradshaw, Starr, Tarkington, Namath,

Brady, Manning.

The guys I just listed have that special something that ability to win -- an ability to overcome!

This next list are two of the guys who can't be included above because their careers where cut short by injury but everyone who watched them or played around them knows they would been in the above list!

Theismann, McMahon.

Now why do I put Favre ahead of all others?

1. He was the greatest QB to ever play in GB and that automatically puts him ahead of Starr and that's a big bullet.

2. He played for all the right reasons! He played because he loved the game!

3. He played with broken digits on his throwing hand and still performed at a high level. He was there at every snap and every down to lead and inspire his team no matter if he was loaded up with painkillers or not. You would be too, if you were playing quarterback with broken digits on your throwing hand!

4. Monday night the day after losing his father, he played one of the greatest games ever to be witnessed in the history of football!

5. He never fit a certain QB model so he is now the model of his own QB model. Prior to him you had scramblers you had pocket passers you had the field generals. He was no young or Vick or elway, but he made do when needed. He was no Marino in the pocket but at times he was perfection in the pocket. He wasn't the field general that Marino or Manning are but when Holmgren was there and allowed him to run the hurry up offense, he sure looked like he could have been!

In fact, when I look back, I can't help but see a man who had a little bit of it all with a huge helping of spirit and drive to play to win! Or try to win.

How many QB's ever perfected the fake throw like favre or did the unusual things he did on the field!

I remember a lot of Bretts INT's and I look back at so many of them with a smile with a sense of thank you for trying for doing something! How many QB's would attempt an underhanded throw through the center of the line about 25 yards to the end zone? Brett never gave up!

No, Favre was a joy to watch!

Just like Montana, Elway, Marino, Thieman and so many others.

I can still see the play where LT ended Theismann's career! I still remember a play vs the browns with elway's throwing back across the grain 50 yards on a last minute TD.

I can easily list my favorite QB's of all time, but trying to pick who was the best, well, that's a question I don't think can be answered, but I do know Favre is one of the front runners! If not the front runner!


based on post#103, how about winning without any run game or defense at all? then you'd have to put Dan Marino above everyone (proof was vs. the undefeated 1985 bears on monday night - go check out that game!).


i personally think this list has no validity. it does not take into account the fact that certain quarterbacks had better defenses which allow QBs like Brady to win super bowls that he otherwise would not have won. it also does not take into account the fact that QBs such as Manning have pure raw talent as well as being smart QBs. Brady could never call plays at the line like Manning or make average receivers look like pro bowl receivers like he can. Winning super bowls takes a team effort and that's the only reason why Brady or Aikman have any. The proof is in the fact that Cassel, who hasn't played since high school lead the team to an 11-5 record (which should have been a playoff birth) and now is one of the worst QBs in the league. They won because they had a supporting cast. If you look at the actual statistics and how the quarterback manages a game, Manning is the best hands down. He can win without a run game or a run defense (proof is in the monday night football game against miami).


The fact the John Elway isn't even mentioned makes the wisegeek just a geek! Look: not many QB's can say they have even been to two Super Bowls, let alone five. Yeah, yeah, yeah, So he's lost three, not his fault. He's the reason the Broncos got there. Look at the talent in those years! By the way he is still the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl!


John Elway hands down. No other quarterback was as complete. He had the best arm, the drive and competitiveness to win. Add up high school, college and pro and no other quarterback compares.

John Elway was held back in his early pro years with a conservative control system and still had more wins, come from behind wins and made it to more championships than any other quarterback in history.


If you have a choice who will quarterback your

team in the Super Bowl, then there is no choice but Joe Montana. He is precise, very cool in the clutch and always has the ball to throw those winning scores. He is not rattled by defense and time.

How about Brady will he be compared to Joe? No wa. The two first winning Super Bowls were not won by Brady, but by his team mates.

Right now if you see the old video of Joe Montana practicing when he was in college and the early football years, where he practiced throwing the football, you could see that this is the adapted practice of all quarterback these days.


Anyone who uses super bowl wins to rate any player at any position in the NFL is a moron. In the NFL, teams win Super Bowls, not individual players. QBs don't play defense or special teams (unless they are a holder). You can use championships in the NBA, where there's 5 players on the court playing both offense and defense (or in hockey). But don't do that in the NFL please. You just end up looking like an idiot.


obviously doug flutie in the canada scheme of things.


No matter how you look at it, every team is centered around the quarterback. He is the leader. The defense is what wins championships, but teams that do it without that have accomplished even greater heights. By the way, many horrible quarterbacks (define "many") have won a single super bowl. None of them made multiple appearances, excluding possibly Terry Bradshaw. People may disagree with me on this, but do any of them know his stats? The guy averaged one interception per touchdown. His defense carried him. This post refers to those few elites who did it without using the defense as a crutch.


One player does not win super bowls. strong defenses, great running backs, etc all play into a team winning rings - not a quarterback! Many horrible quarterbacks have won super bowls, which means that the montanas and bradys should not necessarily be considered best ever. the best quarterbacks have performed consistently at a high level with average teams, and the teams have not done well without them! Systems win super bowls usually - this is why barry sanders never won. montana left the 49ers, but they were still a great team with young, bono and grbac. before brady they won with bledsoe, after brady they won with cassell. the chargers w/o fouts couldn't win. The dolphins w/o marino couldn't win. rings should not be the judge of the quarterback. if you're lucky, you land into a great system that wins (80's redskins and 49ers), 90s (cowboys), 2000s (patriots). manning on his own has done it because the colts stunk before him, and will stink after. Marino is the best in modern times.


Honestly, currently, Tom Brady is the best quarterback on paper. When people think the best, what is their first question? Super Bowl rings, then maybe appearances. In either category, Tom takes it. 50 passing touchdowns in a season is another thing to consider. In fact, had the Pats beaten the Giants, that would have gone down as the most dominating season in history by any team. However, the Patriots have a deeply rooted system and that contributes much to Tom's success in the NFL. He may not have all of the yards or touchdowns that Peyton Manning or Brett Favre have, but he has led his team to greater heights than either one of those combined, so that is why he is the best there is playing right now.


This article stinks -- no mention of John Elway. He retired as the qb with most wins (Farve now is since he pads his stats year after year). Elway has two super bowl wins, started more super bowls than any other QB, was named mvp of the leaque and mvp of the super bowl. He is only behind marino at retirement with yards and completions. He played for a conservative offense or would have torn Marino apart. He has many more rushing yards and td's than all of them. Elway made mediocre teams good enough to get to super bowls. He took pay cuts to improve the talent around him (unlike marino) so he could win. Brady was on his way but does not look the same since the injury. He looks very old on a very old team. No doubt though the man right now is Peyton. He knows more offensive football than all the offensive coordinators. He'll be the greatest by the time he's through.


Joe Montana had a high passer rating because of the west coast offense which relied on short passes, plus he had the best receiver ever. His team was in a weak division and the 49's always seemed to get an easy schedule and he was overly protected by the refs. Probably didn't hurt that the owner was on the competition committee and was caught going over the salary cap. I liked Troy Aikman better. He took many hard hits because he hung on the ball longer. He had a special chin strap made because his chin was split open so many times and he didn't start with a great team around him. The refs hardly ever called roughing the passer when he was hit.


Yeah it's easy to say who's the best, but how about who's the luckiest to have a carrer as long as they had. No. 1 has to be Bernie Kozar. Old side arm Bernie didn't throw many interceptions but there weren't all that many completions either I guess just making his throws hard to catch. No. 2 Rodney Pete but in his defense they relied too much on the running game. I could never be a lions fan. No. 3 Mitchell, forgot first name but the guy who backed up Mariono to start for the Lions. I am now seeing why I could never be a Lions fan. No. 4 Rick Meyer, thought to be the first pick in the draft but wound up second. could he have ever been more Peg Bundy? do nothing, be nothing player. Oddly enough I am going to pick Matt Cassell because I believe he'll be a real bummer for quite some time. Kansas City, what is the matter with you paying him all that money? Probably 25 starting QB's would have taken the stacked patriots to the playoffs and Cassell fell short and he was still wanted? Trainers, couches, and management open your eyes and see who the real players are, and when you get a lemon, which should never happen, make lemonade and trade them quickly while you can still get something from them. Don't hang on to them until the entire team self-destructs and the fans all grow tired of the same old losing crap. But to answer the question that is asked, who are the greatest QB's of all time: 1) Joe Montana; 2) Peyton Manning; 3) Tom Brady; 4)The most fun to watch of all time biggest chance taker, always willing to hurt his stats just to win, the incredible Brett Favre and 5) hmmm? I am going with the humble and great John Elway. If it seems like I picked the players most fun to watch, I will admit that had a lot to do with it.


