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19 Jan 2011

Walkthrough: Full House

by Mike Tanier

After months of soul searching, I have finally formed an opinion on Mark Sanchez: I have no opinion on Mark Sanchez.

I don't think he's great. I don't think he's terrible. I don't think he is overrated or overhyped. I don't think he's unfairly dismissed or criticized. I don't think his supporters are uninformed. I don't think his detractors are unjustified.

I don't think he gets too much credit for the Jets' success. I don't think he gets too little credit for the effectiveness of the Jets offense. I don't think he's disrespected. I don't think he's over-scrutinized.

When it comes to Sanchez, I just don't think.

I don't disagree with those who claim he's not ineffective. I won't criticize those who claim his inaccuracy is overblown. I don't find arguments that his leadership is overstated to be unpersuasive. If you are unimpressed with his playoff accomplishments, I refuse not to differ with you.

I'm a not-unreasonable person.

While watching the Jets-Colts game two weeks ago, some friends asked me my opinion of Sanchez. I said that he "has his moments," that he "does some things well," and that he's "developing." These are not my proudest comments as an NFL analyst: a full-house backfield of noncommittal generalities. But I meant every one of them.

When Sanchez threw an interception before halftime, one of my friends asked me if I wanted to "revise" my opinion. Did I really express an opinion? I never thought of "developing" as the kind of gushing praise I would have to eat after one interception. I needed to be more aggressively wishy-washy. I should have piled on some double-negatives, maybe with some misplaced adverbs. Sanchez is not terrible. Extremely not terrible.

Maybe I need to revise that.

Sanchez is that guy right now. He's the lightning rod. The player to overreact about. The latest object of our backspin/counter-spin obsession. Heaven knows I am not the person who can stay ahead of such a squiggly curve. I have no idea if he's overrated or underrated because I don't know how he is rated, or who rated him there. I don't know what anyone else thinks of him, but I do know what everyone else thinks about everyone else's opinion of him.

Everyone believes that everyone else has misjudged Sanchez, for better or worse. That makes me suspect that everyone is on about the same page and merely reacting to some warped perception of what "the masses" think. "Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but I know better." ... "No one will give him his props, but I will." There's no bandwagon, and there are ample props. There's no consensus, just a lot of people reacting to a perceived consensus, which in a way is its own consensus. Everyone agrees to disagree.

Everyone but me, because I don't have an opinion on Sanchez.

I don't want one, and I don't think I need one. You don't need me to have one, do you? You have your own, and I wouldn't possibly impose on you to accept mine, if I had one. If I have to talk about Sanchez during a radio appearance, I will borrow one of yours. Or I will just recast the obvious into something that sounds meaningful. "The Jets can definitely win football games with Sanchez." ... "They need Sanchez to have a strong game to beat the Super Bowl." ... "Mark Sanchez definitely exists."

Wait, that all sounds like faint praise, and faint praise is an opinion. A damning one, no less. Sanchez is a quarterback you can win with. That's an insult, right? Well, he's proven that he can lead the Jets to wins. Uh-oh. String "proven," "lead," and "wins" together, and it sounds like I am arguing from intangibles to make him sound better than I think he is. Even though I am not sure how good I think he is.

Not that I think he's bad. He may be pretty good. Not incredibly pretty good, but slightly pretty good.

Sigh.

I can't wait to switch to draft coverage.

The Fullness of the House

The Packers full house backfield is old news.

I realized this when I searched my diagram archives looking for old Packers plays I could modify or recycle for this week. I found a real beauty, a quick slant near the end zone to Greg Jennings.

The quarterback was labeled "4." That dates the diagram to 2007. Old news.

In the playoffs, the Packers full house has become more than a wrinkle. They ran the ball regularly out of the formation against the Eagles, then mixed full house running and passing against the Falcons. They are running plays just like the ones they used back in 2007, but they have also added a few twists. So let's take yet another look at the formation to see what the Bears can expect on Sunday.

Figure 1: Old full-house cutback

Figures 1 and 2 look somewhat identical, but Figure 1 is based on a play from 2007, while Figure 2 was taken from the Packers-Eagles game. It's a simple cutback run. One of the advantages of the full house is that it puts both fullbacks in great position to make second-level blocks on linebackers. One fullback can lead block while the other cuts off pursuit. This takes pressure off the offensive linemen, who can concentrate on double teams or sustaining blocks without worrying about climbing up to the second level.

The defense can counter by putting eight or nine defenders in the box against the Packers, but most defenses don't. The Packers wide receivers are too dangerous, and as we will see, the Packers have a few passes in their full-house package. (The defense in Figure 1 also only has 10 men on the field. Trust me: The other safety was just playing really, really deep.)

If you are doing the "Spot the Difference" routine with the two diagrams, you will notice some obvious differences (Figure 1 includes a tight end and Ryan Grant), plus some subtle changes in the interior blocking scheme. Offensive line blocking assignments are based on the defensive front. The Packers are facing a four-man line in both diagrams, but the line is shifted right in Figure 1 and left in Figure 2.

Figure 2: New full-house cutback

A typical blocking scheme would call for a double team on whichever defender is covering the center. The guard who isn't double-teaming will typically have the three-technique tackle on his outside shoulder. In both figures, that guard blocks inside-out on the three-tech. And so on. Many teams, particularly 3-4 teams, use unusual fronts: six-man lines, stacked fronts with defenders head-up on the center and both guards, and so on. Those fronts can disrupt the blocking assignments on plays like this. The Bears usually stick to predictable defensive fronts.

Figure 3 takes us to Sunday. It's second-and-6, and the game is still close. The Falcons are showing blitz, with two linebackers on the edges of the line of scrimmage. The Falcons have not been fooled into thinking run by the full-house formation. Unfortunately, by showing blitz, they make it clear that they are in man coverage, making Rodgers' read easier.

Man coverage against the full-house backfield should be easy to execute -- the outside linebackers take the fullbacks, the middle linebacker or a safety takes the running back. With two slow guys releasing out of the backfield, the defense has a lot of time to react and adjust. That's one of the weaknesses of using a full-house formation and personnel. But by blitzing, the Falcons limit their coverage options.

Figure 3: Kuhn's quick catch

Pre-snap, Rodgers reads blitzes by the outside linebackers. That means Curtis Lofton (50) must be in coverage with one or more of the safeties. No one is in position to cover a quick pass to the flat, which is where John Kuhn (30) is headed. As soon as Rodgers confirms that the linebacker is coming, he makes the safe, smart throw to Kuhn for nine quick yards.

Note the seven-man protection scheme by the Packers. The offensive line fans right, while James Starks (44) and Quinn Johnson (45) block left, with Starks to the outside. Jennings (85) runs a slant and is probably the primary receiver on this route. Lofton is responsible for Kuhn, while William Moore (25) appears to have coverage duties on whichever back releases to the offensive left. The Falcons weren't looking for a pass to a back from this formation. They were ready for a slant to a wide receiver, but not an outlet throw. Plays like this give the Packers just enough versatility from the full house to keep opponents from keying on one or two tendencies.

Figure 4 shows what happens if the defense plays soft coverage against the full house. It's first down in the third quarter, the game is getting out of hand. The Falcons are reeling. Moore sneaks up toward the line before the snap, so the Falcons appear to be run-blitzing. Moore and the linebackers crash the gaps hard, beat the fullbacks to the holes, and either crunch Starks or find Rodgers. But both cornerbacks are about 10 yards off the ball, and Rodgers, Jennings, and Jordy Nelson (86) all see it. At the snap, both receivers jab-step, then turn and look for the ball. Rodgers takes a one-step drop and fires to Nelson, who shakes off Brent Grimes for a significant gain.

