As the NFL Network rolls out their all-time team, there is plenty to debate about. One thing that is obviously catching heat is Drew Brees being left off. I think it is reasonable of Saints and/or Brees fans to be outraged. It was shortsighted for him to be left off. People should let those who selected hear it.
Of course, people crushed some of the guys who made the list and I also think that is equally short sighted. Every single QB who made the list is deserving because they were one of the best if not the best of their respective eras.
Looking at the stats and comparing just that is an ambiguous way to draw conclusions on QBs. These guys came through completely different eras. So the standard of being a great quarterback was much different 15 years ago much less 40 or 50 years ago than it is as we near 2020.
Most casual baseball fans or even non fans know Babe Ruth as one of the greatest players of all time. An advantage he had was no barrel regulations and he swung a damn tree trunk at the plate. I don’t think we should undermine his greatness because of it. Much like I don’t think we should undermine a QB who may have a season of 2500-3000 yard season with 22 TDs and 11 INTs 30-40 years ago. Back then, that was considered historically great. That is what we are talking about her, historical relevance.
Statistically speaking, guys like Eli Manning are “Top 10” but you probably don’t believe he is a top 10 QB ever nor should you. He is not close to one.
People are looking at this list wrong. They view it as a “Top 10” and I don’t think it is so much that as it is paying homage to the greats across all eras. After all, we are celebrating the last 100 years.
There are several guys on this list who are probably not sniffing a true Top 10 list. In the same breath, a handful of guys have been left off the list who are top 10 worthy, like Brees obviously. In reality, at least half of the top 10 list comes from modern day QBs, if not more. QBs today are better than they were 40 years ago because of how much the game, people and technology have progressed.
One of the QBs on the list, Roger Staubach finished his career as the highest rated passer in NFL history with a rating of 83 and some change. If a QB has a rating of 83 in the modern era, homie is holding a clipboard on the sideline within a few seasons. That just wouldn’t cut it.
So I guess the question becomes who the hell should be left off the list then? Before deciding that, let’s break down the list…
- Joe Montana (1979-94)
He was the GOAT before Tom Brady. Rings and Numbers. This doesn’t really need an explanation.
- Tom Brady (2000-Present)
He is the GOAT for the same reasons Montana was. There is no debate anymore. Again, this needs no explanation.
- Johnny Unitas (1956-73)
When Unitas retired, he had the record for career passing yards along with 2 Championships to his name. He held a 52 year record of consecutive games with a TD pass. He is also one of the most recognizable football names of all time.
- Otto Graham (1946-55)
No QB in NFL history won more than him with a win percentage of .810. He captured two championships in dominant fashion scoring a total 10 TDs across the two games. He was the Browns offense.
- Sammy Baugh (1937-52)
Pioneer is the first word that comes to mind with Baugh. He was a passer in an era where no one passed, at least forward. He was dropping bombs in an era where no one threw downfield. He was the best of his era and it wasn’t close. Looking at his stats over the course of his career, his 1945 season was absolutely stupid for the era. He completed over 70.3% of his passes, a record that stood true until 1982. He finished the season with 1600+ yards and a 9.2 yards per attempt. He also had 3 seasons where he tossed 20+ TDs.
- John Elway (1982-98)
While he has been a terrible executive lately, he was a baller behind center. One of the things I love most about Elway’s career is how differently we would be talking about him in terms of best ever had he not captured two championships in his final two seasons. Jim Kelly is the name I think of. Four SB appearances, but no hardware and not as much respect as he should have. Elway could be in the same boat if it wasn’t for the two titles at the end.
- Peyton Manning (1998-2015)
Pedigree and game changer. Manning needs no introduction as he helped revolutionize the way the position is played from working the play clock like a magician to calling his own plays every down. Manning will always have a place in the history of the league and he should.
- Roger Staubach (1969-79)
Probably the most scrutinized QB on the list. I’ll give you a hint why…the logo he wore. When he retired, he was best passer in league history in terms of QB rating. On top of that, the guy won two SBs and appeared in four total. You can hate on him all you want because of the deplorable franchise he played for, but he was dominant across the board.
- Brett Favre (1991-2010)
Maybe the most fun QB to ever grace the field and he was a total ironman. He reinvented the term gunslinger. He was the guy who just went out there and played and played well. Former QB Ty Detmer called him out for not knowing what a nickel defense was as he asked him one time about it. Favre confirmed the story, which makes it even more remarkable how good he was for so long. That also explains the jekyl and hyde we saw from Favre beyond 98 when film study became such a blueprint for success as athletes continued to get better. Nonetheless, I think most of us miss watching him play on Sundays.
- Dan Marino (1983-1999)
The whole purpose of writing this is Brees. Marino was Brees before Brees. He was the guy throwing for 4,000 yards annually when the norm was under 4k. Of course he had the season where he eclipsed 5,000. He was the guy tossing 30 TDs when the norm was under 30. The big blemish on his career is no hardware to go along with him being a complete anomaly statistically. He had just one Super Bowl appearance in which he lost by a hefty margin.
Why Brees Should Be on There?
He leads the NFL in all major categories currently from Yards to TDs to Completion Percentage. If that isn’t reason enough, he has a SB to his name and he is statistically one of the most efficient playoff performers in the history of football.
Unfortunately, this list is just another sore spot for one of the most unlucky QBs of all time. Saints fans like to harp on him getting screwed out of MVPs and accolades. He was screwed one year (2009) where Peyton Manning won over him. He shouldn’t have won the MVP. He would not have if his last name was not Manning.
He was unlucky in 2006 because Ladainian Tomlinson broke the TD record, 2011 Aaron Rodgers blew him out of the water in YPA and TD to INT ratio while both had 45+ TDs and he ran into the train that is Patty Mahomes last season. Just completely unlucky. He should have multiple MVPs.
He is without question one of the four best QBs to ever play football. That means if there was a Mt. Rushmore, he is on it.
Who Do You Take Off?
Despite him being better than a handful of QBs on the list already, I would have subbed out Marino for Brees, which is still a snub. I think both have similar career paths. They have all the individual numbers to blow their competition out of the water, but they just didn’t win as much as some of the others. In many ways, it wasn’t their fault.
The others on the list were also statistical gods of their eras, respectively. The difference is they won multiple championships. You are also still able to cover the 80s and 90s with Elway, Favre and Montana. Meanwhile, you have Favre, Manning and Brady from modern era. Brees is a better QB and statistical anomaly than Marino in an era full of great QBs.
Conclusively, this list is not a definitive top 10 ranking but it still sucks Brees continues to fall by the wayside when he shouldn’t. Chalk this up to another unlucky break for Drew Brees.