Rodgers' Place Among QBs Today

Fresh off a Super Bowl win and a legendary playoff performance, Aaron Rodgers is now officially an elite quarterback.  If someone asks you if Rodgers is an elite QB, it's easy to answer "yes".  But what isn't so easy to answer, is:

Exactly where does Rodgers rank amongst current NFL QB's today? 

Answering that question involves making a list, with numbers.  It includes putting players behind and in front (you don't really have to put anyone in front if you don't want to) of Rodgers, as well as explaining why you ranked him where you did.

In this post, I will look at different lists and viewpoints of ESPN sportswriters, as well as giving my own view, of where Rodgers ranks among NFL QBs today.  And of course, I need the lists of my fellow APC bloggers.



Let's first look at the viewpoint of a Rodgers supporter, ESPN's Kevin Seifert.  Seifert ranked Rodgers as the 2nd best QB in the NFL today, behind only Tom Brady

Seifert put Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers at No. 2.

"Mostly, I didn't think I could face NFC North blog readers if I voted any other way,’’ Seifert said. "Seriously, I think the big advantage Manning and Drew Brees have over Rodgers is time. They've been playing longer and therefore have mostly better career numbers and a bigger frame of reference for knowing how they will perform in the long term. But when you take out longevity, Rodgers is right there with them. All three have one Super Bowl victory. Rodgers has a higher career passer rating than any quarterback in the history of the NFL with qualified attempts, better than Manning and Brees and Brady for that matter. So to break the tie, I think you can look at what they did most recently. I think Rodgers had a better 2010 season than Manning or Brees, and that's how I would justify this order.


For the record, here is how I voted:

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Peyton Manning
  4. Drew Brees
  5. Philip Rivers
  6. Ben Roethlisberger
  7. Michael Vick
  8. Matt Ryan
  9. Matt Schaub
  10. 10.   
Josh Freeman

Clearly, Seifert would prefer to look at what a guy did in the last few seasons than his whole career.  Rodgers has been absolutely amazing so far in his 3 seasons.  And not just amazing, but arguably more amazing than any other QB over the last 3 seasons.  He has the highest career passer rating in NFL History.  You could easily argue that right now, Rodgers is the best or second best QB in the NFL.

However, if you prefer to look at a player's career-long resume, to look at everything he's accomplished, then your list might end up looking more like the list of ESPN's James Walker:

Walker's Quarterback Power Rankings

1. Tom Brady, Patriots

2. Peyton Manning, Colts

3. Drew Brees, Saints

4. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

6. Philip Rivers, Chargers

7. Michael Vick, Eagles

8. Eli Manning, Giants

9. Matt Ryan, Falcons

10. Tony Romo, Cowboys

Ben Roethlisberger has more SB rings than Rodgers, and has more seasons under his belt, but still...c'mon James Walker.  Even some Steelers fans would trade Rodgers for Big Ben straight up.  Without the best defense of the past 5 years on his team, he would have zero rings.  And with zero rings, noone would rank him in the Top 5, because he hasn't been as good as Rodgers statistically in the Regular season or the Playoffs.  Same with Phillip Rivers, who I think is better than Big Ben.

But, as I said, if you look at longevity and what you've done over your entire career as a big factor, then your list will look more like that.

And now, we look at the list that looks the most like mine would, the ballot put in by ESPN's Tim Graham:

This was (Tim Graham's) ballot:

1. Tom Brady, Patriots

2.  Peyton Manning, Colts

3.  Aaron Rodgers, Packers

4.  Drew Brees, Saints

5.  Philip Rivers, Chargers

6.  Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

7.  Michael Vick, Eagles

8.  Matt Ryan, Falcons

9.  Matt Schaub, Texans

10.  Joe Flacco, Ravens

I think this ballot has the right balance of respect for the many factors that should affect these lists.  I feel that Brady is the #1 guy, because he has been playing at a Superstar level his whole career so far, and he is still doing it today.  He was last season's MVP, with an amazing regular season performance.  He didn't come up huge in the playoffs, but he has already done that 4 or so times (he has like 4 rings).

#2 is the tough one, since it's a toss up between Rodgers and Manning, and it's fair to give either guy the nod.  Manning is kind of similar to Brady, where he has the ultra-impressive track record, but an impressive track record alone doesn't get you in the Top 2.  He threw more INTs last season than usual, 17, but that's still not bad, and aside from that he threw for 4,700 yards and 33 TDs completing 66% of his passes, while winning 10 games and his division.

I'm OK with putting Rodgers behind those two, but nobody else.  Rodgers has the highest career passer rating in NFL History, and last season had a historically great playoff performance that ended in a Super Bowl win.  He doesn't have the 10+ ProBowl seasons to lean on like Manning and Brady do, but what he's done in his first 3 seasons and last season's playoffs alone put him in the Top 3 in my opinion.

Brees has to be #4 after Rodgers.  I would put Rivers ahead of Roethlisberger, who plays better than Ben does, but just can't get any help from his defense or special teams.  He even plays well in the playoffs, it's just that his kicker too often misses a GW field goal.  Roethlisberger is a good fit at 6, followed by Vick and Ryan.  Schaub and Flacco are a decent 9 and 10.

Here is the Consensus Chart for ESPN's sportswriters, with Rodgers sitting at #4:

Rk Quarterbacks Bill Williamson Mike Sando Pat Yasinskas John Clayton James Walker Kevin Seifert Paul Kuharsky Tim Graham Tot
1 Tom Brady 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 78
2 Peyton Manning 2 1 3 2 2 3 1 2 72
3 Drew Brees 3 4 2 3 3 4 4 3 62
4 Aaron Rodgers 4 3 4 4 5 2 3 4 59
5 Ben Roethlisberger 5 6 6 5 4 6 5 5 46
6 Philip Rivers 6 5 5 6 6 5 6 6 43
7t Michael Vick 7 7 8 -- 7 7 8 7 26
7t Matt Ryan 8 8 7 7 9 8 7 8 26
9 Eli Manning 10 -- -- 8 8 -- 9 -- 9
10t Joe Flacco 9 -- 10 10 -- -- -- 10 5
10t Tony Romo -- 9 -- 9 10 -- -- -- 5
Others Receiving Votes
12t Josh Freeman -- 10 9 -- -- 10 -- -- 4
12t Matt Schaub -- -- -- -- -- 9 -- 9 4
14 Matt Cassel -- -- -- -- -- -- 10 -- 1
Key: JC=John Clayton; MS=Mike Sando; KS=Kevin Seifert; PY=Pat Yasinskas; TG=Tim Graham;
BW=Bill Williamson; JW=James Walker; PK=Paul Kuharsky
Rank: 1=10 points, 2=9 points, 3=8 points, 4=7 points, 5=6 points, etc.


And if you want to know, this is my list, very similar to Graham's and reflecting the paragraphs immediately above:

1. Tom Brady

T-2. Peyton Manning

T-2.  Aaron Rodgers

4. Drew Brees

5. Phillip Rivers

6. Ben Roethlisberger

7. Michael Vick

8. Matt Ryan

9.  Eli Manning

10. Matt Schaub


Thanks for reading this post, and leave your list and anything else in the comments.

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