Top 10 Best NFL Quarterbacks of All Time

What makes a quarterback great? Is it the number of Super Bowl rings? The jaw-dropping stats? Or is it that intangible clutch factor that leads to improbable comebacks and nail-biting finishes?

You know the names. The legends. The quarterbacks who have etched their names into the history books and have become synonymous with greatness. We're talking about the GOATs - the greatest of all time. But who truly deserves the top spot? Who rises above the rest when all is said and done?
The Top Ten
1 Joe Montana Joe Montana, known for his poise and accuracy, led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories in the 1980s. His clutch performances, particularly in Super Bowl XXIII, earned him the nickname "Joe Cool."

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 quarterback.

2 Tom Brady Tom Brady is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, having won seven Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He holds numerous NFL records, including most career touchdown passes and most career passing yards.

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 Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, revolutionized the quarterback position with his pre-snap adjustments and precise passing. He retired as the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes and passing yards, both of which have since been surpassed.

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 Dan Marino, famous for his quick release and powerful arm, set numerous passing records with the Miami Dolphins. Despite never winning a Super Bowl, he remains one of the most prolific passers in NFL history.

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 Elway, a dual-threat quarterback known for his late-game heroics, led the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl victories. He retired with the most wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history at the time.

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 Favre, known for his durability and gunslinger mentality, started an NFL-record 297 consecutive games. He led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl XXXI victory and retired with numerous passing records.

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 fourth 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 third-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 number one all-time, hands down. But he's got my vote.

7 Johnny Unitas Johnny Unitas, often called the first modern quarterback, set many passing records during his career with the Baltimore Colts. He is remembered for his leadership and ability to perform under pressure, particularly in "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

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. Seventh? What a crock. Sports Illustrated 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 Brees, known for his accuracy and consistency, became the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and completions. He led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

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 Steve Young was a left-handed quarterback who played primarily for the San Francisco 49ers. He won three Super Bowls and was known for his dual-threat capabilities, both passing and running the football.

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. He was the highest-rated QB ever. Most accurate QB ever. Biggest heart ever.

10 Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers, famed for his arm strength and mobility, has led the Green Bay Packers to multiple playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl XLV win. He is also known for his ability to make difficult throws with pinpoint accuracy.

Aaron Rodgers has proven his ability to be one of the best quarterbacks, 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 quarterback right now, but the Packers also have one of the best franchises.

The Contenders
11 Terry Bradshaw Terry Bradshaw led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl victories in the 1970s. He was known for his powerful arm and his ability to perform in clutch situations.

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.

12 Roger Staubach Roger Staubach, also known as "Captain America," led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles. He was celebrated for his leadership, athleticism, and ability to engineer game-winning drives.

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 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 secure 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 have been ejected from a number of games if today's rules had been 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 number two 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 Aikman, the cornerstone of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty in the 1990s, led the team to three Super Bowl victories. His efficient and precise passing helped define the Cowboys' offense during their dominant run.

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 Graham led the Cleveland Browns to seven championships in the 1940s and 1950s. His exceptional passing and leadership set a high standard for future quarterbacks.

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.

His stats look more like Ryan Leaf's, but you can't argue with the fact that he played in the championship game every year of his career. That's insane. Even the great Tom Brady can't claim that.

And while his individual stats aren't that impressive, he was a pioneer of the modern passing game and the ultimate clutch quarterback. He simply has to be in the top ten somewhere.

15 Bart Starr Bart Starr was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers during their dominant run in the 1960s. He led the team to five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories, earning MVP honors in both Super Bowls.

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.

Bart Starr has the most NFL championships with five. He had the second-highest QB rating before the NFL changed the rules to make the passer's job easier. He called his own plays and led his team to three consecutive NFL championships, something no one else has ever done.

Being a winner should be way more important than stats. He may also be responsible for the most significant play in NFL history, the Ice Bowl.

16 Eli Manning Eli Manning is best known for his two Super Bowl MVP performances with the New York Giants. He is noted for his consistency and resilience, particularly in playoff games against the New England Patriots.

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.

17 Fran Tarkenton Fran Tarkenton was known for his scrambling ability and played most notably for the Minnesota Vikings. He set numerous NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns during his career.

Fran revolutionized the game with his scrambling. He started out playing for the expansion Vikings for six 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 three 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.

18 Jim Kelly Jim Kelly was the cornerstone of the Buffalo Bills' offense during their four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s. He was known for his leadership and his ability to run the no-huddle offense effectively.

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 Sammy Baugh, a versatile player for the Washington Redskins, was a pioneer at the quarterback position and is considered one of the NFL's first great passers. He led the league in passing, punting, and interceptions during his career, setting a standard for future generations.

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 Michael Vick Michael Vick revolutionized the quarterback position with his unmatched athleticism and rushing ability. Playing primarily for the Atlanta Falcons and later the Philadelphia Eagles, he set records for quarterback rushing yards and was a dynamic playmaker.

Best athletic QB the NFL has ever seen. He should definitely be among the best, considering he has never had a complete team to help him out. The one time he had some help, just look at what he did in one half of a game in the 2010 season!

Amazing at running and throwing. Can go in and out of the pocket. Accurate and powerful passer. Greatest of all time, no doubt.

Truly a gifted player but had off-the-field issues. If he gets his act together, he will slide up this list.

21 Patrick Mahomes Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs' star quarterback, has revolutionized the game with his incredible arm strength and playmaking ability. Known for his improvisational skills, Mahomes has led the Chiefs to multiple Super Bowl appearances, including a victory in Super Bowl LIV.

Mahomes took the Chiefs from a team no one really cared about to one of the most feared teams in the NFL. He has led his team to the Super Bowl several times and played amazingly even while injured! What a champ!

Look, it's too early to say he is the GOAT right now, but he definitely has the potential to become the GOAT. The sky is the limit for him.

Now that he's won the Super Bowl, he can put himself in the Brady/Montana category. But he still has a lot to do.

He's already breaking records in his first year as a starter. He's gonna be good for years to come. I hope he can bring a Lombardi trophy to Kansas City at some point!

22 Randall Cunningham Randall Cunningham, known for his athleticism and dual-threat capabilities, brought a new dimension to the quarterback position with his ability to both pass and run effectively. He played primarily for the Philadelphia Eagles and set numerous records for rushing yards by a quarterback.

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.

23 Warren Moon Warren Moon had a distinguished career in both the NFL and CFL, showcasing his strong arm and passing accuracy. As one of the first successful African-American quarterbacks, Moon broke numerous records and paved the way for future generations.

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.

24 Norm Van Brocklin Norm Van Brocklin, a legendary figure in NFL history, was known for his powerful arm and leadership on the field. He led the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles to championships, including a famous victory in the 1960 NFL Championship Game.

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.

25 Tony Romo Tony Romo was the longtime quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, known for his improvisational skills and passing accuracy. Despite never winning a Super Bowl, he set numerous franchise records during his career.

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.

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