Alright The NFL season has come to a end and I'm going to rank the top 10 Quarterbacks in the NFL. To do this list I'll be looking at a variety of things. 1st and most importantly I'll be looking at ability to play QB which includes, accuracy, arm strength, pocket awareness, pre snap awareness, ability to manipulate the defense, footwork, etc. The next most important thing will be putting your team in a position to win. Unlike most people I see the game of football for what it is a team game so I won't sit here and categorize it as wins because alot of other factors can come into play to make a team lose than what the QB does so I'll look at it as putting the team in a position to win. Next I'll factor in statistics. winning is great but Sanchez and Flacco have won more than most QBs in this league that don't make them top 10 worthy you gotta have the stats to. I'll also be looking at consistency year to year because I remember that 1 good year Derek Anderson had where he led Cle to a 10-6 record and had a pro bowl type year and has sucked every year since so consistency matters. And finally I'll way in any extra attributes a player brings like being able to run the football, throw on the run, being hard to bring down etc. I'll factor in all these things and ultimately decide who the top 10 Quarterbacks in the NFL are moving forward into the 2012 season. Also keep in mind that potential will have absolutely nothing to do with this so don't expect to see Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, etc.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Passer Rating: 122.5 TD: 45 Int: 6 Comp %: 68.3 Yards: 4,643
If you ask me Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL as of right now. In terms of being a passer he's the best I've personally ever seen play with my own eyes. He has flawless footwork and mechanics and if you get to him with the pass rush he has the pocket savvy to elude the rush and the quickness to scramble or rush for yards. He's really great at throwing on the run as well unlike most of the other QBs on this list so if you make him move he can still hurt you. Also aside from maybe Jay Cutler nobody in the NFL has a stronger arm and with his laser like accuracy he can pin the ball into tight windows and coverages unlike any other. Looking back on the season he had the 122 QB rating was the best of any QB ever in any season and the fact that he threw the ball as much as he did and only had 6 interceptions tells me that not only can he make plays as a passer he's extremely careful with the ball giving you a game manager and elite throwing ability at the QB position which is a true rare commodity. Some people try and bring up the fact that he doesn't have many 4th quarter comebacks and game winning drives and it really shows the stupidity of alot of fans. The purpose of the game is to win and Rodger's puts his team in a position to do that by being efficient through out the entire game keeping his teams from being a position to where they are losing in the 4th quarter. He's become great at moving defenses and his pre snap reads. He really is the perfect QB.
2. Tom Brady
Passer Rating: 105.6 TD: 39 Int: 12 Comp%: 65.6 Yards: 5,235
Tom Brady could possibly go down as the greatest QB of all time when it's all said and done. He's had a fantastic career and me ranking him 2nd is no knock on him at all. Brady's accuracy is top of the line but where Brady really excels to me at is in the pre snap game where in Manning's absence he was the best in the league last year. Defenses have to try really hard to disguise their coverages before the play so that Brady won't be able to pick them apart because he works so hard watching film and preparing during the week. he also never stares down receivers and is the best and moving the defense with his eyes. Brady is also one of the most clutch quarterbacks of all time. No matter how a game is going or how good or bad he's played throughout a game he's one of the best at getting it done in the 4th quarter. In regular season play Brady has 25 4th quarter comebacks and 35 game winning drives. He's also had 6 game winning drives in the playoffs. So there is no doubting his ability to perform in big situations. But Brady is not very mobile. If you really get to him you can bother him because he's really only effective in the pocket and is only as good as his offensive line in all honesty. But all of his career he's played behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and thus throughout his career only the elite defenses have really ever given him much trouble. Still I would say thats really his only flaw and he's so supremely talented in every other phases of quarterbacking it really isn't much to worry about.
3. Drew Brees
Passer Rating: 110.6 TD: 46 Int: 14 Comp%: 71.2 Yards: 5,476
Like Rodgers Brees had a legendary season in his own right last season. He Broke Marino's passing yards in a regular season record and set it at 5,476 yards. He also did this while completing over 71% of his passes. As accurate as Brady and Rodgers are a argument can be made that Brees is the most accurate QB in the NFL. when Brees threw the ball last season it rarely ever missed it's target and if you ask me that's the definition of a QB's job description. Bree's arm strength isn't quite up there with Rodgers or even Brady or Manning but he can still make any throw on the field you need a QB to make. He's won a super bowl and every year you can bank on the Saints as being a super bowl contender and Brees is the main reason why. Despite winning a super bowl i don't think Brees is the most cool under pressure as we saw him blow two games in the 4th quarter on the road. But despite those only 2 mistakes the rest of the year he didn't really make any crucial mistakes similar to another QB in Dallas yet didn't get the same criticism but that's not important. Like Rodgers Brees is so effective throughout the game the Saints are rarely ever down in the 4th anyway.
