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Best NFL QBs by Skill Category


vcczar
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The following are how many seasons a QB has been top 3 in a category in a season. In 1946-1955, I decrease this to top 2 because there are fewer teams. From 1932-1945, I do the top QB because fewer QBs are throwing. Obviously all QBs must throw enough to qualify. From 1960-1969, I combine both the NFL and AFL. I also combine the AAFC and NFL in the late 1940s since that league became part of the NFL just as the AFL did. The NFL considers AFL and AAFC stats as NFL career stats is the primary reason I include them. Prior to 1932, passing TDs was the only passing stat recorded, so I can't include those QBs, but if you are curious, Benny Friedman had 66 TDs in this era, which wouldn't be surpassed until the mid-1940s. QBs that routinely threw a lot are somewhat hampered in these % rankings, such as Dan Marino. Marino put up tons of yards and TDs, but he threw way more to get those yards and TDs. Brees is similarly hurt, but he was far more accurate than the already accurate Marino. A lot of major winners, such as Brady, Aikman, Roethlisberger, Bradshaw, Starr, Jim Kelly, etc. are hardly represented, if at all, possibly because Defense or RBs carried the teams. 

Most Accurate QB (Comp%)

  • Gold Medal: Drew Brees, 12 seasons
  • Silver Medal: Peyton Manning, 10 seasons
  • Bronze Medals: Sammy Baugh and Joe Montana, 9 seasons
  • Honorable Mentions to Steve Young and YA Tittle for 8 seasons. 

Most Deadly QB (TD%)

  • Gold Medal: Aaron Rodgers, 7 seasons
  • Silver Medal: Brett Favre, 6 seasons
  • Bronze Medal: Peyton Manning, 5 seasons
  • Honorable Mentions to Steve Young, Johnny Unitas, Len Dawson, and Boomer Esiason for 4 seasons.

Most Error-Free QB (Low INT%)

  • Gold Medal: Aaron Rodgers, 9 seasons
  • Silver Medal: Fran Tarkenton, 6 seasons
  • Bronze Medals: Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Sammy Baugh, and Ken Anderson, 5 seasons
  • No honorable mentions because of so many bronze medals. 

Best Big Gain QB (Adjusted Yards Per Att%)

  • Gold Medals: Aaron Rodgers and Steve Young, 7 seasons
  • Silver Medals: Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning, 6 seasons
  • Bronze Medals: Otto Graham and Roger Staubach, 5 seasons
  • No honorable mentions because of so many medal winners. 

Most Consistently Top-Rated QB (Rating)

  • Gold Medal: Steve Young, 7 seasons
  • Silver Medal: Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, 6 seasons
  • Bronze Medals: Otto Graham, Roger Staubach, Bart Starr, Drew Brees

Aaron Rodgers wins 3 gold medals and Steve Young wins two gold medals. In fact, if we score them like the olympics, we get:

  • Aaron Rodgers, 11 pts
  • Peyton Manning, 7 pts
  • Steve Young, 6 pts
  • Drew Brees, 4 pts
  • Sammy Baugh, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, Roger Staubach, 2 pts
  • Tom Brady, Ken Anderson, Bart Starr, 1 pt

QBs by Decades (won't count them if they played only a couple years in a decade):

  • 1930s: Baugh
  • 1940s: Baugh, Graham
  • 1950s: Unitas, Graham, Starr
  • 1960s: Tarkenton, Unitas, Starr
  • 1970s: Tarkenton, Staubach, Anderson
  • 1980s: SYoung, Montana, Anderson
  • 1990s: SYoung, Montana, Favre
  • 2000s: Rodgers, PManning, Brees, Favre, Brady
  • 2010s: Rodgers, PManning, Brees, Brady
  • 2020s: Rodgers, Brady

Somehow Ken Anderson is not in the Hall of Fame. The concentration of these top skilled QBs is the 2000s decade. Green Bay has three top-skilled QBs. SYoung-Montana and Rodgers-Favre were on the same team together. 

I think the top candidates to join this list someday are Mahomes and Burrows. No other QB that has played at least a full season that is active today seems likely to get here. Even Burrows is a stretch. 

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4 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

One criticism that I have is ignoring the rushing aspect. Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen are 2 QBs that should have a shot at joining Rodgers and Favre in the 2020s. But rushing is a big part of their games (especially Lamar who already has an MVP).

I might do that but then I’d also have to take sacks and yards lost to sacks in account. The issue with that is those stats only go back so far. I might just have a mark for being a rushing QB that was top 10 in rushing yards or rushing TDs in a season. This would help Cam Newton and Michael Vick. 

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