The Super Bowl is now just over a week away, and with a matchup between two talented passers in quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford awaiting viewers, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal ranked all 65 quarterbacks to start in the big game.
Naturally, two Broncos made the top 10 on the list, which was based on a player's career.
"I ranked all quarterbacks based on career achievements, with regular-season excellence, All-Pro/Pro Bowl appearances and seasons as top-five and top-10 players at the position carrying more weight than just Super Bowl success," Rosenthal wrote.
Peyton Manning appeared first at No. 4 in a seven-man "G.O.A.T. pasture" grouping.
"Manning ultimately overwhelms Marino, Rodgers and Favre with individual honors and consistency," Rosenthal wrote. "He was so rarely outside the league's top-three quarterbacks during a career that included five MVPs."
Elway wasn't far behind at No. 9 in "the best second tier ever."
"Elway was a physical marvel, won an MVP and earned three second-team All-Pro nods in his career (1983-1998)," Rosenthal wrote, "but his passing numbers (3,217 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 picks per year), even when adjusted for his era, don't stack up with the rest of the top nine."
Craig Morton, quarterback of the Broncos' first Super Bowl team, was ranked No. 41, though Rosenthal notes that he was perhaps underrated in his era.
"Morton, a Super Bowl starter for two different organizations, somehow never made a Pro Bowl despite leading the league in yards per attempt three times," Rosenthal wrote.
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No quarterback from that list, though, eclipsed Elway on a ranking players’ final seasons. CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin placed Elway at No. 4 overall, one spot above the recently retired Tom Brady, for his championship effort.
"Elway was more like a top-10 QB than top-three QB a la Brady, leaning on a 2,000-yard season from Terrell Davis, but his finish gives him the edge, as he won Super Bowl MVP to claim a second straight title in a big-game rout of the Falcons," Benjamin wrote.
With only Otto Graham, Jim Brown and Norm Van Brocklin ahead of him, Elway was the highest-ranked player from the post-merger era of the NFL.