We all love lists. Here's one that involves all quarterbacks who played sometime during the period between 1966 and 2010, even if their reputation and hence their ranking depended on performances in previous years (e. Unitas, Jurgensen, Meredith etc.)
1. Joe Montana
Four rings, no losses in the big game, won them over the course of almost a decade playing with very different squads. Won in blow-outs (55-10), won in nail-biters in which he made the decisive plays (26-21, 20-16). the drive he engineered to win the 1989 SB is still the gold standard. He did exactly what Peyton Manning failed to do last night. His best performance might have come as a collegian in the Cotton Bowl.
2. John Elway
He lost a number of Bowls, but won two in a row and was everything to the team he led. An awesome arm, great mobility, all the brains you could want and above all a winner. His last minute drives over the course of his career rightly made him a legend.
3. Tom Brady
Three rings against one loss. A system quarterback to be sure, whose 5 yards in a cloud of dust passing game is one of the most boring developments in NFL history. But he has won over most of his career, regular season as well as playoffs, and in two SBs in particular, the upset of the greatest show on turf Rams and the win over the incredibly feisty Panthers, he was truly stellar.
4. Johnny Unitas
Played on one winner (V) and one loser (III) in the Super Bowl, but clearly his greatness came earlier, at the end of the fifties and the early sixties. His performance in the 1958 overtime win against the Giants was not only one of the best ever, it helped to make the NFL what it is today, America's favorite game.
5. Bart Starr
A system quarterback like Brady, he won 2 SBs but lost none and won 3 NFL championships in the preceding years (1961,2 and 5), when that was the highest rung on the ladder. That is 5 championships against one loss (1960), an amazing record. He did little more than manage the game, but nobody, ever, has managed the game as well.
6.. Brett Favre
Meant more to a very good team than just about anyone else on this list. His stats are as amazing as his bravura. Only his weakness for the big interception keeps him out of the top 5. A better version of Joe Namath.
6. Dan Marino
No wins against one loss in the Super Bowl, but probably the best pure passer in the game, ever. a better version of Sonny Jurgensen.
7. Peyton Manning
One of the two best regular season quarterbacks ever, his post-seasonn performances have by his standard been little short of dreadful. He seems to rattle easily. he eeveen played poorly in his one Super bowl win, which came as a gift from the egregious Rex Grossman.
8. Terry BradshawRoger Staubach
Four rings, no losses. But nobody holds him responsible. U nlike Montana, he quarterbacked essentially the same squad to all 4 wins, and unlike Montana, Bradshaw quarterbacked a team whose real star was the defense.
Staubach won two Bowls but lost both of his match-ups against Bradshaw. Still he was more responsible for his team's success.
9. Troy Aikman
Three rings with the great Cowboy squads of the 1990's. The talent surrounding him was awesome, leaving one to wonder how much he was the beneficiary of circumstance and how much he was its architect.
10. Kurt Warner
Won one very close Super Bowl, lost two very close Super Bowls. The one constant, he always played well, always passed with great accuracy, and always led his team admirably. Like the other names on this list he will be in the Hall of Fame.
He had sensational years with the Chargers before they stupidly kicked him to the curb in favor of Philip Rivers, and he has had four great years with New Orleans. assuming he plays another 5 years, he will likely get another SB championship and rack up some amazing stats, particularly as pertains to passing accuracy.
Rightly a Hall of Famer, he was a terrific regular season qb, who always led the league in passer rating while showing great running ability. Tended to melt under the bright post-season lights and having inherited Montana's team always suffered by the big game comparison.