A few months back, NFL.com analyst David Carr killed all his credibility by saying former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was not a top-10 all-time quarterback. The segment made the Billy Madison scene about The Puppy Who Lost His Way seem like a Stephen Hawking video by comparison.
Well, now we have an actual list rather than a video segment, and it’s one we can all get behind (well, I can at least), and that’s Elliot Harrison’s top-25 all-time best quarterbacks list. Joe Montana hits No. 2 while New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady goes to the top spot.
Here’s probably the best thing Harrison said about Montana’s career:
“Montana’s Super Bowl feats are well-documented. What is not as highlighted is how effective he was during a three-year span in which he almost lifted the 49ers to the first three-peat. Montana’s postseason run from 1988 to 1990 pushed him to the lofty perch of being the greatest quarterback of all time, as he posted a 100-plus passer rating in eight straight playoff games, winning all but one start. That was the 1990 NFC Championship Game, when Montana got knocked out in the second half by the Giants’ Leonard Marshall. San Francisco was winning at the time of his injury. Montana’s TD-to-INT ratio in those eight games: 22:2. Gooooodnight.”
As I said when I ripped Carr a new one, I have the unpopular opinion of having Brady ahead of Montana. I do understand the argument that they played in two different eras, and there’s no telling how Brady’s body would hold up against the likes of Lawrence Taylor and others coming for his head. That said, if you’re looking at all-time greats, Brady goes ahead of Montana. Records and greats are meant to be surpassed and broken respectively, and I have to give credit where it’s due.
But I’m not here to rehash the Montana/Brady debate (we need something to talk about). There was ANOTHER quarterback on that list. Steve Young made it onto Harrison’s list at No. 15.
“Young is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in passer rating for four consecutive seasons (1991-1994). He was able to pull that feat off while replacing a legend in Joe Montana, which is beyond admirable. Young was tops in passer rating two more times before retiring, which gave him six such titles in eight seasons as San Francisco’s starting quarterback.”
Now, this is where I disagree with things. Steve Young at 15 seems about right, but it’s who’s in front of him that I get worked up over. Troy Aikman, I can somewhat begrudgingly understand, but Brett Favre at 12? No. No, no, no, NO! Brett Favre deserves to be on a list of top-25 quarterbacks, but he certainly doesn’t need to be in front of Steve Young. Yes, Favre threw far more touchdowns than Young (508 vs. 232). He also threw far more interceptions (336 vs. Young’s 107). Young also finished with a 96.8 passer rating while Favre finished with 86.0.
Other names show up ahead of Young that makes me scratch my head, but Favre is the one I don’t understand. Then again, I’m biased since Favre single-handedly gave me a bad childhood. From my observations and memories, except for a Super Bowl, it was down to a science how he’d torpedo a ball out, and it’d get picked off to end the Packers’ (and Vikings’) season.
What do you think of this list? Do you think Young is a better QB than Favre? Personally, I’d have him at No. 11 or 10, but that’s me.