4. Peyton Manning
Did Not Play This Season
Peyton didn't play this past season but I mean come on we know what he's done in the past and how talented he is so I couldn't put him any lower on the list. If Manning wanted to retire he would have by now. He's been medically cleared to play and whether its with Indy or another team he will be playing QB again next season. I expect typical Manning when he comes back. He's the best QB I've ever seen pre snap and can get your team out of a bad play or get them into a good or better play just based on his pre snap reads from the work he does during the week in preparation. He can make all the throws and some he just makes look really easy. Up until this season Manning had the best QB mechanics in the league in my opinion. He also has a lightning fast release that allows him to fit the ball in the most difficult of locations in the blink of an eye. His release also keeps him from being sacked alot as he's usually one of the fewest sacked QBs. When I last saw Manning he appeared to be on the decline to me. Decreasing arm strength, and slower than his usual slow self but still he was on the decline from his legendary level of play even on the decline he's elite. He's still incredibly accurate, fundamentally sound and his pocket awareness and ability to maneuver from the pocket are legendary. Still with him missing an entire season and him coming off a down year in 2010 (by his standards of course) I couldn't rate him ahead of the 3 QBs that were playing at a legendary pace last year.
5. Ben Roethlisberger
Passer Rating: 90.1 TD: 21 Int: 14 Comp%: 63.2 Yards: 4,077
The 4 QBs above all have people that make arguments for them as possibly the best QB in the NFL their the cream of the crop. Immediately after them I feel like Ben is the best. Ben to me at times can be a little sporadic, his mechanics aren't always the smoothest, and he can really miss every now and then. But to me what puts Ben in this spot is that he almost always puts his team in a position to win. Ben is one of the most clutch players in the NFL. Even when he's had a bad day when the game is close and it's time he almost always delivers. Ben has one of the strongest arms in the league and is accurate for the most part. He is the best QB in the league at avoiding getting sacked and breaking off defenders who potentially are about to sack him. He can also leave the pocket and run for 1st downs when needed. He can scramble around keep plays alive and throw on the run as well as anybody. He's one of the toughest if not the toughest QB in the league. He's a winner and when he's hot he can pick defenses apart with the best of em. Don't let the last images this season of him playing on a bad ankle fool you into thinking he's not still elite.
6. Eli Manning
Passer Rating: 92.9 TD: 29 Int: 16 Comp% 61.0 Yards: 4,933
Alot of people might say that after winning his 2nd super bowl Manning deserves to be top 5. However I couldn't put him any higher than this. As far a pure QB skills go he's just not as good as my top 4 guys and as far as him and Ben goes Ben has a major edge in the consistency factor. This is Manning's 1st season playing at this level. As a matter of fact he wasn't even a top 10 QB coming into this season so I can't just justify throwing him into the top 5 yet, tho anther year like this one and I'll really have a hard time not being able to put him there. Eli even tho he's not top 5 is now ELITE. His mechanics especially in the pocket have gotten a whole lot better. Eli is eluding defenders and operating from the pocket like I've never seen him before. He's always had the natural physical tools, the arm strength, accuracy, and all that stuff but he appears to have taken it up a notch mentally as a QB as well. He appears to have a better grip of the overall game as well, he has improved his decision making and is making better decisions with the football although he still will throw that really bad pass that makes you shake your head sometimes. Still this past season Eli came outta nowhere and overnight became one of the most clutch QBs in the NFL with 6 4th quarter comebacks and was the main reason the Giants won this years super bowl.
7. Tony Romo
Passer Rating: 102.5 TD: 31 Int: 10 Comp%: 66.3 Yards: 4,184
Tony Romo had the best season of his career last year and really matured as a QB. Romo for the most part put any questions about his clutchness to rest in my opinion last season leading 4 4th quarter comebacks all being capped off with game winning drives. He also led 2 more potential game winning drives that were canceled out by missed FGs after Romo led the team into FG range. And I know you can say well missed FGs happened but these misses were unusual as once miss Dallas iced their own kicker and on another the kick was blocked. Romo wasn't perfect however after shredding good Jets and Lions defenses he made critical mistakes in the 2nd half of those games that led to demoralizing defeats. But both losses happened early in the year and after them Romo never had another meltdown moment and was one of the most dependable QBs all year after the Lions game. Romo doesn't have a rocket arm as most undrafted QBs don't but he has good enough arm strength and a very fast release that allows him to make difficult throws and throw into tight coverage. Romo is another QB kinda like Ben in that he can avoid getting sacked even when the defenders are in what seems to be point blank range, though he does it with elusiveness more so than strength and over powering defenders. He has a variety of moves he uses to buy time and extend plays. He's very good throwing on the move and might be the best in the league at making something out of nothing. He can be sporadic at times and try to do too much and that's where he normally gets into trouble. Romo is one of the most accurate QBs in the NFL. He had the 3rd highest completion percentage at 66.3 last season higher than even Tom Brady. Also Romo is one of the best in the league at the pre snap chess match. he uses different snap counts, fake snaps, and dummy counts to get the defense to show their hand before he snaps and he often makes defenses pay if they show something. Sometimes this gets the Cowboys in trouble though, as he and the C aren't always on the same page and penalties or bad snaps were the result at times last year as well as a high volume of false starts by the O-line as a whole. Romo just has the worst luck at times and ultimately fair or not QBs are judged by the success of their teams and throughout Romo's career the Cowboys have underachieved and because of that Romo can't be put any higher than this on the list although as just a pure passer I'd say he's top 5 right after the main 4 guys and the numbers back that up he just has to win and get it done in big moments in the playoffs before he can be seen as an elite QB.
