Written By: Andy Flint
The NFL Quarterback. Perhaps the most important position in sports. The guys who are praised, worshiped, and incredibly identifiable in the media. They’re also the guys who catch the most flak when things go awry. These are the generals of the field. They command an entire offense, and draw the watchful eye of every opposing defense. They posses the ability to make or break a teams’ entire season. The thing that makes the NFL QB such an important commodity, is that it’s the only position in the entire league that you can’t win without having an above par player running the show.
“Cause there’s only one reason for doing anything that you set out to do. If you don’t want to be the best, then there’s no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything.” -Joe Montana
#10: Eli Manning:
Eli Manning is an interesting kid. He’s quietly lived in the ridiculous shadow cast by his brother Peyton for, I’m assuming, his entire life. Yet he still seems to ooze with charisma and talent. I must be blunt. Eli is a far cry from the “Manning Standard”, set by big brother, Peyton. But, he does have a very likable quality, and the able star-power to sit confidently at the helm of the biggest sports market in the entire world. That takes brass.
I think a lot of people, even myself, tend to write Eli off as an average QB, with a star-studded last name, and little more than an sub-par passing arsenal. Truth be told, Eli Manning is much more than Peyton Manning’s little brother. He’s a Super Bowl champion (over the unbeatable 16-0 New England Patriots), a back-to-back 4,000+ yard passer, a Pro-Bowler, and a Super Bowl MVP award winner. Hate him or love him. Eli Manning is here, and he can ball.
Best Statistical Season: 2009/2010: 317 Completions, 4,021 Passing Yards, 27 Touchdowns, 14 Interceptions (16 Games).
#9: Matt Ryan:
Matt Ryan. The intelligent, passing mechanic from Boston College. Matty Ice has managed a 33-15 record in his first 3 seasons as the hired gun for the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan doesn’t put up particularly gaudy numbers, but he does win games. Matt Ryan isn’t your run-of-the-mill quarterback either. While he does seem to stack low-key numbers, he also manages a game like a seasoned vet.
Not many NFL QB’s possess the ability to process the game this quickly and turn their eyes towards to prize. Matty Ice has done this in all 3 of his pro seasons. He’s continued to develop his precision passing, and generally has a knack for winning games. He may never be a top 5 fantasy QB, but he’ll more than likely win an NFL championship or two. It’s his smart play and advanced maturity that set him apart from other young-guns in today’s’ game.
Best Statistical Season: 2010/2011: 357 Completions, 3,705 Passing Yards, 28 Touchdowns, 9 Interceptions (16 Games).
“As a team, you need to come from behind every once in awhile just to do it. Good for the attitude. It makes it exciting. And when everybody knows you have to throw it… that makes it fun too.“ -Dan Marino
#8: Tony Romo:
Tony Romo is the player that everyone loves, and everyone loves to hate. He’s young, good looking, and full of potential. Romo lives the “Hollywood Life”. Dating the likes of Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson. Romo has often caught fire for wanting to be more of a celebrity than a football player. But, Romo can play the game. We’re talking about a guy who has all of the tools, and a ton of heart.
He just seems to boast a track record that falls short. Whether its injuries or bad decision making in dire situations, Romo just hasn’t been able to quiet the critics. I personally believe that he’s one or two breaks away from competing for an NFL championship. Dallas has assembled the weapons needed for Romo to flourish, now it’s time for him to stay healthy and deliver.
Best Statistical Season: 2007/2008: 335 Completions, 4,211 Passing Yards, 36 Touchdowns, 19 Interceptions (16 Games).
#7: Philip Rivers:
Rivers is a true pocket-passer . He throws the ball a ton, and he does it with great confidence. Rivers has sort of had a funny NFL career. Eli Manning was supposed to be the quarterback leading the Chargers, but Eli wouldn’t play ball in San Diego. Eli took his talents to the Big Apple and Rivers landed in San Diego, via a draft-day trade. I’m not sure if that was the course of action that the fans wanted at that specific moment, but it paid off.
While Eli has won a championship with the Giants, there is little doubt in my mind that the Bolts gained the more talented player. Rivers would have to wait his turn once he touched down in So-Cal. The Chargers already had an excellent Quarterback, by the name of Drew Brees, but eventually the Bolts would release Brees after an avoidable shoulder injury occurred, and Rivers would get his shot at running the show. Rivers seems to out-do himself every season, going from 4,000, to 4,500 to 4,700 passing yards in the last three seasons.
Best Statistical Season: 2010/2011: 357 Completions, 4,710 Passing Yards, 30 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions (16 Games).
“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” -Steve Young
#6: Michael Vick:
Mike Vick went from being one of the worst and most hated figures in sports history, to leading one of the best and most touching comebacks in NFL history. Vick was convicted of dog fighting and multiple other charges. He was stripped of his superstar status, sentenced to prison and completely written off by every critic in the nation. Vick would later serve his prison sentence, rehabilitate his life and re-enter the NFL world. But, that was only the start. Vick was a backup QB to Donovan McNabb and eventually Kevin Kolb.