Figure 4: Nelson's smoke route

Regular readers are probably familiar with the "smoke" call: a quarterback-and-receiver change at the line of scrimmage to exploit soft coverage. This was almost certainly a smoke play, as Starks looks a little confused when he sees Rodgers stop to throw. It's a great call for first-and-10 with a two-touchdown lead -- gain a few safe yards, give the defense one more thing to worry about. It's another great play from a full-house formation, because there are no extra defenders out on the perimeter. The full-house formation pulls the linebackers inside the tackle box, creating a lot of extra space for slants like the one Jennings ran in Figure 3.

No discussion of the Packers' full-house tactics would be complete without looking at Figure 5, Kuhn's goal-line plunge behind the blocks of Johnson and defensive tackle B.J. Raji (90). The formation is interesting, with Johnson and Raji bunched over the right tackle and guard, closer to the line of scrimmage than conventional fullbacks.

Figure 5: Raji is the fridge

One problem I have with using some 300-pounder as a goal-line fullback is that these guys don't block very well on the move. It's one thing to slam into the guy 18 inches from your face, and another to get a clean shot on a crashing linebacker after moving forward three or four yards. Raji is only about two yards behind the line of scrimmage on this play, and he is given the easier assignment. Johnson must find and neutralize an unblocked linebacker in the C-gap, while Raji can run straight into a double team and just hit things. Raji does a good enough job of nailing Lofton, and he helps the right tackle with his block along the way.

The Packers could easily replace Raji with Korey Hall and make this formation more versatile. I am certain there's a counter to the left in their playbook, and at least one rollout. Still, there's something to be said for stacking a bunch of huge men behind each other, telling them to run forward, then running behind them.

After years of executing plays from the full-house formation, the Packers have a very logical progression of plays at their disposal. The full house is a well-integrated part of their offense, and they can run or pass from the formation without becoming predictable. It's also a fun formation to diagram and write about. If the Packers unveil some kind of full-house trick play on Sunday (Kuhn to Raji Option Bomb!), you will read about it here.

Climbing the All -Time Ladders

Last Sunday, I wrote an offbeat historical article for The New York Times about Bears quarterbacks. While writing it, I felt the need to rank the best Bears quarterbacks of history. It helps to keep my tone just right if I remember that I shouldn't bash Jim Harbaugh or Billy Wade too badly. I based the rankings solely on Bears accomplishments, so Harbaugh and George Blanda don't get credit for what they did elsewhere. Here are my unscientific rankings:

First: Sid Luckman.

Second: Jim McMahon. By the time McMahon was a household name, he was already an injury-plagued wreck who threw wobbly passes. It is hard to separate the player from the mythos. I think he was much better than his numbers from 1983-85, then entered an overrated phase during which he got undue "leader" points for defense-dominated victories. He was terrible in 1986, but good when healthy in 1987 and 1988. His statistics would be a little more impressive if opponents ever scored more than 10 points per game against the Bears and forced McMahon to throw a little more.

Third: Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh was part of a carousel for years and was never really appreciated when he won the starting job. When Harbaugh looks at Alex Smith, he may see a younger version of himself

Fourth: Billy Wade. I called him the "Kennedy Era Trent Dilfer." Remember that Dilfer started 113 career games and went to a Pro Bowl. Wade may rank ahead of Harbaugh, based only on Bears performance.

Fifth: Jay Cutler, probably. The competition includes Ed Brown, Johnny Lujack, one-year wonders like Erik Kramer, and guys in the Rex Grossman-Mike Tomczak class. After two years and one deep playoff run, Cutler easily ranks among these players. Lujack was a great two-way player who might have been in the Chris Harris class as a safety, but once you start that argument, your All-Time team gets bogged down with 220-pound two-way tackles in leather helmets. By the end of next season, Cutler will rank second on the Bears' all-time passing touchdown list. He belongs here.

That was fun! Let's do it with the other three remaining teams.

Packers

First: Brett Favre.

Second: Bart Starr. Some people will flip these first two. Knock yourself out.

Third: Artie Herber. As I said a moment ago, I am always wary of these leather helmet guys. Give me a guy who started for eight years during my lifetime and led his team to a few 10-6 seasons over someone whose encyclopedia position entry reads TB-LB-QB-P-ZV and threw 124 passes per year. The old guys were undoubtedly tough, exciting to watch, and multi-talented, but the comparisons become more like "apples to giraffes" than "apples to oranges" the further you go into the era of two-way players. Still, Herber's a Hall-of-Famer, and the next few guys do not exactly have overwhelming resumes.

Fourth: Lynn Dickey. An intermittently successful quarterback who put up big numbers in the 1980s. I rarely saw him play, because the Packers were never televised back then, so I don't know if he's really better than Rodgers. He never had a winning record as a starter.

Fifth: Aaron Rodgers. This is Rodgers' third full season as a starter. Do you know how I remember that? By counting Favre Years. I noticed a friend doing the same thing last week. He was trying to remember if this was Rodgers' third or fourth year as a starter, so he started counting on his fingers: "the Jets year, the good Vikings year, this year, yep, that's three."

Tobin Rote was an excellent quarterback in the mid-1950s, but the Packers always seemed to go 3-9 with Rote starting. You have to be careful when you see impressive passing statistics from any era before 1978: Sometimes you are looking at an innovative coach and a great quarterback, but you are just as likely to be looking at a bad team that threw like crazy to catch up. The good-quarterback-bad-team statistical profile was more pronounced in the old days. Cecil Isbell was a contemporary of Herber. They shared the backfield with Hall of Fame fullback Clarke Hinkle, and it was a kinky three-way, with everyone throwing passes to everyone else. I will stick with Rodgers.

Steelers

First: Terry Bradshaw.

Second: Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger may soon close the gap on Bradshaw. If you want to make your brain hurt, research the Steelers of the 1970s and try to determine how much credit should go to each player or unit. Try to figure out how much Bradshaw was helped by the receivers, how much the receivers helped Bradshaw, how much the running game and defense contributed to the success of everyone else. It's like trying to figure out what role each pebble played in the avalanche. You won't learn much about Bradshaw or the Steelers, but you will discover a lot about yourself.

Third: Neil O'Donnell. Oh no, a sheer cliff. Too laaaaaaaaaaaaaate.

Fourth: Like, Kordell Stewart, maybe.

Fifth: The end-of-the-line Bobby Layne? I will take him over Mark Malone.

Jets

First: Joe Namath. An uncool choice in statistical circles. When Namath threw for 4,004 yards in 1967, it was like communicating across the country via satellite. No one guessed that a decade later, everyone would be doing it. Super Bowl III and The Guarantee made Namath a cultural icon, and his fame far outstripped his performance for the final two-thirds of his career. (McMahon was similar in many ways, but on a much smaller scale.) It is silly to compare Namath to Johnny Unitas or Peyton Manning; he is more like Kurt Warner, minus the late career surge. Or Tony Hawk, the one household name in a sport that had not yet reached the popularity it now enjoys.

That being said, we are comparing Namath to guys like Sanchez, not Unitas, so he comes out on top.

Second: Chad Pennington. Give Pennington back one or two of his odd-numbered seasons, and he might come out on top. If we base our arguments solely on numbers, and adjust for every last detail, Pennington might have been a better quarterback than Namath, and Namath can't exactly counter with the "better health" card. Namath had the higher peak, and there was more to his moxie-spirit-leadership reputation than just New York mythmaking. Plus he called his own plays. And won a Super Bowl. He wins.