8. Phillip Rivers
Passer Rating: 88.7 TD: 27 Int: 20 Comp%: 62.9 Yards: 4,624
Rivers is basically the AFC version of Romo and the Chargers are the AFC Cowboys. Both teams are easily the most underachieving teams in recent memory. The Chargers have missed the playoffs now 2 years in a row as well and unlike Dallas SD's QB didn't miss more than half of one of those seasons. Rivers is a fantastic thrower of the football and nobody can deny his skills as a QB. I'd say he has above avg arm strength with elite level accuracy. People say he has a weird throwing motion but his footwork and other mechanics are fine if you ask me and with 3 consecutive seasons with a passer rating over a 100 I'd say his throwing motion is fine. Even last year in what was his worst season in years he still completing 63% of his passes. The Chargers just played terrible as a team and certainly alot of the blame can't just be placed on Phillip. Mediocre offensive line play and a inconsistent run game that was middle of the pack not to mention injuries to Antonio Gates heaped all the pressure on Rivers to basically carry the Chargers. The nearly 24 points a game the defense allowed didn't help either as it basically forced the Chargers to throw a whole lot and made Rivers feel even more pressure to press and make plays which is why I think he had 20 interceptions after only throwing 13 last season and 9 the year before. I said that I'd look at consistency for this list and besides this season Rivers has posted top 5 caliber numbers 3 years in a row. Rivers isn't very mobile at all though and is a sitting duck so when the O-Line play is bad it will reflect in his game and his numbers like it did this year. Still I think Rivers will bounce back next year he's simply too good of a passer not to.
9. Matthew Stafford
Passer Rating: 97.2 TD: 41 Int: 16 Comp%: 63.5 Yards: 5,038
Mathew Stafford had an incredible year last season but I gotta pump the brakes on putting him in the top 8. Stafford is definitely lacking in the experience and consistency categories and to be honest I still have my reservations about his durability. Even though he was able to stay healthy for the most part this past season his 1st 2 seasons it seemed like he spent more time in the training room than on the field so I gotta see another year of him staying healthy before I can really buy into his durability. Also as good of season as he had it was basically his 1st full season so I gotta see more from him in general. Stafford has all the tools to be a top 5 QB in my opinion. He has all the physical tools you would want in a QB. A huge arm, some quickness and the ability to scramble, run, and move around in the pocket, and he's big at 230 pounds. I hate to take away from what he did but i saw quite a few Lions games and I think he really benefited from having Calvin Johnson as alot of times he just threw it up for grabs like that play against Dallas where he threw it up to CJ in triple coverage and he came down with it for a TD. Mechanically he's really good for a 3rd year QB with limited playing time due to injury. I think his footwork, pre snap reads and all that will get better as he gets older.
10. Matt Ryan
QB Rating: 92.2 TD: 29 Int: 12 Comp%: 61.3 Yards: 4,177
Some people might have a problem with Ryan here because of his outright failures in his 2 postseason appearances but to be honest there's nobody else to put here. Schuab can't stay healthy and has never even played in the postseason and often folds in late game situations during the regular season. Vick isn't durable at all and has only completing over 60% of his passes once his entire career. He's very inconsistent as a passer and just flat out overrated to me. Flacco took a step back this year and Cutler just clearly isn't better than Ryan so he gets this spot partly by default but he also earned it. You can talk all you want about playoff success but at this point the most successful playoff QBs in recent memory left are Flacco and Sanchez so that point isn't exactly meaning a whole lot to me right now. Ryan has established himself as a franchise QB and in 4 years is already a better QB than Vick has ever been and can ever hope to be. He's completed over 60% of his passes 3 of his 4 seasons and had a passer rating over 90 in the last 2. He even had his 1st 4,000 yard season this year playing for a team that runs the ball alot more than most of the other teams with pro bowl caliber QB talent. He's one of the smartest QBs in the game and his ability to run the no huddle offense and make in game adjustments at the line of scrimmage at his age and experience level speaks volumes. He has sound mechanics already. Ryan needs to improve in his ability to elude the rush. Not only is he not mobile but unlike Brady, Brees, or Peyton he's not really good at being able to maneuver around and avoid the rush using his feet and he will hold on to the ball too long at times. He needs to get better at eluding defenders and develop a quicker release and I think that would really help improve his playoff play because you can't say he's not clutch. In just 4 seasons Matt Ryan already has 11 4th quarter comebacks and 16 game winning drives he didn't get the nickname Matty Ice for no reason. The fact of the matter is that in his 2 playoff appearances the Falcons team as a whole including him really all played bad. He didn't choke they just played bad and weren't even prepared it seemed and 2 games is really too small of a sample if you ask me.