Quarterback debate


The position of quarterback has nearly always been the most glamorous in football. It also triggers an intriguing argument as to who is the best. This blog won’t offer an answer to such a debate but I will throw (pun intended) out some interesting discussion points.

The first question to ponder focuses on today. Who is the best quarterback in the NFL? Is it Tom Brady who at age 34 seemingly is at his best? If he keeps on pace with what he’s done in the first quarter of 2011, he’ll throw for more than 6,200 yards this season. What about Peyton Manning? Despite being sidelined, has the legacy he has built since entering the NFL in 1998 still give him the nod as the NFL’s finest? How about Aaron Rodgers? After all, he quietly has risen from the shadows of Brett Favre although his Super Bowl victory last February has made some noise for his case. If you missed our Top 20 update from Tuesday, you might be interested to learn that he is the NFL’s all-time top rated passer and has the rare distinction of having a career rating of more than 100.

I’ll leave it at that. Now, let’s move on to a more convoluted debate. Are we witness to the greatest era of quarterbacks ever? Before you weigh in, I’ll offer this quick review of history for you.

The passing era really began in the late 1920s into the early ‘30s with Benny Friedman becoming the first real great bona fide passer.

“Slingin’” Sammy Baugh made his debut on the NFL scene in 1937 with the Washington Redskins and for the next 16 seasons revolutionized the passing game on the pro level. Of course, the game also benefited during that era from such greats as the Chicago Bears Sid Luckman and the Packers Arnie Herber.

Legendary quarterbacks like Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns and Bobby Layne who reached stardom with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions bridged that era to the years that featured Johnny Unitas and Norm Van Brocklin.

The 1960s and ‘70s gave us greats like Terry Bradshaw, Len Dawson, and Roger Staubach to name a few.

Then, we moved in the 1980s and ‘90s where we, as football fans, got to enjoy the exploits of Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon among many others.

Now, I’ll circle back and ask one more time, are we experiencing the greatest era ever for quarterbacks?

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