Third: Ken O'Brien. A solid quarterback who always played in the shadow of division rivals Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. The O'Brien/Mickey Shuler/Al Toon/ Welsey Walker Jets offense was a lot of fun to watch.

Fourth: Vinny Testaverde. One thing this little exercise taught me is that once you get past the top two or three quarterbacks per franchise, the list often gets ugly fast. Testaverde is here because of his great 1998 season and a couple of years when the Jets finished with winning records and he threw for a lot of yards.

Fifth: Richard Todd. Moody, angry guy who threw for 30 interceptions one year and 26 another year. The 1970s sports scene was full of guys like Todd who didn't have the impulse control to handle the increasingly aggressive media. If you ever wonder why old sportswriters treated Julius Erving like Gandhi, it's because Erving didn't curse at them, shove them into lockers, or act like five minutes of locker room interviews were as painful as root canal.

I have no problem ranking Sanchez ahead of Todd, or even Testaverde. If you want to place Sanchez fourth on this list, now or in three weeks, I won't argue with you.

Because, as I said, I DON'T HAVE AN OPINION.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 19 Jan 2011

159 comments, Last at 27 Jan 2011, 10:52am by Spielman

Comments

1
by Ben Stuplisberger :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:23pm

Being a former skateboarder, I can tell you that the proper comparison with Namath is not Tony Hawk, but Christian Hosoi. Hosoi was flashy, stylish, popular with the ladies and disappeared after a few amazing years when the sport really took off. Tony Hawk is Bart Starr, ruthlessly efficient, technically sound, but somewhat boring. If Starr played into the 70's more, the comparison would be even more apt. :)

6
by Temo :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:42pm

Yes, but the distinction there is that I have no idea who Christian Hosoi is.

9
by Ben Stuplisberger :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:51pm
20
by dbostedo :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:00pm

That's not the point. The main reason Tony Hawk and Joe Namath are put together is because they are household names and both became that well known late in their peak, or after it. They weren't compared because of lifestyle or personality.

93
by Jon Silverberg (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:50pm

According to his Wikipedia entry, Tony Hawk "is widely considered one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding." So how does this make him a household name on a par with Joe Namath? His entry isn't anywhere near as long as, for example, off the top of my head, Clayton Moore's, and I'll bet you can't find one person out of 20 in the US who knows who Clayton Moore was without looking him up.

110
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 9:57am

You know, after reading your comment about Clayton Moore, I glanced up at your user name and for a second I thought I saw "Jay Silverheels". Guess I should stop going out on Thursday nights.

131
by dbostedo :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 9:51pm

It's more the commercials he's been on, cameos in movies and TV, video games with his name on them, and the appearences on Leno, Letterman, etc. that make Tony Hawk a household name. Although I suppose it's not like he's Obama or Tom Cruise in terms of being a household name, but I think most people (especially those under 40) could come up with his name.

In any case, Wikipedia entry length is a very poor way to judge relative fame (particularly current fame). "Household names" come and go, and Moore probably was one once (before I was born), but clearly isn't now.

54
by Paul R :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:03pm

Hosoi sauce is a great addition to your stir-fry.

2
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:25pm

Isn't it ArNie Herber, not ArTie?

59
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:15pm

Yeah, couldn't find him in PFR because of the typo.

3
by jasonakramer@gm... :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:33pm

Jordy Nelson is 87

81
by Boots Day :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:29pm

He plays much younger than that.

85
by Lance :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 8:58pm

I laughed.

109
by Tom W (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 9:56am

If this was facebook, I'd give that comment a thumbs up.

4
by Jim in Pgh (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:34pm

What, no love for Tommy Maddox?

26
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:45pm

No, absolutely none. Anywhere. Ever.

82
by Jerry :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:56pm

No respect for the XFL MVP?

32
by prs130 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:12pm

Bubby Brister should make this list based on strength-of-name alone

150
by Noah of Arkadia :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:55pm

Brister and Maddox were both better than Mark Malone. And so was, I believe, David Woodley.

5
by JasonG (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:39pm

"By the end of next season, Cutler will rank second on the Bears' all-time passing touchdown list. He belongs here."

Could you clarify this please? Are you saying that when he's 2nd in TDs next year, his rightful place is still fifth? Or are you saying, by the end of next year he will rightfully assume 2nd on this list because he belongs "there"?

33
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:13pm

I think he's saying, it will take Cutler a year to reach 2nd, and he's good enough that he belongs there.

75
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:44pm

I read it as "For now, he belongs here." Cutler, will rapidly climb the Bears list if he doesn't get hurt and doesn't get any worse than he currently is.

7
by MCS :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:43pm

Mike,

You diagram the number but do not make reference to TJ Lang in Figure 5. Overlooked in most analysis (on the web) of the Raji-as-FB play is that Tackle TJ Lang was lined up at TE on the same play.

Pass to Lang?

8
by Temo :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:44pm

I love you for putting Pennington ahead of Ken O'Brien.

10
by SmokingClutch (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 1:55pm

I'd love to see this analysis for every team. Where would the Eagles be?

1.) Donovan McNabb
2.) Randall Cunningham
3.) Ron Jaworski
4.) Michael Vick (already?)
5.) Uh, Jeff Garcia?

11
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:04pm

Wow. There WAS a world before 1990, you know. If Jaws wasn't on NFL Matchup, would you have included Rodney Peete?

1) Donovan McNabb
2) Norm Van Brocklin
3) Ron Jaworski
4) Tommy Thompson
5) Randall Cunningham?

You'd have to get past the likes of Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen, Roman Gabriel, the oft-maligned Norm Snead, and probably even Davey O'Brien before you get to Jeff Garcia. The highest you could really rank the dogkiller after 1 year is 7th.

18
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:44pm

How the hell can an Eagles fan be unaware of Norm Effin' Van Brocklin? That would be like a Redskins fan listing Theismann without mention of Sammy Baugh!

28
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:52pm

A fan whose awareness of the league extends to what ESPN tells him matters?

38
by Eddo :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:28pm

That's quite an accusation to make. He's here, so he must have *some* interest besides what ESPN says.

Couldn't he just have had a brain far and forgot Van Brocklin?

51
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:54pm

Sure, if it was only Van Brocklin that he forgot. But Jeff Garcia? Dogkiller? This is a franchise that has been in existence for almost 80 years, and he's naming two guys with a combined total of 19 starts. That's not having a brain fart about one guy.

Randall Cunningham as second greatest in history? That specifically stinks of ESPN revisionism to me.

I'm not saying the guy is a moron. He might be young and simply not know any better. Who knows?

55
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:06pm

That was more insulting than I intended it to read. I get a little frustrated with historical evaluations where it seems history began in 1980.

87
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:17pm

I may save other teams for later Walkthroughs, but for the Eagles:

1) McNabb
2) The Dutchman
3) The Polish Rifle
4) Randall
5) Sonny Jurgensen or Tommy Thompson.

Even the alternates -- Roman Gabriel, Norm Snead -- are not half bad.

90
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:57pm

Hwo anout ranking Eagles quarterback beards

1. Garcia ( not facial hair kind- other kidn of "beard" as kids say)
2. Jaworksi
3. Detmer

99
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:51am

Wow. A fag joke about Jeff Garcia. I should have suspected Raiderjoe was Terrell Owens. The syntax is remarkably similar.