Peyton Manning will be second to none when it's all said and done. Way to exclude him from the list.


It is and always has been more of a matter of opinion on a site like this so here is mine. With all the rule changes to protect the QB it would be very difficult for any 70's and older QBs to make the list, along with two present QB's that may just become the greatest of all time in Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady because they are still accomplishing more then others have ever done. You have to include every aspect you know in watching them without a bias opinion which none of us truly have. So therefore it may be easier to just name your favorites along with who you think are or were the greatest. As you will see my favorites with differ much from who I think is the best. Like Warren Moon being my no. 1 favorite, mostly because the run and shoot made him incredible to watch. No. 2 is Bret Favre because he took so many great chances and most paid off. No. 3 is Joe Montana because he may be the best clutch performer of all time. No. 4 is John Elway, who was always pretty great with or without a great supporting cast and finally, No. 5, Jim Kelly, who did everything high above average. So now this leaves who I think are the actual greatest of all time? No. 1 is Joe Montana because he is all you could ever ask for and so much more. No. 2 is Tom Brady because I think by the time he is finished in his career he will be the greatest of all-time. No. 3 is Peyton Manning. No. 4 is Bret Favre because he is clutch and makes it happen. Finally, no. 5 is Steve Young, but mostly from his stats rather then coming through in the clutch. Oh but this is just my opinion -- nothing else. I am a very active watcher of the nfl and if I didn't mention Dan Marino, it's because he has the short drop and pass which helps prevent sacks but prevents clutch wins from great pass defenses boosting his stats through the roof but mostly in the regular season, like Warren Moon and the run and shoot. It's always more fun to watch the great passing game but a team needs so much more to be successful. Even though the 49ers were extremely great, having watched all those games I truly believe they are the only team to be successful with a dominating offense and just an OK defense, and that's why Joe comes first. I know he had Jerry and John to throw to, but they were at least as lucky that Joe was the one behind those passes.


The best running backs of all time *ran*. The best quarterbacks of all time *passed*. the best teams of all time *won*. The best quarterback of all time: Dan Marino.


Terry Bradshaw.


Steve Young was the highest rated passer of all-time? But I thought he was the best rushing qb. Oh, he was that too. In considering the greatest of all-time, I find it hard to believe anyone would leave out the highest-rated passer *and* best rusher. How does a qb manage to pass so well, for so many TDs and yards while spending enough of his plays and games to run for 43 TDs(the most ever by a qb)and over 4000 yards *also*? Just something to think about.


Top 10 NFL QB's of all time: 1. Joe Montana 2. Johnny Unitas 3. Roger Staubach 4. Steve Young 5. John Elway 6. Dan Marino 7. Brett Favre 8. Troy Aikman 9. Peyton Manning 10. Tom Brady Joe Montana is No. 1 of all time! No explanation needed. Johnny Unitas is no. 2 because he revolutionized the QB position. Roger Staubach was one of the greatest QBs of his era and is currently a Hall of Famer. He also has Super Bowl titles on his resume. Steve Young is no. 4 because he is the most accurate Hall of Fame QB, not to mention one of the best scrambling QBs ever to play. John Elway is No. 5 because he was a warrior/prolific passer who earned two consecutive Super Bowl Titles to go along with a Super Bowl MVP. Dan Marino is no. 6 because he is the best passing QB of all time. Unfortunately he is the only QB on my list without a Super Bowl title due to his own selfishness. Marino made it clear to Dolphins management that he did not care for a running game, so they tried to keep him happy by passing the majority of the time. Brett Favre is no. 7 because while he has a Super Bowl victory and a bunch of passing records, he also has the most interceptions all time. And for the record, Brett Favre had Pro Bowl players on his team every year in Green Bay. Who remembers Shannon Sharpe's older brother Sterling Sharpe the speedy receiver? Who remembers Antonio Freeman, the guy the helped make the Lambeau Leap famous along with the insane game winning Monday Night touchdown catch while on the ground? Who remembers Robert Brooks no. 87, who ran by defenders? No running game you say? Who remembers Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett? Who remembers Ahmad Green, who produced five straight 1,000 yard seasons with Brett Favre? Who remembers Ryan Grant who was the workhorse for Favre in the 2007 playoffs? Anyway, Troy Aikman is no. 8 because he was one of the most intelligent QBs of All Time, plus his 3 Super Bowl rings aren't too bad either. Peyton Manning is no. 9 because he has his Super Bowl title plus he broke Dan Marino's season touchdown record and by the time he retires I think he will be the best all time. Why? Because he is the most accurate QB of all time, has the highest QB rating of all time and his audibles are priceless, but to add to that, Peyton has thrown for over 3,000 yards every year, even when the Colts couldn't make the Playoffs. Don't talk about playoffs! Tom Brady is no. 10 because he, like Peyton Manning, broke the season touchdown record. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings with a bunch of years left in him. Even though Brady has one of the best coaches ever to thank for a lot of his success, he has the potential to retire as one of the top three QBs of all time, if not the best all time.


Like others have said, it is difficult to compare quarterbacks of different eras because the game has changed so much. Let's not forget that the earlier quarterbacks (Baugh, Graham, Unitas, etc.) did not enjoy the protection today's quarterbacks do, as well as their receivers and that needs to be taken into consideration. Since Johnny Unitas was named the top quarterback by the NFL for its first 50 years and was responsible for helping usher professional football into the modern times, I have to put him at or near the top. He also was as tough as they come, called his own plays and was the master of the two-minute drill. When he retired, he held 22 NFL records and still holds the record of throwing touchdown passes in 47 consecutive games, a feat many compare to Joe DiMaggio's historic baseball hitting streak.


i think the greatest quarterback ever was Y.A. Tittle.


I think that all the posts I've read are great opinions of their best QB. But I agree that the definition of great needs to be defined. As with all sports debates over who is the best is what are we using as a benchmark for comparison? If you say, "Super Bowl wins" is the key element then hands down, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are the best with four each. But really, Terry Bradshaw? I am a diehard Steelers fan and I don't consider Bradshaw one of the greatest. He did his part in big games with an "all-time" defense. Question. Would you think Michael Jordan would be the greatest ever to play basketball with no championship rings? Or Tiger Woods with no Majors? The answer is yes! They still had great numbers. I think that what Marino did with what he had was nothing short of amazing! No perennial receivers or backs and no defense to speak of. The same with Favre. Elway edges them out for going five times and winning twice. Unitas may have changed the position and the way it's played but like golf, Palmer was the first to make $1 million dollars in earnings and Hogan had the best swing but they are not the best. Only Tiger and Nicklaus are in the conversation. So with that being said, my top five QB's would be; No. 1, Joe Montana(because he won 4 rings and had Rice on the other end of his arm for half his career. And the "catch" to win the Super Bowl and is in the top five in passing stats.) No. 2, Dan Marino(not no. 1 because he has no rings but went once and was the leader, when he retired, in all passing stats with no star power around him his whole career and no defense.), No. 3, Peyton Manning (because he is still in his prime is on pace to break Marino and Favre's records and has a ring already. Has consistently good yearly stats). No. 4, Tom Brady (because he has three Super Bowl wins in 4 tries and had a 16-0 regular season record and broke the most TD's in a season record(50)), and last but not least, No. 5. John Elway (because he went five times and won twice, only when management got him a supporting cast a la; Sharpe and Davis and is in the top five in passing stats for a career.)


