Tag Archives: Warren Moon


Jay C. Brandriet


The New England Patriots just played their typical “this is anybody’s game” type Super Bowl. It was another classic, and this time the Pats fell short. You’re sick of Tom Brady winning? I can appreciate that. You took joy in him losing Super Bowl 52? Most have your back. The amount of shade being put in Brady’s direction is over the top. Rob Parker shouted, “this clearly takes away his greatest of all time label.” Shannon Sharpe claims “this loss was 75 percent Brady’s fault.”

It’s true that the end result matters. Don’t lose sight that Brady simply rolls out of bed and ends up in AFC title games.








Trying to re adjust where this QB ranks historically is a bad look. I think he came out of this game, a greater player. Tom threw some bad balls, sure. He also dropped an overthrown pass that will bother him for the rest of his life. The crucial fumble at the end? That was a product of the game. The Eagles made an incredible play. That was zero percent on Brady.

This performance was about heavy lifting. His defense gave him very little help. No player ever had 500 plus yards, three scores, with zero picks and lost ANY game. Tom carried his team to simply having a chance.

You do realize the greatest quarterback debate is over right? I can buy that you prefer someone else. It’s true others have played the game as well, and several close to as well. Brady doesn’t have Elway’s arm and leg strength. He doesn’t have Marino’s release or Aaron Rodgers fluid skills.

Joe Montana played football just as good as Tom does. Joe was equally as surgical, and moved like a ballerina. Brady has been Montana like, for much longer. In the impossible world of ranking players, I moved Tom past Joe as the “GOAT” Thanksgiving day 2015.

In review, number 12 was just the MVP of the NFL at the age of 40. He was down 10 in the fourth quarter of the championship game to the best defense in the AFC. The result was his 27th playoff win. Perspective? Over a combined 32 seasons, legit Hall of Famer’s Dan Fouts and Warren Moon combined for six post season victories.

The year ends with Tom’s eighth Super Bowl appearance. I’d guess his performance was a record-breaking, disappointing “9.3”. Once the Patriots took the lead, you were sure they would win. Hail Mary on the last play? You were scared to death! We have seen Brady pull off clutch gems on the biggest stage so often, it’s become a habit to think he will come through. He lost? I know.

How does the loss affect his legacy? He’s on a different level. Tom Brady can now be considered the greatest football player of all time. I understand the game is diverse. Brady did not dominate in the way Jim Brown did. Tom will never be the best player ever at two positions like Deion Sanders. Jerry Rice was perfect. Larry Allen could bench press over 700 lbs. and played like it. How good were Ronnie Lott, Reggie White, and Lawrence Taylor at football? Walter Payton was elusive, powerful, and maybe the best running back ever. He could also block, kick, catch, return kicks, tackle and throw. I understand the game is diverse.

Tom Brady is as good as all of them. His resume is better. He plays the most important position in the ultimate team sport. His job is to win football games. In an era of player movement and parity, this guy kind of owns the league. He’s not Michael Jordan, but he sits at the same table. You thought Sunday hurt Brady’s legacy? Sorry.

Jay C. Brandriet




I’m only rating the quarterbacks that I have seen play near or at their best in my time watching football. These will only be players from the mid 1980’s to 2015. I saw the great Dan Fouts for example (Jim Plunkett, Danny White, Joe Theismann), but will not include him in this ranking. I did not see him enough or at his best. Active players on this list remain in position to climb it. These are the 30 best quarterbacks I’ve watched play in the National Football League as of February 2015.

JUST MISSED THE CUT: (Bernie Kosar, Dave Krieg, Matt Hasselbeck)

Luck is like the coolest, baddest, nerd ever.
Luck is the coolest, baddest, nerd ever.

#30– RUSSELL WILSON (Active) Three years ago I would not have guessed Wilson would have got my attention this early in his career. He has a knack for making plays at the right time. After throwing an interception to lose the Super Bowl, I would trust his attitude and self security to bounce back more than any player in pro football.

#29– MATTHEW STAFFORD (Active) Stafford has left me with some painful memories burning the Cowboys late in games. He gets rid of the ball at all kinds of odd angles. His banner season to date was 2011 where he passed for 5,038 yards and 41 scores.

#28– MATT RYAN (Active) His first pass a professional was a 62 yard touchdown. Ryan has been a star caliber player since and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. In only seven seasons he has 27 game winning drives.

#27– MARK BRUNELL (1994-2011) Mark was a mobile lefty who was sneaky good. He helped his Jaguars upset the Denver Broncos in the 1996 playoffs and was also part of a team that won a post season contest 62-7. Brunell played in three pro bowls.

#26– MICHAEL VICK (Active) Vick is the most dynamic runner to have ever played QB in the NFL. It seemed like he could run for eight yards on accident. For a short period of time, I thought Michael was one of the 10 best players in the entire league.

#25– ANDREW LUCK (Active) Andrew was a lock for stardom from day one. He’s bright, hungry, and has powerful legs. It is obvious he can make every throw and is a team first guy.

#24– RICH GANNON (1987-2004) Rich was a solid QB before he exploded for 105 touchdown passes over four seasons as an Oakland Raider. He ran the west coast offense beautifully and is the only athlete to ever be the player of the game at the Pro Bowl in back to back seasons.