108
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 8:12am

never thouight he was gay. was jusr a joke heard many times. thought it was funny to put here but ,msybe ws wrong

112
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:05am

I thought that including Detmer in the "Best Beard" list was the joke. That scraggly neck sweater was horrendous.

127
by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 5:48pm

Let's just put it this way -- if Garcia actually is gay, he's got the best beard in the history of the world. That man overachieved in the dating department on a legendary scale.

12
by Tom W (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:06pm

Mike: Don't know if you're familiar with a writer named Allen Barra (I think that's the correct spelling), but he used to write about sports for publications like The Village Voice and Wall Street Journal, before I lost track of him. I remember that he was a bit of a pioneer in analyzing football stats in non-traditional ways. Anyway, there's a collection of his essays called Big Game, which includes one comparing John Unitas and Bart Starr. If you can find a copy of the book, it's pretty interesting. As you say, it's difficult to compare QB's from pre-'78 to those of today, but personally, I'd argue that Starr is vastly underrated in the discussion of the all-time greats at the position.

154
by MLN (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 3:05pm

I'd agree -- Starr #13 all-time (Unitas #18). http://mlnsports.sportsblognet.com/2011/01/06/top-qbs-through-2010/

13
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:09pm

Ken Dickey was an outstanding quarterback in the pocket. He had terrible knees so was completely incapable of rolling out or doing anything that requires even minimal mobility. But give him 3-4 seconds and he could make any pass.

I believe he led the NFL one year with a 9.2 yards per attempt.

The Packers back then had awful defenses so the offense was constantly in catch up mode.

15
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:21pm

No idea where "Ken" originated.

Good grief

89
by Tom W (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:41pm

Dickey had a great arm and threw one of the prettiest and most accurate deep balls I've ever seen, but as bigtencrazy says, he was almost completely stationary, which resulted in lots of sacks and interceptions. And, no, he wasn't better than Rodgers.

17
by Flounder :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:29pm

Yeah, as far as "prettiest ball" goes, Dickey is probably #1 in packer history.

19
by nuclearbdgr :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:56pm

I'd love to get a copy of the Packers-Redskins 48-47 1983 MNF game - Dickey with 400+ yards passing and 3TDs. First MNF games my mom let me stay up and watch all the way through.

21
by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:10pm

That game was literally decided by who had the ball last.

And earned the 'Skins defense the nickname 'Pearl Harbor Gang'.

46
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:48pm

Well, not literally...the Skins had the ball last and Moseley missed a makeable FG at the gun (39 or 40 yards)

68
by Drew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:39pm

I was at that Pack-Skins game. It was awesome -- a bright flash of light during 20 years of darkness between Starr and Favre. And my favorite Packer bumper sticker of all time: "You can beat our Pack, but you can't lick our Dickey."

69
by elvisizer :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:46pm

yep, lynn had a great deep ball. his big problem was mobility- he was a freaking statue in the backfield.

113
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:07am

Jenn Sterger has evidence to the contrary.

123
by nuclearbdgr :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 1:29pm

It wasn't just his knees - he had severe hip issues as well.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1121303/index...

141
by evenchunkiermonkey (not verified) :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 9:58am

I was disappointed to not see Don Majikowski as an alternate

142
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 10:28am

Eh, one good season in the 6 years he was there. He was injured a lot, he split a lot of time with people like Anthony Dilweg and Mike Tomzcak. He started more than 8 games only twice. 16 games (10-6 in 89) once, and 9 games in 88 (team was 3-6 in those games) (8 games started the following 2 years 4-4, 2-6 team records in those starts).

He had talent, he was better than the other QB's on the roster, until Favre showed up and Majik got hurt, yet again. But I would still go Starr, Favre, Rodgers, Herber, Dickey, and Rote ahead of him. Though I could see an argument for Majkowski over Rote on talent, but Rote was on the field more, which does matter some. The drop off after #5 is pretty big though. Of course it's still hard to rate Herber since he played so long ago, but I think Rodgers has slipped ahead of him, but I admit I'm doing that based on potential. Based on what has happened on the field, Herber is still ahead of Rodgers.

14
by Sander :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:19pm

There are some franchises where the list reads like a disaster movie:
Bucs:
1) Doug Williams
2) Josh Freeman (yes, already - he just had he best year of any Bucs QB ever)
3) Brad Johnson
4) Jeff Garcia
5) Trent Dilfer (maybe flip these two, I dunno)
(6) Vinny Testaverde? Yeesh)

Lions:
1) Bobby Layne
2) Greg Landry
3) Gary Danielson
4) Scott Mitchell
5) Bill Munson?

As for Sanchez, eh. Seems to me he doesn't do much to lose his team games anymore (with the exception of a few) but he doesn't seem to be helping them either. 'Game manager' looks like the perfect title for him.

41
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:31pm

I've got to figure Eric Hipple has to check in at #4 at worst on that Lions list. Steve DeBerg certainly did more for the Bucs than Jeff Garcia.

52
by Sander :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:54pm

Hipple started 57 games but was pretty terrible. Munson seems to have been better. But there's a group of 4 or 5 QBs who could be filled in in any random order from 3rd and further and I couldn't make an argument as to why it should be different.

Steve DeBerg only started 13 more games than Garcia and was decidedly worse than Garcia in those games.

94
by Jon Silverberg (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:59pm

#2 on the Lions is Tobin Rote, who took over for an injured Layne and won an NFL championship in 1957...

128
by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 5:51pm

Lions:
1) Bobby Layne
2) Greg Landry
3) Gary Danielson
4) Scott Mitchell
5) Bill Munson?
--------

I would argue that Erik Kramer should be on that list somewhere, but really, from 1989-1998, I think Barry Sanders converted more 3rd-and-longs (and there were a lot of them) than all of his QBs, combined. So the list should read something like:

1) Bobby Layne
2) Barry Sanders
3-5) N/A

16
by Ezra Johnson :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:27pm

Even before I read it, I was thinking this comment about Bradshaw could apply to Sanchez:

Try to figure out how much Bradshaw was helped by the receivers, how much the receivers helped Bradshaw, how much the running game and defense contributed to the success of everyone else. It's like trying to figure out what role each pebble played in the avalanche.

Sanchez is simply in an almost perfect situation for him. It doesn't mean he's terrible; there are many worse QBs. But just imagine Sanchez at QB for the Packers vs. the Falcons last week. They lose that game. Trade Sanchez for Rodgers, and the Packers go 6-10, while the Jets go 14-2. I hope some day to see what Rodgers can do with a good offensive line.

24
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:28pm

Only if paying for a good offensive line doesn't cost the Packers good receivers and a good defense. A so-so line and a terrible running game with the rest of the good offense and defense works right now.

34
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:17pm

Not being as good as Aaron Rodgers isn't really a bad thing.

91
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:06pm

Which wasn't the point, but rather something along the lines of "here is how I think Sanchez would do with a worse O-line and no running game."

22
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:26pm

Mike, I truly appreciate the ability to have no opinion, or at least no strong opinion, when all the incentives are in favor of pretending to "know" stuff that really is not known. Having said that, if anyone has real doubts as to what were the leading factors, out many positive factors, in regard to the Steelers success in the '70s, well, I'll just restate my strongly held opinion that if Bradshaw's and Archie Manning's birthdays were reversed, and thus the teams they played for were reversed, Archie Manning would have been voted into the HOF by a greater margin than what the selectors bestowed on Bradshaw, and Bradshaw's career would not be looked upon as being significantly better than Steve DeBerg's.

