Top 10 Best NFL Quarterbacks of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Joe Montana Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr., nicknamed Joe Cool and The Comeback Kid, is a retired American football quarterback.

People say it was the system that won. He, Rice, and Craig were the system. They were the prototype of a winning system. They won, they worked hard, and they played FOR the team to win. Yes, there are plenty of players with better individual talents, better arm strength, better this or that, but Joe had the magic. No matter what the score, you always had a chance to win with him. Brady is the closest guy around.

One last thing: he didn't lose games. The team might get beaten, but not because he lost the game. Favre has no place near these guys. He lost too many games himself. Having records for interceptions and fumbles is nice if you play defense, but not as a QB.

2 Tom Brady Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., is a retired American football quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. Brady is known for being the only quarterback in history to win 7 Super Bowls, and was often considered one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Brady was also... read more

Brady is the best. Whether you like him or the Patriots, his success is unparalleled. Montana was great and won four Super Bowls. He is the second best ever.

Peyton Manning is my third-place choice. He was dominant in his era, and the only one that could consistently beat him and the Colts were Brady and the Patriots. I would place Marino in fourth place. He possessed a great arm, a quick release, and was a true leader on the field.

Johnny Unitas gets my vote for fifth place. He was involved in some of the greatest games ever and was the first QB to ever reach 40,000 yards in an era in which passing was not nearly as common as in today's game.

3 Peyton Manning Peyton Williams Manning is a former American football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.

Enough of this talk about Tom Brady being better than Peyton Manning. That's just crazy. I mean, come on. Peyton Manning has everything you need in a quarterback. In contrast, Tom Brady has had a great offensive line for his whole career, while Peyton Manning had one of the worst for many years. Peyton Manning has a stronger and more accurate arm than Tom Brady.

Peyton Manning went to the playoffs nine times straight, tying an NFL record with Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys. He also works harder, plays harder, knows the game better, and has been in the league longer. Although Peyton only has one ring to Tom's three, teams need Peyton.

For example, Peyton Manning and the Colts went 10-6 and lost to the Jets in the Wild Card round, who then went to the AFC Championship. The next year, the Colts went 0-13 before finally winning, finishing 2-14 overall. They had three different starting quarterbacks that year and received the number 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, all without Peyton Manning. In contrast, if Tom Brady were out for a whole season, I bet the Patriots would at least go .500 with Ryan Mallett from Arkansas. That's a huge difference: 2-14 versus 8-8.

Neither Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady is fast, but Peyton Manning is faster. Tom Brady has a better offensive line, even with Peyton in Denver. This year, Peyton Manning had the better record, going 13-3, and he's coming back from a neck injury. He is older and is still considered the inferior quarterback. Enough comparing him to Tom Brady. I think he's obviously better, and I could go on all day to show that Manning is better than Brady. Peyton Manning is the second-best quarterback ever, only behind the great Joe "Cool" Montana.

4 Dan Marino Daniel Constantine Marino Jr. is a former American football player who was a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.

This was a hard decision to make because there are a lot of great quarterbacks with different styles and from different eras. Why I picked Marino over my other options (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Johnny Unitas) is that he had the least amount of talent around him. Terry Bradshaw had a great offensive line and Stallworth and Swann to throw to. Of course, he won a lot of games. How could the guy miss?

Who did Marino have? The guy was great on his own, and that was what made him great. Also, we are in the age of quarterbacks, yet his numbers are still holding up well. Even though Brees and Brady have passed him, in an age where there are more passing plays, he is still in a lot of top-five stat columns. Enough said.

5 John Elway John Albert Elway Jr. is a former American football quarterback and current executive vice president of football operations and general manager of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League.

Started in 4 Super Bowls (probably would have been six if he hadn't gotten hurt in that AFC Championship game against Buffalo). Especially in the early ones, Elway was the Broncos. Once he finally had the right players around him, he won a couple. I don't remember any of the other guys on the list having a game like "The Drive." The guy could pull miracles out of the air all the time. If Stanford had stopped Cal on that final kickoff, we would be talking about that comeback as well. He also probably had the best arm that ever played. Man, that guy could put some smoke on it.

6 Brett Favre Brett Lorenzo Favre is a former American football quarterback who spent the majority of his career with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

Favre holds every record in the football bible. Manning and Brady are looking up at him. Favre was a real football player. You never saw him slide or shy away from a hit, unlike Brady or Manning. He was the guy looking to take out a linebacker to get his running back an extra yard. He made all the throws and put passes in impossible spots with the strongest throwing arm I've ever seen, whether for a quarterback or an MLB pitcher.

