Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Brett Favre: How good was he?

By Nate Noy

Anyone that has listened to me on the FDH Lounge show or the previous shows I appeared on with Rick Morris on Sports Talk Cleveland realizes that I actually have opinions on subjects other than Jean Schmidt.

Rick, Jason and I were discussing the top-32 QB’s of all-time last month and with Favre’s announcement this week it is the appropriate time to have this debate. For today I will look at my top-10, perhaps in the coming days Rick, Jason and I will unveil our top-32.

There are a number of factors to consider and there is no “set formula”.

For me personally, the first question I ask is: “if there are two minutes to go in the game and my team is down six, who do I want to be the QB of my team?” The statistics of course come into play as does the fact if the QB was a “winner” or not. Other lists that have been compiled by the mainstream media should be taken into account, and I also considered the number of times the player was named All Pro(AP) (signifying he was one of the best at the QB position in a particular year.)

Below is my list:

10. John Elway HOF
QB Rating 79.9; AP 5; 51,475 yds; 300 TD’s
Elway ranks higher on some lists, he did win two Super Bowl’s and one SB MVP. He was great in the clutch but was only AP five times and his QB rating is low compared to the others on this list from his era.

9. Peyton Manning
QB Rating 94.7; AP 6; 41,626 yds; 306 TD’s
Right now with only one SB and one SB MVP Manning is still behind the players ahead of him in terms of career accomplishments. Give him five more years to pass Favre and Marino statistically and he moves into the top-5.

8. Tom Brady
QB Rating 92.9; AP 2; 26,370 yds; 197 TD’s
Brady could certainly someday make a case for number one on this list. He already has three SB rings and two SB MVP’s. His QB rating is only behind Young and Manning on this list (ahead of even Joe Montana.) However, he only has been named All Pro twice, since he has to beat out the likes of Peyton Manning for that award each year. With Moss back next year the Pats are the odds on favorites to win the SB, if this happens then Brady moves up a few more spots on this list. It should also be noted that 2007 was the single best season for a QB in NFL history, if his numbers even approach this next year, he continues his journey near the top.

7. Steve Young HOF
QB Rating 96.8; AP 7; 33,124 yds; 232 TD’s
His seven All Pro awards and 96.8 career QB rating keep him ahead of Brady and Manning for at least one more year. He won three SB’s and was MVP of the SB twice. He played for some horrible TB teams early in his career and had to sit in Montana’s shadow for a few seasons. The much higher QB rating and AP awards keep him slightly ahead of Elway on my list as well.

6. Sammy Baugh HOF; NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
QB Rating 72.2; AP 9; 21,886 yds; 187 TD’s
Sammy revolutionized the game with his success in the T-formation in 1945. His QB rating is hard to apply to an era when the game was played differently. He was also one of the game’s best punters, and his nine AP awards illustrate how many years he was the dominant QB in the NFL. Along with Montana, Graham, and Unitas, he was recognized as one of the top-4 QB’s in the first 75 years of the NFL.

5. Dan Marino HOF
QB Rating 86.4; AP 8; 61,361 yds; 420 TD’s
Only made one SB and did not win it. Granted his supporting cast was weak at best for years. Very close to Favre statistically, but given Favre passed him in both career yards and TD’s this last year I have to give the nod to Favre.

4. Brett Favre
QB Rating 85.7; AP 7; 61.655 yds; 442 TD’s
Did win the one SB and made it twice. He will be the career leader in yardage and TD’s for 4-5 years until Manning likely catches him. His failure to win as many championships as the players in front of him keeps him out of the top-3.

3. Otto Graham HOF; NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
QB Rating 86.6; AP 10; 23.584 yds; 174 TD’s
Played 10 years, made 10 championship games and won seven. Almost a dead heat with Unitas for number two on the list, but Unitas was a beast statistically. Often overlooked because he did not play in the SB era, but will always be on the short list of the top-5 all time, even if Brady and Manning continue on their current paces. Also it should be noted 10-for-10 being named All Pro, simply amazing.

2. Johnny Unitas HOF; NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
QB Rating 78.2; AP 9; 40,239 yds; 290 TD’s
Three NFL championships, one SB win. Johnny U was the player Marino had to chase down statistically for all of those years. His longevity and records give him the slight nod over Graham. His QB rating should be taken with a grain of salt since he played in a different era where defenses were far more dominant.

1. Joe Montana HOF; NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
QB Rating 92.3; AP 7; 40,551 yds; 273 TD’s
Simply set the standard for clutch play and efficiency. Four SB rings and three SB MVP awards. Passed Unitas in career yardage and his QB rating was hard-earned in the era that changed to game to what we see today. If I’m down six with 1:41 to go in the game and I can pick one guy to lead me to victory, there is NO DOUBT Joe is my guy.

Thoughts on these rankings? Feel free to comment below.

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