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Historical QB Rankings

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Solid write-up for the GOAT Kappa.

Also, most underrated on Razor's list goes to....

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Ok fine, I'll do a serious write up on Brett Favre...

Drafted in 1991 by Jerry Glanville's Run and Shoot Falcons, Favre and Glanville got along like Clint Eastwood and Teenagers, an obvious disconnect between the front office and the head coach. Favre dropped back all of 5 times for the Falcons, was sacked once, threw two picks, and two incompletions. Packers GM Ron Wolf really coveted Favre coming out of the draft, but was snaked by the Falcons the year prior, so he was willing to trade a first rounder to secure Favre in Green Bay. And as they say, the rest is history. Favre replaced the injured Don Majkowski three games into the 1992 season, and his legacy was born as he lead a comeback after being down 17-3 against the Bengals to secure a 24-23 victory. Favre never gave up a start to any of his backups in his long time there, a list that include Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, and most importantly of all, Craig Nall. ? Favre and the Packers spent the next couple of seasons compiling talent, while working around a QB who always wanted to make the big play happen, even if it would lead to a costly turnover otherwise. They would go 9-7 and for three straight seasons, and in 1993 and 1994 they would break into the playoffs. Both trips were quite similar, they would beat the Lions in the wild-card round, and then get pounded by the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round as they just couldn't match the talent those Cowboys teams had.

1995 would mark a turning point for the Packers, as Brett Favre won his first of three consecutive MVP's, on a streak of three straight years with 3800+ yards and 35+ TD passes. The Packers would go 11-5 in 1995, their best record since the Lombardi era, and win a date with Favre's old team the Falcons in the wild-card round. Favre threw 3 TD's and no picks in a 37-20 victory over them. Their next date was with the defending super bowl champion 49ers, and the Packers mauled them, came out to a 21-0 lead early, and sat on it on the way to a 27-17 victory. However, round 3 against the Cowboys would end the same as rounds 1 and 2, with Favre coming up short against the sheer talent on the Dallas team, losing 38-27 after being shut out in the 4th quarter. But 1996 was good, they didn't need to play the Cowboys in the playoffs, and they secured home field advantage in the playoffs with a 13-3 record. The 49ers were no challenge, and the surprising Panthers choked miserably in the NFC Championship game. The Super Bowl put them up against Drew Bledsoe's Patriots, and Favre threw for 2 touchdowns, ran for 1 and didn't win the MVP for the game, instead it went to kick returner Desmond Howard, who scored the last TD of the game in a 35-21 result. 1997 would mark another 13-3 season, and another season where neither the Bucs in the divisional round, nor the 49ers in the conference championship could hope to stop the Packers roll. But all dreams must die, and the Packers faced an opponent they could not beat, the surprising wild card Denver Broncos with an aging John Elway, and Terrell Davis who despite having a migraine took the ball 30 times for 157 yards and 3 TD's. The game was close throughout, but the Packers simply could not make any headway at the end of the game in a 31-24 loss. 

Favre would never go to the super bowl again, despite his illustrious career, and he would never win the MVP again, though he had plenty of seasons where he was in the discussion for it. The Packers finally lost to the 49ers in the playoffs in 1998, in a game where Favre would throw two picks, and the game would be sealed by an incredible Terrell Owens catch from Steve Young with 8 seconds left on the clock. Favre would throw more interceptions than touchdowns in 1999 as the new head coach Ray Rhodes didn't work out too hot for them. 2000 would see the Pack go 9-7 and miss the playoffs despite going on a 4 game winning streak to end the season. It took until 2001 for the Packers to come back to form, as they retooled the team around Favre with young defensive players,  and built chemistry with his new young weapons like Ahman Green, Bubba Franks, and Donald Driver. The Pack would go 12-4, Favre would break the 30 TD mark, and throw less than 20 interceptions for once. They even beat the crap out of the 49ers in the wild-card round, just like old times. Well, then the divisional round happened and the St. Louis Rams and the greatest show on turf put up 45 on the Packers, no doubt bolstered by Favre's 6 interceptions and two lost fumbles by skill position players. The Packers would again go 12-4 in 2002, and this time Favre would only throw 2 interceptions, but lose 2 fumbles as well on the way to a 27-7 loss to Michael Vick's Falcons in the wild card round. The Packers would make the playoffs in 2003 as well with Favre eclipsing 20 picks again and in a wild card game against the Seahawks, he was fortunate that Matt Hasslebeck was the one to throw the first interception in overtime and not him. Of course he would respond by throwing an interception to Brian Dawkins in overtime in the divisional round, putting the Eagles in great position to kick a game winning field goal. 2004 would mark a repeat of Favre throwing too many interceptions in the playoffs, as he gave 4 to the Vikings on the way to a 31-17 loss in the wild card round. This would mark the start of the "will he, won't he retire talk" and prompt the Packers executives to make a decision. It was time to draft Favre's replacement, and they had the luxury of watching as Aaron Rodgers fell to their laps at the 24th overall pick.

2005 in turn, would be Favre worst season of his career. To this point he had never experienced a losing season, but there's a first time for everything as the Packers went 4-12. Favre threw 607 times, only made 20 TD passes, along with 29 interceptions, the highest mark in his career. If not for all the good will he had bought Packers fans, he would have been benched for Rodgers much earlier than he was. Favre waffled with retirement again, but decided to stay on. The struggles continued in 06' but Favre threw 10 less interceptions that season, and the Packers went on a roll in December, winning their last 4 to finish a respectable 8-8. There were calls to replace Favre with Rodgers, but he was still the starter come 2007, and for a brief wonderful period of time for Packers fans, they had felt like their faith in the old codger had been justly rewarded. Favre may have had his best season as a Packer with new head coach Mike McCarthy and he finally meshing. He would throw for 4155 yards, 28 TD's, only 15 INT's, and was second in MVP voting because some asshole team decided to go undefeated that year. He took the Packers to a 13-3 record, and got them home field advantage in the NFC. They would put up 42 points on the outmatched Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round, and look deadly against the New York Giants in the conference championship. But all things must fail, and Brett Favre reminded the world exactly who he was that day in the NFC Championship. The Packers offense stumbled in the 4th quarter against the Giants, and the game was tied at 20 going into overtime, despite multiple opportunities for Lawrence Tynes to kick a game winning field goal. Favre would be certain to give them one more, throwing a pick to RW McQuarters in OT, and watching as Lawrence Tynes finally hit a field goal from 47 yards out. And this would mark the end of his time with the Packers, as they got sick of his waffling with retirement, his desire to be traded to Minnesota was not accepted nor was his release from his contract, and instead he was thrown to the Jets.

He would look really good for the Jets, at least for the first 11 games of the season or so, as the Jets would climb to an 8-3 record, including a game where they beat the Patriots in overtime in Gillette Stadium. However, Favre had torn the labrum in his shoulder and decided to keep playing despite the injury and the Jets suffered as a result, losing 4 of their last 5 as Favre threw only 2 TD's to 9 interceptions, as they averaged 16 points of offense down the stretch. The Jets went 9-7 and missed the postseason entirely. The Jets were also fined for not reporting that they had knowledge of Favre's injury. Favre retired... he was cut... and then he suddenly came back just in time to sign with the Minnesota Vikings, because if I have any indication of Favre's personality, dude is a petty and vindictive bitch, and he wanted to stick it to the Packers for taking him out on their terms and not his. Favre had by far his most efficient season of his career, and he had an incredible running mate in the backfield with Adrian Peterson to hand off to. Favre threw less than 10 interceptions for the first time in his career since his rookie season, when he only threw four passes. He also put up 33 TD passes, 4200 yards, and a passer rating over 100 for the first time in his career. The Vikings went 12-4 as a result, and had the second seed in the NFC. And of course, Favre became the first QB in NFL history to beat all 32 current teams. Favre would finally beat the Cowboys in the playoffs in a cathartic 34-3 throttling in the divisional round. But in the conference championship, the Saints defense had all the answers, and beat Favre black and blue as he would eventually throw a game sealing interception, as is par for the course. Favre's 2010 would be marked with injuries, as his starting streak came to an end at 321 games, he would throw 19 interceptions to just 11 TD's in his final season and he would finally retire for real.

As expected of a player this high on the list, Favre's splits are incredible. Though the end of his career is marked by many postseason failures, he was an incredible regular season quarterback, and despite how many interceptions he threw he would never get discouraged. Sometimes that was a great thing, nothing could dent his confidence. Sometimes he would just continue to throw interceptions, and no coach, player, or act of god could stop that man from slinging it. Many of his records that he held at his retirement have since been broken by Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but when he retired, basically every thing on the record book belonged to him. His consecutive starts including postseason has been threatened a few times by players, but for now it looks like a streak that will hold for a long time. Philip Rivers is the closest player to breaking it currently, and he's 102 starts behind. 

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Maybe if we weighed this somehow with like YPA/turn over ratio/completion % and kind of break it down like you did average defensive performance per decade. I'm not sure if you used anything like that to balance out the scores but idk I feel it might be perfect if it's balanced with the right individual counting stats. I think that would probably be the best way to keep guys like Flacco and MacMahon from sneaking on too high.

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I think legitimately the best idea I have is just to add years where players were meant to be backups as some kind of negative score (either -0.5 per season as a backup's rate, or calculate a number that is less of an approximation than that), and then add that negative score to their careers. Like Jim McMahon had 5 seasons where he was simply a backup who played either zero or one games. If we say he played about 10 games a season normally (since he never did finish a full season in the league), that would lower his careers wins over average to 8.26, and then with an extra 50 games added to his career (now 151 or about 8.5 16 game seasons), his WAA goes down to 0.875, which would put him in between Eli Manning and Cam Newton currently. It's not perfect, but it was something I was thinking about.

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12. Jim Kelly (Buffalo Bills 1986-1996)
1st Place Bills QB
Career Record 110-65-0 (62.86%) 17th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 83-14-0 (85.57%) 15th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 27-51-0 (34.62%) 20th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 97/175 (55.43%) 32nd out of 102 (+20)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.841)

1990-Jim-Kelly-.jpg

Jim Kelly is known as one of the three pillars of the 1983 QB Class, but it is often felt like the third wheel in comparison to Marino and Elway. He didn't come out of the league already crowned like Elway, and he wasn't putting up ridiculous passing numbers like Marino was. In fact, Jim Kelly didn't even start his career in the NFL. Because Kelly didn't want to play for a cold weather team, and considering the biggest name of the draft was adamant in not playing for the Colts, Kelly felt like he had a bit of leverage as well. He was thrilled Buffalo didn't take him with their first round pick... only to groan when they took him with their second first round pick that year. He was resigned to his fate, but when going to negotiate his contract, he was poached by the USFL. They offered him a choice, do you want to play in Buffalo... or Houston? Kelly made the decision to play for the Houston Gamblers, and so he made the USFL his bitch for a few seasons. However, the USFL would fold thanks to poor business decision from poor business people, and Kelly's right were still held by the Buffalo Bills. Showing he could dominate the USFL, the Bills were thrilled to get him, even if it took three seasons longer than they had originally planned.