It's probably unfair to compare quarterbacks currently active to those from 20 years ago. And once an athlete reaches a certain level it really is impossible to rank them relatively. They're all champions. Having said that, nonetheless, my pick is Steve Young. He almost certainly would have racked up as many Super Bowl wins as Montana had he had the offense Montana had. He had incredible athletic skills; he could have been quite a good halfback and I wouldn't be surprised if he had been a top rate receiver with his speed and mobility. But above all, his intelligence was his greatest skill. I don't think there's ever been a smarter player in the NFL. And I was terribly impressed with his attitude -- a happy warrior out on the field. Like Montana he had an infectious love of just playing, and playing all out to win because that's the only way the game is fun. Watching him play was pure pleasure.


Everybody has an opinion as to who they think is the "best" QB ever. It all comes down to "popularity". Right? Competition gets tougher and better every year in the NFL. To my way of thinking, Brett Farve has now played in 271 games w/o missing one. And he has taken and endured some pretty vicious hits in his 17+ years. Don't get me wrong, there are Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Dan Marino and I could name 10 more; but it's really hard to point at one QB and say he is the best of them all.


Again, no Elway in this conversation? When he retired after his second consecutive Super Bowl victory, an MVP performance no less, he retired as the winningest QB in NFL history. The QB position is the hardest on the team. Especially when your team gives you no run support for 90 percent of the time. Elway was sacked more than twice the amount that Dan Marino was and still started more games than Dan Marino. Steve Young's career was too short to call him the best ever. Montana has a legitimate shot, Favre has a legitimate shot, and of the 1980's and beyond era, only John Elway belongs in this group with these two superstars. Tom Brady is great, but too young to say "best ever" -- yet. Yes Brett Favre is now the winningest QB in history, but only because he's playing well into his silver years. It took him longer to get there than Elway, and he had a running attack most of his career. Marino was great, but not the best ever. Not quite.


No Otto Graham, thus the list is lacking. Leading your team to ten championships and winning seven in ten years has to get you on the list.


No John Elway in the conversation? .This article is full of fail.


I like the list because it rightly credits so many of the greats from long ago, when the game was controlled more by quarterbacks and less by coaches in the press box or those wearing headphones. Also, the rules have changed so much to help the passing game. However, I would rank Unitas as the best. He simply was the greatest leader ever in shoulder pads and one hell of a passer.


Bart Starr is the greatest QB of all time because counting NFL championships he won more than Montana or Bradshaw.


even based on post #70, in comparing Brady and Manning, the points made for either of the two actually make marino the best ever. he never had a defense (not til the end of his career) and never ever had a running game! both Manning and Brady have consistently shown that in games where they are rushed hard, they are not very effective. Marino was able to take on arguably the greatest defense ever (1985 bears) and single-handedly dismantle them - if not for Marino, the bears were going to have an undefeated season. to this day, that game is the highest rated monday night football game ever. forget super bowls which are won by teams and not QB's (see the ravens. they won a superbowl with zero offense). Marino is hands down the best in the modern era, and possibly the least appreciated because of the lack of Super Bowl wins.


Tough to pick just one and we all will be biased because of our passion for "our" team. For me Brett Favre is the best. First he has a ring, the first criteria needed to be the "greatest". I argue with anyone who says you can be the greatest without winning a championship. if you've never won then what are you the greatest at? Secondly Favre has put up stats that are simply unbelievable and to add to that he has done so in Green Bay where at least 2-3 games a year the weather is so bad you simply can't pass, at least most couldn't. ;) Third he has the most wins of any quarterback and lastly he has been there for his team every game for 18 years in a row. To anyone who has every played football you know that is simply impossible. Just my thoughts...


sam persall


Just to add a little balance to the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning debate as to who's the better quarterback. By the time they retire, both are going to be listed as the top two quarterbacks of all time. And right now there is certainly enough time in their careers for one to gain the advantage over the other. At this point in time, Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady. Yes I know Tom Brady has more Super Bowl victories. But in my opinion that's a team accomplishment in which Brady had an important role. Peyton Manning would have won more Super Bowls had he had a reasonably good defense. Tom Brady always had a great team defense. So while the championships are nice to point out, Brady wins no Super Bowls without the help of a great defense. And let's also be honest, a little bit of luck (tuck rule) and the slimmest of margins of victory on all three superbowl wins. Since Brady threw his 50 touchdown passes, everyone wants to say that this is further proof he is better than Peyton Manning with his 49 TD passes. Oh really? In Brady's season where he threw 50 TDs, the Patriots almost completely abandoned the run. Their team's philosophy was to keep throwing even when they were up by three or more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. This helped Brady totally pad his statistics that year. Peyton Manning, in 2004, when he threw his 49 TDs, did so within the normal Colts offense where the run/pass ratio was very close to 50/50. In that year he put up his 49 tds with *less than 100 fewer attempts* than Brady did in 2007 when he threw 50! The Colts were also the class of the league as they pulled most of their starters (including Peyton) when they had big leads in the fourth quarter. Peyton sat out the equivalent of 2-1/2 games that year because of big leads or the team having nothing to play for because they wrapped up their playoff birth. Time will tell who is the better of these two but to simply say Brady is better because has two more rings or that he threw more TD's in a season is not really looking at the comparison objectively.


Roger Staubach.


for the record, the greatest pure QB ever was Dan Marino. Here's the support: if QB's are to be judged purely on their position, just as running backs are, then no one comes close to Marino. if Barry Sanders and Jim Brown are the greatest RB's ever, then Marino is the greatest QB ever. none of those just mentioned have won a Super Bowl. some QBs who've won superbowls: Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien - winning a superbowl has *nothing* to do with how great a QB was. It has to do only with how great a team is. when Marino broke the all time TD record in 1985, he broke the record by 50 percent! he broke the yardage record which has still yet to be broken, 22 years later. but the best measure will be this: if you put Montana, Elway, Favre, Brady, Young, etc. on the teams that Marino was on, they wouldn't come close to winning a Super Bowl, let alone statistically be what Marinowas. Conversely, if Marino was on those 49ers teams Green Bay teams (w/ Reggie White, etc) or today's Patriots, he'd have won many Super Bowls. Also pay close attention to the fact that after Montana and Young, Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac looked like hall of fame QB's. :ook at Matt Cassell on the Patriots after Brady was hurt -- a dropoff but still won 10 games. teams and systems win, doesn't mean anything when regarding the greatness of a position player. Ray Lewis would still be one of the greatest linebackers ever whether or not his team won a Super Bowl or not. comparing teams has nothing to do with comparing players! case closed.


I have some news for the guy who's in love with Joe Montana. First off, there was a qb who didn't throw an interception in the superbowl. Also, Steve Young's run vs the vikings in the '88 playoffs sent Montana to the super bowl. If you just get retarded with matching up qb stats, Montana and Young are equal in passing (Montana gets some slightly bigger numbers in certain categories and vice-versa). But in rushing it's not even close. You could go with Montana because of super bowls if Steve Young didn't help him get to one and actually got him to the another. If the two switched places, I'd have to say Young would put up far better numbers and super bowls. Today it would be like considering playing Peyton Manning or Tom Brady's back-up instead of him, except, this is Joe Montana. How good was Steve Young? Indisputably number 1 all-time.


It's fun to discuss "the greatest," but unfortunately it's meaningless because one can't compare athletes of different eras---in virtually ANY sport. The times change, the rules of the game change, so does the equipment, ad infinitum. When it comes to football, for instance, passing statistics mean very little because it's infinitely easier to complete a pass today than it was in, say, the 50s and before. Offensive linemen then could not use their hands to block pass rushers, only their forearms and shoulders---all else being equal, quarterbacks had less time. Offensive ends could be hit by defensive players all the way downfield---no "one shot" within 5 yards and that's it, as today. There are more legal passing formations today (opening up the way for more eligible receivers). The hash marks today are at the center of the field instead of the edges, so modern quarterbacks do not deal with "short side passes," which were harder to complete if the ball was spotted on the hash mark. The contour of the ball has even been altered (more fitting the profile of the hand). It goes on and on. Everyone's list of their "greatest" players, as in EVERY other sport, will logically reduce to everyone's list of their FAVORITE players. Directly comparing athletes of different eras is technically not possible.


