Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates a two-point conversion against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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There have been four dynasties during the Super Bowl era in the NFL, each primarily led by one iconic quarterback. Pillars of the game.
Of course the man of the hour is Tom Brady, proclaimed by all to now be the greatest of all-time. It’s hard to argue at this point because he’s in the midst of polishing off his Hall of Fame career. Most of the modern fans weren’t around to watch other guys make their own runs. Sometimes though the true greatness of a quarterback isn’t in their stats or number of wins. It’s who they had to overcome in order to reach their peak.
This article will rank all four dynasty era quarterbacks based on the quality of quarterbacks they faced in the Super Bowl. Perhaps that will clarify the perception on the who is the greatest ever.
#1: Joe Montana
Ken Anderson (4x Pro Bowl, 1x MVP)
Dan Marino (1x MVP, Hall of Fame)
Boomer Esiason (1x MVP, 4x Pro Bowl)
John Elway (1x MVP, Hall of Fame, 2x SB champion)
#2: Tom Brady
Kurt Warner (2x MVP, Hall of Fame, SB champion)
Jake Delhomme (1x Pro Bowl)
Donovan McNabb (6x Pro Bowl)
Russell Wilson (3x Pro Bowl, SB champion)
Matt Ryan (4x Pro Bowl,1x MVP)
#3: Terry Bradshaw
Fran Tarkenton (1x MVP, Hall of Fame)
Roger Staubach (Hall of Fame, 2x SB champion)
#4: Troy Aikman
Jim Kelly (Hall of Fame)
Neal O’Donnell (1x Pro Bowl)
A lot of Patriots fans are going to be angry about this. Brady winning five Super Bowls should rank him at the top. No. That is not what these rankings are about. It’s meant to measure the quality of quarterback competition these men overcame. Brady had a heck of a slate to surpass, but only one who reached the Hall of Fame. The rest settle in the really good but not quite great territory. Perhaps with time Wilson and Ryan will change that but it’s hard to see at this point. Also it’s important to note Brady lost two Super Bowls to Eli Manning.
Joe Montana gains the edge because he not only overcame but often destroyed his competition. Marino and Elway were two all-time greats. Esiason and Anderson were MVPs. Montana beat them all and never lost once in his four cracks. Brady may be the greatest of all-time based on accomplishments overall, but when it comes to quality of competition he’s faced it’s still Joe Cool.