The early years were rough for Kelly, as he struggled to get acclimated to the team, and they fired their coach midway through the season. Marv Levy was brought on as the interim and he stuck around, though it took until 1988 for things to really click for the Bills. While Kelly threw more interceptions than touchdowns that season, the emergence of Bruce Smith and that defense meant they could cruise to a 12-4 record. As they would make a habit of, they beat the Oilers in the divisional round, but would be beat by the Bengals in the AFC Championship that year, after Kelly threw 3 picks in the loss. 1989 would see the Bills make the playoffs again, but only barely as Kelly suffered a seperated shoulder midway through the season, and after only taking three weeks off, was back on the field to finish it. The Bills struggled to a 9-7 record in december, and were promptly beaten by the Browns in the wild-card round, despite Kelly throwing for 4 TDs and 400 yards that game.

But the reason everyone remembers Jim Kelly and the Bills is the run of 4 straight super bowl appearances, marked by 4 straight super bowl losses. 1990 would see Kelly break a 100 passer rating, and take the last two weeks of the regular season off as the Bills cruised to a 13-3 record and home field advantage in the AFC. The K-Gun offense put up 44 on the Dolphins, and then proceeded to put up 51 on the Los Angeles Raiders. They were looking unstoppable and in super bowl 25 came around, the best strategy was the never give Kelly the ball strategy. The Giants controlled the clock, kept Kelly contained, and despite only having a one point lead, they kept the Bills just far enough away for Scott Norwood to kick it wide right, and become the most miserable man in Buffalo for all time. The Bills didn't get a shot like that again, despite going to the dance three more times. Kelly was putting the league on notice, but he was throwing a lot more picks as the defense was slowly declining. In 91' they'd pound the Chiefs in the divisional round, and against the Broncos they would get into a defensive showdown, decided by a John Elway interception rather than an amazing play by either 1983 QB. But the Redskins would get out to an early 24-0 lead in the Super Bowl, and keep the pressure going long enough to secure a 37-24 victory. 1992 was a year where they didn't even get homefield, going 11-5, and losing their last game of the regular season to the Oilers thanks to a Kelly injury partway through the game. Frank Reich led the greatest comeback in history to beat the Oilers 41-38, after being down 35-3 at one point. Reich would keep them steady against the Steelers, doing enough not to blow a great defensive performance. Jim Kelly came back for the AFC Championship against the Dolphins, and while he was still shaking off the rust, Thurman Thomas did a lot of work in a 29-10 victory. However Kelly didn't last long in the super bowl, getting pulled midway through the second quarter because his knee was aggravated in the game. The Cowboys put up 52 on the Bills, and that was that. 

Kelly appeared to be weakening in 1993, as he threw 18 TDs and 18 INT's, but the defense was strong, the schedule was weak, and the Bills went 12-4, gaining home field advantage once again. Kelly lead a game winning drive against the Raiders in the divisional round, winning 29-23. There was no need for heroics in the AFC Championship, as the Bills smothered Joe Montana and Marcus Allen on the way to a 30-13 victory. Jim Kelly played the entire rematch against the Cowboys, and even came out to a 13-6 lead at halftime. Then the Dallas defense buckled down, forced a fumble return touchdown, held Buffalo scoreless in the second half, and ending up winning 30-13. The Bills would end up losing their last three games of 94, and fail to make the playoffs entirely at 7-9. They came back in 95 and went 10-6, and even beat the Dolphins in the wild card round 37-22, but against the Pittsburgh Steelers and their defense, Kelly threw three picks in a 40-21 loss. 1996 would be Kelly's last season as he struggled with injuries, was sacked the most times he had ever been in his career, and only threw 14 TDs to 19 INT's. The Bills would lose in the wild card round to the surprising Jaguars, and that would be the first time they ended the career of a QB drafted in the 1983 draft class. They did the same to Marino a few years later, but at least the Bills were competitive in this loss, only falling 30-27.

Kelly's career wasn't the longest, but he had 11 strong years in the league, with 8 playoff appearances, and 4 AFC Championship victories to his credit. He could never get his teams over the NFC hump though, and that is something that will always stick with him despite the high level of success he had in the league. When it came to surrounding casts, Kelly had a great group to work with, a pair of hall of fame wide receivers for the majority of his run, a hall of fame running back, one of the greatest defensive ends to ever step onto the field, and a bunch of really talented role players, who all stuck together under the same head coach for 10.5 of those seasons. Once Kelly found his place in the league, he didn't give it up until his body gave up. Kelly ends up in the top 20 for both of his splits, and a defense just barely in the top third of the entire study, which shows that he had no issue performing to his best in any circumstance.

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On 7/12/2019 at 6:05 PM, seanbrock said:

Maybe if we weighed this somehow with like YPA/turn over ratio/completion % and kind of break it down like you did average defensive performance per decade. I'm not sure if you used anything like that to balance out the scores but idk I feel it might be perfect if it's balanced with the right individual counting stats. I think that would probably be the best way to keep guys like Flacco and MacMahon from sneaking on too high.

I could see an era based, Razor QB rankings-esque weighted metric as being a good idea for accounting for individual stats. Adds more work though, to already a big undertaking. 

Edited by BJORN

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11. Kurt Warner (Green Bay Packers 1994, St. Louis Rams 1998-2003, New York Giants 2004, Arizona Cardinals 2005-2009)
1st Place Rams and 1st Place Cardinals QB
Career Record 78-49-0 (61.42%) 20th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 54-12-0 (81.82%) 33rd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 24-37-0 (39.34%) 8th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 66/127 (51.97%) 50th out of 102 (+39)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.873)

Image result for kurt warner

Kurt Warner's career is a trip and a half, let me tell you. We all know the story, from stocking groceries, to winning super bowl MVP, making three super bowl appearances and ending his career with a hall of fame gold jacket. That much has been parroted so often by the sports media that I get sick of it, even though Kurt seems like a genuinely good dude. He had a few things go right for him to end up on this list, and I imagine spending your first four years developing your game in other leagues did a lot to keep his rookie lumps out of the NFL. By the time he took over in 1999, he wasn't just some rookie fresh out of the barn, he was a battle tested veteran, though he was throwing passes in Iowa and Amsterdam, not in NFL cities. Kurt Warner had three amazing years for the Rams, completing over 65% of his passes each season, throwing for over 8.7 yards per throw, and never losing more than three games in the regular season each time. If not for an injury and sudden defensive decline in 2000, the Rams could have easily made three straight super bowl appearances with Warner at the helm. However after the super bowl against the Patriots in 2001, Warner seemed to be shook. He spent his next two years in St. Louis battling injuries and terrible play as the greatest show on turf's time ended just as quickly as it had begun. He was brought to the Giants in 2004, but the plan was always to let Eli take over once he was ready. Eli was ready in 10 weeks, and Warner quickly found another team to hang onto. The Arizona Cardinals, who had failed on the Jake Plummer and Josh McCown experiments, and just needed somebody to take over for a season or two. Warner stuck around for a little longer than that, and he seemed to find his groove again in 2007, after spending a couple of years developing rapport with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. He took over for Matt Leinart in week 5 and never looked back. Though the Cardinals still were struggling to find wins, Warner took a team with a bottom 5 defense to an 8-8 record, and new coach Ken Whisenhunt liked what the veteran was doing and made him the starter ahead of the highly drafted Leinart. The defense was still utterly abysmal in 2008, but Kurt Warner and the offense seemed to be a revival of the greatest show on turf, except this time without a Marshall Faulk to make the run game go. Warner put up nearly 4600 yards, 30 TD's and took the Cardinals to a 9-7 record, good enough to win the NFC West that season. Warner and his weapons would not slow down, putting up 30 points against the Falcons in the wild-card round, then putting up 33 against the Panthers, where Jake Delhomme decided he wasn't cut out for the NFL anymore. They would play the Eagles in a tight 32-25 showdown in the conference championship, and after a 7 year hiatus, Warner was back in the super bowl. They played in one of the most entertaining super bowls against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but a pick six to end the first half and scoring too fast after being down 20-16 marked the primary reasons why Kurt doesn't have a second ring. Warner stuck around for one more year with the Cardinals, and became the second player to throw 100 passing TDs with two different teams. The Cardinals defense was actually improved upon in 2009 and Warner went 10-5 as their starter, only missing a game due to a concussion. He would play Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the wild-card round, a game that the Cardinals barely won 51-45, where Warner had more touchdown passes than incompletions. The Packers got the ball first in overtime, but a strip sack lead to a fumble recovery touchdown, sealing the game. Kurt's final game would be a loss to the New Orleans Saints, in which he suffered a brutal injury in the first half of the game, and eventually needed to be replaced by Leinart in the second half. The game was looking like an another offensive shootout, until Warner was popped, and the Cardinals couldn't match blows with the Saints after that. 

Not many players have the peaks and valleys Warner did in his career, struggling with adversity not only trying to get into the league, but rising up once again after reaching the very pinnacle. Warner's defenses end up being about the middle of the pack. in 1999 and 2001 with the Rams, his defenses were rock solid, and they made it to two super bowls as a result. In the other years, the Rams were among the league's worst. His time with the Cardinals was pretty similar, he had great offensive weapons, but his defenses were sieves, and most of the games he played in were shootouts. As a result, he has one of the best records among QB's in games with poor defense, winning nearly 40% of those games. His struggles in the middle of his playing career are what keep him from being even higher than this, but make no mistake. When Kurt was on his game, the entire league was on notice. He was one of the best to ever play this game, and a worthy addition to NFL Lore.

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10. John Elway (Denver Broncos 1983-1998)
2nd Place Broncos QB
Career Record 159-83-1 (65.64%) 13th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 119-25-1 (82.41%) 30th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 40-58-0 (40.82%) 7th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 145/243 (59.67%) 21st out of 102 (+11)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.957)

Image result for john elway

From one comeback king to another, let's talk about John Elway, the highest rated QB with less than 2 wins above the average starter. So you know, 10th place overall. John Elway is the most emblematic player of the team he played for, looking like a horse meant that he could only reasonably play for two teams, three if you're stretching the definition of a horse. Luckily for Elway, the Colts were planning to take him first overall, as the headliner of the 1983 Draft class. Elway and his lawyer parents wanted nothing to do with a team that was already making plans to leave Baltimore and refused to play for them. He was traded for the 4th overall pick, a backup QB, and a first rounder in the 1984 draft. Needless to say, the Colts got fleeced by the Broncos, but it's not like they had any other choice, since Elway could always refuse the NFL and go play baseball instead. In any case, Elway became the starter immediately, though he went through growing pains in his rookie season, and was off and on again with Steve DeBerg his entire rookie year. The Broncos made the postseason at 9-7, but were swept away by the Seahawks who had some consistency to the offense. Elway was made the full time starter in 1984, and on the back of a strong defensive performance that season, the Broncos went 13-3, and had the second seed in the AFC. However Elway would throw a pair of interceptions, and lose to the Steelers 24-17 in the divisional round. The Broncos would lean on Elway a lot more in the coming seasons, and he'd develop his reputation as a comeback artist, leading 6 4th quarter comebacks in 1985, as the Broncos made it to an 11-5 record. However, they missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers, being one of the few 11-5 teams in league history to do so. Elway would again go 11-5 in 1986, and playing with a bit more efficiency, the Broncos actually made it to the playoffs that year. Though Elway did not have a great game against the Patriots, he played his best in the second half, leading a comeback in a 22-17 victory. Then he begin his reputation as a Browns killer, facing the Browns in the conference championship, leading "The Drive" to bring the game to overtime, and then leading another so Rich Karlis could kick the game winning field goal. The Giants would end Elway's first super bowl shot, as Phil Simms went ham, and the Giants defense contained the hard to stop Elway.