He was the most exciting player to watch in the history of the NFL. Favre would make the sort of plays that made you ask, "How did he do that?" or "What was he thinking when he made that throw?" Good or bad, he was fun to watch. Having Favre at quarterback could turn a 4-12 team into a Super Bowl contender. It didn't matter how many points this guy was down in a game. If you were a fan of the team he was facing, you knew it wasn't over until the clock said zero. He was magic in the 4th quarter.

He didn't have all-time receivers like Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, or Jerry Rice to throw to. No, Favre broke every passing record with Donald Driver, Antonio Freeman, Bubba Franks, and various 3rd-string-type receivers. If he had won the Super Bowl with the Vikings and retired with a second ring, along with all the career records, he would be the #1 all-time, hands down. But he's got my vote.

7 Johnny Unitas John Constantine Unitas, nicknamed "Johnny U", or "The Golden Arm", was an American professional football player from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Johnny U was the best there ever was, hands down. We are not talking about a passer here. We are talking about a quarterback. One who directs and leads - that is the definition of a quarterback, and there was nobody better. He also called his own plays. Who on your list (besides Manning and his audibles) called their own plays? He made everybody better around him. He also knew the blocking assignments of his offensive line. What other QB knows that? And what other QB ever had his initial on the side of their team's football helmet? And still do to this day?

But he was a Baltimore guy, not an Indy guy. He made the game simple for him. He said when he thought the defense was thinking run, he passed, and when they thought he was going to pass, he ran. 7th? What a crock. S.I. had that big poll last year (lasted about a month), and Unitas and Montana were the finalists (as they should be), and Unitas won! I believe the people in charge of this poll must be too young to have watched Unitas. If you would have, the poll results would have been much different.

8 Drew Brees Drew Christopher Brees is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He is the only player to have back to back to back 5,000 yards in three seasons straight. Brees also has the all time best completion percentage with 66.95%.

Every year you hear all the commentators say how Brees is getting older and his numbers won't be the same. Wow, these guys really need more topics to discuss. I think he will finish higher on this list. Has there ever been a more consistent QB than him? Every year, he posts incredible numbers without that star receiver. The way he gets everyone into play makes him definitely a league MVP for what he does. Rodgers got it the year he should have. In 2012, during the Bountygate scandal, almost every team (all but one, Carolina) they lost to that year either went to the playoffs or won the Super Bowl. I've talked to people who said he did this without his head coach. They claim the coach didn't mean much. Really? They went 7-9 without a coach. Your teams needed their coach to beat Brees and the Saints. Brees has brought life to our beloved city that was broken. I am forever thankful.

9 Steve Young Jon Steven Young is a former professional American football quarterback who played 15 seasons in the National Football League and is best known for his 13 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

I hate Steve Young and any 49er QB, but objectively, this guy was the best I've ever seen, or maybe #2 behind Peyton Manning. He had a strong arm, was tough, was accurate, and could run. His defining highlight was that incredible run against the Vikings. If he had been on the team of the 1980s, he would have won 6 Super Bowls, not just 4.

In his short NFL career as a starter, nobody made an impact like Steve did. No one ran with as much guts and instinct, and at the same time was intelligent enough to understand defenses like he did. Highest-rated QB ever! Most accurate QB ever! Biggest heart ever!

10 Terry Bradshaw

Everybody is like, Oh, Brady, oh, Brady. How about no! Bradshaw got 4 Super Bowls when real men played the sport for the passion of the game. Back then, a linebacker could knock a QB out of his shoes if he wanted to, not like this pansy flag football stuff they do now where you can't touch a QB without a flag and a fine. Sorry, Brady fans.

Bradshaw is a man of steel who got it done when football was real. Brady and a lot of other QBs would have been buried by Bradshaw's numbers if he had played the game with the current rules. Manning played at the end of the era of real football, and he made it through the transition. He is tough as nails, too.

Brady, Rodgers, Eli Manning, and countless others will never hold the respect that all should have for Bradshaw and the QBs from a time when the game was hardcore and passion-fueled, not just money-driven. I'm out.

