Since I embarked upon a study to decide, as objectively as possible, who the greatest quarterback of all time is, and finding the answer to be, pretty easily, Joe Montana, I decided to see what others thought.
Here’s a guy who says that the top five all time are, in this order, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, and Fran Tarkenton. One wonders if he realizes that the NFL was in existence prior to 1955.
Someone named “WiseGeek” doesn’t reach a conclusion, but mentions in his article Starr, Marino, Montana, Young, Unitas, Tarkenton, Favre, Brady, and Manning. Again, we are left to wonder if he believes football was invented in the late ’50s. Since his page allows for comments, he subjects himself to ridicule from the Favriacs, who conveniently overlook their hero’s flaws (seen last evening, incidentally) in pressing his candidacy. One guy says, “no one has ever played with as much heart and tenacity as he has.” Really? We’re able to measure “heart” and “tenacity”, and then to use them to gauge greatness? Shoot, for all we know, Joe Pisarcik played with even more “heart” and “tenacity” than did Brett Favre, but too sad for him, he just utterly stunk as an athlete. Rubbish.
Some guy named Allen Barra at Salon Magazine says it was Bart Starr. Now, I confess that Starr ranked higher in my ratings than I’d expected, but #1 all time? Streeettcchh.
Troy Aikman generally agrees with the Sporting News’ analysis that the top three all-time were Otto Graham, Joe Montana, and Johnny Unitas, in some order (he likes Montana, but admits that that’s because he’s the only one he actually saw play). The article is three-and-a-half years old, and one wonders how he’d place Manning and Brady in this equation, but what I find interesting here is that the Sporting News analysis pretty much bears mine out: these men were three (along with Sammy Baugh, and maybe one or two others) that I’d put in the equation for “best of all time”.
Here’s an idiotic poll that’ll make you laugh when you consider who this person (8-year-old?) decided to put in—and to leave out of—his poll.
Here’s a guy who votes for Joe Namath, because “he played with a rough and tumble mentality.” Ah, well, that settles it! The fact that on a sheer performance level, Joe Namath ranks somewhere in the area of Steve McNair or Marc Bulger doesn’t really matter to this guy…
And here’s a guy who actually manages to mention the name “Neil O’Donnell” in a post entitled “The Best Quarterback of All Time”. Which is interesting, since Neil O’Donnell also is far and away the worst Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting Super Bowl quarterback of all time, not to mention not even the best quarterback of all time to graduate from the University of Maryland, or the best starting quarterback in his one Super Bowl start, or the best quarterback in the division most of his NFL years, or the…you get the picture. I will give the guy credit, though, for quoting George Will at the top of his blog: “Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”
All of the above, I should mention, comes from the first page of Googling “greatest quarterbacks”.
After that start, I’m expecting the second page to contain references to Rudy Bukich, Eric Hipple, and Dieter Brock…
UPDATE: Here’s a guy who did a different statistical analysis than mine, and who came up with a reasonable amount of similarity to mine: “The 100 Greatest Quarterbacks of the Modern Era”.
He rates both Marino and Elway higher than do I, and he leaves out some guys that are not “modern-era” types (Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, and Sammy Baugh, all of which made my top ten). His rankings must be a tad dated (he puts Tom Brady 54th, but this is after Brady already has three Super Bowl rings, which is testament, I think, to the fact that Brady’s off-the-charts season this year is really his first unusually-great statistical season), but the thing I noticed was that he put Ken Anderson 7th—so maybe I’m not nuts, huh? This dude’s got funky stats galore, so I can’t write him off, although I don’t know that Roman Gabriel belongs in the top twenty of any QB list, and he’s got Sonny Jurgensen awfully high as well. But it’s an interesting analysis (that I’ll someday take a little more time and read). Oh, and sentimentally, I like the fact that he’s got Elway fifth. I prefer that analysis to mine that puts him in the mid-teens.