The Broncos would be back in 1987, even though Elway missed a few games early in the season due to injury. With a 10-4-1 record, Elway and the Broncos put up 34 on the Houston Oilers in the divisional round, and then against the Browns, they won in a game known for Earnest Byner fumbling on the goal line in a 38-33 offensive shootout. Elway would lose his second super bowl, as after putting up a 10-0 lead on the Redskins, they were shut out as Timmy Smith and Ricky Sanders killed them putting up 35 points in the second quarter on the way to a 42-10 victory. Elway won the MVP that year though, so that was cool. The Broncos took 1988 off to go 8-8, turn the ball over a lot, but made sure they were back and ready in 1989. Despite Elway spending most of the 80's being about 1:1 in his TD:INT ratio, the Broncos were still pulling wins out of their asses, and managed to finish 1989 with an 11-5 record, a record which would have had them barely make the wildcard in the NFC, but be the first seed in the AFC by one and a half games. They would face the Steelers in a back and forth game that was decided by a 80 yard touchdown drive in the 4th quarter. They would beat the Browns in the AFC Championship for the third time, and then proceed to get mollywhopped by one of the greatest iterations of the 49ers dynasty in a 55-10 beating. 1990 would mark a big step back, as the Broncos had their first losing season since Elway's rookie season. They went 5-11, and despite Elway throwing for 3500 yards for the first time in his career, the defense was awful. The Broncos would rebound in 1991, and go 12-4. The Defense would go from bottom five to top five and the Broncos would be the second seed in the AFC. They played Warren Moon and the Oilers in a thrilling 26-24 game, where even though the Broncos were down 2 points after scoring a touchdown, they refused to go for 2 instead opting to try and get the ball back to get another field goal to win. Dan Reeves was not a very smart coach despite his years upon years in the league. In the AFC Championship it would be a battle of defenses, and Elway was the first to make a mistake, throwing a interception returned for a touchdown that helped seal a 10-7 victory for the Bills. 

1992 would mark a turning point for the Broncos, as they would draft Tommy Maddox in the first round to put the pressure on Elway to get them over the hump. Elway struggled that year after taking a shoulder injury 10 games into the season, and his relationship with the conserative coach was fraying. Tommy Maddox was brought in while Elway recovered, and turned their 7-3 start into an 8-8 finish. Elway threw 17 INTs to only 10 TD's, and the poor performance got Dan Reeves sacked. 1993 would see defensive coordinator Wade Phillips take over the head coaching job, and Jim Fassel the offense. That finalyl gave Elway free reign to sling it like his contemporaries in Marino and Kelly. And sling it he did, throwing for over 4000 yards, often finding hall of fame tight end Shannon Sharpe. The Broncos would lose a lot of close games that season, but make it to the playoffs at 9-7. However they were quickly dispatched by a hungry Raiders team that put up 42 points on them. 1994 also ended miserably, as Elway suffered a season ending knee injury to the Chiefs after taking the Broncos to a 7-6 record with a bottom 5 defense. His backup lost the last three games, and the Broncos missed the playoffs at 7-9, and Wade Phillips was fired.

1995 gave Elway his first offensive minded head coach, the young ballsy coordinator Mike Shanahan, who was known primarily for hating Al Davis, and helping Elway develop in his younger years as his offensive coordinator. The Broncos offense was developing quickly under his tutelage, as rookie runningback Terrell Davis ran for 1000 yards, and Ed McCaffrey and Anthony Miller emerged as receiving options beside Shannon Sharpe. They still went 8-8 that season, but the pieces for an offensive domination of the league were starting to form. The Broncos went 13-3 in 1996, good for the top seed in the AFC, but they were upset by the Jaguars in the divisional round, after Mark Brunell put up 30 on them. The Broncos were getting sick of playoff failure in Elway's time, and 1997 would be the season they finally broke through. They led the league in scoring offense that year, and were 6th in scoring defense, as Elway assembled his full suite of weapons. The Broncos went 12-4, which was only good enough for a wild-card that year, behind the 13-3 Chiefs. Still, they did their work even with the extra game, by first getting revenge on the Jaguars that beat them a year earlier 42-17, relying on the ground game to do their damage. They faced the AFC winning Chiefs in the divisional round, and after taking a 14-10 lead early in the 4th, the Broncos defense locked down Elvis Grbac and the Chiefs. The Broncos would beat the Steelers 24-21, after getting all of their points in the first half. And just like that, Elway was in the super bowl for the 4th time in his career, and he was up against Brett Favre and the defending super bowl champion Packers. They played in a back and forth struggle, but Elway wasn't winning the game with his passing prowess, instead relying on Terrell Davis to do the hard work, and when he needed to give up his body to make a key first down or a touchdown running the ball, he did it. The Broncos won 31-24, and Elway's status in NFL lore was cemented.

So he did it one more time in 1998. Despite struggling with injuries throughout the season, the bevy of offensive weapons, and the Terrell Davis runs a train through your city tour meant that the Broncos were able to 14-2, after starting the season out 13-0. After losing to the Giants on a last minute comeback in week 15, they rested their starters for the postseason run to come. They would bully the Dolphins 38-3, as Davis ran for nearly 200 on them. Then they would put up 23 unanswered points on the Jets in the conference championship, after going down 10-0 in the third quarter. We were deprived of a Vikings / Broncos super bowl in 1998, but the Falcons were still a 14-2 team that season and just for a little while, maybe they had a chance to do something to the Broncos that day. But head coach Dan Reeves couldn't keep his dirty birds in line, who were riding high after upsetting the Vikings and just didn't show up in time for the super bowl. John Elway got his revenge on the coach who limited his offensive production in the name of conservatism, and won his second super bowl ring, along with the title of MVP, because the voters were pretty sympathetic to his story by that point, and had a reasonable argument for it. Elway retired the winningest player in NFL history, but that mark has since been surpassed by Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. 

Elway is such an odd duck, because his numbers with Dan Reeves as a coach just weren't very good. The defenses he had most of those years were special though, and Elway seemed to play his best when the leash was taken off. It can be seen by his record when his defenses were poor, winning over 40% of those games meant it was nearly impossible to count his teams out of games until the clock struck zero. However he did have a propensity for making the big play rather than the safe one and that would kill him against the best of the best defenses. While his record in those games is still really fricking good, he's surpassed by a lot of guys who know when to fold a bad hand. But that's part of what made Elway an all time great. He has since become an executive for the Denver Broncos, and helped lure Peyton Manning to the team to try and win the city another super bowl. While his draft evaluation of QB's is garbage, at the very least he could play at a high level.

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And now, the legends. Every QB in this tier has more than 2 wins above the average starter for their career. And yet, not all of them have won super bowls, which really shows just how important the team is to a player's success. Regardless, let's start off with number 9.

9. Ken Stabler (Oakland Raiders 1968-1979, Houston Oilers 1980-1981, New Orleans Saints 1982-1984)
2nd Place Raiders, 1st Place Saints and 1st Place Oilers QB
Career Record 101-54-1 (65.06%) 14th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 73-10-0 (87.95%) 6th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 28-44-1 (39.04%) 9th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 83/156 (53.21%) 42nd out of 102 (+33)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.174)

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The Snake, the original snake, Ken Stabler epitomized what it meant to be a Raiders QB, and was one of the many faces of the team in the 70's. He also gets to be the best Oilers and Saints quarterback by virtue of what I considered a starter for a team, so he also has that going for him as well. Sorry Drew Brees, sorry Steve McNair, we all know you did more for those teams than Stabler. What gets the snake on here is what he did in Oakland. Stabler was a second round pick for the Raiders, but they had already acquired their guy in Daryle Lamonica, so Stabler spent quite a few years in a crowded QB room, that also included the AFL legend and perpetual old man George Blanda. Stabler rode the pine and developed for 5 years, getting a couple of starts for Lamonica, before taking over for him in a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers since Lamonica had come down with the flu. Stabler impressed, and even lead a touchdown drive in the 4th to go up 7-6. However, the immaculate reception happened, and the Steelers dynasty began in earnest. Stabler officially became the Raiders starter early on in the 1973 season, and quickly established himself as one of the most efficient passers of the era. He had scrambling ability early on, but after suffering knee injuries his game developed more as a drop back passer, but he still had the wile and gusto to truly embody the Raider way. If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying. Stabler would lead the Raiders to five straight 9.5+ win seasons, five straight division titles from 73-77, and five straight conference championship appearances. Stabler is also one of only three quarterbacks to get a 100+ passer rating in the 70's. Bert Jones was one as mentioned earlier, and there is one more still to appear on this list.

The Raiders would be in a three team heat with the Dolphins and Steelers for much of the 70's. They'd beat the Steelers in 73', but lose to the Dolphins. They'd get payback on the Dolphins in 74' in the Sea of Hands game, but lose to the Steelers in the conference championship. 75' would see the Bengals surprise and make the playoffs, only to get crushed by the Raiders. But once again, the Steel curtain would mark the end of the Raiders in 75. 1976 would be Stabler's best season, as the Raiders went 13-1. Stabler completed 2/3rds of his passes, for over 9.4 YPA on the way to a 103.4 passer rating. They would lead an 11 point comeback against Steve Grogan's Patriots in the divisional round, and in the conference championship game, they refused to lose to the Steelers again, bullying Terry Bradshaw and his receivers and just pounding the rock until the steel curtain bled out. The Vikings stood no chance in the super bowl, and the Raiders would be super bowl champs for the first time, after constantly being in the hunt for nearly 10 seasons. 1977 looked like a potential repeat for the Raiders, but they would be upset in the conference championship by the surprising Denver Broncos and their orange crush defense. The Raiders would however miss the playoffs the next two seasons, only going 9-7 as the league shifted to a more passing oriented mien. The Raiders with new head coach Tom Flores decided that it was time to move on from the Snake, who would be 35 in 1980. Stabler was swapped for the slightly younger Pastorini, and his career as an Oiler began.

Despite throwing 28 interceptions and only 13 TD's, the Oilers were able to lean on Earl Campbell and the second best defense in the league to go 11-5 and earn a wild card spot. However Stabler would be bested by his old team, and his replacement in Jim Plunkett. 1981 would see the Oilers struggle, as Stabler failed to improve and they would miss the playoffs entirely at 7-9. Bum Philips would leave for New Orleans and take Stabler with him, trading for him with Archie Manning as the bait. Stabler started two seasons for the Saints, but failed to get them past .500 as he struggled with injuries, and in 1984, he retired part way through the season as his body had had enough.

Kenny was always crafty, and he truly personified the Raiders of the 70's. A gritty team with a no nonsense attitude that nobody but the fans could ever love. But you had to respect the lengths he would go to win. Both of his splits put him in the top ten, which truly shows just how gifted a winner he was in any situation. He was the man behind so many classic games in NFL lore. The Ghost to the Post. The Sea of Hands. The Holy Roller. The Autumn wind is a raider, pillaging just for fun. He'll knock you 'round and upside down, and laugh when he's conquered and won. 