I truly do not mean this as a rip of Bradshaw, but merely recognition of how great a group of defensive teammates Bradshaw had. Joe Greene, Jack Ham, and Mel Blount (with '70s rules) would have been HOFers no matter what team they had been drafted by. Perhaps Jack Lambert as well. It is likely that L.C. Greenwood would be in the HOF, if he had been on a team with fewer HOF defensive teammates around him. I don't think the same can be said for Bradshaw, Swann, and perhaps Stallworth. Put Bradsahw in particular with one of the worst franchises of the 70s', like Archie Manning was, with bad coaches, bad management, and bad teammates, and ask Bradshaw to carry the team fron his rookie year on, and Bradshaw likely gets completely ruined, and perhaps doesn't even have his career last a decade.

The Steelers of the 70s were built with defense first and foremost.

31
by BlueStarDude :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:07pm

Very well put.

70
by GlennW :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:47pm

> I'll just restate my strongly held opinion that if Bradshaw's and Archie Manning's birthdays were reversed, and thus the teams they played for were reversed, Archie Manning would have been voted into the HOF by a greater margin than what the selectors bestowed on Bradshaw, and Bradshaw's career would not be looked upon as being significantly better than Steve DeBerg's.

Agree and disagree. Agree that Terry Bradshaw's entire career was not overly special. Disagree with the comment on the Hall of Fame, because unquestionably the only reason that Bradshaw is in the HOF is his postseason performance. Would Archie Manning-- playing for the Steelers of course-- have come close to matching Bradshaw's performance in the postseason? I doubt it, and I wouldn't risk that swap, in some part because of the big-play threat Bradshaw brought to the games (a big-play threat which the Steelers needed in 3 of their 4 Super Bowl wins).

No one has ever adequately explained to me how Bradshaw elevated his postseason performance so far above the regular season (postseason passer rating of 83.0 with most of his games coming before the passing rules changes, Super Bowl passer rating of 112.8-- still 3rd of all time for QBs with multiple appearances). Maybe parts sample size, increased maturity in his later years (Bradshaw's first 5 seasons tarnish his overall record and reputation), maybe even increased dedication and focus during the playoffs (Bradshaw has admitted to problems with depression and alcohol during his career). But obviously the marked difference in performance between the regular season and the postseason was not the quality of his teammates.

73
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:07pm

If the Steelers had gotten Manning instead of Bradshaw, I think they would have been a significantly better team through about 1977, and perhaps still a little better after that. It is almost impossible to overstate the gap between the roster talent of the Saints and Steelers in the 70s. Manning had plenty of big play ability, but when your teammates just flat out stink, that doesn't mean much.

74
by GlennW :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:29pm

Oh, I understand the distinction between the teams-- maybe in proper context Archie Manning belongs in the Hall of Fame in his own right. And there's no question that Bradshaw was the beneficiary of very positive circumstances (to some extent all Super Bowl winners are, obviously). I just think that Bradshaw gets short shrift in some circles (not from the HOF obviously), because in MANY playoff games he performed above and beyond his normal or expected contribution to the team. (Those great Steelers defenses didn't play all that well in the Super Bowls except against the Vikings, for one thing. Nor does the film lie-- most of those long TDs to Stallworth and Swann were pinpoint passes, where the coverage was good and there was no margin for error.) So in the question of a choice between the known (what Bradshaw actually did) versus the unknown (what Manning might have done), I'm sticking with what I know, and what I saw.

155
by Bill N (not verified) :: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:16pm

One difference may have been the differing needs when playing a good team. The Steelers of the 70's had no weakness and could simply out personnel most teams. Playing with a lead, a conservative offense with running backs taking the ball into the end zone significantly hurts a passer rating.

Playing another very good team requires playing from behind, that often involves more passing, and a bigger play book against better defenses.

148
by William Lloyd Garrison III (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 9:56am

The 70's Steelers might have been build with steroids first and foremost. In so much that that would help them to be built with Defense first, it's worth mentioning.

Good article on Sanchez. I can't figure out what I am watchting when I see him. Reminds me of the girl I dated in college. Should we have stayed together? Should we have broken up? Was it really mostly her fault? Or mine?

151
by Jerry :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:52pm

You're wrong about the '70s Steelers. Like the other 25 or 27 teams in the league, there were some guys using steroids, but there were also undersized players like Greenwood, Lambert, and Mullins.

23
by Theo :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:26pm

Adequate. I think Sanchez is extremely adequate.

25
by armchair journe... :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:31pm

Ha. Farve Years. It's funny 'cause its true.

27
by Intropy :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:52pm

I would Bobby Layne above Neil O'Donnel.

29
by BlueStarDude :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:02pm

I'm just glad that Sanchez clearly hasn't lost his swagger.

30
by Kal :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:06pm

The Sanchez abides.

35
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:20pm

I think a list of the best Bears QBs needs to mention Jim Miller. I still think the Bears have a decent shot at beating the Eagles in the playoffs if he stays healthy for that game.

36
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:21pm

Sanchez is not terrible. Extremely not terrible.

I love it. I think I'm going to start using this phrase.

97
by NickKelly (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 11:37pm

Is that like buying a shirt that's an Extra Medium?

37
by Jetspete :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:25pm

Testaverde was a better Jet quarterback than Pennington. Testaverde had really 3 1/2 years as starting quarterback (not counting his return in 2005). Pennington had 3.5-4 depending on how you judge the 2007 season. Pennington might have had better efficiency numbers, but on the field Vinny was more of a leader. First, the best season of any of them was Vinny's 1998. Second was Penny's 02. But Vinny had an amazing 2000 season, the Jets were in just about every game and Vinny would dazzle with late game heroics.

114
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:14am

I'm sorry, but if you're going to mimic RaiderJoe's user name, you're going to have to misspell some words in your comments.

39
by Joseph :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:29pm

I would say, that in ordering the top QB's for franchises, four come to mind that would have good-to-great QB's for the top 5. Rams are Warner, then Everett, Van Brocklin, Waterfield, Bulger, & Haden in no particular order. Cowboys=Staubach, Aikman, then prob. Romo, Meredith, and Danny White. Better are the Colts--Johnny U, Manning, Bert Jones, then maybe Jeff George & Earl Morrall. Best are prob. the 49ers. Montana, Young, Brodie, Tittle, Garcia, and didn't Jurgensen play for them too?
Mike--this would be the coolest, most discussed article you could write for the next Almanac. Maybe come up with a formula for SB wins, Pro Bowls, etc.

49
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:49pm

Romo has a ways to go before he exceeds Meredith. Change two plays, and Meredith likely is in the Hall of Fame.

86
by Lance :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:11pm

Yeah. I think a Dallas list is:

1) Staubach
2) Aikman
3) Mereditih
4) Romo
5) White

I'm torn about Danny White. He was the first QB I really remember (being born in '72, I was not even 10 when played his first full season) and at the time, he seemed just super. But looking at his stats now, they seem pedestrian-- even during their run to the NFC Championship from '80 to '82. But of course it's a bit unfair to compare the passing game (and hence QB stats) then to what is happening now. How much were my eight year-old eyes looking through rose-colored glasses? Should it be Romo-White, or the other way around?

149
by William Lloyd Garrison III (not verified) :: Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:01am

Danny White was at one point the NFL's leader in passer rating, wasn't he? I am no RaiderJoe, and don't have his memory and instant stat pull ability, but I remember he passed Staubuck who had an 83.something and at one point had an 84.something to be the highest of all time.

