Can We Confidently Name the GOAT?
When it comes to GOAT (Greatest of All Time) debates, NFL quarterbacks are near the top in terms of popularity. While their are certainly still fans of franchises, as some of the greats have left their mark, fans have increasingly shifted their allegiances to players. For example, their are Tom Brady fans all over the world, despite many never having stepped foot into the Boston or Tampa areas.
In this article, we're going to examine the 4 players who traditionally come up in the NFL QB GOAT debate: Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre. All 4 certainly had careers worthy of consideration. Below, we'll look at the stats, the championships, and the overall impact that each athlete had. We'll then compare the quarterbacks before drawing a conclusion.
Can we confidently call either one of these guys the best to ever do it? You'll find out by the end.
It's hard not to start this debate without mentioning the name of Tom Brady first. Brady has been widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time for years, and for good reason. With seven Super Bowl victories to his name, he has more than any other quarterback in history. He's also won three league MVP awards, been named to 14 Pro Bowls, and has thrown for over 79,000 yards and 581 touchdowns throughout his career.
Another quarterback who is often in the conversation is Joe Montana. Montana played for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs during his career, and he led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories in the 1980s. He was also named the Super Bowl MVP three times, and he's often credited with being one of the most clutch quarterbacks in history. Montana threw for over 40,000 yards and 273 touchdowns in his career, and he was named to eight Pro Bowls.
Peyton Manning is another name that is often mentioned in discussions of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Manning played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos during his career, and he won two Super Bowl titles. He was named the league MVP five times, and he threw for over 71,000 yards and 539 touchdowns throughout his career. Manning was known for his cerebral approach to the game, and he was often praised for his ability to read defenses and make adjustments on the fly.
Brett Favre is another quarterback who is often included in these discussions. Favre played for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings during his career, and he won one Super Bowl title with the Packers. He was named the league MVP three times, and he threw for over 71,000 yards and 508 touchdowns throughout his career. Favre was known for his toughness and his willingness to take risks on the field, and he was often praised for his ability to make plays when it mattered most.
These are just a few of the many quarterbacks who could be considered for the title of greatest NFL quarterback of all time. So how do we determine who truly deserves the title?
One approach is to look at statistics. While statistics don't tell the whole story, they can certainly give us a sense of a quarterback's overall performance. By this metric, Tom Brady has a strong case for the title. As mentioned earlier, he's thrown for over 79,000 yards and 581 touchdowns in his career, both of which are NFL records. He also has the highest career passer rating of any quarterback in history. However, it's worth noting that Brady has also played for longer than many other quarterbacks, which has given him more opportunities to accumulate these statistics.
Another approach is to look at championships. Winning Super Bowls is often seen as the ultimate measure of a quarterback's success, and in this regard, Tom Brady is again a strong contender. His seven Super Bowl victories are more than any other quarterback in history, and he's won these titles with both the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, it's worth noting that quarterbacks are just one part of a team, and winning championships often requires a strong supporting cast.
A third approach is to consider a quarterback's impact on the game. This could include factors like their leadership skills, their ability to make their teammates better, and their ability to perform under pressure. There's a lot of subjectivity to this approach. If we were to interview former teammates of Brady, Montana, Manning, and Favre, all would probably argue that his quarterback should be on top. Is it possible to evaluate who had the stronger supporting cast?
Despite the recent retirement and divorce drama, it's hard to argue against Tom Brady here. The culmination of winning, longevity, performance, and leadership may never be repeated in our lifetime.
If you love football, check out our list of Best Football Books here. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments!
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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