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8. Steve Young (Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1985-1986, San Francisco 49ers 1987-1999)
1st Place Bucs QB and 2nd Place 49ers QB
Career Record 103-49-0 (67.76%) 9th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 82-11-0 (88.17%) 5th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 21-38-0 (35.59%) 17th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 93/152 (61.18%) 18th out of 102 (+10)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.198)

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This study has talked about those great 49ers dynasties a lot in passing. From the effects they had on the Cowboys and Packers of the 90's, to the ones they had on the Redskins, and various other teams in the 80's. Steve Young was the first real example of a hall of fame quarterback succeeding another, or at the very least it's the first that comes to mind for most fans of the game. But Young didn't start his career in the Cherry Red 49ers uniform, he took a different path to the NFL than his predecessor. He was poached by the USFL's Los Angeles Express in 1984, and began his career as a USFL star. But the league was fraught with owners who didn't actually have the net worth they said they did, and in a season where the bus drivers wouldn't even take the players to the game unless they were paid up front in cash, the 1985 season was a total disaster for the Express. Young decided to give the USFL an ultimatum, get a new owner or let him buy out his contract and go to the NFL. Young was snatched up by the Buccaneers, where he proceeded to struggle immensely with the team. He went 3-16 over his two seasons there, and the Bucs were ready to move on, planning to take Vinny Testaverde to fill his shoes. Young was traded to the 49ers for a second and fourth round pick, and so began his time as Joe Montana's back up. From 1987-1990, he was riding the bench, but he did get to take over for Montana in multiple games, flashing his potential and showing what he could do with talented offensive players around him. He went 7-3 in his starts in those 4 seasons, with 23 TD passes and only 6 interceptions, making it seem like the future was bright in San Francisco, and he had earned two super bowl rings as a backup quarterback. And after Joe Montana suffered an elbow injury in the 1990 NFC Championship game, it was looking like Steve Young's time would start in 1991.

The Niners would struggle early on in 1991, losing a lot of close games, and going 4-5 before Steve Young injured his knee and missed a few games. Steve Bono came in to replace him and on a heater, winning 5 of his next 6 games, before succumbing to an injury of his own. Young played the last game of the season and won to take the 49ers to a 10-6 record, but that wasn't good enough for the playoffs that season, leaving 49ers fans disappointing in Young, and wondering if he would really be the next guy up. Not only having to compete with Steve Bono, it appeared the Joe Montana was set to recover from his surgery, and Young was very nearly traded to the Los Angeles Raiders. But the trade fell through, Steve Young won the starting job and he tried to make his mark on the league once again. He suffered a concussion in his first start, as Steve Bono led the 49ers to victory over the Giants, then lost in a 34-31 shootout with the Bills. However Young would turn the corner after that, winning 13 of the next 14 regular season games to help take the 49ers to a league best 14-2 record, including winning the MVP for the season. They would beat the Redskins in the divisional round, but fail to outscore the Cowboys in the conference championship and had to watch the Cowboys win the super bowl in their stead. But this season made sure the league knew that this was Steve Young's team, and after trading Montana to the Chiefs, it was official. But Young would start cold in 1993, throwing 8 interceptions in the first 4 games of the season. However once he recovered from his thumb injury he was back on the prowl, leading the league in passer rating, touchdowns, and points as the 49ers went 10-6 and took the second seed that year. They'd beat down the Giants in the divisional round, but once again fail to overcome the Dallas Cowboys in the conference championship, losing 38-21.

1994 would be the year Young got the monkey off his back, as the 49ers added all-pro cornerback Deion Sanders to the mix, the defense that has been flagging the past few seasons got immediately bolstered by his lock down play. Young would have the best season of his career, and he'd credit it to telling George Seifert to jump in a lake after he tried to bench him in a 40-8 loss against the Eagles. Young would complete 70% of his passes, throw for nearly 4000 yards, 35 TD's and 10 INT's, while adding another 7 touchdowns on the ground, as the 49ers had the best offense in the league once again, and Young won his second MVP. The playoffs are where a player is truly measured, and Young brought his A game for the postseason as well. After putting up 44 points on the Bears in the divisional round, the 49ers took momentum in the NFC Championship, scoring 31 points in the first half and never looking back on the way to a 38-28 victory. Then the super bowl against the Chargers came, and Steve Young set them on fire, throwing 6 TD passes in the victory. It didn't matter what the Chargers did on the other end of the ball when Young was scoring at will. He won the super bowl MVP that season and the 49ers were the first team to five super bowls. (The Cowboys, Steelers and Patriots would catch up to that mark.)

The 49ers would be playoff contenders for the next 4 seasons, and Steve Young would continue to combine passing efficiency with smart scrambles, but from 1995-1997 they would be eliminated each season by Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, and Young would always miss a few games here and there with injuries. In 1998, they'd get their revenge thanks to rookie WR Terrell Owens making an incredible catch to beat them, but Young was unable to figure out the dirty bird defense in the divisional round that year, and lost 20-18 after throwing three interceptions in the second half. 1999 would be Young's last season, after he suffered a career ending concussion three games into it. While the 49ers would be competing for the playoffs for a few years after Young retired, his concussions truly marked the end of a historic run by the franchise. Young retired as the most efficient passer of all time, and it really isn't a stretch to say he was a virtuoso on the field. He could see the entire field, and when the pass wasn't working, he could roll out and make a few yards with his legs. The problem was that it left him susceptible to many hits, and eventually ended his career. Young ends up being in the top 5 for winning percentage with a great defense, and top 20 when the defense wasn't up to par. His defensive rating is also incredibly high, by virtue of being on that 49ers dynasty team, but it would have been even higher if not for the years he spent in Tampa. Young also shows the hypothesis that sitting and developing over your first few years ends up being beneficial in the long run, even though Young took his lumps in the USFL and Tampa first.

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7. Roger Staubach (Dallas Cowboys 1969-1979)
2nd Place Cowboys QB
Career Record 95-34-0 (73.64%) 2nd out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 79-9-0 (89.77%) 3rd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 16-25-0 (39.02%) 10th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 88/129 (68.22%) 4th out of 102 (-3)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.224)

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Roger Staubach, the man who helped bring Dallas into the fold as 'America's Team'. While I hate the moniker, it's true that basically the entire south loved the Cowboys in the 70's, and Roger was one of the major reasons why. Before he ever played in the league, he won the Heisman trophy for the US Naval Academy in 1963, and then went on to serve in VIetnam, so his rookie year wasn't until 1969 when he was already 27 years old. While Craig Morton was entrenched as the starter at the time, the things Staubach was doing in camp meant that a QB controversy was starting to brew. Staubach got his first chance to really show his stuff in 1971, after taking a few relief snaps throughout his first two seasons. Morton was benched after a week 1 loss to the Saints, and Staubach came in to right the ship. They would spend time alternating games, even alternating snaps, until Staubach officially won the starting job 8 weeks into the season. Staubach just kept winning after that, taking the Cowboys to an 11-3 record, and hitting a 100 passer rating throwing 15 TDs to only 4 INT's. The Cowboys would beat the Vikings and the 49ers with strong defensive performances and efficient play from Staubach as they made it to their second consecutive super bowl. The Cowboys would choke out the Dolphins 24-3 as Staubach threw two TD's in the victory. In his first season as a starter, Staubach set the expectation of what Dallas fans expect year in and year out. However, Staubach separated his shoulder in the 1972 leaving Craig Morton to assume the starting duties once again, and Morton even led them to the playoffs. But after being put down in a 28-13 hole, Landry put Staubach back in the game and let him lead a miraculous comeback to come out ahead 30-28. Stauabach wasn't 100% though, and couldn't get the Cowboys past the Redskins in the conference championship.

Staubach would never give up the starting job again, and the Cowboys would never have a losing season with Roger at the helm as he played out the rest of the 70's. The Cowboys of that era were surrounded by incredible talent, but Staubach's heroics are what really gave the Cowboys that edge to put them over the top. The Cowboys would make the NFC Championship game in 1973 after beating out the Rams in the divisional round, but fell short to Bud Grant and the Vikings defense who picked Staubach off 4 times in the loss. Staubach had the worst season of his career in 1974, going 8-6 after starting the season 1-4. He threw 15 interceptions to only 11 TD's and the Cowboys missed the playoffs for the first and only time in his tenure. The Boys would bounce back in 1975, going 10-4 on the season and winning the NFC East again. They would play the Vikings in a heated divisional round game that was ended by a hail mary pass from Staubach to Drew Pearson. Staubach would face the Rams in the Conference Championship game, and he would throw 4 touchdowns in the first quarter as the Cowboys rolled over them 37-7. But against the Steel Curtain, Staubach and the gang just couldn't muster enough offense to get past those stalwart defenders. 1976 would see the Cowboys take a 11-3 record only to lose at home against the tough Rams defense, where Staubach matched Pat Haden with three interceptions in a 14-12 loss.

1977 would see the Cowboys reach the pinnacle again, as they would go 12-2, tied for the best record in the league in the very last 14 game season. With the addition of rookie runningback Tony Dorsett, Staubach had an efficient season, throwing 18 TDs to only 9 INTs for 2620 yards. The Cowboys got paired up with the Bears in the divisional round, who looked lost as they got creamed 37-7. Against the Vikings in the conference championship, the Cowboys defense would choke out Bob Lee and the Cowboys would cruise to a 23-6 win. That left them in the super bowl against the surprising Denver Broncos and the man who he was splitting snaps with just 6 years prior in Craig Morton. The Cowboys defense didn't give the Broncos a chance to breathe, as Staubach played steady in a 27-10 victory, securing his second super bowl title. But the Cowboys were still hungry, and they wanted more. In the longest season in history (to that point) the Cowboys had the best offense in football in 1978, and they had a 12-4 record to show for it. But it was Danny White who helped the Cowboys past the Falcons in the divisional round after Staubach suffered an injury early in the game. White lead a pair of touchdown drives, and kept the seat warm so Staubach could return for the conference championship. They were caught in another defensive struggle with the Rams, but the Cowboys started to break through in the 3rd quarter, and turned a game that was tied at 0 at halftime to a 28-0 beating, as the Cowboys were set for round two with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a battle between two teams known primarily for their defensive hegemony, Bradshaw and Staubach went toe to toe, throwing TD pass after TD pass. When the dust had settled, the Steelers had won 35-31, but the quarterbacks had combined for 60 passes, 546 yards, 7 TDs and a couple of interceptions. Staubach had one more year in him, and would lead the league in passer rating for the fourth time in 1979, and lead four 4th quarter comebacks, as the Cowboys forced their way to an 11-5 record. But the Rams would be their kryptonite in the divisional round, as Vince Ferragamo threw three touchdown passes in a 21-19 victory for the Rams. That would be Staubach's last game as he opted to retire due to the toll the game was taking on his body.

Staubach ends up having the second best record out of every QB on this study, and as a player who made it to 4 super bowls in 9 seasons (Really 8 since he spent most of 1972 injured), it's not that surprising. Just as well, he had some incredible defenses to work with. Just because the Steel Curtain was the primary defense of the era doesn't mean the decade wasn't chock full of them. Staubach had the third best record in games with good defense, only falling behind two players who have yet to make an appearance on this list. He's also known for his heroics, and that shows in the numbers as he is also in the top 10 for winning percentage with bad defenses, though those games were a lot harder to come by. Roger was a real legend, and is worthy of his spot on this ranking. In all honesty, I was surprised that I had 6 QB's higher than him. However, I can say without a doubt that Staubach was the best the 70's had to offer.