#23– JOE FLACCO (Active) Flacco is a nice deep ball thrower who has already proven his big game credentials with 10 playoff wins. In his 2012 world title run he tossed 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Romo has the second best, fourth quarter passer rating (102.2) in NFL history.
Romo has the second best, fourth quarter passer rating (102.2) in NFL history.

#22– PHIL SIMMS (1979-1993) Phil was part role player part star. His 22-25 passing performance in Super Bowl 21 remains the standard for completion percentage. It seems forgotten he was 11-3 as a starter before getting hurt in 1990. He set the table for another New York Giants championship.

#21– BOOMER ESIASON (1984-1997) Boomer was the first guy to use the no huddle offense for consistent stretches. He had a cool play fake where he would crouch low. Esiason helped the 1988 Bengals win the American Football Conference and he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player.

#20– RANDALL CUNNINGHAM (1985-2001) Randall was one of the most exotic talents to step on a field. He was an MVP Caliber player as a dual threat at the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Cunningham was at the top of his game as a pass first player a decade later leading the explosive Minnesota Vikings inches from an NFC crown.

#19– TONY ROMO (Active) Romo’s ability to escape defenders and extend plays is all time great. Tony was named “NFL Offensive Player of the Month” for December in 2009 and 2014. Even Romo’s  biggest critics praise his toughness.

#18– PHILLIP RIVERS (Active) He annoys you if he’s against you, and you would love him if he was yours. Rivers is full of grit and competitive juice. Over his time in the NFL he has been the best of the second tier QB stars. He has quietly been building a resume that has a chance to become Hall of Fame worthy.

I will never forget McNair's tenacity on a Super Bowl drive that ended a yard short.
I will never forget McNair’s tenacity on a Super Bowl drive that ended a yard short.

#17– DREW BLEDSOE (1993-2006) The Patriots had made the playoffs six times in 33 years before Bledsoe arrived. In his first five years they made the post season three times including a trip to Super Bowl 31. He stepped in for a hurt Tom Brady in the 2001 AFC Championship game to make help ensure his presence was felt in this modern New England dynasty.

#16– STEVE MCNAIR (1995-2007) Steve had a stout presence in the pocket and threw the ball with ease. He worked around lack of practice due to injuries better than anyone.

#15– DONOVAN MCNABB (1999-2011) McNabb rolling to the right on third and seven was a scary sight. He was an intelligent and crafty playmaker. He carried offensive units most of his career.

#14– ELI MANNING (Active) Manning was the most difficult player for me to rank. He is the owner of two of the sharpest post season runs in league history. Beating the 18-0 Patriots was the top upset of any NFL game in my lifetime. Eli is almost more clutch than he is good.

#13– WARREN MOON (1984-2000) Moon was not drafted by an NFL team so he tore up Canada instead. Even after losing years due to discrimination, Warren Moon lit up the National Football League. He was the smooth operator of the Houston Oilers run and shoot offense in the early 1990’s. He had a loud clear cadence and embarrassed those that doubted him by finding a permanent home in Canton Ohio.

#12– JIM KELLY (1986-1996) Jim played in the K-Gun offense in which he called his own plays. He was linebacker tough. Losing in four consecutive Super Bowls is an amazing, under respected achievement by his Buffalo Bills teams.

When Elway was being doubted by fans, he was the best clutch player in the AFC.
John had the definition of a  rifle arm.

#11– KURT WARNER (1998-2009) Kurt was 1-2 in Super Bowls but owns the three highest passing yard efforts in the games history. Getting the Arizona Cardinals within a couple of minutes of a world title ensured his prominent place among passers.

#10– BEN ROETHLISBERGER (Active) Fans tend to mention that Ben played poorly in his first Super Bowl victory. They forget that he led the Steelers to three straight playoff road wins. During that stretch he completed 68% of his passes to go with seven touchdowns and one pick. “Big Ben” also made a game saving tackle at Indianapolis in the Divisional round.

#9– TROY AIKMAN (1989-2000) Legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall loved to gush over Aikman’s accuracy. Troy could throw the deep out with his eyes closed. He sacrificed his stats for footballs best running game. It paid off with three rings, a Super Bowl MVP, and a 13-4 record as a playoff starter.

#8– DREW BREES (Active) The Saints were in Dallas Thanksgiving day 2010. The Cowboys were up 27 to 23 with three plus minutes remaining. My stepdaughter texts me, “Cowboys are gonna win.” I wrote back, “Three minutes is a lifetime for Drew Brees.” Drew completed a 55 yard pass, followed by a 12 yard touchdown to win the game 30-27. Some guys are just too good to ever let you get comfortable.

#7– AARON RODGERS (Active) Aaron carries himself with the appropriate arrogance for his job description. He’s agile, with an accurate whip for a right arm. In the 2015 post season he led his team to victory on essentially one leg. As a move to throw talent, Rodgers is the best I’ve ever seen play the position.