Not many people figured he would ever bounce-back and once again be viewed as the deadly player he once was. It was the 2010 NFL season, Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion and Vick got his opportunity to silence so many people. He did! Vintage Michael Vick was exactly what the haters got. He was still fast, elusive, incredibly cool, calm and collective, and…. To the surprise of, at least myself, passing the ball like he never did in Atlanta. Vick always had a cannon. But, this new, re-invented Vick could thread the needle a bit too. This guy is always fun to watch. I’m glad he’s back and playing at a high level.
Best Statistical Season (New Mike Vick): 2010/2011: 233 Completions, 3,018 Passing Yards, 21 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions, 676 Rushing Yards, 9 Rushing Touchdowns. (12 Games)
#5: Ben Roethlisberger:
Ben Roethlisberger has been called many things. The one word that comes to mind when I hear his name is… Winner. This guy has proved to be a winner, over and over again. He may not be the most accurate quarterback in the national football league. Or the smartest. But, he’s a damned good football player, and he almost always seems to find the will to win big football games.
“Big Ben” has caught some heat for the women he surrounds himself with, and riding his motorcycle without a helmet (even though it’s legal in Pennsylvania). But, this guy is the leader of one of the better and more noted teams in the NFL, and his track record would show that he usually gets the job done. Ben is one of the toughest players to game-plan for because he possess the ability to not only hurt you with his arm, but with his feet. The 6’5, 240 lb, Roethlisberger can scramble like few players his size. Imagine trying to tackle this guy while he’s on the move.
Best Statistical Season: 2009/2010: 337 Completions, 4,328 Passing Yards, 26 Touchdowns, 12 Interceptions (16 Games).
“I always thought I could play pro ball. I had confidence in my ability, You have to. If you don’t who will?” -Johnny Unitas
#4: Peyton Manning:
Peyton Manning is the best quarterback of this era. He’s the golden standard at his position. I could imagine that Peyton will go down as one of the best to ever play the game. His passing repertoire, leadership, and ability to win games is what separates him from basically any quarterback in the last 20 years. He reminds me a lot of the guys I used to watch as a kid.
Elway, Marino, Montana, etc. The true field generals, who just sat back in the pocket and could make all the throws. Todays game has the demand for more mobile quarterbacks, and the standard pocket passers are slowly starting to evolve. I doubt that we’ll ever see another player like Peyton Manning. He’s kind of the last of a dying breed. If this list had been made two years ago, there is no doubt in my mind that Peyton would have ranked in at #1.
Best Statistical Season:2004/2005: 336 Completions, 4,557 Passing Yards, 49 Touchdowns, 10 Interceptions (16 Games).
#3: Tom Brady:
Brady is a fun guy to watch. Always smiling, always winning. This guy came out of nowhere (6th round draft pick), to dethrone Drew Bledsoe, and lead the New England Patriots on a winning spree like no other team has really had over the last 10 seasons. Sure, Brady may not have a passing arsenal like Peyton Manning, or the feet of Michael Vick.
But, I haven’t really watched many guys that can get the job done like Brady. He’s a very unconventional player, but he always seems to make the right plays when it counts. I’m not even saying he makes the big plays. I’m simply saying he makes the correct decisions. It seems like whenever the games throws a difficult task Brady’s way, he responds with a calm demeanor and pulls it off. Brady is pushing 34, and realistically only has a few quality seasons left in the tank. Should be fun to watch though.
Best Statistical Season: 2007/2008: 398 Completions, 4,806 Passing Yards, 50 Touchdowns, 8 Interceptions (16 Games).
“If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” -Joe Namath
#2: Drew Brees:
Drew Brees is a pure-passing guru, who truly has the heart of a champion. Brees has been an incredible passing machine, over the course of his stay in New Orléans. I personally thought that the Chargers were crazy for not keeping him, despite his shoulder injury. He was showing all the signs of eventually being an élite NFL star. The need for the Bolts to play their high draft choice of Philip Rivers really panned out for the fans in “The Big Easy”.
Drew Brees has been a breath of fresh air for a franchise who really hadn’t made any noise in a long time, and a city that was ravished by Hurricane Katrina. I believe that Drew Brees has been the face of that entire city. He’s an active member in the community, and their local celebrity. The Saints have already snagged one Super Bowl title with Brees at the helm, and I expect them to continue to compete while Brees is there.
Best Statistical Season: 2008/2009: 413 Completions, 5,069 Passing Yards, 34 Touchdowns, 17 Interceptions (16 Games).
#1: Aaron Rodgers:
Aaron Rodgers has taken the National Football League by storm and the Packer fans, along with fantasy football managers everywhere are loving his production. I believe that AR 12 is the most lethal weapon that the NFL has to offer, in terms of a quarterback. His mechanics remind me of legends like Peyton Manning, and he gives off some of that Brett Favre vibe that the Packers road into many magical moments throughout his tenure.
Aaron Rodgers has progressed nicely after taking the wheel in Green Bay. He’s amassed close to 4,000 passing yards and 30 TD’s in each of his 3 seasons as the top dog in Lambeau. I like Rodgers going forward, as the new face of the NFL. He’s already secured a Super Bowl victory, and seems to have nowhere to go but up. I can easily see a 4,500 passing yard and 35 TD season in store for Rodgers during the 2011/2012 campaign. There is no other QB I’d rather have right now, than Aaron Rodgers.
Best Statistical Season: 2009/2010: 350 Completions, 4,434 Passing Yards, 30 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions (16 Games).