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6. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers 2005-Current)
1st Place Packers QB
Career Record 103-53-0 (66.03%) 12th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 73-14-0 (83.91%) 24th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 30-39-0 (43.48%) 4th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 87/156 (55.77%) 31st out of 102 (+25)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.248) (2.103 after the 2018 Season)

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We're really getting into it now, with the career leader in passer rating, and the most efficient passer of all time in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers' career is a fascinating tale and is the modern example of one hall of fame quarterback succeeding another. But how does one succeed a legend in Brett Favre? As anyone can tell you, it's not easy. Favre and Rodgers hated each other from the outset, Favre wasn't fussed about a young kid trying to replace him, and Rodgers just hated the way Favre would treat him as a result. So they never got along very well, and it would take years on the bench before Rodgers got a real opportunity to take over. Rodgers was a Jeff Tedford quarterback, and while they were drafted highly, not one of them would be called a big time success, and most of them were downright busts (Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, David Carr, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller). Still Rodgers had time to learn on the bench and while he wouldn't get many reps, he'd get a lot of practices and time to observe and adjust to the NFL level, and playing on the scout team helped him prepare for what he had to go up against. After spending three seasons on the bench, and nearly being traded to the Raiders in 2007 for Randy Moss, 2008 finally gave him his chance to start, after Favre was jettisoned to the Jets. 

Rodgers came out of the gates hard and fast, throwing for 4000 yards, 28 TD's, and a career high 13 interceptions. However, Rodgers built a reputation as being unable to win a close game, as the Packers went 6-10 despite their offensive prowess thanks to 7 losses of 4 or less points. Rodgers always had the last word for haters, and would respond in 2009 by taking the Packers to the playoffs with an 11-5 record, and bringing his INT count below 10. However the playoff run would end quickly as the Arizona Cardinals got the better of them in the wild-card round, and despite putting up 45 points and sending the game to overtime, Rodgers was sacked and stripped on the first drive of overtime, giving the Cardinals their victory. Rodgers would battle back in 2010, and despite suffering a couple of concussions, and missing a regular season game, he would go 10-5 as the Packers starter, including winning the last two games of the season to sneak the Packers into the postseason chase. He would his first playoff game against the Eagles, throwing 3 touchdowns early in a 21-16 victory. They'd go on the road against Atlanta, and put up 48 points, as Rodgers threw for 3 TDs and 366 yards in the victory. And against the division rival Bears in the conference championship, they simply outlasted the defense, since Caleb Hanie was no threat on the offense and won 21-14. That brought the Packers to their first super bowl since the 1997 season, and put them up against the Pittsburgh Steelers who were going for the repeat. Rodgers and Roethlisberger would air it out, but it would be the Packers who came out ahead in a 31-25 victory. Rodgers won a championship in his third season as a starter, and it looked like there would be even more to come.

2011 held true to that promise. The Packers went 15-1 that season, Rodgers dominated the field, throwing for 4643 yards, 45 TD's and only 6 INT's as he won the league MVP by a wide margin, and had the greatest single season passer rating in league history at 122.5 (with enough attempts to qualify). But even with home field advantage, they would not be able to answer the Giants defense, as the team gave the ball up 4 times in a 37-20 loss, only the second time they would be held under 24 points that season. The Packers wouldn't be quite so dominant in 2012, but with Rodgers leading the offense with pinpoint precision, they would once again win the division with an 11-5 record. The Vikings stood no chance in the wild-card round that year, as the Packers cruised to a 24-10 victory. However they would meet their match in the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, who threw for 260 and 2 TD's and ran for 180 and 2 TD's on them that day in a 45-31 game. The cracks were starting to form and knowing what we know now about Rodgers and McCarthy, the cracks were probably in place for a long time.

In 2013, Rodgers would see most of his offensive weapons miss time due to injury, and see himself suffer a serious shoulder injury in week 9 against the Bears after leading the Packers to a 5-2 record at that point. The Packers struggled to a 7-7-1 record with Matt Flynn and Seneca Wallace, and Rodgers had recovered enough and the situation was desperate enough for McCarthy to turn to him for the final week of the season, a win and in game against the Bears. Rodgers successfully led a 4th quarter comeback against the Bears, culminating in a 48 yard TD pass to Randall Cobb in the final minute. At 8-7-1, the Packers snuck into the postseason once again. Colin Kaepernick would prove to be a Packer killer, as he led the final drive of the game to get Phil Dawson in range to kick a field goal, beating the Packers 20-17. The heartbreak didn't stop there. Rodgers was healthy and hale in 2014, and took the Packers to a 12-4 record, good for the second seed in the NFC, and once again making 38 TD's and 5 INT's look normal for a season of play. Rodgers would win the second MVP of his career, and take down the Cowboys in a thrilling divisional round game, capped off by a Rodgers to Rodgers TD. But things can't end nicely for Rodgers, and the 2014 NFC Championship would make any packers fan pull their hair out. The Packers had a 19-7 lead over the Seahawks with just over 5 minutes to go. Wilson was able to use his 4th quarter magic to lead the Seahawks down the field and score a touchdown, and then Brandon Bostick muffed the onside kick, letting the Seahawks recover and put another TD on the board, going up 22-19 with 1:25 left. Rodgers was able to get the Packers in range for a field goal and tie the game, but the Packers lost the coin toss, and Wilson led the Seahawks down the field to score their third touchdown in three drives, leaving the Packers sitting at home for the super bowl once again.

2015 and 2016 would see the Packers make the post-season again, but they would in 2015 after forcing overtime against the Cardinals with a hail mary TD pass, only to lose when the defense couldn't stop Larry Fitzgerald in the over time period after they lost the coin toss. 2016 would see them get revenge against the Giants in the wild-card round, winning 38-13 in a game the Giants barely showed up for, and then they got in a shootout with the Dallas Cowboys, led by a rookie runningback and QB, and traded 50+ yard field goals in an eventual 34-31 victory. However, the Packers defense would let them down immediately in a loss to the Falcons, not even pretending to be good in a 44-21 loss where the Packers were on the back foot the entire game. 2017's tragedy would be another shoulder injury, suffered after Rodgers took the Packers to a 4-1 start. The team hoped and prayed that they could tread water until Rodgers got healthy for the end of the season, but the damage was just too much. Rodgers was rushed back for week 15 against the Panthers, but clearly wasn't good to go in a 31-24 loss. The Packers put the kibosh on a lost season, and Rodgers was put on season ending IR. That's where the data point ends, but Rodgers looked mortal in 2018 as he had his first losing season since he took over in 2008, and with Mike McCarthy gone, Rodgers will have to adapt to a new coach for 2019, but I'm sure Packers fans are hopeful that the change can only mean good things for the team.

Rodgers is the most efficient passer to ever play in this league, he does not throw interceptions very often, his accuracy is on point, and his mobility in the pocket makes him a real challenge to take down. The biggest knock on Rodgers is that he will spend a lot of time waiting for a play to develop, which is why he'll take a lot of sacks and hits and sometimes those hits end up taking him out for the season. Rodgers has a great winning percentage in games with bad defense, with only three players having a better mark than him in that regard. His defenses trend toward being above average, but over the past few seasons that number has been regressing toward the mean. Rodgers' career is marked with a lot of heartbreaking losses and a seeming propensity to lose games in overtime on the very first possession. When it's come time for a player to step up and make a big play for the Packers, it's always been Aaron Rodgers, and that's why he finishes so high on this list.

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5. Danny White (Dallas Cowboys 1974-1988)
1st Place Cowboys QB
Career Record 68-34-0 (66.67%) 11th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 51-7-0 (87.93%) 7th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 17-27-0 (38.64%) 12th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 58/102 (56.86%) 30th out of 102 (+25)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.284)

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This is probably the ranking that stunned me the most, when you ask most people who Danny White is, I doubt many would give you a satisfactory answer. It's not like he was some legend of the game or anything, he's simply forgotten about. White did have a few things go in his favour to help bolster his ranking, but you don't get to the top five by just being an ordinary dude. White wasn't an ordinary dude, and he was a worthy successor to Staubach's name. However, never winning the ultimate prize as a starting QB meant that he was simply meant to be forgotten by the general fanbase.

White was drafted in 1974 by the Cowboys, primarily to be a punter rather than a quarterback. White wanted to show what he could do and played in the World Football league instead, a league that quickly popped up and immediately became defunct a couple of seasons later. He came back to the Cowboys n 1976 as their punter, but he earned enough credit to stick around as the team's backup quarterback. And White bided his time, as Roger Staubach dominated the 70's, and while White is the highest player on this list to fail to make a super bowl as a starting QB, he made two as the team's punter. White's only real game time in the 70's outside of relief performances and kneel downs was in the 1978 playoffs, where after Staubach got hurt and the offense was looking shaky, White came in, led the offense to perfection, and helped complete the comeback over the Atlanta Falcons. White's time would come in 1980 after Staubach retired, and the Dallas offense didn't miss a beat. The Cowboys led the league in scoring, and even though White threw 25 interceptions, he was making good throws down the field and got the Cowboys to a 12-4 record, narrowly losing a tiebreaker with the Eagles for the best record in the NFC. White would start off rusty against the Rams in the wild-card round, but get his head on straight in the second half and lead the cowboys to 28 unanswered points in a 34-13 victory. He would show off his 4th quarter heroics in the next week against the Falcons, throwing two late touchdowns to Drew Pearson to complete a 30-27 comeback. However in the conference championship White couldn't quite handle the Eagles defense in Veterans Stadium and was beaten black and blue in a 20-7 loss. 

White wouldn't let what happened in 1980 stop him in 1981, as the Cowboys went 12-4 once again, this time winning the division and earning a first round bye. The Cowboys would beat up the upstart Bucs 38-0, and find themselves in the conference championship again, this time against the San Francisco 49ers. Roger Staubach made his legacy by leading a comeback victory against the 49ers... I suppose turnabout is only fair play for Joe Montana. White and Montana went back and forth the entire game, and it got to a point where White got the Cowboys up 27-21 with about 11 minutes left. But White stumbled and couldn't get the offense going one more time, Joe Montana led the drive that ended in Dwight Clark's catch with under a minute left in the game, and there just wasn't enough time for White to lead a comeback as he got strip sacked when trying to let a long play develop, and that was it for the Cowboys. 

White would be back in the strike shortened season of 1982, with only 9 games a 6-3 record was more than enough to make a postseason, especially with the expanded 16 team field. They would outlast the Bucs in the wild-card round, and against the Packers in the divisional round, White and Dickey would trade pick 6's in a high scoring 37-26 victory for the Boys. They would play the Redskins in the conference championship game, but White would be taken out of the game in the second quarter and have to watch as his backup Gary Hogeboom got demolished by the Redskins and their defense. White kept the offense hungry, but Dallas would begin it's gradual decline as the players that made up the doomsday defense were long gone and they just weren't filling up with fresh bodies fast enough. White's offense would be second in the NFL in 1983 on the back of his nearly 4000 yards and 28 TDs, but their defense would drop to 20th. So even though they went 12-4 that year, their playoff run was dashed in the wild card round by the lowly 9-7 Rams. White threw three interceptions in the loss, and no one on the Dallas defense could stop Vince Ferragamo and rookie Eric Dickerson. Dissatisfied with constantly losing in the playoffs, Landry benched White for Hogeboom to start the 1984 season. Hogeboom started well, but at the first sign of trouble Landry benched him for White, and they played musical chairs as the Cowboys went 9-7 and missed the playoffs entirely. 