#6– BRETT FAVRE (1991-2010) Brett was entertaining television. He had the enthusiasm of a young child and the swagger of Han Solo walking into a bar fight. Favre was a gunslinger to the core and earned the recognition of being an iron man. Counting the playoffs, Brett played in an incredible 321 straight games.

#5– DAN MARINO (1983-1999) Nobody had a cat quick release like Dan. He also manipulated the pocket with the best of them.  NFL Films co creator Steve Sabol said, “Watching Marino in the pocket was like watching a great matador. With just a little bend of the waste, a jab step forward, a step back, he could avoid the horns.”

#4– STEVE YOUNG (1985-1999) What Dan Marino was to yardage and touchdown passes, Steve Young was to completion percentage and passer rating. He was a superior athlete who had no peer regarding clean, efficient play. Steve was consumed with the mental test the game of football provided. In the end he received an A plus.

#3– PEYTON MANNING (Active) Manning has made himself the face of preparation and in-game chess play. The five time MVP gets sacked less than any QB who has played. Peyton is smashing the NFL record books. You know you are unbelievable at football when you have 70,000 passing yards, 530 touchdown passes, a world title, and fans say you need to do more.

This Thanksgiving (2015) I'll consider Brady the best QB to ever play.
I’m projecting by this Thanksgiving (2015) I’ll consider Brady the best QB to ever play.

#2– JOHN ELWAY (1983-1998) Before winning consecutive rings to end his career many people claimed John was a “choker.” What I saw was a guy carry three pretty good Denver teams to Super Bowl losses while being the best clutch player in the AFC. Elway had the strongest arm I’ve seen and could throw the ball 50 yards across his body to the opposite side of the field.

#1– JOE MONTANA (1979-1993) & TOM BRADY (Active) This tie is not a cop-out on my part or an excuse to mention 31 quarterbacks. The selection is perfect for me right now. Montana has always been the clear-cut best QB of my lifetime. The morning of Super Bowl 49, I had Tom Brady a close second. After Tom’s dynamite fourth quarter, and taking home his fourth World Championship, I feel Brady deserves to  be categorized as Joe Montana’s equal. Joe moved much better than Tom. Brady has been more durable and prolific. Joe played on slightly better, more dominant teams. Tom won big over a longer window of time with a higher variety of teammates. Joe was cool and Tom was fiery. They were the same guy from the neck up and the two best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen play in the National Football League.


Jay C. Brandriet  2/24/15

Contributor: Jessee Nikol


Manning has led 51 game winning drives.
Manning has led 51 game winning drives.

Peyton Manning is one of the greatest football players who has ever lived. His glow of preparation and mental mastery of the game has become his powerful niche. Peyton breaks records every day he gets out of bed. When your team sacks Manning, it feels like you sacked an entire community. He’s that good and important.

Manning has endured a ton of criticism in his career. Some of it’s fair, most of it is fans lacking perspective. In 2006 Peyton and his Indianapolis Colts won a world title. Manning was the MVP of the Super Bowl and his legacy was set. The problem for Peyton is he has remained so top shelf for so long, we have changed the standard. If you win a ring you are supposed to be a “made man”. Manning is so elite, it seems like he needs another.

The Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks looked like an even matchup for the ages. The biggest focus was how the games turnout would effect Peyton Mannings legacy. Super Bowl 48 became the most disappointing contest in my lifetime. Sometimes Super Bowl blowouts have their place. This should have been a good game. While Peyton played poorly (with a record 34 completions), the real story was the Seahawks suffocated the Broncos and deserve all of the credit. The fans quickly used the game as a way to re-evaluate Peyton’s value in the big picture.

Quarterback is the most important position in the game of football and maybe all of sports. With that said, the perception of the qb in comparison to his teammates, in the ultimate team game, is over blown. We actually give the quarterbacks a win loss record. Tony Gonzalez won “his” first playoff game in his 16th year and it was a side note. Considering Mannings level, he has some flaws on his resume. He is 1 and 2 in Super Bowl games, 11 and 12 in the playoffs, (including 8 first game exits) and has 37 touchdowns to 24 interceptions over that span. These facts are not good enough for a guy that is trying to be the best qb to ever play the game. They are the small details that make other all time greats seem better than each other.

Kurt Warner was 1 and 2 in the Super Bowl. People see Warner as a humble guy with a cool story. A milk drinking, safe face who will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point. The terrific Warren Moon was 2 and 7 in the playoffs and nobody knows. Dan Marino is a legend. Dan’s teams were 8 and 10 in the post season (32 touchdowns/24 interceptions) and felt short of a title. We don’t bash Marino. We almost feel bad for him because he was so awesome.

Is it good to have played in 23 playoff games or take two different franchises to the Super Bowl? (one coming off multiple neck procedures)Is winning a championship important? How about winning 12 or more games in a season 10 times? Peyton has lame accomplishments like 65,000 yards and just under 500 touchdown throws. He picked up a fifth NFL MVP award on the side. Outside of a couple different seasons, he’s a “top 3” qb every year. This guy is a victim of his own success. He’s stuck being compared to only the best NFL players. When you rip on Peyton Manning, keep your jab in context. It’s like saying Cindy Crawford is your least favorite supermodel because of her mole.

Jay C. Brandriet