Any fan is willing to fight for their quarterbacks respect and after NFL.com’s Gil Brandt released his top 16 quarterbacks of all-time, Dolphins fans have been showing their displeasure with the ranking of Dan Marino.
The former Miami Dolphins quarterback is ranked 9th out of 16 quarterbacks across history. That’s rather low for a quarterback of Dan Marino’s legacy despite the fact he didn’t win a Super Bowl title.
The six players below him? Drew Brees, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Warren Moon, Sammy Baugh, Troy Aikman, and Terry Bradshaw. Kelly took the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, all losses, while both Aikman and Bradshaw won multiple Super Bowl titles. Obviously Super Bowls were not the deciding factor in these rankings.
So number 9. It’s hard to not have a biased opinion of Dan Marino but some of the players in front of him, should be behind him.
Number 8: Roger Staubauch
There is no question that Staubach is one of the all-time greats but his numbers, 22,700 career passing yards and 153 touchdowns doesn’t come close to the numbers posted by Marino. If you are ranking quarterbacks you have to rank them as quarterbacks and Staubach was not the pure quarterback that Marino was.
Number 7: Johnny Unitas
It’s hard to put anyone below Johnny “U”. Unitas was a pioneer in the passing game when teams typically ran the ball. His 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns was amazing for that era. Despite Marino’s 61,361 yards and 420 career touchdowns, I can’t argue with Unitas being ranked higher. He was simply that good and had he played in the freestyle passing offense that Marino did, who knows what his stats would be.
Number 6: Brett Favre
I don’t care if you are a fan of Favre or not the reality is this guy was a gritty fighting quarterback whose fight was as big as his arm. At the time of his retirement he surpassed many of Marino’s passing accomplishments. Including yards and touchdowns. There is no problem with Favre being ranked higher.
Number 5: John Elway
Elway was a great quarterback but number 5 is way too high. I wouldn’t put Elway above Favre or Unitas on this ranking but Brandt did. As for Marino? Well that has been an ongoing debate since they both entered the league in 1983. My biased opinion is that Marino should be ranked higher. He was simply a better quarterback with less surrounding him whereas Elway was a great quarterback with a great supporting cast.
Number 4: Otto Graham
Graham is a legend and a pioneer almost as much as Johnny Unitas. The 4th best quarterback of all-time? Not sure he would be in my top 10 on this list. Not to take away from his three championships or his five pro-bowls.
Number 3: Joe Montana
My biggest debate when it comes to Montana and Marino is this. Would Montana have had anywhere near the success he had in the NFL if he were on the Dolphins and Marino was on the 49’ers? I don’t believe that Montana would have made the Dolphins better but I do believe that the 49’ers would have had at minimum the same success with Marino. And that is my biggest question when comparing the two. Montana’s best statistical number is his 92.3 QB passer rating. His four Super Bowls? Bradshaw has four as well.
Number 2: Peyton Manning
Yeah, I can’t debate this one.
Number 1: Tom Brady
There really is no surprise here as Tom Brady is everyone’s go to GOAT. Personally, if I were building a team off a player on this list, Tom Brady would not be one that I would select. This is not a biased opinion. Brady is a great quarterback but I’m not sure he can play outside of a system that he was built on. Manning could play in just about any system, Montana was methodical, and Elway was a grinder. Brady is competent and precise and reads defenses very well but he is also the product of Belichick’s innovations and creativity than he is simply a great quarterback. There is no way that Brandt could not put Brady number 1. Not without at least a page of reasons why. I will give you one. Tom Brady would not have the same success outside of New England and Belichick.
Not a biased opinion, just an opinion.
So where would I have put Dan Marino? At least two spots higher over Staubach and Graham. Potentially a spot higher than Elway with some nitpicking internal debate. So Marino should have been ranked somewhere around number six.
The reality of all this however is simple. It’s all subjective. If you compare stats you will get a different result, compare era’s and it’s completely different again. My personal question always remains would a quarterback have the same level of success with another team and in a different system. When it comes to Dan Marino, I think he would, potentially more. I’m just glad he didn’t.