White would be back in 1985, and would go 10-4 as the team's starter as the Cowboys went back to the playoffs with a 10-6 record overall. However the Cowboys run would be stopped by the Rams once again, where White threw 3 interceptions in the loss, and Dieter Brock went 6/22 for 50 yards. Needless to say if not for Eric Dickerson rushing for 248 yards, it might have been the most hideous playoff game ever played. That would be the last season Danny White stayed healthy, as injuries started to pile up one after the other, as the Cowboys spiraled into becoming a terrible team. The Boys would start 1986 with a 6-2 record, the best offense in football and a great season underway for Danny White... but Carl Banks would get a good blind side sack on him, and tore most of the ligaments in his throwing wrist. The Cowboys would go 1-7 down the stretch and miss the playoffs entirely. White would be inconsistent in 1987 as he just couldn't throw it like he used to, and was pulled in November for Steve Pelluer. 1988 would mark his last season after starting the season as the backup. He came in for relief of Pelluer a couple of times, but tore his ACL in relief duties. The Cowboys didn't bother to resign him, and White retired at his lowest point.

White was the steward for a declining Cowboys team. While Tom Landry was an all time great coach, the 80's were not kind to the man and they were not as kind to the franchise who lost a lot of leaders and never really found players to pick up the slack. As White went, so too did Landry as the Cowboys began their rebuild under Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones, and Troy Aikman. White is a forgotten face, but he put up numbers with the best of the best in the 80's, and when he was healthy the Cowboys were always a threat to make it to the big dance. The problem was that they could never get over that hump. Whether it was the Rams defense having White's number, or Joe Montana founding his legacy on the graves of the Doomsday Defense, or just getting injured in a game that could have really gone either way up to that point. White is a quarterback who revels in misfortune and despite what he did to prolong Dallas' competitive seasons, it just wasn't enough to matter. White was always the first place loser, and all that means to Cowboys fans is you're just a loser. Never mind that his splits are absurd, and he didn't get to have top 10 all time defensive rankings like Staubach and Aikman, he never got to a super bowl, and that is the mark that will follow him forever.

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4. Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers 1979-1992, Kansas City Chiefs 1993-1994)
1st Place 49ers and 1st Place Chiefs QB
Career Record 131-54-0 (70.81%) 4th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 98-20-0 (83.05%) 27th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 33-34-0 (49.25%) 3rd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 118/185 (63.78%) 10th out of 102 (+6)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (2.441)

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And now we're here, the real meat and potatoes of this list. Joe Montana, 49ers legend, and very good Chiefs QB finds himself here at number 4. Montana was the GOAT when I was growing up. Sure, people had different opinions, some were fans of more old school guys like Unitas, or taking the way back machine with Otto Graham, but ultimately the discussion always came back to Joe. As a multiple time super bowl champion, with an offense that was copy and pasted by the rest the league for years after he hung up the cleats, Montana is certainly worthy of that respect. Montana was drafted in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers, who were struggling to find their next franchise QB after John Brodie had retired a few years earlier. The Steve Spurrier experiment failed, the veteran retread plan failed, and it was clear that Steve DeBerg whom they signed the year prior wasn't inspiring confidence. Montana didn't have the greatest measurables around, but watching him play at Notre Dame, people could see he clearly passed the eye test, even if his arm wasn't the strongest around. Rookie Head Coach Bill Walsh liked what he saw, and when Montana fell to them in third round, they scooped him up. Montana sat on the bench his rookie season as the team went 2-14 under DeBerg. Montana would eventually take over in 1980, and while the team was still struggling around him, Montana took to Walsh's offense like a bear to honey, completing 64.5% of his passes and throwing for 15 TDs in 7 games. He even led the first comeback of his career against the New Orlean Saints, down 35-7 to halftime, the 49ers scored 28 points in the second half, and got a field goal in overtime to win 38-35. That would set something of a trend for Montana, and 1981 would be when the league would finally be put on notice.

1981 is a very important year, as it marks the birth of the 49ers dynasty. One that not only dominated on the offensive side of the ball with the new and improved West Coast Offense, but also dominated on defense, as the 49ers would spend the next 14 seasons allowing 300 or less points on defense all season. Montana led the team with tactical proficiency, throwing for 3565 yards, 19 TDs and 12 INTs. The 49ers would go 13-3, and win home field in the NFC. Their first battle was against the Giants, but Scott Brunner could not get the wheels spinning fast enough to deal with the 49ers methodical drives and watched as the 49ers offense wore down the Giants defense in a 38-24 victory. The came the conference championship against the Cowboys. I talked a bit about this from Danny White's perspective, but this was a good game of showing how Montana kept his cool in any situation, and despite throwing three interceptions to Everson Walls that game, Montana just kept throwing, kept to the game plan, and with an opportunity to lead a game winning touchdown drive in the 4th quarter to win it, he did, leading a 13 play drive in four minutes, capped off with a Dwight Clark touchdown catch, with Montana evading pressure as he did, throwing to the spot where he knew Dwight Clark would be. The super bowl by comparison wasn't nearly as exciting, but we got to see a battle of Bill Walsh proteges. But there's a reason it's called the West Coast Offense and not the Skyline Chili Offense, and that's because Montana was the master of. The 49ers capped off their season with a 26-21 super bowl victory, their first of four with Montana starting.

1982 would mark a step back in the strike shortened season, as despite Montana's 346 passing attempts (in 9 games) and relative proficiency, the defense took a big step back, giving up 23 points a game. The 49ers went 3-6, losing 5 of them by 6 or less points. It was a minor setback though, and the 49ers would be back to competing in 1983. Montana would lead the team to win the last three games of the season to get into playoff position at 10-6, and with the addition of Roger Craig at fullback the offense expanded even further as Montana threw for 3900 yards, 26 TDs and only 12 INT's. Montana's magic would continue in the postseason, as he led a last minute touchdown drive against the Detroit Lions to win 24-23. He would even lead the 49ers from being down 21-0 against the Redskins in the 4th quarter to tie it up, but the Redskins had the last possession of the game, and were able to get their MVP kicker into field goal range to seal the 24-21 victory.

1984 would mark the first time in league history that a team would win 15 games in the regular season, as Montana continued to improve on his efficiency numbers. The 49ers had the best defense in the league, and the second best scoring offense as well as they pulverized most of the competition that year. They got up early on the Giants in the divisional round, and despite Montana throwing a pick six, the 49ers defense shut the Giants down in a 21-10 victory. The Bears were next, but they were held scoreless as the 49ers offense eventually whittled down the Bears on long field goal drives, that turned into long touchdown drives in a 23-0 stomping. and the super bowl would feature a battle of the two best offenses of the day, and two of the best young QB's in the league in Montana and Marino. However when Marino caved under the pressure of the 49ers defense, Montana thrived on the biggest stage, throwing for 331 yards and 3 TD's and earning his second super bowl MVP.

Montana would take a few seasons off from winning super bowls after that. 1985 would mark the coming of the Chicago Bears, but after the 49ers only barely made the playoffs at 10-6 thanks to a bunch of close losses, the New York Giants would be the team to strike San Francisco from the playoffs in a 17-3 wild card showdown. 1986 would see Montana suffer a horrific back injury in the first week of the season, one which doctors urged him to retire. Montana of course, was back for the end of November, and helped the team win five of their last 7 to sneak into the playoffs at 9-6-1. Of course Montana wasn't anywhere near his best against the Giants in that wild card round, and the 49ers got crushed 49-3. 1987 would see Montana return to form, as he threw for 31 touchdowns in just 11 games, most of them to emerging hall of famer Jerry Rice who had 22 receiving TDs on just 65 catches. Steve Young and a few trick plays would add another 13 passing touchdowns to that count of course, but the 49ers were going ballistic on offense. But the 49ers would lose in the divisional round as the Vikings caught fire under their backup Wade Wilson and put up 36 points on that 49ers defense, 6 of them courtesy of a Montana interception in the second quarter that led to him getting pulled for Steve Young.

But adversity brings out the best in some people, and even though Montana and Young were fighting for playing time in 1988, Montana won his coaches faith, and when the 49ers were struggling to tread water at 6-5, Montana took over, winning four of the next five games to secure the NFC West at 10-6. In the rematch against the Vikings in the divisional round, Montana would throw three TD's to Jerry Rice in the first half in a 34-9 dismantling of the squad. The Bears were next on Montana's hit list, and he'd throw for 3 more touchdowns as the Bears struggled to get anything going in a 28-3 loss. The Bengals would challenge them again, this time with Boomer Esiason at the helm. The game was a defense struggle, until Cincy's kick returner broke the game open with a 93 yard kick off return TD to go up 13-6 at the end of the third. Montana threw a few quick strikes to tie the game up at 13 on the next drive and the game was on. Cincy punted, San Francisco missed a field goal, and the Bengals took the short field to get in range for a 40 yard kick, that went through with less than four minutes to go. But that's plenty of time for Joe Montana, who surgically and methodically led the 49ers down the field, and capped off the drive with a TD pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left. Montana had an excellent showing with his 357 yard, 2 TD's performance, but ceded super bowl MVP to Jerry Rice that time around. He cemented his legacy as an all time great.

But that wasn't enough for the man, because he was heated in 1989. Some people have different arguments for who the greatest team of all time was. The 85' Bears, the 72' Dolphins, the 07' Patriots... I will always argue for the 1989 San Francisco 49ers. They may have 'only' went 14-2 in comparison, but their offense was on fire, and their defense was golden too, being first in scoring offense and third in scoring defense. Montana had the best season of his career despite missing three games with injury, completing 70% of his passes for 3521 yards, 26 TD's and only 8 INT's. He also led five game winning drives in the season, flipping most of the close results back into the 49ers favour. He kept the dominance up in the postseason, throwing for 4 TD's against the Vikings in a 41-13 victory, then putting up 262 yards and a pair of TD's on the LA Rams, winning 30-3. The Denver Broncos didn't stand a chance in the super bowl as Montana went full Vishnu on their sorry butts and claimed his third super bowl MVP on the back of a 300 yard and 5 touchdown victory. The score was 55-10, and remains the biggest blowout in super bowl history. 

Montana wanted to go for three in 1990, as the 49ers went 14-2 once again in 1990. The 49ers would handle the Redskins in the divisional round winning 28-10, but the dream of a three peat died as the New York Giants got into a defensive slugfest with them, and did the best thing any defense could do against Joe Montana... make sure he didn't stay on the field. On a hard hit by Leonard Marshall, Montana was knocked out of the game, and the Giants eventually won 15-13 after kicking their 5th field goal. Montana would miss the 91' season and most of the 92' season with an elbow injury, and by this time Steve Young had established himself as the 49ers new guy. Montana would go to Kansas City and pair up with long time Raider Marcus Allen in their new look back field. While Montana wasn't quite the same guy coming off of his injuries, he was still able to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to the postseason in 1993. He showed he still had the magic in him, leading a comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round, winning 24-21 in overtime. And then against the Oilers in the divisional round, Montana and the offense would score 21 points in the 4th quarter to take a 28-20 victory over the Oilers. But the dream would falter against the Buffalo Bills who just did too much on both sides of the ball, and once again executed the strategy of taking Joe Montana out of the game. The 49ers lost 30-13. Montana would play for one more season in 1994, and sneak the Chiefs into the postseason with a 9-7 record, but they were outmatched by Marino's Dolphins who won 27-17.

