NFL Quarterbacks

Anyone who follows the NFL to any extent has heard that “Aaron Rodgers is the best Quarterback in the league” or something to that effect. However, anyone who looks at the stat comparisons of his closest contemporaries, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, will see that this is far from the truth.

Pop quiz: Which Quarterback has led the NFL in touchdowns since 2006? Since 2008? Since 2011? Is it Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? E.J. Manuel? Wrong on all three counts! It’s Drew Brees. He has led the NFL in Touchdowns and yards since all three segments. Yet why he is not considered to be among the NFL’s best is beyond me. Manning is considered along the lines of was the best at one point, but now Rodgers has taken over that role and seems to be perennially considered the best quarterback in the league by most of the ESPN pundits. You might say, “Rodgers must have had several exceptional years, right?”. Well, consier this: he has never led the league in touchdowns (the year he won MVP, Brees had one more touchdown than he had) and has never even come close to winning in yards. Now, this is not saying he did not have a good year that year (In all honesty, he did deserve to win MVP that year, but his supporting cast was far superior to Brees’. This is arguably the first year that the Saints come close in terms of targets), but a single season where he plays well does not equal best quarterback in the league, especially considering he has never passed for 5,000 yards (Although it should be noted, Peyton only did that this past year, and Brees is the only one to do it more than once).

So who is the best quarterback in the NFL right now? Is it the ones who can put up high numbers with a powerful supporting cast? Manning broke all the records last year, but he did so with one of the most stacked offenses in the history of the league (similar to Brady’s 50 TD season team). Or, perhaps, is it the one who puts up similar numbers with a far inferior supporting cast? The combined pro bowls of all Brees’ possible targets this year comes to a grand total of 2, both from Jimmy Graham (It should be noted that Graham is one of the most valuable targets in the league, but because the Saints have lacked elsewhere, he is able to be double covered or more, such as in the Saints games versus Seattle, where he was double covered by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas for nearly the entire time he was on the field in both games).

I think the best conclusion is simply to have qualifiers attached to the question. If you mean over the past 6 years? The answer has to be Brees. But, due to Brees’ slow start in his first few years both with Chargers and the Saints, he takes a hit from early on in his career. Looking at last 3 years, the answer has to be Brees or Peyton. Drew leads in the stats over past 3, but after Manning’s stellar year last year (again, which deserves an asterisk because of the talent around him), it’s truly a toss up. Brees/Manning interchangeable at first, gap, and then Aaron Rodgers would be a fair assessment.

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