Plus, he could punt.

156
by Spielman :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 10:15am

White looks better in passer rating than he deserves because his strong suit was completion percentage. His Rate+ is 112, which is up there with some of the greats, but his ANY/A+ is 107, which probably tells a more accurate story about his effectiveness.

Still, that's a long way from pedestrian, in context.

106
by Jerry :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 4:22am

Without doing any research, I'm going to say that what Van Brocklin and Waterfield were doing 60 years ago compares to what Warner did. Roman Gabriel is probably fourth, and Vince Ferragamo got the rams to their first Super Bowl - at the very least, he ranks above Haden.

157
by Spielman :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 10:24am

Ferragamo got them to the Super Bowl, but he didn't do so by playing well. He shouldn't get too much credit for playing with a great defense.

I'd go:
1) Warner
2) Van Brocklin
3) Waterfield
4) Gabriel
5) Everett

I'd be open to flipping 1 and 2, since Warner's effective time with the Rams was so limited.

40
by Nathan :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:30pm

Let's do the Pats!

1) Tom Brady
2) Drew Bledsoe
3) Steve Grogan
4) Doug Flutie
5) Jim Plunkett

?

Is it best QB that played on the team, or best QB on that team?

42
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:33pm

It's their accomplishments with the team. So unless you really enjoyed that drop kick, I don't think Flutie qualifies for the Pats.

50
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:51pm

Well, he did start several games for them from 87-89. He still wouldn't crack the top 5 though.

43
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:36pm

1. Brady
2. Bledsoe
3. Parilli
4. Grogan
5. Eason

I'm not even sure there's an argument to be had.

44
by Nathan :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:36pm

My first Pats memory is Eason in the SB (was 6 years old) so I'm having a hard time putting him on my list.

45
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:45pm

That was his nadir, but he wasn't the only QB that Bears defense turned into jello. He had three excellent playoff wins to get to the Super Bowl that year, and good seasons before and after(as I remember anecdotally). He was always fighting an uphill battle with the fans and media because everybody loved Grogan.

Don't get me wrong, he's a weak #5, but he's not up against much in the way of competition. Maybe Plunkett, since I was very young, but I seem to remember Plunkett as terrible before he went to Oakland.

47
by Nathan :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:48pm

Yeah if it's just based on accomplishments with the team you can subtract Flutie and Plunkett from my list.

48
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:49pm

I want to see top 5 long snappers for each team!

83
by Key19 :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 8:10pm

My, what a doozy of a chore that would be.

53
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:59pm

Vikings? Tarkenton, HUUUUUGGGGEEEEE GGGGGAAAAAAPPPPPP, then I have no freakin' idea, since the Vikings have so many guys who were really good to great for one or two years. I will say that if Tommy Kramer hadn't been physically destroyed in the first 6 years of his career, by bad offensive lines, and the love of whiskey (man, the stories I heard, and a few I witnessed in the early 80s) he might have had a truly great career once the Vikings personnel got a lot better from '85 on. If the 1982 Kramer had played for '87 Vikings, I think they win the Super Bowl, which is the story of a Vikings fan; always one player short or badly timed.

56
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:08pm

Hmmm... Tarkenton. Culpepper? Kramer. Uh, Kapp? Maybe Brad Johnson?

61
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:19pm

Hey, you can't discount the year Cunningham had in '98. Moon too, as Tuluse indicates. The Vikings just have a weird history of qbs having one or two great years, like with Stubbleface last year. Wade Freakin' Wilson had a fair amount of success, which is indicative of how strong the roster otherwise was in the second half of the '80s.

66
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:29pm

Sure, he was incredible that year. But it was 1 year. And he was surrounded by pro bowlers.

For an all time list, I want to see more than 1 year. As for Moon, I was surprised to see those numbers. For some reason, I remeber him having a cup of coffee up there, and that's about it. I'll have to reconsider him.

57
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:13pm

I know Culpepper had bad ending to his career, but I figure you have to give him some credit for lobbing it to Moss all those years.

And wow, Moon got to 10 thousand yards in 39 games. That's impressive.

58
by Scrapper (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:15pm

I really, really have no opinion about Tanier's evaluation of Mark Sanchez. I don't actively agree with him but I wouldn't argue with him either.

62
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:21pm

delete-reinserted above

60
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:17pm

Just for fun, because I like starting arguments:

Cardinals: Neil Lomax
Falcons: Steve Bartkowski
Ravens: Joe Flacco
Bills: Jim Kelly
Panthers: Kerry Collins
Bears: Sid Luckman
Bengals: Ken Anderson
Browns: Otto Graham
Cowboys: Roger Stauback
Broncos: John Elway
Lions: Bobby Layne
Packers: Brett Favre
Texans: Matt Schaub
Colts: Peyton Manning
Jaguars: Mark Brunell
Chiefs: Len Dawson
Dolphins: Dan Marino
Vikings: Fran Tarkenton
Patriots: Tom Brady
Saints: Drew Brees
Giants: Phil Simms
Jets: Joe Namath
Raiders: Ken Stabler
Eagles: Donovan McNabb
Steelers: Terry Bradshaw
Rams: Kurt Warner
Chargers: Dan Fouts
49ers: Joe Montana
Seahawks: Dave Krieg
Buccaneers: Brad Johnson
Titans/Oilers: Warren Moon
Redskins: Sammy Baugh

63
by Dean :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:25pm

Just for fun - because it's a slow day at the office.

Cardinals - Jim Hart over Lomax, but it's close.
Falcons - I think Matt Ryan will someday be that guy, but not yet..
Colts - I'll still take Johnny U over Manning and any other QB in NFL history not named Joe Montana.
Giants - Charlie Conorly
Rams - I would put Warner 3rd behind Van Brocklin and Roman Gabriel.
Seahawks - Hasselbeck
Bucs - Good luck finding someone. Maybe Vinny? Was he really that bad with TB or was it the surrounding cast, or both?

65
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:28pm

Jim Hart was really, really, good. Doug Williams over Testaverde.

71
by Sander :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:00pm

For the Bucs it has to be Doug Williams. Only guy to be good over multiple years. Too bad cheapskate Culverhouse refused to give him a good surrounding cast or, y'know, money.

Vinny had a year with 35 interceptions. No amount of horrible surrounding cast can mitigate that.

84
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 8:41pm

I actually did some quick research before I picked a couple of teams...the Bucs was one of them. I'm not a Bucs fan, but by his stats, Williams was freakin' awful. He became a pretty good QB after he came back from the USFL, but Johnson was far better in his TB years than Williams was in his.

All that being said, if you or someone else is a Bucs fan and watched them during those years, I'll take your word over the statistics.

118
by Sander :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:35am

I was too young to watch him over the years, so I'm mostly going by what I was told. I know his stats look bad at a glance, but his YPA was pretty good in most years. And a big part of the low completion percentage was him throwing it away when he was under pressure instead of taking a sack. His Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt is very good because of that, too.

80
by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:17pm

The Seahawks list runs about three deep and then turns to mush, like a lot of teams.

(1) Hasslebeck. He took 'em to a Superbowl and was a very good QB for a few years.
(2) Krieg. You can make an argument for him at #1, but I think Hass is the better player.
(3) Jim Zorn. Good player, bad surrounding talent. But he had his moments.

(4) and (5) have to be Warren Moon and Jon Kitna. Probably Kitna at 4 and Moon at 5, but I have to wonder how that works out. Both had about one good year each with the Seahawks.