Montana's career is one of excellence. When his defense didn't show up to play, the games were still coinflips because Montana was just that damn good under pressure. No matter what situation he was in, he always gave the 49ers a shot at victory, and his four super bowl MVP's show that on the biggest stages, he was the one who shined the brightest. He could have been even higher, but he played in a tough division with tough defenses. The Rams were pests his entire career, the Falcons had annoying defenses early on, and the Saints had the dome patrol in his later year in San Francisco. Which could be a fair explanation to why his record in defensive struggle is a bit lower than you'd expect from one called the GOAT. Still, his numbers are remarkable, and the teams he played on were remarkable as well. The last three players on this list all have three or more wins above average per 16 game season though, because some people are just that ridiculous.

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3. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts 1998-2011, Denver Broncos 2012-2015)
1st Place Colts and 1st Place Broncos QB
Career Record 199-88-0 (69.34%) 5th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 141-9-0 (94.00%) 1st out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 58-79-0 (42.34%) 5th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 150/287 (52.26%) 48th out of 102 (+45)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (3.065)

peyton manning yelling at julius thomas

Well, well, well. If it isn't the fivehead himself. Peyton Manning is probably a quarterback I don't need to go into any depth about, but I will anyway because fuck it, my study, my rules. This sex offender was drafted first overall by the Colts after having a legendary college career at Tennessee and being one of the mostly highly sought after QB prospects in history. The Indianapolis Colts had been looking for their next franchise QB, and ever since Bert Jones career ended so abruptly, the Colts had been spurned at every turn. They were in position to draft John Elway, but he'd rather play baseball than play for the Colts, so they had no choice to trade him for minimal value. in 1990, they had the first overall pick again, and thought Jeff George would be the man to lead them into the future... yeah, he was not. So the Colts spun their wheels but received another opportunity at the first overall pick in 1998 after going 3-13 the season prior. With a new head coach and new general manager, the Colts were faced with a choice, Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. Luckily for the Colts, they made the correct pick as the two of them embarked on paths so opposite you could hardly believe that they had nearly the same starting point as picks 1 and 2 in the 1998 draft. Combined with the young talent of Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison and Tarik Glenn in the drafts prior, the Colts offense was looking like a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for the Colts, things weren't that simple, as their defense was utterly atrocious, giving up nearly 28 points a game. Peyton did well given the circumstances, throwing 26 TD's, but he also earned the rookie record for interceptions with 28. It was a rough start for the young QB, but he took his trial by fire in stride. The Colts would lose Marshall Faulk in the next offseason, but replace him with Edgerrin James in the draft, so the offense didn't take any significant steps back. and in 1999, Peyton would show the league just what he could do. He broke 4000 yards for the first of many times in his career, brought his interception count down to 15, while keeping his TD's high, and led 6 fourth quarter comebacks on the way to a 13-3 record, and the second seed in the AFC. However, Peyton's first playoff game would end poorly as he was manhandled and bullied by the Titans defense in a 19-16 loss. 

Peyton would start to develop a reputation as an excellent regular season quarterback, and a terrible postseason one after that. He would throw 33 TD's in 2000 and take the team to a 10-6 record, but lose 23-17 in overtime to the Miami Dolphins after failing to put up any significant offense in the second half. 2001 would see the Colts go 6-10 with the worst defense in the league and miss the playoffs for the last time in Peyton's tenure as QB. Jim Mora would be fired, but luckily for the Colts, a defensive minded head coach would fall right into their laps after Tampa Bay took Jon Gruden out of Oakland. Tony Dungy would prove to be the right guy for the job in Indianapolis, but it took a few seasons for his work to bear the fruit all Colts fans wanted to see. Just as well, the introduction of the Houston Texans meant the league's divisions needed to be realigned, and so the Colts moved from the AFC East, to the newly formed AFC South, with the new Houston team, the old Houston team, and the barely 8 year old Jaguars. This realignment ended up being rather vital to somebody... I'll get to more detail on that when his writeup comes along. In any case, the Colts were one of the big dogs in the newly minted division, since the Texans were an expansion team and the Jaguars were fading fast. The defense got a big boost from Tony Dungy, giving up 11 less points per game, and the Colts went 10-6, good enough for Manning's third postseason appearance. Once again, the Colts would be one and done, getting throttled by Chad Pennington and the Jets 41-0.

Peyton made moves to shed the reputation of choker in 2003, leading the team to a 12-4 record on the back of a 4250 yard, 29 TD and 10 INT season, which was good enough to win co-MVP with Steve McNair that year. Manning would win the first playoff game of his career against the Broncos, winning 41-10, and throwing 5 TD passes in the win, which was one more than his number of incomplete passes that game. They would face the high flying Chiefs in KC in their next game, and in a game where no defense could get stops, the Colts were the winner in a 38-31 shootout. However, the magic couldn't be kept alive as Peyton would face Tom Brady and the Patriots in Gillette Stadium, and Manning would throw four interceptions in a 24-14 loss, three to hall of fame cornerback Ty Law. Peyton was heated in 2004, and as their GM bitched for new rules to give receivers free reign, Peyton took advantage, throwing for 4557 yards, and a league record 49 TD passes. He won his second MVP, and led the Colts to another 12-4 record. When they faced the Broncos in the wild-card round again, Peyton went nuts, throwing for 458 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 49-24 victory. But all the new rules and tricks couldn't help them against the Patriots and their defense, as the Colts offense had 6 punts, 3 turnovers, and a long field goal to show on offense as they lost 20-3. The reputation was no longer Peyton is a playoff choker, it was Peyton Manning can't beat the Patriots.

2005 would see the Colts dominate on offense and defense, as they went all the way to a 13-0 record, clinching the AFC with three weeks to go. Coach Dungy decided to rest their starters from that point on, and the Colts would finish with a 14-2 record, rather than chase perfection. so with essentially 4 weeks off, the Colts were sort of cold when the Steelers came to town, and in a hotly contested game between two tough defenses, the Steelers took a 21-3 lead by the end of the third. Peyton led a fierce comeback attempt to get it up to 21-18, but was stopped on what should been the last drive of the fourth quarter. But Jerome Bettis fumbled the ball immediately after the Steelers gained possession, and the Colts nearly returned it all the way back, if not for a game saving tackle by Ben Roethlisberger. Peyton was able to drive the ball to the Steelers 28, but Vanderjagt missed the field goal, and the damage was done. if NFL Films was still doing the missing rings series, 2005 Colts may have been a good contender for the topic. So they decided that they needed to do things the hard way in 2006, making it through the wild-card round with a 12-4 record, as Peyton had his third straight season with a 100+ passer rating. The defense would struggle throughout the season, but they would get Bob Sanders back just in time for the playoffs, and as it turned out, that made the difference. Well that and replacing Mike Vanderjagt with Adam Vinatieri. Peyton was nothing special in this super bowl run at least early on, as the Colts beat the Chiefs 23-8, then upset the Ravens on the road 15-6, winning primarily on the strength of their defense rather than Peyton's arm. But they would play the Patriots in the AFC Championship, and fortunately for them, they had the tiebreaker and home field for the game. It didn't seem to matter early on, when the Patriots took a 21-6 lead into halftime, but Peyton finally flipped the switch. If the Colts wanted to win this game, they needed him to perform above standard. So the Colts would score 32 points in the second half, including a last minute touchdown drive, and outlast the Patriots 38-34 in one of the most thrilling games of the past 20 years. Compared to the murderers row of the AFC that season, the Bears were child's play, even after spotting the Bears 7 points on the first play of the game by kicking to Devin Hester. The Colts won 29-17, and the man who was crowned from the moment he stepped onto the field finally won a super bowl ring.

The Colts would continue to be a force in Manning's time, always winning 10 or more games in the regular season, but for some reason, they just couldn't get Manning another ring in Indy. 2007 would end after the Colts went 13-2, decided to rest their starters for week 17, lose, and then proceed to be outmatched in the divisional round by the Fuck Goblin and his Chargers and lose 28-24. They would break Rivers' knee in the loss to ensure the Patriots had no AFC competition though. Peyton would steal another MVP award in 2008, after reeling off 9 straight wins after a slow 3-4 start to make it to 12-4 and secure the 5th seed in the AFC. This time around, they would lose to the Chargers again, after losing the coin toss in overtime, and letting Rivers and Co run down their throats and score a TD to win 23-17. Peyton would repeat and steal another MVP award, this time from Drew Brees on the way to a 14-2 record, and the top seed in the AFC, with new head coach Jim Caldwell. Of course, the Colts had an opportunity to go undefeated after starting the season 14-0, but Caldwell decided to pull the starters in the second half, and let the Jets comeback and win. The Colts would shoot the Ravens out of the sky in a 20-3 divisional round victory, and avoiding the Patriots thanks to a timely Jets upset, they were able to pound the Jets when they were playing seriously, and winning 30-17 after scoring 24 unanswered points. In the super bowl against the Saints, they were outfoxed by Sean Payton, lost the possession battle, and when given an opportunity to tie the game, Peyton threw a pick six to Tracy Porter instead. 2010 would be Manning's ninth consecutive playoff appearance, marking the first time a starting quarterback has done that, but the playoff would be shut down almost singlehandedly by Revis Island, as the Jets survived 17-16. Manning would miss the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury, and the squad of Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins ensured that the Colts would be Sucking for Luck. With the opportunity to rebrand the franchise, and stay competitive for the next decade to come, the Colts cut ties with Manning and let him go into free agency. 

Manning had many suitors but eventually chose to join the Broncos, just like John Elway had done to the Colts nearly 30 years prior. With Manning and their suite of young receivers, the offense exploded, as Manning threw for 37 TD's, 4660 yards, and won 11 straight games at the end of the season to go 13-3 and win home field advantage in the AFC. However, Ray Lewis' retirement tour happened, Jacoby Jones happened, and the Broncos suffered a disappointing 38-35 loss to the Ravens. The Broncos came back with a vengenace in 2013, as Manning shattered every single season passing record he could on the way to a 5477 yard, 55 TD and only 10 INT season. The offense did peter out for the playoffs, but they still had enough in the tank to beat Manning's most hated rivals. First the Chargers in the divisional round 24-17, after taking a 17-0 lead by the end of the third quarter. Then they stopped the Patriots at mile high, winning 26-16, after taking a 20-3 lead by the end of the third quarter. Of course when the super bowl came around, the Broncos decided to lose the game on the very first snap, sending it a mile over peyton's head, and into the endzone. The Seahawks won 43-8, and we don't talk about that game. The Broncos offense would continue to impress in 2014, but you could see that Peyton's arm strength and velocity were rapidly waning into the later months of the season. The Broncos still had gathered enough talent to go 12-4, and earn a first round bye for the third year in a row. However the dysfunction was setting in, as John Fox was already looking for a new job because the super bowl or bust pressure was too much for the man, and he didn't even bother to gameplan for the Colts in the playoffs because he figured he would just be fired anyway. The Colts won easily 24-14, and Fox was gone, off to Chicago to hinder the development of that team for a few seasons. Manning's last hurrah would be in 2015, but the goose was cooked by then. He threw only 9 TD's to 17 INT's in 9 starts, and was even benched for Brock Osweiler. However, he was called back for the last game of the regular season, and in a year where the Broncos defense was doing the heavy lifting, Manning swallowed his pride and made the adjustment to focus on the running game, letting CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman do the hard work and beat the Chargers, to go 12-4 and secure home field advantage over the New England Patriots. That playoff run was a heart attack waiting to happen for a Broncos fan, but the defense held steady and made key stops exactly when they needed to, while Peyton did just enough not to lose those games. With a 23-16 game against the Steelers settled by a key defensive stop, and the AFC Championship won 20-18 thanks to a stop on the Patriots two point convert at the end of the game, the Broncos were super bowl bound against the juggernaut Carolina Panthers. But in the battle of offense versus defense, the defense comes out on top. The Panthers kept trying to make plays, but were stopped at every turn as the defense got key points off of turnovers and short fields, and eventually, painstakingly won the game 24-10. Peyton Manning retired a champion, and the league was better for it.

