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Sacco Sez: A list of the greatest NFL QBs

One of the candidates certain to get strong consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year in the contributor category, along with our great owner Pat Bowlen, is Gil Brandt, considered by most as the father of modern scouting.​

I personally think Mr. B and Gil should be the two people next to be admitted to the Hall as contributors.

But this particular column is not about Mr. B, who frankly should be a slam dunk, but about Gil's opinions regarding our favorite position — quarterback. 

Brandt is still a contributor to and in 2017 he listed his top 16 quarterbacks of all time, which received an update in May.

Since we all love talking about quarterbacks, and with the Broncos quite obviously having two signal callers on every list, here is Gil Brandt's list of the top 16 NFL quarterbacks of all time.

16. Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills.

15. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.

14. Fran Tarkenton, who most notably played for the Minnesota Vikings.

13. Warren Moon, who was the losing quarterback in one of John Elway's greatest comebacks, with the Oilers in the 1991 playoffs.

12. Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

11. Sammy Baugh, the first "greatest passer" in pro football history.

10. Troy Aikman of the Cowboys, whom I just visited with Wednesday and who remains as gracious as ever.

9. Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins.

8. Brett Favre, whom the Broncos bested for our win in Super Bowl XXXII.

7. Johnny Unitas of the Colts.

6. Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys.

5. John Elway, who forever will make all the greatest quarterback lists and likely will be underrated.

4. Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns.

3. Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers.

2. Peyton Manning.

1. Tom Brady.

It is no real surprise that Gil lists Brady as number one, but there is a lot of greatness on his list, and I think fans should focus on the greatness rather than debate relative ranks.

For Broncos fans, the position will always be defined by No. 7.

In fact, many years ago I was talking to a veteran coach from another team and I asked him who the greatest quarterback ever was, in his opinion.

He said, "Take your choice — either Unitas and Elway, or Elway and Unitas. That's your list. The other guys line up behind them."

Of course that was before the era of Manning and Brady and Brees, so the friendly (I hope) debate broadens and continues, and opinions will never end.

Elway and Manning, Manning and Elway ... what more can be said?

I was happy to see that Gil valued both Baugh and Graham so highly, as they are all-time greats in NFL history.

Fans are likely not aware that Baugh played both ways and was the punter for the Washington Redskins, leading the league in both interceptions as a defensive back and punting average in addition to being the game's first great passer.

And virtually no one is aware that Graham is the only player ever to have championship rings from both pro football and pro basketball. A superb basketball player at Northwestern, Graham also earned a championship ring with the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League, a predecessor of the NBA. An amazing factoid. 

That is a great list by Gil Brandt, and my fondest hope is that he shares a special list with Pat Bowlen later this year.

But for today, fans can debate his all-time quarterback list in the quiet month before we all kick off training camps.

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