Just for you haters on Peyton Manning, he made great receivers. I guarantee you if they played for any other team they would just be average. Isn't is funny how everyone who catches a ball from Manning turns out to be a top receiver in the league? Come on, we have guys like Dallas Clark being one of the top tight ends in the game. I can't believe this crap. Manning isn't great because of the receivers, he just makes normal receivers into superstars. If Tom Brady didn't play for such a well structured team he would still be considered an average QB. Look, the Patriots were so well managed that Cassel shined and that proves my point. Peyton Manning is the smartest QB to ever play the game, he dissects defenses. Tom Brady just cries when he loses and cannot win without Vinatieri.


Team play (e.g., knowing when to hand the ball off and not get behind) and number of playoff appears, especially Super Bowl appearances need to be taken into account. By these criteria, Jim Kelly is in the top 20.


Montana is great but had rice as a wide out. Marino is best


yea, brett favre really broke a record throwing the most interceptions in the history of the nfl. lol


brady is the best and will be always period


I can only speak for the quarterbacks that played in the 80's and 90's since I'm only 32 years old. Not seeing guys like Staubach, Starr, Unitas, Bradshaw and Jurgensen I cannot fairly place them on my list. From the stats I've seen they were pretty good though and belong somewhere on here.

#1 Steve Young won 65% of his starts and has 1 ring. He hardly ever turned the ball over (once every 39 times he touched it) and he made plays with his feet. He had a passer rating of 96.8 and went to 7 straight pro bowls. He is also a 2 time MVP and has 12 playoff wins. Too bad he was sitting behind #2 on the list for four full seasons or he'd really have some gaudy numbers.

#2 Joe Montana won 71% of his starts and has 4 rings. He too did not turn the ball over (once every 38 times he touched it). He had a passer rating of 92.3 and went to 8 pro bowls. He is a 2 time MVP and has 16 playoff wins. These two guys are so close overall but Young edges Montana in the yards per attempt category 8.0 to 7.5. If Montana had Young's wheels he'd be #1.

#3 John Elway won 64% of his starts and has 2 rings. This guy had all the intangibles and not so much the great stats of #1 or #2. He was a true leader on the field and was definitely the definition of clutch at games end. Not a great passer rating but pretty good at not throwing interceptions in critical situations. He went to 9 pro bowls. He has 1 MVP and 14 playoff wins while guiding his team to 5 Super Bowl appearances. He was the most exciting QB on the list.

#4 Troy Aikman won 58% of his starts and has 3 rings. He had a passer rating of 81.6 and went to 6 straight pro bowls. He had 11 playoff wins.

# 5 Dan Marino won 60% of his starts. He made it to 1 Super Bowl but lost. He had one of the quickest releases in all of football and hardly ever took a sack. He piled up 420 touchdowns and the best receiver he ever had was Mark Duper. That's impressive. He had a passer rating of 86.4 and went to 9 pro bowls. Marino has one MVP and 8 playoff wins. He has better stats than Elway or Aikman, but no rings.

If I had to project the future I'd have to have em 1-10 like this Young, Brady, Montana, Manning, Elway, Roethlisberger, Aikman, Warner, Favre, and Marino.


Michael Vick is the best QB ever


Greatest NFL QB of all time: #1 is Johnny U.....I'll go for Sammy #2.....and probably Bart #3.....If you extrapolate #19's records from a 12 game season to a 16 game season, he'd still hold many records.....3 time MVP and played in a totally different era where receivers were mugged and the run dominated.....Mr. Unitas holds a record that may never be broken......A touchdown pass in 47... that's right forty seven consecutive games.....That's a TD pass in every game for four years.....And, he would just walk off the field....No jumping around and grandstanding, just go over to the sidelines and sit down.....On Dec 28, 1958 (the greatest game ever played), he handed the ball to Alan Ameche, won the game, and just walked away!! OH, by the way, Mr. Unitas invented the two minute drill, and the no huddle offense (see: the greatest game ever played). He called his own plays......So, he doubled as offensive coordinator......A true field general and the prototype of the modern quarterback......And if all that's not enough, he worked off (and during) season at the steel mill in Baltimore.....Peyton, Joe, Dan, John and the most over-rated Brett (or any of those other modern day greats) can take a whack at that job after they throw TD passes in 47 consecutive games.....ain't going to happen.....#19 will always be greater than #18 and all the rest of the new era (post 1980) qb's.....Plain and simple....


Best Quarterbacks based on having a cool name:

Johnny Unitas

Bart Starr

Fran Tarkenton

Joe Montana

Roman Gabriel

Y.A. Tittle

Boomer Esiason

Daryle Lamonica

Milt Plum

and finally...



You guys are too young to remember the greats of the NFL. the players who played the foundation for others to follow. The greatest quarterback of all-time was Otto Graham of the AAFC/NFL Cleveland Browns (1946-1955).

In his career, he and the Browns compiled a 105-17-4 record, during of which he tossed 188 touchdown passes in ten seasons of play.

Graham played six seasons in the NFL and took the Cleveland Browns to the NFL Championship Game all six seasons, winning three NFL titles. Including four seasons in which his team captured four AAFC titles, Graham played ten total seasons of professional football and made the league championship game all ten seasons, winning seven league titles. He even player as a professional basketball player with the Rochester Royals (today's Sacramento Kings) and also captured a league title. Thus, in 11 seasons as a professional athlete, Otto Graham's teams made the championship all eleven years, winning eight titles. There hasn't been a winner like that in quite awhile.


If you don't include Sammy Baugh on your list, then you obviously have no sense of history.


While I agree that Farve is in the top ten, to say he is the best is simply not true. When I judge what makes someone the best player of all time in any sport the main criterion I use is if the championship is on the line is this the guy who you know 100% for certain is the one you want to be "The Guy". Yes Farve holds many all time career stats and should be lauded as such. But when it comes down to who will win that ultimate game everyone seems to forget that he also is the all time leader in interceptions thrown and playoff loses. When it comes down to who is the best QB of all time are you really going to pick a guy who has a 54% win percentage in the playoffs where it really counts vs someone like Brady, Montana, Young, etc....


Just to clear up some issues. Brett Favre played fewer years than Dan Marino and John Elway when he broke all their records. 16 years vs. 18 years.

Brett Favre has the most wins in history, the most td's in history, the most completions in history, the most yards in history, the most consecutive 3000+ yard seasons in history, etc. etc. etc. etc.

The most MVP awards in history, the most consecutive MVPS in history, the only person to win 3 consecutive MVPS in history. yada yada yada


First of all that idiot earlier who said that tom brady has had an all star cast since he's been in the league has no idea what he's talking about. He made it to the afc championship game with reche caldwell and jabar gaffney as his starting wide receivers. then we he got randy moss he showed what he could really do. Give peyton manning those below average receivers and he wouldnt make the playoffs. brady will stand alone at the top when his careers done and he's already in the top 10 now


I have to agree with anon5903 and completely disagree with anon9860 on the Tom Brady issue. Its funny how people who dislike a team or player will ignore the truth just to try and prove a point. Tom Brady is not the greatest of all time yet, no. He does however have a number of good years left to try and get there. He has not had a great offense to work with all his career, that is a load of crap. Anon5903 said it best when he named Brady's top receivers over the years. They are by no means top end guys and nobody can argue with that. When they went out before last season and got the top end receiving for Brady i said to myself, OK so now everyone will see if Brady can put up the BIG stats with a good receiving core. If he had gone out and done the same numbers as he always had, then there would be a point here, but instead he went and did exactly what an athlete needs to do in that situation to prove themselves, raise the bar!

