Recently Elliot Harrison of NFL.com ranked every NFL team based on their top three quarterbacks all time or as he put it the team with the "strongest tradition" at the position. He ranked each team from the weakest to the strongest using different criteria and ranking the QB's for each team against one another. He also took in to consideration that some teams only had "one stellar installment" with some teams having a young QB that looks great but has not yet been in the NFL long enough to make a solid judgement on where they stand vs. others at the position. He recognized that some teams employed starting QB's later in their career, ala Joe Montana with the Chiefs and took in to consideration that while they were great they did make their name at the position playing with another franchise. Also considered were stats, trips to the Super Bowl and length of time with their franchise.
Starting at the bottom of the list was the Houston Texans with Matt Schaub, David Carr and Ryan Fitzpatrick as their top three signal callers. Part of this of course has to do with their time in the league having only started play as a franchise in 2002. Given Miami's struggles at the position since the days of Dan Marino, who retired following the 1999 season, one would have to assume that had Miami been judged over the same period they would have in fact been in the running for one of the bottom of the list spots.
Dolphins division mates the New York Jets came in at 21 with Joe Namath, Chad Pennington and Ken O'Brien. Namath of course won the infamous Super Bowl III over the Don Shula led Baltimore Colts in 1968 after guaranteeing victory. Pennington, was of course a very solid starter who also later became a Dolphins hero, was effective but never spectacular and never got the Jets very far. Ken O'Brien was mostly inconsistent but when good was very good and many Dolphins fans can still remember some of his epic shoot out's with Dan Marino.
The Buffalo Bills appear on the list at number 17 with Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson and Jack Kemp. Jim Kelly is of course a hall of fame QB who took his Bills to four Super Bowl, losing all 4. Kelly of course now owns every Bill quarterback record. Joe Ferguson played for the Bills as a starter for 12 seasons taking his team to the playoffs in 1980 and 1981. Jack Kemp led the Bills to back to back titles in the AFL Championship games during 1964 and 1965. Kemp then of course went on to a successful career in politics from 1971 to 1993, passing away in 2009 at only 73.
The New England Patriots hit the list at number 13 with Tom Brady, Steve Grogan and Drew Bledsoe. Harrison ranks Brady only behind Joe Montana as the greatest NFL quarterback all time. Brady's resume is well known as he has led his team to four Super Bowl victories. Grogan was a starter with the Patriots for all of or part of 16 seasons. Drew Bledsoe started for New England for parts of 9 seasons before being benched by an injury and being unseated by the then unheralded Brady.
The Miami Dolphins come in at a respectable 9th place. The group is of course led by hall of famer Dan Marino. Harrison says of Marino "A lot of us who watched pro football in the 1980's don't buy the revisionist historians who place John Elway over Marino. Outside of Montana, Marino was the guy to watch-Isotoner gloves and all.". Marino only took the club to one Super Bowl, not winning it, but to most Dolphins fans he remains not only the best quarterback that the team has ever had but also the best player the team has ever had. Bob Griese on the other hand did win two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. Harrison said of Bob, "Griese was generally considered a 'game manager' but when asked, he could throw the deep ball and put his team in the best position to win. He accurately states that the rest of the list of Miami QB's is a "barren wasteland" and gives the nod for the number 3 spot to Ryan Tannehill based on potential after what he calls a "fine overall campaign in 2014".
So who came in ahead of the Miami Dolphins? The rest of the list rounds out like this- The San Diego Chargers come in at 8th with Dan Fouts, Philip Rivers and John Hadl. The Pittsburgh Steelers come in at 7th with Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger and Neil O'Donnell. The St Louis Rams come in at 6th with Norm Van Brocklin, Kurt Warner and Bob Waterfield. The Washington Redskins come in 5th with Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgensen and Joe Theismann. The San Francisco 49ers come in 4th with Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Brodie. The Dallas Cowboys come in 3rd with Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo. The Indianapolis Colts come in 2nd with Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. The number 1 overall spot goes to the Green Bay Packers with Bart Starr, Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.
What do you think of these rankings? Do you think that the Dolphins were given a fair shake and were high enough? Maybe you think that 9th is too high. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
The full article can be seen HERE.