Finding Brett Favre's Place Among the NFL's Greatest QBs of All Time as I Rank the Top 10
|How high did I rank this guy? You'll be surprised.|
10. Dan Marino
147-93 record, 420 TD, 252 INT, 254 YPG, 86.4 rating
He may have lost his only Super Bowl appearance, but Marino took the Dolphins to the playoffs 10 times without a strong supporting cast. He averaged 4,057 yards with 28 touchdowns and 17 interceptions over a 16-game season with virtually no running game during his career and Mark Clayton and Mark Duper as his top targets.
Marino had perhaps the quickest release in the history of the NFL, and his sophomore season of 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns ranks among the top individual feats of all time. And although John Elway is known as having the most fourth-quarter comebacks, it's actually Marino who's tied for the most with Johnny Unitas at 36.
9. Brett Favre
181-104 record, 508 TD, 336 INT, 238 YPG, 86.0 rating
He and Marino had very similar careers, but Favre won a Super Bowl and was more of a threat to pull a rabbit out of his hat while scrambling around to find an open receiver. Of course, Favre's propensity to hold onto the ball and attempt to squeeze it into tight spots led to many costly interceptions throughout the years, which knocks him down a few spots.
The three-time MVP (although Barry Sanders should have been the sole MVP in 1997) averaged 3,806 yards with 27 TD and 18 INT per 16 games and not only surpassed most of Marino's records that were expected to last forever, but he just ended the longest consecutive-games-played streak in NFL history at 297. He's one tough SOB -- no doubt about it -- but he should have hung up his cleats last year.
8. Troy Aikman
94-71 record, 165 TD, 141 INT, 200 YPG, 81.6 rating
No Cowboys bias here. While Aikman's numbers (3,194 yards, 16 TD and 14 INT per 16 games) weren't flashy, he was a fantastic leader and precise passer. He also posted a combined 111.93 rating and 70 percent completion percentage in his three Super Bowl victories that happened in a four-year span.
Aikman's career stats would have been much better had Emmitt Smith not been gobbling up the most yardage and TDs in NFL history for a running back and had he not called it quits early at age 34 after suffering multiple concussions.
Despite missing his first four years because of his commitment to the Naval Academy, Staubach led the Cowboys to four Super Bowl appearances, including wins against the Dolphins and Broncos and two four-point losses to the Steelers.
He was not only one of the best athletes to play the position, but, like Aikman, Staubach was a tremendous leader and gifted passer who simply knew how to win.
6. John Elway
148-82-1 record, 300 TD, 226 INT, 220 YPG, 79.9 rating
He got his ass kicked in three Super Bowls, but once his targets changed from Mark Jackson and Vance Johnson to Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe and his running back became Terrell Davis instead of Bobby Humphrey, he won two consecutive championships against the Falcons and Packers to end his spectacular career.
With Elway, no victory was secure until the final seconds ticked off the clock, as evidenced by his 35 fourth-quarter comebacks. And more so than Favre, Elway bought time to find an open receiver when the pocket broke down or his targets simply needed more time to get open.
5. Steve Young
94-49 record, 232 TD, 107 INT, 196 YPG, 96.8 rating
His career quarterback rating is topped only by Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers (who woulda guessed that?) and he racked up the third most rushing yards for a QB (4,239), yet he spent his prime years of ages 26 to 29 backing up Joe Montana after he was traded to San Francisco from Tampa Bay.
The league's MVP in 1992 and '94 and a Super Bowl winner in between the three won by the Cowboys in the early '90s, Young averaged 3,136 passing yards, 22 TD and 10 INT per 16 games and displayed the best combination of accuracy through the air and effectiveness on the ground the NFL has ever seen.
4. Johnny Unitas
118-64-4 record, 290 TD, 253 INT, 191 YPG, 78.2 rating
I can't say I ever saw the man play other than a few clips on TV, and he sure tossed a lot of picks (19 per 16 games) while completing just 54.6 percent of his passes, but everything I've read about Unitas says he simply was The Man during his playing days.
He won three MVPs ('59, '64 and '67) and led the Baltimore Colts to back-to-back NFL Championships in '58 and '59, including what has been dubbed as the NFL's greatest game -- a 23-17 overtime victory over the New York Giants in Yankee Stadium.