As for the cheating and tape thing, Anon9860 must be lost!!! He is calling others post retarded yet he is making points that are useless. The league took a tape after the first quarter of the first game of the season! Any two people could sit down forever debating weather what was on the tapes should be allowed or not, but the league made it verdict and so be it. But please tell me how Brady knew where all the defenders were going to be because of 1 tape that he or the team never even got to watch. Then the league watched them extra closely to make sure no taping was done the rest of the year, yet still they thumped teams week after week and broke records. Explain how 1: that is not talent? and 2: how they knew where these defenders were going to be? Anyway the cheater thing is so dumb, the tape was never even watched by the team, weather it was right or wrong is a mute point after a certain point, it has to be used to have an effect on an event, it wasn't and records fell!


All the QBs mentioned other than Unitas are from the more recent era of NFL play. But the old rules--wherein the defensive backs could hit receivers any time on the field--made QB play much harder. Viewed in that light, many other QBs from the "old school" deserve to be considered. E.g.: Otto Graham, Baugh, van Brocklin (sp?).


Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play period. His poise in the clutch and his ability to be calm in any situation is what makes watching him worth while. Brady won superbowls with no more than a semi decent cast,( with the exception of Adam V.) I promise you this, Manning is fine but lets see him throw 45 touchdowns plus without Marvin Harrison. Brady did a job no short of excellence without a receiver core to be proud of and even this year with the team he finally deserves to have, he led the Patriots to 18 wins. He may have not won the superbowl, and no disrespect to Eli, but he didn't lose. Regardless of any excuses that may be made the fact remains that Brady went from unknown to champion, he went from bench to clutch when it mattered the most. Brady is the definition of great and he is the greatest quarterback perhaps even player to ever grace the NFL with his presence.


Greg cook definitely comes to my mind as best quarterback in the NFL talent wise. In 1969 he played for the Bengals but only one year due to injury. Could have been great. Played and compared to Terry Bradshaw.


To the guy who said Bart Star being the best QB ever is kind of funny....his stats are terrible, and did you know he coached the packers and the fans got pissed at him cause he sucked and the killed both of his dogs? yeah he maybe in some1's mentally challenged mind been the best QB ever but as a coach, i don't think so.


Right now, it's Unitas and Montana for the top spot*. Anyone else is a runner-up - an all time great but still a runner-up.

*When Manning's career is over he will probably be considered the best QB ever.


All of you are retarded....

Joe Montana

Brett Favre

Steve Young

Dan Marino

Bart Starr

Dan Fouts

Troy Aikman

All meant the most to their teams, and were THE reason they had success. OR failure. Any way you look at it there is no "real top QB" because football is a team sport.

Dan Marino would have won 4 super bowls with even half of Montanas 49'rs, as would Aikman won 8 if he had any more talent around an average QB.

Hell Bradshaw could have had 10 SB rings if he would have had the offense of today's Patriots with his defense.

It is all relative. Each QB holds a place in football history based on each ones accomplishments individually. And each one deserves a place in our memory, but to say Brett Favre = Trent Dilfer cause they both won one super bowl? Sorry that response will always = you are retarded.

So next I will hear that Reggie White sucked as well cause he only had one super bowl....or does this mean Charles Haley is the all time greatest football player ever because he has 5 rings?

Lets put it this way....

Best passer to win superbowls with an excellent supporting cast..... Joe Montana

Most accurate passer, that had a career cut short ...Steve Young

Best QB to never win anything, but hold tons of records forever....Dan Marino

Worst Qb to win 4 SB rings, but was juuuuust good enough not to screw up his defensive geniuses......Terry Bradshaw

Best Qb to never win anything...period..Dan Fouts

Best QB to hold almost every current record, one SB ring, shoulda had 2 but Holmgren refused to run, shoulda had three but some tard allowed a 4th and 26 first down to a team that shouldn't have even been in the playoffs, and who was the only highlight for his team in the bad years, and who played the game like it should be....a game..Brett Favre

best QB LEADER.....Johnny Unitas

Best QB in game management, but rode his RB and his O line to SB victories........Troy Aikman

Best QB to win championships, be fairly accurate, but really not as special as he is made out to be.....but has a huge heart and a Great team behind him as well....Bart Starr

Most accurate, highest rated QB, that plays in a perfect system, with a perfect coach, and the best receivers in the game (stop whining pat fans your receivers have been out standing, not sucky like you all claim), oh did I mention, boring, scripted, yes extremely good, yet robot like with no heart. (makes Trent Dilfer look like a SB god).....Tom Brady

Biggest heart, most gracious Sb winning Qb...Trent Dilfer ( may as well throw him in since you all think SB wins are the only way to rate "the best"

Best QB to suck in Sb appearances......Fran Tarkenton

Best QB to have his coach cheat and tell him what the opponents DEf is going to be....Tom Brady

Oh man did I go there? Sorry I did.....Yeah, put me as the Pats starting QB, tell me what the Def is going to do, Ill guarantee I can throw for at least 25 TD's in that season.......Crap tape one of my arms behind my back and blindfold me, Ill still make 12 if you tell me where the defenders will be....

Hehe Thanks Eli Manning and the NYG for making it easier to stomach seeing The NE Patriots period. Also thanks for showing that Tom Brady is only as good as the system put around him. Ill place Tom Brady in my Top Qb list when he proves he didn't, nor the hoodie didn't cheat......sorry NE fans.......they got caught....deal with it...


Joe Montana (Brady a close 2nd) is the absolutely the best quarterback of all time! He has 4 superbowl wins with no losses. He has a career QB rating of 92.3. An even more incredible QB rating of 96.2 in the playoffs. Montana played his best games against the best NFL defenses. No other QB can match that, NOT Brady, Unitas, Elway, Favre, Marino, Manning, or anybody mentioned.

Brady although very close, still hasn't matched Montana's numbers or Superbowl wins. The Superbowl loss to the very good but not great Giants team didn't help him.

Unitas had very ordinary numbers for many years. And he has a Superbowl loss. I'm still trying to figure out why so many people think he's the best. He was very good, but not the best.

Elway folded like a wet taco in 3 superbowls and wasn't that great in one of the Superbowls that he won.

Favre throws too many interceptions and has only won 1 Superbowl. Plus he lost one Superbowl to John Elway.

Marino choked in his only Superbowl. He wasn't even good enough go to another Superbowl, even though the AFC was very ordinary in the 80's and 90's.

Peyton Manning is excellent during the regular season. But on average doesn't play very well in the playoffs.

I can go on and on, but NO ONE compares!


Greatest ever should be judged on winning 1st. Stats 2nd. Granted great stats may get you into Canton, but unless you can win the big game, you cannot be considered among the greats... unless you're Marino. I think he's the exception. As for Favre... Definitely the most durable QB of all time. I'm convinced he could play into his 50's if he wanted to. However, any record he has broken will probably be broken much sooner by Manning or Brady. Also, I'm surprised how many people haven't brought up Steve Young. If you consider that he spent the first 3-4 years as a backup, and became arguably the best quarterback in the league as soon as he became a starter. Also, his Career QB rating record might be a record that is never broken. I wouldn't say he is top 5, but he is most certainly top 10. Also, you've got to give respect where it is due. Johnny Unitas was so ahead of his time in every aspect of the game, he was to football how Bobby Orr was to hockey. He changed the Quarterback position. However, not to praise "The Golden Boy" too much, but if he can stay healthy, and play well into his mid-to-late thirties, I personally think that Tom Brady will stand alone, ESPECIALLY if they win this Superbowl and finish off the greatest season in Football history of 19-0, which may not be duplicated for a loooooong, long time. That is something that no other QB on the list will ever be able to have on their resume. So again, I think there are many QB's that could make the list of top 10, but here's my 2 cents:

1. Johnny Unitus

2. Tom Brady

3. Joe Montana

4. Dan Marino

5. John Elway

6. Brette Favre

7. Peyton Manning

8. Steve Young

9. Terry Bradshaw

10. Roger Staubach/Bart Starr


Surely greatness should be judged on wins. Also a great quarterback may have been stuck on a mediocre or worse team but with individual talent to make it appear good or even great at times. Otto Graham did have a great career but only played a few extra playoff games before getting on to the championship game. He sparkled in some and flopped in others. Bobby Layne was routinely there as well.