95
by sswoods (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 11:08pm

Since we're having fun:

Cards: Hart, Lomax, Warner, Plummer, Christman
ATL: Bartkowski, Chandler, Ryan, Vick, Miller
BLT: Flacco, McNair, Grbac, Banks, Testaverde
BUF: Kelly, Ferguson, Kemp, Bledsoe, Reich
CAR: Delhomme, Collins, Beuerlein, Testaverde, Peete
CHI: Luckman, Cutler, McMahon, Masterson, Harbaugh
CIN: Anderson, Esiason, Palmer, Kitna, Blake
CLE: Graham, Sipe, Kosar, Ryan, Nelsen
DAL: Staubach, Aikman, White, Meredith, Romo
DEN: Elway, Morton, Plummer, Cutler, Griese
DET: Layne, Mitchell, Plum, Landry, Kitna
GBY: Favre, Starr, Rodgers, Dickey, Herber
HOU: Schaub, Carr, Rosenfels, Banks, Ragone
CLTS: Unitas, Manning, Jones, Harbaugh, Morrall
JAX: Brunell, Garrard, Leftwich, Beuerlein, Gray
KCC: Green, Dawson, Kenney, Grbac, Deberg
MIA: Marino, Griese, Fiedler, Woodley, Morrall
MIN: Tarkenton, Culpepper, Johnson, Kapp, Wilson
NEP: Brady, Bledsoe, Grogan, Eason, Parilli
NOS: Brees, Manning, Brooks, Hebert, Kilmer
NYG: Simms, Tittle, Conerly, Manning, Tarkenton
NYJ: Namath, O'Brien, Pennington, Testaverde, Todd
RAI: Stabler, Gannon, Lamonica, Plunkett, Schroeder
PHI: McNabb, Jaworski, Thompson, Van Brocklin, Cunningham
PIT: Roethlisberger, Bradshaw, Stewart, Maddox, Brister
RAM: Van Brocklin, Warner, Waterfield, Gabriel, Everett
SDC: Fouts, Rivers, Brees, Hadl, Humphries
SF4: Montana, Young, Brodie, Tittle, Garcia
SEA: Krieg, Hasselbeck, Zorn, Moon, Kitna
TBY: Johnson, Williams, Testaverde, Dilfer, Freeman
TEN: Moon, McNair, Pastorini, Blanda, Young
WAS: Baugh, Theismann, Kilmer, Rypien, Jurgensen

Placing Van Brocklin with the Eagles is hard. Brought a title to the town, an all-time great, he's the best QB the Eagles ever had (not close in my mind), but only there three years ...
Raiders were hard to split between the top three.
Cowboys have the best 5, I agree with the earlier comment on Meredith, and I like Romo more than most. Plus Craig Morton took them to a Super Bowl.
49ers close 2nd to 'Boys. Tittle was much better with the Giants, but was still great. Next Giants, then Eagles.
Bucs have the worst.

100
by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 1:13am

As a Redskins fan, I must respectfully disagree with your inclusion of Rypien. He had one good year, primarily because of his O-line. After that, it was a short, ugly decline. My Redskins top 5 would bump Jurgenson up to #4 and put Doug Williams in at the end.

101
by jonnyblazin :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 1:21am

I'd redo the Ravens:

Flacco
Testaverde
McNair
Dilfer
Boller

Grbac shouldn't sniff this list, he had one crappy season and retired. Vinny was pretty sweet in 96, McNair was good in 06, and Dilfer was 11-1 as a starter and won a super bowl, that's good enough to put him over Boller, who's slightly better than Tony Banks and Anthony Wright.

103
by sswoods (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 2:50am

Heh. How could I forget Dilfer?
The Ravens have so few years, it was hard to do them. I know that Grbac wasn't the most popular guy in the world, but I didn't think his season there was unbelievably awful. Really, though, after Flacco and McNair I'd find it hard to list anyone from the Ravens.

105
by Intropy :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 3:17am

Interesting inconsistencies in the list.

The Ravens' list doesn't include any players from when they were in Cleveland; instead those players are listed under CLE. So the list must not be based on franchise.

The Colts' list, on the other hand does include teams from when they played in Baltimore. So the list must not be based on city.

The Titan's list includes players from when the team was called the Oilers, so the list must not be based on team name.

So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

I personally think listing by franchise makes the most sense. And as such BAL gets Graham et. al. CLE gets... I dunno, the great Derek Andreson, I guess. And Arizona gets Paddy Driscoll at least above Plummer.

111
by sswoods (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:03am

The NFL determined that the records for the Browns franchise carried over to the expansion Browns, and that the Ravens, for statistical purposes, were a new franchise. The list is thus based on franchise. You put too much thought (or something) into your retort.
But I love me some Paddy Driscoll.

120
by Eddo :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:29am

The NFL considers the Ravens franchise to have begun play in the 1996 season, and the Browns franchise to have played in the AAFC from 1946-1949 and the NFL from 1950-1995 and 1999-present.

153
by Dominic (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 2:31pm

"So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."

Nice Princess Bride reference... :)

121
by armchair journe... :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:00pm

I don't think I'm comfortable with Brees ahead of Archie. Can't Brees be happy with getting on the list twice? Isn't that enough? Jesus, Archie should get to win something....
_______________________________
armchair journeyman quarterback

133
by 12NFLChampionships (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 2:26am

Len Dawson is a HOFer. He took the Chiefs to 2 Super Bowls, winning one. He has to be #1 for KC. It's Kinney, not Kenney. I would think that Montana would be in the KC top 5. He took them to the AFC Championship Game in his one season with them.

135
by Jerry :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 2:33am

p-f-r thinks it's Kenney.

158
by Spielman :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 10:28am

As pointed out, It's definitely Kenney. Also, Montana had two years with the Chiefs, not one.

134
by 12NFLChampionships (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 2:30am

Dawson is a HOFer. He led the Chiefs to 2 Super Bowls, winning one. He has to be KC's #1. I would think Montana would be in their Top 5. He took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game in his one season there.

136
by Rich Hill (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 5:59am

Testaverde shows up on a ridiculous number of lists.

129
by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 5:57pm

Cardinals: Doesn't this have to be Kurt Warner?

159
by Spielman :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 10:52am

For me, depends on how much you count length of service. Is a few years from Warner more valuable than a bunch of years from Hart? I know a bunch of Cardinal fans who would argue either way, and some more who would call for Lomax.

143
by Tookie (not verified) :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 11:39am

Falcons: I suppose, but I think that playoff game in Green Bay was a great moment in Falcons history and that was all Vick.

Redskins: Theismann

Panthers: Delhomme by a wide margin

144
by Eddo :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 12:13pm

Theismann ahead of Slingin' Sammy? Surely, you jest.

146
by Nathan :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 2:30pm

nobody should go ahead of sonny, thats just crazy...

TD-INT 255-189
QB Rating 82.6
Percentage 57.1
Passing Yards 32,224

64
by Hank (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:26pm

So which teams have had the most good-to-great QBs of the modern era?

98
by NickKelly (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 11:42pm

Is this a Jim Collins question?

104
by sswoods (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 3:03am

I'd say Dallas.

