I researched this topic in great detail, and one thing I saw in the argument of who is the greatest QB of all time was that there are two ways of going about it. You have the best statistical QB's, who are Peyton Manning, Favre, Marino, Brees, Elway, and Brady. When they are all retired they will be the top 6 in passing TD's and depending on Brady and Brees length of careers, probably yards as well.
On the other side of the argument you have the "winners". Montana, Bradshaw, Brady, Aikman, Starr, Roethlisberger and depending on who you talk to, Elway (2 titles in his last two years, but before that was known as the guy that couldn't get over the hump). They are all multiple Super Bowl winning QB's, with Montana and Bradshaw leading the way with 4, until Brady hopefully joins that club on Sunday. I've always been on this side of the argument, naturally because of the Manning/Brady arguments centering around wins vs. stats.
I decided to put all twelve of these prolific passers into one big list of the best of all time, and compare their career numbers in pure statistical dominance and numbers that have more to do with winning.
Starr 62Marino 61
Right here you can see that two of the 'winners' are at the bottom of this category, so we can eliminate Aikman and Starr. Now let's look at playoff records, when it really matters.
Playoff Wins and %:
Brady 16, 76%
Bradshaw 14, 73.7%
Elway 14, 66.7%
Favre 13, 54.2%
Roethlisberger 10, 71.4%
Manning 9, 47.4%
Marino 8, 44.4%
Brees 5, 55.6%
Unitas 6, 75%
I know they're more known for their statistical relevance, but Manning and Marino have both lost more playoff games than they won, and if I'm trying to figure out who the best ever is, he will not have a playoff win percentage of less than 50. See ya Dan and Peyton.
Now we'll hit up the passing stats, starting with the completion percentages of our surviving QB's:
Not a good look for you Terry. Barely completing half of his passes throughout his career, he actually threw the same amount of picks as touchdowns in his career. No thanks.
At this point in time, Brees and Roethlisberger's (and looking forward, Rodgers) status' really depend on how long they're able to keep up their production, so while they remainin the pack, at this point in time they are not on the same level.
The last thing I looked at was the best season for each QB for each main category. Montana's 1992 season led the way with a 71.4% completion. Brady crushed the rest of the remaining competition with his 2011 passing yardage of 5,235, as well as his 50 TD's in 2007.
So at this point in the research, Brady and Montana have really separated themselves.
The very last thing I found was a stat on NFL.com called career TD and INT%, which basically looks at the percentage of all attempts that ended in TD's or INT's. The average of our top 12 QB's was about 5.0 for TD's and 3.1 for INT's. Favre threw the most INT's in history, and his 3.3 number reflected that. Elway didn't throw nearly as many TD's as you think when you look at how often he threw the ball, and his TD number was 4.1. Unitas threw a ton of picks as well, and his 4.9 INT number was the second worst of the whole group.
After looking at how our QB's fared in this category, I realized that I finally had proven my hypothesis if you will, that Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. Not only is he one of the best winners in football history. Not only did he throw for the most TD's in a single season, and second most yards in a different season. Not only has he taken 3 completely different sets of players to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady's career TD% of 5.6 is the best of all time, and his INT% of 2.2 was BY FAR the best ratio among the elite of the elite. He led them all in both categories.
If New England wins the Super Bowl this Sunday, there will be no argument on the planet that can refute what I have proclaimed here today, that TB12 is the best ever.