Tom Brady and Joe Montana are clear and alone on top. They won with whoever was there good or weak. they in an unexplainable way carried the team to the top or drove the great team to it's destiny.

The other greatest (that fit this criteria) in no particular order.

Baugh, Luckman, Graham, Layne, Unitas, Starr, Staubach, Bradshaw, Stabler (When will the HoF call?), Elway, Young, Farve and Manning.

Best of then rest

Aikman, Jurgensen, Fouts, Moon, Van Brocklin, Tarkenton,Marino, Kelly...


This article is pretty much spot on. How do you define best? There's many ways to look at it.

In order of what makes the best:

I'd say championships first.

Then stats.

Then the team around them. (it's a lot of luck to have a good team, but that's the game)


The best quarterback of all times if you are judging all quarterbacks in the history of the NFL or football is Otto Graham. This guy played in 10 championships in a row in his 10 year career. He won 7 out of the 10 championships and his winning percentage is 86%. He won 3 NFL championships after the merge. His team, the Cleveland Browns, were the first team to really go undefeated though the NFL doesn't count the season. Otto threw and ran the ball better than any of those quarterbacks listed above. Otto Graham best ever period.


Joe Montana was the best quarterback ever.


I love the moron that said about Favre, "Many of his records are a product of a long career, which has been made possible by his blatant abuse of pain killers. Don't say it was an addiction and make him out to be a victim."

First, he wasn't using an illegal drug like steroids. It was a legal pain killer, vicadin. Second, it did not help him play better. My understanding is he was getting 3-4 hours of sleep and constantly vomiting from them. The fact that he won an MVP like that is amazing. Finally, it happened in 1995. He has played over 10 seasons since then and won another 2 MVP titles, finished second in the MVP voting 3 other times, played in 2 more Super Bowls, winning one. He has 5 more 30 touchdown pass seasons since 1995.

Basically what this guy shows is a complete lack of understanding about the NFL. In other words he is a Vikings fan.


Joe Montana is the best quarterback ever to play the game. There should be no question about it. Let's look at the potential list of quarterbacks: Montana, Staubach, Unitas, Graham, Bradshaw, Starr, Elway, and maybe Brady (even though he is too young right now). Staubach, Unitas, Graham, Bradshaw, and Starr had basically the same teams when they won their respective titles. Elway didn't win until the end of his career when he had a workhorse running back. Montana won 4 Superbowl titles with basically 3 different teams. The only constant was Montana. They had different offensive players and different defensive players and even different coaches (even though Seifert was an extension of Walsh for the '90 superbowl). I just don't see how anyone can say that Montana is not the BEST ever.


Oh & to that person that talked about Joe Montana Jerry Rice In The Frozen Tundra? Ummmmm does soldier field ring a bell? Freezing cold in the Bears Backyard!!! NFC Championship on the line? I think you better get the record straight...... By the way, that was the 1st superbowl in their Back to Back year....... The 49ers did go to the superbowl that year as major underdogs with a 10-6 record....... JOE MONTANA drove them down the field in the final minutes of the superbowl & threw the winning touchdown pass to (3rd round pick) John Taylor........ OK, anymore comments? Nuff Said.......


OK, I think it's time to backup Joe Montana........ 1st of all, in the SUPERBOWL....... Besides Joe, has any one of these other quarterbacks not thrown an interception in the Superbowl? Brady had his chance, then he blew it....... In the 49ers Back to Back Season...... I have yet to see any quarterback put up impressive numbers in the playoffs & into the superbowl....... Does everybody remember when the 49ers crushed John Elway & the Broncos? How about the playoffs leading into the superbowl? I have not seen any team crush every team in the playoffs & in the superbowl....... Beat Minnesota 41-13, Beat The High Powered Rams 30-3 & Crushed The Broncos 55-10 & til this day is the biggest lopsided victory in Nfl History!!! OK, lets talk Stats!!! Joe was a 3rd Round Pick In the Draft...... Hmmmmm nuff said!!!! Not too mention a backup Quarterback at Notre dame!!! As for the 49er receivers: Read This........ On Jerry Rice

But National Football League teams, renowned for attention to detail, played Rice short. Most didn't have him at the top of their draft lists, didn't even rate him as the best wide receiver. Rice had come from a predominantly African-American college in the lowly regarded Southwestern Athletic Conference, a product of a gimmicky, spread-the-field passing offense that often ran up the score. Rice's competition was suspect, the thinking went, as was his college coaching.

The San Francisco 49ers thought differently. They thought enough of Archie Cooley, Rice's coach, to pick his brain on his unorthodox offense. They thought enough of Rice to trade up and take him with the 16th selection in the 1985 draft.

(John Taylor) (3rd Round Pick)

A third-round pick out of Delaware State, Taylor might have played second fiddle to Jerry Rice in the 49ers' offense, but he certainly left his mark on the game, earning two Pro Bowl selections (1988-1989) and three Super Bowl rings.

(Dwight Clark) (10th Round Pick)

Dwight Edward Clark (born January 8, 1957 in Kinston, North Carolina) was a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1987. He played his college football at Clemson University before being drafted in the 10th round of the 1979 entry draft. Clark embarked on a fine career in which he had 506 catches for 6750 yards and 48 touchdowns, along with 50 rushing yards. He led the NFL in receptions(60) during the strike shortened 1982 season, and made the Pro Bowl twice in 1981 and 1982 in his 9 NFL seasons.

OK Now, Lets Talk Running Backs:

Roger Craig (2nd Round Pick)

Drafted in the second round, the movie star-handsome Craig had quite a career while with the 49ers: three Super Bowl rings; four trips to the Pro Bowl; over 8000 yards gained on the ground, and a further 4000 more via pass receptions. That's a lot of yards! Perhaps his best season was 1988, when he was named National Football Conference's offensive player of the year by United Press International after rushing for 1,502 yards and catching 76 passes for 534 yards.

Tom Rathman,

Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the (3rd Round)of The 1986 draft......

As you can plainly see, the 49ers didn't have superstars right out of college...... These players were low draft picks...... Even Brent Jones, He was selected in the 5th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1986 NFL Draft. Jones won 3 Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and was three times named All-Pro (1992-1994) and is a four-time Pro Bowler (1992-95). He finished his 11 NFL seasons with 417 receptions for 5,195 yards and 33 touchdowns.

I can go on & on but I think I made my point...... I don't like the fact that peeps say that Joe was surrounded by pro bowl receivers & running backs...... These Players were not pro bowlers before they came to the 49ers...... They became pro bowlers while being a 49er..... Let us not forget Joe came back from a career ending back surgery & Joe came from the era when quarterbacks could still get nailed after the ball is thrown...... Brett Favre kind of reminds me of Jim McMahon of the Bears...... He had that no fear attitude until he got hammered & ended his career....... I honestly don't think The quarterbacks now could handle the hits laid out on quarterbacks back then....... That's why quarterbacks now, last a lot longer....... I tell you if Joe played in this era can you imagine what kind of damage he would do now? How about those 49ers of the 80's? If they were to play in this era now, I bet you they would've won a lot of superbowls in this era & Jerry Rice would be running wild because now they even have protection for the wide receivers too....... Oh well....... That's what I got to say......



I am a die hard vikings fan and I will argue for Brett Favre being one of the best QB's of all time. Granted football is determined by many things defense, coaching, offensive line, wide receivers etc. This guy is simply a pain to watch when he is playing my team. I don't believe you could claim a "best" quarter back of all time because there are too many outside factors. But if I had to pick a quarterback who I would want on my team in his prime it would be Dan Marino or J. Unitus.


Yes Sir wow a bunch of you probably have never even watched Brett Favre play football if you are saying that he is not the greatest ever because if you have watched him play you would understand why 60 percent of the nation thinks he is the best QB ever to play the game YES SIR. Brett has also goon through the most adversity that any other athlete has ever gone through before so reconsider your vote.

Matt Bowe Plymouth, US


Wow, Favre a drunk who can't get it done, huh? That is perhaps THE least thought out comment I've ever heard in a best QB ever debate. Personally, I believe there will never be a clear cut answer to the question. Brady will have the most rings, Montana the most consistency, Starr established the position as by far the most important on the field, and so on and so on. BUT, to say Favre is not to be considered amongst the "best", whomever you think the "best" is, is flat out ignorant.