The Contenders
11 Aaron Rodgers Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

Aaron Rodgers has proven his ability to be one of the best QBs, and I think he is the best right now. Jordy Nelson's absence is a loss for the Packers' roster, but Aaron Rodgers can get through this tough time. Aaron is only 31 and has many years left in the NFL. When Jordy Nelson comes back next year, the big three - Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb - will be together until 2018. This could have a great impact on the Packers franchise. Mike McCarthy is one of the best coaches, and although he has won only one Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers, they have led the Packers to the playoffs from 2009 to 2014. It's still ongoing. Not only is Aaron Rodgers the best QB right now, but the Packers also have one of the best franchises.

12 Roger Staubach Roger Thomas Staubach, nicknamed Captain America and Captain Comeback, is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League.

Roger Staubach had the highest rating when he retired after the 1979 season. Over 30 years later, he still has the second-highest winning percentage for quarterbacks with 100 or more starts. He really played eight full seasons and took the Cowboys to four Super Bowls. In his ninth season as a starter, he was injured most of the year but came in to pull out a Cowboy victory against the 49ers in 1972.

The two Super Bowls he lost as a starter were to the greatest defense of all time: the Steelers. If Tom Landry had played Staubach in Super Bowl V against the Baltimore Colts, he would have won that one. Defenses in the 70s were allowed to use their hands on the receivers much more than today. Mel Blount of the Steelers might be kicked out of a number of games if today's rules were applied in the 70s.

It's very hard to say who's the greatest because of rule changes in each decade, but Staubach takes a back seat to no one. He also ran the football like Steve Young and Michael Vick. He ran away from defenders and into them if needed. Two last facts: It took Navy 43 years to beat Notre Dame after Staubach's 1963 win against them. Also, when was the last time anyone could remember Navy being ranked #2 in the country at the end of the year? That also happened in 1963 when Staubach was the starting quarterback. Roger's the best. You could look up all these facts!

13 Troy Aikman Troy Kenneth Aikman is a former American football quarterback who played for the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League.

The most accurate quarterback and one of the most completions in NFL history, he only played 12 years of football. A 3-time Super Bowl winner with over 32,000 yards, 165 touchdowns, and 2,898 completions. This includes the bad years when the Cowboys struggled. In his first Super Bowl, he completed 22 of 30 passes and also made 4 touchdowns. The reason he didn't have the most yards is because he had Emmitt Smith, the greatest running back of all time.

Aikman had weapons around him like Emmitt, Michael Irvin, and a great defense. But he always stood in and threw, regardless of the hit he knew was coming. He had a super-strong arm and great accuracy. Definitely a Top 10. Even though Otto Graham should be on this list, there's no need for Tom Brady, so no reason to push anyone else out.

14 Otto Graham Otto Everett Graham Jr. was an American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League.

The greatest forgotten quarterback of all time. Sad times for Browns fans when the possibly greatest passer ever, who played for Cleveland, did so in the pre-Super Bowl era that no one seems to care about. The rules have changed, and it's difficult to compare different eras, but the one thing the game still needs is toughness in the clutch. You cannot possibly argue that Otto Graham takes a backseat to anyone there.

Otto Graham was the Tom Brady of his era, but he could run. He was a great passer and a great clutch quarterback. He was the ultimate winner, both in the regular season and in the postseason.

15 Bart Starr

Bart Starr is a playoff assassin. He still holds the NFL record for the highest passing rating in playoff history. He led the greatest winning drive in NFL history during the 1967 NFL Championship game, known as the Ice Bowl.

Bart Starr is the best quarterback of all time. No one else has won five championship rings. His teams were devoted to him because of his leadership ability. I think he was overshadowed by his coach and did not always receive the respect he truly deserved. If you were to ask his teammates, they would admit that they took as much leadership from Starr as they did from the coach.

16 Fran Tarkenton

Fran revolutionized the game with his scrambling. He started out playing for the expansion Vikings for 6 years. He was traded to the Giants in 1967. In 1966, the Giants won one game. During the next five years, he made the Giants exciting and respectable. The 1970 Giants went 9-5 and missed the playoffs by one game. Players on those Giants teams have said that a few of those teams might not have won any games if it wasn't for Fran.

Yes, the Vikings of the '70s lost 3 Super Bowls. However, the Vikings were not as good as the Dolphins, Steelers, and Raiders. The main reason why Minnesota lost those three Super Bowls was that their offensive and defensive lines (for the most part) were blown away. Minnesota could not rush the ball on offense, and their defense simply could not stop the run. Fran was not great in those Super Bowls, but he was not the main reason why they lost. Overall, Fran was brilliant at improvising and seeing the whole field. He was a man ahead of his time.

17 Eli Manning Elisha Nelson "Eli" Manning is a former American football quarterback who played his entire career for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He is the younger brother of former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.