What's most noticeable about Peyton's splits is his 94% winning percentage in games with good defense. This is the best mark out of every QB in the study and it's kind of absurd. If you weren't scoring at least 23 points against Peyton's team, you didn't have a chance. His splits with bad defense are incredible as well, but the two players ahead of him happened to have absurd and unfair rates which tilted the scores in their favour. Regardless, Peyton gave you three more wins than the average quarterback per season, and it showed in his team's performances. The only time they missed the playoffs was when they had literally the worst defense in the league that season, otherwise they were usually competing for the top seed in the AFC year in and year out. Manning had an incredible career, and his legacy shouldn't be sold short because he played in the golden age of passing. He was the vanguard of the era, and as one of the most cerebral players to ever play the game, he was truly a force to be reckoned with in this league.

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Definitely thought Peyton was gonna be number 2 and Bill Belichick... Or Tom Brady would be number 1 haha

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I had no idea Peyton ever missed the playoffs. And yeah, his winning percentage with good defense is nutty.

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So who are the top 2? Brady and...who else?

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I named them all and Razor confirmed the other day...but now I don't remember who all I said, lol.

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Daryle Lamonica, the Mad Bomber.

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2. Daryle Lamonica* (Buffalo Bills 1963-1966, Oakland Raiders 1967-1974)
(Loses the first three years of his career due to era cutoff)
1st Place Raiders QB
Career Record 65-22-6 (73.12%) 3rd out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 42-5-2 (87.76%) 8th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 23-17-4 (56.82%) 1st out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 49/93 (52.69%) 47th out of 102 (+45)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (3.375)

daryle_lamonica_1969_10_26.jpg

And the award for surprise number 2 goes to Daryle freaking Lamonica. I didn't see this coming, and hell, he was one of the last players I did the numbers for for this entire study. Lamonica is primarily known for one thing, chucking the ball deep, just like Al Davis intended. Lamonica was in a way, everything Al Davis wanted in a quarterback, a ruthless field general who could throw it to any point on the field at any given time, and a guy who just won, baby. Lamonica was drafted in the 24th round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, and god what a beautiful sentence that is. Lamonica not only happened to play QB, but he was also a punter in his rookie season. As he was locked behind Jack Kemp on the depth chart, he never really got a chance in Buffalo, but won every game he started in those four seasons, even with a completion percentage of 42.5% in his time there. Yeah, Lamonica's game was easy to understand... you throw it deep and you make things happen. The Raiders were learning to be competitive, but it wasn't until Lamonica came to Oakland did DA RAIDAHS truly come into existence.

The thing is, Al Davis didn't even want Lamonica, the GM at the time traded starting QB Tom Flores and 4 time AFL All-Star receiver Art Powell for Lamonica and Glenn Bass, a WR that was immediately flipped to the Oilers. Still Lamonica took the starting job in stride and led the Raiders to a 13-1 record, throwing 30 TDs to 20 INT's, and leading the best offense in the AFL. The Raiders would put up 40 on the Oilers in the AFL championship game, but against Bart Starr and the Packers in the second super bowl, the Packers had Lamonica locked down, and easily outpaced the Raiders 33-14. Lamonica would again lead the best offense in the AFL, and take the Raiders to a 12-2 record, with a more modest 25 TD passes and 15 INT's, with a sub 50% completion percentage. The Raiders would face the Chiefs in the divisional round as the AFL expanded their playoffs to four teams, and Lamonica would throw for four touchdowns, 347 yards on 39 attempts, and still fail to complete 50% of his passes. However they would face the Jets in the conference championships, and these teams had bad blood between them. Al Davis had a grudge against them, the Jets were the only AFL team to beat the Raiders in the season prior, and earlier this season the game between them was blacked out to air the movie Heidi, so the whole world missed the Raiders scoring two touchdowns in the final minutes to beat them. So they slugged it out, and matched each other point for point, completion for completion, and incompletion for incompletion. the QB's combined for 667 yards, 4 TD's, and completed 39 of 97 passes in the affair. The Jets simply had the ball last, and Namath led the game winning touchdown drive on the Raiders, 27-23. 

1969 was the last year of the AFL, and once again Lamonica would lead the highest scoring offense in the league. Lamonica would throw for 3300 yards, 33 TDs and 25 INT's while completing a career high 51.9% of his passes. With a 12-1-1 record, the Raiders cruised through the AFL, and against the Oilers in the divisional round, they massacred them 56-7, with Lamonica throwing 6 touchdowns and 276 yards on just 17 passing attempts. However, the mad bomber could not work effectively in the conference championship game against the Chiefs, as he was held to 167 yards on 39 attempts, along with three interceptions in a 17-7 loss. Lamonica would have a little difficult adjusting to the league after the merger, as the Raiders went 8-4-2 in their next two seasons. But 8-4-2 was enough to make the postseason in 1970. Bob Griese would actually outthrow Lamonica in the divisional round, but the Dolphins would lose 21-14. It was however the Raiders fate to lose to the eventual super bowl champion, and this time the Colts would beat them in the conference championship. Lamonica would be taken out of the game early by injuries, and George Blanda would be the one to take the fall. 1971 would see the Raiders miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since Lamonica became the starter. He would only start one season after that, as a combination of injuries began to take their toll on the man as he entered his 30's. But he did save his best for last, adapting a bit to the more conservative NFL game, completing 53% of his passes and leaning on the run game a little more, while trying some of those shorter routes from time to time. The Raiders would go 10-3-1, and win the AFC West once again. Lamonica would be taken out early in the divisional round, and watched Ken Stabler make his case for the future starter of the Raiders, as he nearly led the game winning drive over the Steelers until the immaculate reception happened. Lamonica stuck around for a couple more seasons as Stabler's backup and taking a few starts here and there, but eventually hung it up at the age of 33. He attempted a comeback in the short lived World Football League, but that plan pretty much immediately went bust.

So, Lamonica benefited a lot from playing in the AFL, and to be honest, I think his interception totals helped make that wins with bad defense rate appear just a little bit better, because you could almost guarantee that he'd contribute points to the defense. Regardless, he was a proficient quarterback at winning the games, and he was perfect for the AFL, because just chucking it deep every play was the best thing you could do. Lamonica excelled against man coverage, but was suspect when his opposition threw in zone defense, because how do you chuck it deep with a safety over the top every time? Well, Lamonica would try, and he would find a way. His winning percentage with good defenses was also incredible, as one would expect from a player with only 22 losses in 93 starts. Is Lamonica the second best quarterback of all time? No, not in the slightest. Did he win at an absurdly proficient rate in an era primarily known for slug it out defenses where most of the best QB's of the era were also on teams with the best defenses of the era? Hell yeah he did, and that's insane. These win rates are insane. But there is still one player left, and you all know who it is.

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The Actual Tom Brady writeup:

Tom Brady combines legitimate skill with ungodly luck, and all of that puts him in the front runner position for winningest QB of all time. Throughout his career his defenses have been rock solid, aside from a few weak years here or there, the Patriots are not only good on scoring defense, they turn out among the league's best. That sort of thing happens when you're paired with the best head coach of all time throughout your entire career. In the 18 years since Brady has been a starter, his defense has fallen outside of the top ten in scoring defense just three times, and never below 17th. In addition, Brady has had arguably the best offensive weapon in the league on his team since 2007, ignoring the times when prime Randy Moss and prime Rob Gronkowski have been injured. That's not to say that it all comes down to luck, but when you have free agents willing to take paycuts to join your organization, you know you're getting a step ahead of the rest of the pack. Another understated thing in the Patriots favour was the divisional realignment of 2002. You can see how well Peyton Manning did in his career, and the realignment took the Patriots greatest competitor out of the division entirely. Sure the Jets were looking like a contender thanks to their strong running game and an efficient young quarterback, but the Bills and Dolphins had started a tailspin ever since losing Marino and Kelly, and have never reclaimed those heights at the position. Then of course Chad Pennington struggled with injuries throughout his career, and the competition the Patriots have faced for division titles has been laughable for the most part. In addition, and this isn't all luck, Brady has been remarkably healthy his entire career, only missing one season because of a torn ACL in 2008.

Since 2001 the Patriots have won 16 of the past 18 division titles, missing only in 2002 (super bowl hangover), and 2008 (Brady lost the season because of Bernard Pollard). Just as well, in both seasons they were tied for the division lead only to lose it on tiebreakers and miss the playoffs entirely. That means in every postseason run Brady has had, the Pats have had a guaranteed home game. In addition to that, the Patriots have had 13 first round byes in those 16 trips, and seven of those with home field advantage throughout the postseason. It is quite absurd how blessed the Patriots are by a weak division that never seems to get it right. Brady is 81-21 against division rivals, 30-3 against the Bills, 27-7 against the Jets and 22-11 against the Dolphins. If you were to give an average quarterback defenses that never gave up more than 23 points, they would still have a worse winning record than Tom Brady. To say that the notion of parity has been completely ruined by the Patriots is an understatement.

Brady's splits are absurd, being both second overall in games with good defense (92.82%, just behind Peyton's 94%), and second overall with bad defense, eclipsing the 50% mark along with Daryle Lamonica. I think the most interesting thing about Brady is that we could easily be talking about a Tom Brady who could never win the big game until the very end of his career thanks to this Rams self own. In 2001 you've got the Tuck Rule game, if the called had stood, the Raiders and Steelers would be playing in the AFC Championship that season. In addition, the super bowl was decided by a last second field goal, miss that and we've got OT with the greatest show on turf. 2003 had John Kasay kick it out of bounds on the last kickoff, giving the Patriots easy field position to get another game winning field goal. 2004, if McNabb doesn't get the flu you might see the Eagles perform better, but this is probably the biggest stretch in that regard. You've got the legacy of spygate hovering over each of those super bowl victories though. 2007 has the perfect season stopped by the Giants, and the Giants would silence them again in 2011. If the Seahawks just run the ball into the endzone on the last drive of Super Bowl 49, they win 31-28. If the Falcons literally didn't shoot themselves in the foot on every single occasion in the second half after going up 28-3, the Patriots would have been 0-8 in super bowls. At least with the Rams super bowl, there is no excuse, they literally just got outcoached and outplayed. The real controversy was the fact that the Rams were their opponents and not the Saints, but that's not a hypothetical we can dig into and say anything about what the result would be. But yeah, it's just an interesting thought exercise. Point is, Brady combines incredible skill, with incredible luck, and that's why he ends up being the QB with the highest wins above average on this list.

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