"Doesn't get it done?" Oh I get it, those most wins ever must've come from the great talent around him. Remind me, how many HOF running backs or receivers did he play with? How many of his supporting offensive players ever led the league in rushing yards, receptions or receiving yards? How long did he play with any one receiver?

"Doesn't get it done?" Oh I get it, the most passing yards and touchdowns must've been the result of his long career. How many of those games did he miss by the way? Once he started that is, let's not forget, that whole first year was pretty much on the bench in Atlanta. But boy he was lucky to go to Green Bay instead of Atlanta, at least the throwing conditions are better. Oh wait, that's right, other than Soldier Field, Lambeau consistently has the worst throwing conditions. The fact that Brett played well over 100 games in northern Wisconsin and still holds records over guys who played in Florida and California doesn't count for anything.

I'm not saying Brett Favre is definitively the best. I'm saying to leave him out is plain stupid. And you're just a flat out jerk to mention the "drunk" part. Maybe we should take a ring away from Brady each time he has an "illegitimate" child or leaves a pregnant woman for a supermodel. If Troy Aikman is gay, maybe he shouldn't have been allowed to play football. Maybe Elway's 4th quarter comebacks don't count for squat because his ego wouldn't allow him to play for the Colts. Maybe Manning would be even better if he didn't spend every second making commercials. EVERYBODY has something off the field that can be held against them, and it has NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING to do with the debate about their play. Maybe Brett drank too much. Maybe Brady is a womanizer. Maybe Aikman is gay. Maybe Elway is a jerk. Maybe Manning is a man-diva. WHO THE HECK CARES? To say any of that behavior makes them a worse football player is wrong.


What about Otto Graham? Not a big stats guy, but if you are talking about leadership and championships he is hard to beat. He led the Browns to the title game every year that he played. I think he was something like 9-3 in play-off games. Starr comes close with all of his wins at Green Bay.


Where's Elway? He's a winner. Great passing stats. Longevity. Probably the best scrambler besides Young. Until Davis he never had a good runningback. I think he's at least top 5.


OK, who's this Brett Frave guy again?


Packers fans' reasoning for saying Favre is the greatest of all time is like saying John Daly is the best golfer of all time. A quote from a previous post:

"He throws passes that nobody would attempt, sure some end up bad but like said in other arguments more than 50 will turn out outstanding"

That's just like Daly-attempting shots that no one else would and some end up bad, but some end up good. That doesn't make Daly the best ever just like throwing it up there anywhere doesn't make Favre the best ever.

Chucking the ball up there doesn't make you the best ever. Winning does. Consistency does. Winning championships does. The best ever are Montana, Elway, Starr, hands down. Bradshaw is up there, too. Soon we'll be adding Manning and Brady. C'mon guys, Favre is a drunk who can't get it done all the time, just like Daly.


how about everyone stop complaining and start living in the present. the past is gone and it's not coming back so focus on the future and stop the gossip. leave that to high school girls. if you played in the NFL then you have room to bad mouth other players but for now you're just going to sit around talking on a computer. i respect everyone that has played in the NFL. they all deserve credit that's why they're professionals. it would not make any sense responding to this because i only go online about once a month. Great work PATS COWBOYS COLTS and PACKERS for 2008.


Whoever mentioned the ability to succeed in any system (interchangeable) hit the nail on the head. Could Brady be the 4 time winner he was if he played in Green Bay from 2000 till now? I don't know if the answer is yes or not, but I'm guessing he would have stats similar to the guy who's been there since '00. Same goes for a Manning. I'm too young to talk about the early Elway or Marino years (as I suspect many of the posters who are so high on today's QB's are) but I am guessing that if you sit down and ask how young think your favorite guy would have fared in one of the other top guys systems you'll come away with a pretty idea of who the best 3 are. Personally I think Favre is among them, but I can't say where he fits in - or even who the other 2 are.


if you say the criteria for best qb all time is superbowl wins then how can you not talk about tom brady? im pretty sure he has 4 before he turned 30 and he's about to get another one this year


I agree mostly with the list above. However, John Elway should also be on the list.

John Elway played in 234 NFL regular season games, completed 4,123 out of 7,250 pass attempts, threw for 51,475 yards, threw 300 touchdown passes and 226 interceptions. Elway has appeared in the Pro Bowl nine times, and won the MVP award in 1987. Not to mention to Superbowl victories.


The truth of it all folks is Brett Favre is the most interchangeable QB to any system and any offense. This is perhaps the most significant factor in determining the best QB of all time, not how many chance super bowls they have won as a result of superior coaching and players around them. Manning, Montana, or Marino in the frozen tundra? I don't think so. Give Favre Rice or Moss and a probowl running back...maybe 7 mvps instead of 3 and a runner up to gannon? Favre could make something from nothing. One losing season in 15 years with a franchise that at times failed to put quality players around him. His pocket presence, leadership, and arm strength are just as good as ANY qb EVER. You might not think he was the best ever but to not have mentioned him in this article is perhaps crazy so i just did.


Tom Brady has NEVER had an all star cast on offense you must have been watching his games with Vaseline on the screen and mistakenly seen J. Rice or L. Swann or ..hmm i don't know Reggie Wayne or Marvin Harrison on the Patriots. Commercial boy Peyton is a great QB who has had pro bowl receivers for the last 5 years.

Brady's receivers have been ... Troy Brown, Deion Branch, David Patten, David Givens, and Reche Caldwell....do i have to even argue here? None of these guys will be in the Hall of Fame, and Brady still led them to the Super bowl three times. Moss is pretty much a lock for Canton but when he got to The Pats the status quo raised as well as we see Brady poised to get the records for passing yards and TDs for a season if he can manage 5 more in 3 games.....

The only one still with a steady job is Deion. Givens, Patten, and Caldwell are either not playing or the slot option. Troy Brown [bless him] is a possession receiver..all of them are. He was also the only smart one to realize a good thing and stay in N.E. because the others left for money and realized Brady was magnifying their potential. None of them ever made a pro bowl while on the team. The stars on the Pats during their past superbowls [besides him and vinateiri] were on defense ...Ty law, richard seymour, T. Bruschi, M. Vrable.

This year finally Brady can actually use his skills because he isn't being held back by his receivers. And no, a good defense doesn't make someone a good qb otherwise ...Kyle Boller and Rex Grossman would be the toast of the NFL. A good defense doesn't make a qb avoid bad decisions or look off the safety or recognize blitz packages at the line of scrimmage

At present the all time Qbs are as follows...

Tom Brady

Peyton Manning

Steve Young

Brett Favre

Dan Marino

Joe Montana

Fran Tarkenton

Bart Starr

Pocket passers, Clutch performers, game managers ...These guys didn't just latch onto a dynasty team like the 70's steelers... The quarterbacks that are excelling in the present get more kudos because in this age of free agency it's harder to be great, and also defenses are more sophisticated and seasons are longer


That's amazing that who wrote this does not believe that Brett Favre is not in the top 5. Brett and Joe Montana are the two best qb's to play the game. Joe had a great team around him with great receivers, Brett had Antonio Freeman in mid '90's to throw to. Who is he? To say that Brett has poor game management must be coming from somebody either from chicago or a third world country with no way to watch one game of his. He throws passes that nobody would attempt, sure some end up bad but like said in other arguments more than 50 will turn out outstanding. He will own every major record beating Dan Marino and every other qb mentioned above. It's not just the records he owns that makes him great he makes everybody around him better. Name a top 10 or even 20 receiver in the league and nobody will say Donald Driver or Greg Jennings, but he makes them great. Poor game management, are you serious? Cannot read a defense? Lets refresh your memories, super bowl XXXI checks out of a play throws the longest td to that date in super bowl history, guess he could have done better if he waved his arms around for 30 secs like peyton manning. He has had 15 seasons of 3000 passing yards or more in a row, nobody will do that for years. I guess he got lucky all those years. These arguments are just ridiculous, saying that aaron rogers could break brett's records, he can't play 2 games in a row cause he gets hurt all the time. Brett is tough painkillers or not, and when he did painkillers he never missed a game. Neither did he the other 15 years he didn't. Brett Favre will go down as the best qb to play to date and im not afraid to sign it like the rest of you anonymous cowards.