Don Meredith - 3 Pro Bowls, two great NFL Championship games vs Packers
Craig Morton - Took two teams to Super Bowl (Dal, Den, but 0-2)
Roger Staubach - HOF, 6 PB, 2-2 in Super Bowl
Danny White - 1 PB, 62-30 as starter, 6 playoff app., every year as starter
Troy Aikman - HOF, 6PB, 3-0 in Super Bowl
Vinny Testaverde - Played for nearly every team in the league, had to inlcude his one season
Drew Bledsoe - 4 PB (only 2 seasons in Dallas though)
Tony Romo - 3 PB

49ers are pretty good too.
Frankie Albert
Y.A. Tittle
John Brodie
Joe Montana
Steve Young
Jeff Garcia
token appearances by Norm Snead, Jim Plunkett, Steve Deberg

67
by felden :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:34pm

Joe Montana
Steve Young...

there, those are the easy ones.

Is 3 Garcia, who had all his good years with SF, or YA Tittle, who ended his career in New York? And then is 5 John Brodie or Frankie Albert?

102
by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 2:13am

My personal opinion--Tittle, then Garcia, then Brodie. But SF isn't the team I know best, so I defer to actual fans.

72
by Blotzphoto :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:04pm

Bengals
1) Ken Anderson, who should have walked into the HoF a long time ago. Twice the player Bradsaw ever was.
2) Carson Palmer, although his recent performances seem intent on moving down on this list not up.
3) Boomer Esiason, Threw for more yards than Carson so far, but his Comp% was abysmal by today's standards.
4) Jeff Blake? I was always a Blake fan and thought he had a shot to be a winner with a better team around him.
5) John Kitna, Kitna might be the 5th best QB on 3 or 4 teams.

Fun with football reference, the #6 yardage gainer in Bengals history? The excrescent David Klingler.
Also, it doesn't show up in the stats and it was before my time, but i here Greg Cook was reallly good.

76
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:49pm

Tanier typo correction- Namatrh threww for 4007 yards in 1967.

to Blotzphoto- Cook wodnerful for one seaosn but Chiefs hit him rela bad and tore rotattor cuff. Surgery crappy bakc then so arm never healed well enough for him to play again alhtough did make one appearance in 1973.

92
by DGL :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:28pm

A typo correction from RJ. The mind is consumed by delicious irony.

117
by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:21am

It's like when the singing teacher can't sing.

125
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 2:05pm

Wasn't that Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneris on American Idol?

130
by armchair journe... :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 7:40pm

Not quite. Those are Critics. Critics are formally required to not have enough talent to produce the things they critique.

137
by Nathan :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 2:16pm

Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Éric Rohmer all wrote film criticism for Cahiers du Cinema before launching extremely successful directing careers.

You can also add Robert Bresson and Jean Cocteau to the list of critics-turned-filmmakers.

77
by drobviousso :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 6:56pm

"how much Bradshaw was helped by the receivers, how much the receivers helped Bradshaw"
Ok, I know I'm dyslexic, but am I reading a joke, a typo, or a normal sentence here?

78
by Wes69Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:01pm

Giants: YA Tittle ahead of Conerly
Bengals--Greg Cook had arguably as good a rookie season as anyone had had outside the AAFC and USFL, but that was it. Injury stopped his career and Bill Walsh turned his offense horizontal.
Chargers: Fouts, Hadl, Rivers, Kemp, Rote? Humphries?
Bills: Kelly, Kemp, Ferguson, Joe Dufek?

79
by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:03pm

Brees should be on the Chargers

88
by Kimble :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:28pm

Oilers/Titans:

1) Warren Moon -- but maybe not by as much as I originally thought
2) Steve McNair -- a lot of decent+ seasons, 1 very good one
3) George Blanda -- 2 titles, 1 POY in AFL, but only in an 8 team league
4) Dan Pastorini -- lots of meh, which has its own value
5) Vince Young -- more value above replacement than Pete Beathard, Chris Chandler, Ken Stabler, and Kerry Collins (though maybe not more value above average)

96
by northjerseygiant (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 11:27pm

Giants

1) YA
2) Conerly
3) Simms
4) Eli
5) Tarkenton

107
by Dean from Oz :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 5:29am

Randle-El should be in the Steeler top 5.

At any rate...

1st Bradshaw
2nd Roethlisberger
3rd Daylight

115
by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:15am

Strictly going by what the team accomplished during their tenure, Bradshaw still has the edge.

Bradshaw in 14 years: .677 in regular season (when he started), 10 playoff appearances, 5 Conference Championship game appearances, 4 SB wins.

Ben in 7 years: .704 in regular season (when he started), 5 playoff appearances, 4 Conference Championship game appearances, 2 SB wins (chance at #3 this year).

Ben is on pace to match, or exceed, all of Bradshaw's marks above. However, I think there is little doubt that Roethlisberger is the better QB of the two.

116
by Tom W (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:18am

Another interesting discussion would be, who makes the top five for more than one team. Off the very top of my head, I'd say van Brocklin, Jurgensen, Tarkenton, Warner, Y.A., maybe Gabriel. Lots of guys that played for the Eagles, especially if you wanted to throw in Cunningham (which I wouldn't). Also Vinny T, since it seems like he played for most of the teams in the league.

122
by dryheat :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:21pm

Montana might make the Chiefs' list. Brees and Moon have already been discussed. Bledsoe probably sneaks onto the Bills. Maybe Harbaugh. Maybe Parilli. The Ravens are new enough that McNair is in.

119
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:36am

The Packer tickets I get to use every so often are next to a family whose patriarch looks to be 912 years old. He had something of a forty year run of attending every Packer game until "the weather started to bite me" as he put it.

Anyway, he is pretty sharp for being older than dirt. He will talk at length at how Charles Woodson is the smartest Packer player ever.

But he insists that Starr is better than Favre. The only edge he gives to Favre is arm strength.

FWIW

124
by BadgerDave :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 1:34pm

have the Packers not play actioned out of the full house (Bone) yet? I feel like that's what they've been setting up for.

126
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 2:31pm

Badger:

sure they have. Pretty sure the touchdown to Crabtree in the Philly playoff game was out of this formation.

I suspect if the Packers get a 3rd and 1 McCarthy may gather the courage to throw to Quarles out of this formation.

132
by 12NFLChampionships (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 2:16am

Starr over Favre. Starr has a career playoff passer rating of 104.3, the best all-time.

No one has a Raider QB Top 5. Here's mine.

1. Jim Plunkett
2. Kenny Stabler
3. Daryle Lamonica
4. Rich Gannon
5. George Blanda

147
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 2:34pm

I'm with you 100% on Starr, but Plunkett over The Snake and Lamonica?

138
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 4:37pm

Raiders lust

1. Kenny Stabler
2. Daryle Lamonica
3. Jim Plunkett
4 Rich Gannon
5. Jeff Hostetler or Tom Flores

Blanda did not throe ebnough passes to ,make Raiders list.

145
by dbostedo :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 12:58pm

Normally I would think it was a usual typo, but "Raiders lust" is pretty apropos for you Mr. Joe.

152
by GiantToomer (not verified) :: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 1:36pm

Raiderjoe

Is it too soon to put Jayson campbell on the list?

139
by Wes69Mike (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 5:04pm

How can Dawson NOT top the Chiefs list? Maybe the most underrated great
QB of all time.

Interesting that, according to John Maxymuk,not only was Arnie Herber's career
passer rating 146 per cent (ie 46 pc above average--Len Dawson's is 129, P Manning's 119 and Brett Favre's 109) but Cecil Isbell's is 188! Think Don Hutson was pretty damn good?

140
by Wes69Mike (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 5:07pm

You can also add Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader to that critics turned filmmaker list. And Lindsay Anderson.