1. Tom Brady
No mistakes, great in big games, super accurate, exceptional leader and fantastic production despite not always having the best talent around him. Three Super Bowl wins, two S.B. MVPs, one other appearance, one league MVP and heís just entering his prime.
2. John Elway
The best physical package of any quarterback. Exceptional mobility and durability, rocket arm, great size. Two Super Bowl titles in the sunset of his career with an outstanding supporting cast arenít as impressive as the three other Super Bowls he took the Broncos to with mediocre teammates. His last minute comebacks are talked about 20 years later.
3. Joe Montana
Four Super Bowl titles and three S.B. MVPís. Two-time league MVP. The only reason Elway is above him is that Montana was aided by a galaxy of Hall of Fame teammates while Elway often toiled alone. Montana is the player against whom all other quarterbacks are now measured.
4. Johnny Unitas
Three time NFL MVP with one Super Bowl title, another appearance and two pre-Super Bowl NFL Championships. Unitas was the first modern passing quarterback revolutionizing the position.
5. Brett Favre
Three consecutive NFL MVP awards, a Super Bowl title and another appearance, Favre holds every meaningful NFL record for a quarterback including yards, touchdowns, completions and wins. The most popular player in football history, Favre also holds the leagueís record for consecutive starts. Big mistakes in big games late in his career keep him from placing any higher.
6. Peyton Manning
By the time he retires he will obliterate the NFL record book for passing statistics and his Super Bowl title puts him among the all timers, but bad performances in numerous big-game losses ding his legacy.
7. Dan Marino
Statistically brilliant, phenomenal arm, legendary skills, but he never won a Super Bowl and quarterback is a leadership/winning position, not a stats position. Never winning a title not his fault playing ordinary Dolphin teams, but without a Super Bowl, he canít be above those who have.
To me, those are the best of the best. Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and Fran Tarkenton deserve consideration, but ultimately fall short of those above.