Tom Brady is an outstanding QB and already one of the best of all-time. However, to say he hasn't been surrounded by outstanding talent is silly. Since he took over in 2001 he has been on a great team (excluding 2002) every year. Don't forget, the Patriots have had the best defense in the league in this era. This constantly puts the offense in great situations. He has also had the fortune of being surrounded by superior coaching.

Football is such a team game that it makes it difficult to rate top quarterbacks. Both Dan Marino and Dan Fouts were amazing passers who never won the big one. This is of course because they were never part of a complete team. On the other hand Trent Dilfer and Jeff Hostetler both have rings. I'm pretty sure Fouts and Marino would have had a couple of rings if they played for the Patriots of the 2000s. By the way, Patriots WR Troy Brown was Pro-Bowler (an overrated honor anyway) for the 2001 Super Bowl Champs.


are you serious???????

Tom Brady has had an all star cast since he entered the game. Top ranked players surrounding him, he is good, but not in the top 5. Excluding 2007, name the all star cast please? Any pro-bowl receiver will do.


You forget Favre is the Ironman of the sport at Quarterback! He has played with more broken bones that many of us knew existed, while still maintaining his excellence. Many quarterbacks also tend to crumble under immense stress, however he had what would have been a career game the night following his father's passing. 399 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 1st half alone!! That's 8 touchdowns and 798 yards if he stayed in for the second half. He holds the all time touchdown record, wins, soon to be yards, and has a superbowl ring. Tom Brady has had an all star cast since he entered the game. Top ranked players surrounding him, he is good, but not in the top 5. Brett Favre made a majority of his teammates good over the years. Because if you look at the statistics, many of his wide receivers after traveling to, or coming from other teams, had career seasons only in Green Bay. Brett Favre.


There isn't a better quarterback then Johnny U. Best quarterback to never win a ring is Dan Marino.


Favre has played longer than any great qb, he's not the best but one of the best, Brady will be the greatest when it's all said and done. He's already racked so many legendary moments in his career one or two more super bowls would rap it up for him.


Bart Star is by no means the best quarterback of all time. He was surrounded by talent when he won all five of his championships. he was coached by one of the best coaches ever.He even had a HOF backfield. you want to talk about championships lets talk about Tom Brady. He already has three and he has never really had a talented offense around him. now he does and lets check out his stats and by the end of this season he will break every major single season passing record, not including Int's and he will have his fourth SB ring.


Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. True, he does make stupid plays once in a while but for every one of those he makes 10 outstanding plays that no one else can make, because no one else will attempt them for fear of making a lousy play once in a while. He has the skill, determination, attitude, longevity, and guts to be considered one of the greatest ever.


This has always been a good argument. If this was tennis or golf, an individual sport, then you could come closer to an answer. The problem would still be the different eras. There is a group of QBs that would be part of a special group from each era, the best of their time. Of more recent times, you have named the names. Who of these QB's have won a Super Bowl without a very good defense. None!!

They only can play their side of the ball. Elway was one of the best, but when he won the Superbowl, he was not as good a player as his earlier years when they lost the SB. Those earlier teams he carried on his back. When he won Terrell Davis was MVP, and Sharpe was the best at Tight End. Farve you can discredit for his Int, but he threw many of them because the game was out of reach, and threw them up for grabs. Count that against him, or that he played the game with a smile. Its just a game he understands that. He was MVP 3 years in a row. That by itself should put him in anyones select group of the best. Farve's biggest problem among football fans, has been Madden's constant sickening praise.

Montana is in there, but why so much praise for the coach when he died, if it was all Montana. Jerry Rice who was he? Who made who? Same could be said he New England. Is not the coach now considered among the best all-time? Who made who? Give any of these great QB's time, and they would pick you apart. There is no best ever, but I agree with every name mentioned above as being in the group that is the special group.


To said that Favre is responsible for "poor game management, bad decisions, interceptions, inconsistency and a lack of ability to read defenses." If YOU take an honest look at his career, you'll see the quarterback with the most wins being Favre. Is that bad game management. Favre also won all those games without a hall of fame running back or wide receiver. Only a few other QB's in the history of the game can say that. As far as the interceptions go, people always bring that up because they just go look up Favre's stats and think "man those ints are the only bad ones i'd better target that." At least 60 of Favre's interceptions were due to receiver errors, but unfortunately there isn't a stat box for that. If you go by skill at the position Favre is the best. If you go by superbowls Brady will be the best.


It's unfortunate that individuals don't look at the bottom line when putting forth their reasons for the best quarterback ever. I look at championships won and none can surpass Bart Starr. What most forget is that Starr and the packers won five NFL championships in seven years 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967, which included the first two super bowls. Bart Starr might not have the statistics of Dan Marino but Dan Marino does not have five NFL championship rings. Here are some other tidbits for those with short memories: Bart Starr lost only one playoff game, the first one he ever played in. After that, nada. He won every playoff game he was in except the first one against Philadelphia; Bart Starr called his own plays which says a lot about his ability to dissect defenses; and although he might not have the glorious statistics of Marino etc. al, he has the rings. No other quarterback, past or present can match that. And if memory serves, winning is what matters, no? Bart Starr is by far the best quarterback to play the game, hands down. Your statistics mean nothing if not supported by championships! And you want tough? How many recall the ice bowl, probably the greatest game ever played, when Bart was sacked 8 times by the Dallas defense but still went on to score the winning touchdown with 16 seconds left?

No my friends, statistics do lie! It's the championships that give credence to the statistics.


Anyone who says Brett Favre is even in the top ten all-time is either a Packer fan or is sentimental toward him for some other reason. There is no way that someone could say, with an unbiased opinion, that this guy ever maintained an all-time great level of play. Take an honest look at his career and its; poor game management, bad decisions, interceptions, inconsistency and a lack of ability to read defenses. Being a smart QB (quality) instead of just playing a lot of games (quantity)is what makes greatness. He's had the luxury of a great offensive line for many years. Just think what someone like Steve Young, with his consistent ability to carve up a defense, would have done with all that protection.


Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Period. Records aside, no one has ever played with as much heart and tenacity as he has. Not mentioning him in this article is either a terrific and unbelievable oversight or an act of incredible ingnorance.


I like how the pundits like to discredit the longevity of Brett Favre's career by bringing up the pain killer addiction which was was resolved in 1996! A mere 4 years into his 15 year career as a Packer. Dan Marino also had a career of 15 years, in fact Farve tied the TD record in the same 240 games that it took Marino to set the record. Arguably Manning will be the one to set all records for quarterbacking (aside from INTs) IF he can remain healthy for another 6-7 years. Being a fan of football, all I know is that Favre is electric, inspiring, and just plain fun (sometimes painfully so) to watch. He may not be the "best" but his greatness is forever indelibly linked to the sport.


Brett Favre is not the all-time greatest. Many of his records are a product of a long career, which has been made possible by his blatant abuse of pain killers. Don't say it was an addiction and make him out to be a victim. The nfl punishes those who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs which have no impact on their on-field performance. the pain killers allowed Favre to continue playing with much less pain, which made it easier to play and perform. Jonny Unitis was a much better leader and quarterback. Others such as Elway, Marino, Montana Brady and Manning helped their team much more by taking much better care of the football and not putting their defense at risk with bonehead passes and plays. As for Tom Brady being the best quarterback ever because he may someday break one record is ridiculous. Aaron Rogers might someday break every record Favre has does that mean he is the best ever right now. I DON'T THINK SO.


The fact that Tom Brady is not on this page makes it not worth reading. You don't discuss the best QB in NFL history and not mention the QB who may set the record for SB Wins.


You forgot to mention Brett Favre in your article. Let the all-time quarterback records/statistics that you speak of in your article speak for themselves in black and white.

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