Critiquing Elliot Harrison’s Top 10 QB’s of all time


Nickolas Loza | July 19th, 2019

NFL Networks Elliot Harrison recently compiled a list of his top 25 QB’s of All-Time, and his list for some people was god awful, and for some it was accurate but there are a couple things we all agree on. A) Only three QB’s have a legitimate argument for who is the G.O.A.T, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady, B) Aaron Rodgers must be in your top 10, although he is overrated by the masses. Those are a couple rules I have, you may have your own but let’s get down to critiquing his list and compiling our own list. I will only be going over the top 10 because the bottom 15 is just too subjective and extensive to cover.

Harrison’s Top 5 and my issues with it

Harrisons top 5 has some glaring issues that need to be addressed. These issues are as follows: The top three of Tom Brady > Joe Montana > Peyton Manning is perfect. Johnny Unitas at number four is one spot too high, I believe he is the fifth greatest QB to ever live. Otto Graham at number five is just way too high for him. I don’t have him as a top 8 QB all-time. His top five is missing one QB who really deserves more credit, and that’s Drew Brees. He won a Super Bowl in 2010, is the all-time leader in passing yards and is the greatest New Orleans Saint of all time. Overall his top five isn’t too bad but those are some of the problems with it. My top five goes as follows: Brady > Montana > P. Manning > Brees > Unitas. Overall I believe my top five is nearly flawless. Some would argue Aaron Rodgers or Dan Marino should be number five over Johnny Unitas but I believe Unitas was more of a winner and a team player than Rodgers and Marino.


Rounding out the Top 10 QB’s of all time and my issue with Harrison’s list

I take major issue with aspects of his top 10. Roger Staubach and the lack of Brett Favre. The amount of disrespect he throws Brett Favre’s way is gigantic. He was the best QB from the ’90s in most peoples opinions and he was rated #12 all-time by Harrison which is absolutely unforgivable and ridiculous in my opinion and tarnishes his whole top 10. His top ten from 6-10 goes like this: Drew Brees > Dan Marino > Roger Staubach > John Elway > Aaron Rodgers. This is where the list becomes really rough and hard to swallow. He makes the error of leaving Rodgers a touch too low, and he puts Staubach far too high and Favre isn’t present. His top ten is okay outside of the things I mentioned. My personal 6-10 goes as follows: Brett Favre > Dan Marino > John Elway > Aaron Rodgers > Steve Young. The reason I have Steve Young so high is he met expectations after succeeding Joe Montana as the 49ers QB, and he won two MVPs and nearly a third. Otto Graham isn’t present in my top ten for one good reason. He was blessed with Paul Brown as a coach and blessed with crafty receivers and a great defense. He lands at number 11 on my all-time list.

Review of both of our top 10 lists and the reasoning for not having certain players in my top 10

His top 10, again goes as follows: #1 Tom Brady #2 Joe Montana #3 Peyton Manning #4 Johnny Unitas #5 Otto Graham #6 Drew Brees #7 Dan Marino #8 Roger Staubach #9 John Elway #10 Aaron Rodgers. This list isn’t too shabby, to be honest, but again there’s the severe lack of Favre that is this lists downfall. Also, it’s unrightfully missing Steve Young, furthermore he has Troy Aikman ahead of Steve Young further down his list (#14 and #15) which is blasphemy in my opinion. You could also make the argument that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t belong on the list at all due to his lack of winning when it matters the most outside of 2010 and his lack of outstanding play the past three seasons. Aside from those things this list is pretty accurate.


My top 10, again goes as follows: #1 Tom Brady #2 Joe Montana #3 Peyton Manning #4 Drew Brees #5 Johnny Unitas #6 Brett Favre #7 Dan Marino #8 John Elway #9 Aaron Rodgers #10 Steve Young. As a 49ers fan, you could accuse me of being a homer for including Steve Young, but it’s justified that he has a spot on this list. He was the second greatest QB of the ’90s, you could argue he may even be #1, but Favre and his three MVPs and two super bowl appearances to Steve Youngs two MVPs and one super bowl appearance make Favre the better QB. I believe my list needs a  little explanation outside of that, I left Otto Graham off because I just don’t think he was even the greatest QB of his generation, and he had a Hall of Fame defense and a hall of fame coach to assist him in his endeavors. I left multi-time Super Bowl winners like Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman off the list because they basically got carried and had pretty much everything around them to succeed and the fact that they never had eye-popping stats or were very flashy or well known for putting up big numbers. Troy Aikman would have a more valid case for top 10 in my opinion but that’s extremely subjective and non-impactful in the end. I have Aaron Rodgers low because he hasn’t done enough in my eyes for me to see him as a top-eight quarterback, to achieve that he needs to win another Super Bowl, and times ticking on that front because he’s 35 years old and is starting to break down from injuries. He has three more years of good quarterbacking left in him before it’s time to hang up the cleats and enjoy retirement and a first-ballot HOF induction. Besides that, I believe my list needs no more explanation.

In conclusion, I believe Elliot Harrison put together a respectful list but it had a few major holes in it, especially later on which I didn’t cover because good lord, is it ever bad. I mean he has Russell Wilson over Ben Roethlisberger all-time. That’s laughable. Aside from that, I respect what he put out.

I hope you all enjoyed this article and if you did check out some of my colleagues work, they’re really good writers too and have their own great articles you can look at too. I also welcome your comments on my critique and revamped list.

Questions and comments?


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