Eli is top ten. He had to deal with a lot of flak going into the 2007 season, being judged by this guy and that guy, and not once complained about it. He flat out demolished the competition in Super Bowl 42. As incredible of a catch as it was by David Tyree, it was just as incredible as Eli literally being inches from being sacked, only to get back up again and make the incredible play. Say what you want about Brady, a highly praised QB from almost every angle, at his prime, beaten by a QB who lived in his big brother's shadow for a while and was criticized by everyone.

18 Jim Kelly James Edward Kelly is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for eleven seasons and spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills.

Taken for granted by losing four STRAIGHT Super Bowls, Jim Kelly accomplished a feat that not many can ever or ever will say they have done. To make the big dance four years in a row is an awesome accomplishment for an NFL quarterback, and I don't think it will ever happen again. Not to mention, Jim Kelly only had a 10-year career, since he started playing for the Bills in '86 after a stint with the USFL.

Without a doubt in my mind, he's the best. The Bills were fast and effective with Jim, and they are still paying for his retirement to this day. He holds a number of records and made a difference in the league. This man is a hero to a group of people and rightfully deserves it. Jim Kelly is the best quarterback.

19 Sammy Baugh

The first great quarterback led the league in passing six times. Sammy Baugh should be number one on this list, followed by Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, John Elway, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Fran Tarkenton, and Peyton Manning, with an honorable mention to Steve Young. There is too much immediacy bias on most all-time lists. One must understand NFL history.

You could basically say he invented the long ball. And the ball he threw was a wobbly, animal-skinned pumpkin. No one could throw a decent spiral back then. It's too bad there aren't enough films of him. Otherwise, people would understand. He and Whizzer White were untouchable in their eras and probably would be now too.

20 Randall Cunningham Randall W. Cunningham is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League and current football coach and pastor.

When he was with the Eagles, Randall Cunningham was the equivalent of what Michael Vick is today - maybe even better. He didn't run as much later in his career, but he still holds the all-time record for rushing yards by a QB. He was so elusive against the rush. Just plain fun to watch. Vick is a better runner, but Randall was a better passer.

Randall Cunningham had the great skill of being able to run with the ball as well as throw a great pass. He also had an elusiveness that made him a nightmare for the defense.

21 Warren Moon Harold Warren Moon is a former American and Canadian football quarterback who played professionally for 23 seasons. He spent the majority of his career with the Houston Oilers of the National Football League and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.

He's the greatest quarterback in the Canadian Football League, with five Grey Cup championships. He's not the only great QB to be rejected by the NFL until playing in Canada. Others include Joe Theismann and Doug Flutie. Moon has 70,500 passing yards in his pro career - regular season plus playoffs. No one comes close. He's definitely in the top 10.

If you take half of his CFL stats, his numbers are still better than Elway's. He had a better winning percentage with the lowly Oilers than Steve Young had with the Bucs - and Moon didn't quit on the Oilers. He stayed and made them great. He is the inventor of the back shoulder throw. Being in the Hall of Fame in two different football leagues speaks for itself.

22 Norm Van Brocklin

Led the Eagles to beat the Packers in the 1960 championship game. It was the only time that Green Bay team lost a championship or Super Bowl. That Green Bay team was considered the most dominant of all time. I saw the game live.

The only quarterback to win championships with different teams, his last championship was with a team that had never been a contender before.

The man who set the record for most yards in a game, a record that to this day still hasn't been beaten.

23 Tony Romo Antonio Ramiro Romo is an American football television analyst and former quarterback who played 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.

We all know Tony Romo is often considered a fragile quarterback, but that doesn't matter. People assume he's bad simply because he gets injured often, but he actually has one of the best passer ratings in the NFL. There's a debate about whether Tony Romo should start over 2016 4th round pick Dakota Prescott, known as Dak Prescott.

Well, he should, and let me tell you why. This situation is similar to the decision the 49ers had to make between Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Tony Romo can accumulate more yards in a game than Dak Prescott because of his exceptional short, medium, and deep accuracy. Injuries aside, Tony Romo is a great quarterback. If the injuries don't end his career, they'll only make him stronger. Tony may not be the best, but he is undoubtedly great.

24 Nathan Peterman

Greatest of all time, and no one can doubt it.

25 Jim McMahon

Jim was the best leader of all time. When they looked into his eyes, he made them believe!

One of the greatest Bears QBs for sure. He was just too fragile.

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