Talk of Fame Network
The quarterback is the most important player on the football field. That’s why he gets paid the $100 million contracts and, at season’s end, collects the NFL MVP award. That’s been the case in 38 of the 57 years the Associated Press has been selecting an MVP. It’s become a quarterback’s award and a quarterback’s game.
So that’s where we’re heading in this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll. Who is the greatest quarterback of all time? Is it the guy with all the records or all the rings? So who is it — Unitas? Montana? Brady? Graham? Manning? Baugh? It’s your call. Here’s the slate of candidates:
Sammy Baugh. A member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and also the 1940s all-decade team. The sixth overall pick of the 1937 NFL draft who went on to win an NFL-record six passing titles. He spent his entire 16-year career in Washington and quarterbacked the Redskins to NFL championships in 1937 and 1942. His 335 passing yards in the 1937 title game against Chicago set an NFL rookie record that stood for 76 years until Russell Wilson topped it in 2013. In 1943 Baugh led the NFL in passing on offense, interceptions (11) on defense and punting (45.9 yards) on special teams. He was a four-time NFL punting champion.
(Baugh photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins)
Tom Brady. A member of the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team. His 180 career victories are an NFL record and his winning percentage of (180-52) of 77.6 ranks second-best of all-time. Brady is an 11-time Pro Bowler, a four-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time NFL passing champion. He threw personal bests of 50 touchdown passes in 2007 and 5,235 yards in 2011. Brady also quarterbacked the Patriots to the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history in 2007. He has taken the Patriots to the playoffs in 14 of his 16 seasons as a starter.
(Brady photos courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Otto Graham. A member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and also the 1950s all-decade team. A three-time NFL MVP. Began his career in 1946 with the Cleveland Browns and spent four years in the All-America Football Conference before moving to the NFL for his final six seasons. Graham took the Browns to the championship game all 10 of his seasons, winning seven titles. He won a record 83.4 percent of his career starts, including 80.6 percent in his six NFL seasons. Graham also won two NFL passing titles. He’s all about winning games and championships. He also was a member of the 1946 NBA champion Rochester Royals.
(Graham photo courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)
Peyton Manning. A member of the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team. The NFL’s all-time leading passer with 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns. Manning was a 14-time Pro Bowler, five-time NFL MVP, three-time NFL passing champion and two-time Super Bowl champion. He played 17 seasons but missed 2011 with a neck injury. The Colts released him at that point and he signed with the Denver Broncos, with whom he set NFL single-season records with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns in 2013. He won his second Super Bowl in his final game with the Broncos in the 2015 season.
(Manning photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos)
Joe Montana. A member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and also the 1980s all-decade team. Montana was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a four-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time NFL passing champion. He also won a national championship at Notre Dame in 1977 and his jersey No. 16 has been retired by the San Francisco 49ers. He finished out his career playing two seasons in Kansas City and took the Chiefs to the AFC title game in 1993. Kansas City hasn’t been back since. His career bests were 31 TD passes in 1987 and 3,944 yards in 1990.
(Montana photos courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)
Johnny Unitas. A member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and also 1960s all-decade team. Known for his black high-top cleats, Unitas was a 10-time Pro Bowler, a four-time NFL MVP and a three-time NFL champion. He called his own plays, invented the two-minute drill and also put the NFL on the map with his performance in the 1958 NFL title game, an overtime victory over the New York Giants, dubbed “the greatest game ever played.” He threw a career-best 32 touchdowns in a 12-game 1959 season and a career-best 3,481 yards in a 14-game 1963 season.
(Unitas photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)