Thursday, June 26, 2008

Settling the 'Greatest QB of All-Time' Debate?

I envy the guys over at Pro Football Reference. They run this amazing site that all football nerds and statisticians crave. All the data is available free. And they also write great pieces analyzing the data and determining things like who is the best kick returner of all-time or what is the best single season ever for a running back.

One of those questions that comes up almost daily around the internet and on sports shows is "who is the greatest QB ever?". It is a valid question. If I picked out 10 random people and asked that question I may get 10 different answers. Tarkenton. Elway. Favre. Young. Montana. Manning. Brady. Bradshaw. Staubach. Namath. Kelly. There's 11 right there and I could list another 3 or 4 that should be considered as well.

Luckily Pro Football Reference did this analysis for us. Twice. The first time was prior to the 2006 season. The analysis stated that the single best season by a QB since 1970 was Peyton Manning's 2004 season. It pegged Steve Young as the greatest QB since 1970. Much debate followed. Fast forward 2 years to 2008. Tom Brady's historic 2007 season is in the books and used in the analysis. Where does it stand? Who has the best single season in the history of professional football (this 2nd time around the PFR guys went beyond 1970)? And finally, who is the greatest QB ever? Here are the results.

Steve Young earned 'Best QB of All-Time' honors from PFR in 2006. Not so much in 2008. He placed 3rd.

That's right people. It's Dan Marino times two. Using different statistical methods in 2008 than in 2006, the PFR guys determined the Dan Marino had the greatest season ever by a QB (1984) and is the best QB of All-Time. It's actually not even close yet. He leads #2 Peyton Manning by almost 650 points. In my mind Peyton Manning will be the greatest QB ever in the next 2-3 years. But Marino is the man for now based on this analysis.

For those of you that don't want to head on over to Pro Football Reference, here are the Top 10 in each category:

Greatest Single Season by a QB
  1. Dan Marino (1984)
  2. Peyton Manning (2004)
  3. Tom Brady (2007)
  4. Otto Graham (1953)
  5. Steve Young (1992)
  6. Bert Jones (1976)
  7. Sid Luckman (1943)
  8. Kurt Warner (1999)
  9. Steve Young (1994)
  10. Dan Fouts (1981)

Greatest QB of All-Time
  1. Dan Marino
  2. Peyton Manning
  3. Steve Young
  4. Fran Tarkenton
  5. Joe Montana
  6. Dan Fouts
  7. Johnny Unitas
  8. Ken Anderson
  9. Roger Staubach
  10. Len Dawson
Here are the ranks of others of note: Brett Favre (11); John Elway (15); Bart Starr (16); Tom Brady (19); Joe Namath (30); Jim Kelly (34); Troy Aikman (37); Terry Bradshaw (39); Bob Griese (40). It is important to note that these ratings do not take into account postseason statistics or any awards; it is solely based on regular season statistics. For a detailed look at how PFR did all of this, read this.

All hail Marino, the GREATEST QB OF ALL-TIME!!! Well, for at least another 2 or 3 years. Damn you, Peyton!

1 comment:

E said...

unitas is getting the shaft hardcore here. he's EASILY top 3. i'd probably put him at #1 personally. namath and #30 is joke in he should be lower.