Every year various writers and organizations throughout the NFL rank the various starting QBs. You can watch Ron Jaworski doing it all offseason long on ESPN. These lists are done for one reason: to troll your ass. The only thing that gets people as irritated or perhaps more so than meaningless team rankings are QB rankings. In a power poll you look for wherever your team is listed and then ignore the rest, outside of maybe a cursory glance at the top ten or whichever of your rivals is listed ahead of your team. In a QB ranking? Somehow everyone has an opinion on that and it is clearly the greatest affront to humanity to consider ranking Joe Flacco somewhere above Matt Ryan. You bastards!
I say all of this from experience, because I get noticeably irritated when people like Ross Tucker do stupid shit and rank Jay Cutler as the TWENTIETH best quarterback in the NFL. How'd that work out for Ross, by the way? Does anyone acknowledge him as a football sage for proclaiming that luminaries like Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, and Kyle Orton were better quarterbacks than Jay?
My point is that even though I know these lists are a cheap way to fill up space and generate discussion and troll my ass hard, I still read them. I'm betting you will too! So here's my own completely biased, hate-filled rankings that will no doubt look absurd a year from now after Cam Newton has the worst sophomore slump in history or something.:
1. Aaron Rodgers: Every now and then I run into a Bears fan who tries to say something like "Rodgers is so overrated, any QB with those receivers...." just stop. Aaron Rodgers, if he retired today, would have the highest QB rating in NFL history. Granted, that's a flawed stat and it's trended upward on average as the league has become more passer friendly, but it's just a tiny sampling of how fucking good this guy is. He may not be the best passer in the league at the moment, as I'd give that edge to Breesus, but Bears fans especially know how fucking annoying it is those few times when he has no passing options and simply gallops for 20 yards through open space. Anywho, I get that it's cool to hate on the Packers QB and it's frustrating that he's so good, but don't make yourself sound like a moron for the purposes of the rivalry. He's good. Let's be mature and just hope his offensive line gets him killed.
2. Drew Brees: Drew Brees is one of my favorite players ever and has been since his days at Purdue. I remember listening to draftniks as they tore apart his measurables (which were always underrated because he was short. His arm strength was never bad) and hoping against hope he would fall to the Bears in the second round. He did not, and the rest is history. For all of the credit that Peyton Manning got for being the Colts offensive coordinator, Drew Brees deserves just as much. He is in complete and total control of the football field. It's hard to imagine anyone having better anticipation or accuracy, or better touch on the deep and intermediate routes that are the Saints bread and butter. I don't think any QB has gotten as much done downfield with just average NFL arm strength as Drew Brees has. Oh, and he just had the greatest passing season ever. Should probably tack that on there somewhere.
3. Tom Brady: No surprises to this point. Any list that doesn't start off with these three in some order is immediately more irrelevant than the rest of all of the totally irrelevant lists. You don't need me to recap Tom Brady's resume. Early in his career he was the perfect archetype of the game manager, as he did just enough to ride the Pats stellar defense to three Superbowls, where he transformed into the second coming of Joe Montana every time. Then a combination of Brady's experience and their declining defense led them to set him free, and now he's the perfect architect of the NFL's first truly successful spread offense. The only questions are how long he can keep playing and if he'll be able to overcome their awful defense to get his fourth ring.
4. Eli Manning: I know what you're thinking. This feels...wrong. Before the 2007 postseason Eli was a below average quarterback. Just two years ago he threw 25 picks. However, he's averaged 4300 yards and 29 TDs over the last three years and just picked up his second Superbowl ring. With Peyton's return from NeckAIDs clouding his future, Eli has become the better Manning (for now) and makes his way into the top five.
5. Peyton Manning: This spot in the rankings is either too low or too high depending on his return, but it seems like a crime to keep Peyton Manning out of the top five until I see with my own eyes that it's not true anymore. I mean, shit, he's Peyton f*&king Manning. That said, even in 2010 there were some minor signs (17 interceptions, a YPA for the season below 7.0 for the first time since his rookie year) that Peyton was slowing down. I don't expect him to be better than that in a Broncos uniform, but even 85% of Peyton Manning is probably a top ten NFL passer.
6. Ben Roethlisberger: There's really no good place in a QB ranking to put Ben Roethlisberger. Your stomach churns if he's in the top 5, but there's no way to justify putting him below 6, unless you're Iggins! and others who have a raging hate boner for the guy based on the perception that he's still the dude from his first two years who throws it 15 times a game and benefits from a great team. Since his third year Roethlisberger's averaged over 400 attempts a year in every non-suspended campaign and has averaged 245 yards per game, completed nearly 63%, averaged almost 8.0 YPA, and has a QB rating over 90. He's also been to two Superbowls and won one in that time. He's good, even if there are totally valid complaints about him holding the ball too long (statistically the Steelers allow more "long" sacks, or sacks over 2.0 seconds, than any team in the NFL) and him forcing himself on women. Not to make light of rape allegations, but unfortunately you can only rank the guy as a football player. Not a human being.
7. Philip Rivers: If Philip Rivers didn't seem like such a colossal asshole I'd feel bad for him. A player of his ability deserves a front office that doesn't let all of the offensive talent around him disappear year after year. Have you seen their offensive line lately? Fuck, Vincent Jackson was chronically overrated and is still ten times better than the flotsam they've replaced him with. Despite the near constant erosion of star power around him, Rivers has gotten better nearly every year. Last year desperation and a possible injury forced him into plenty of turnovers early on, but it's hard to knock a guy who throws for 4600 yards in a "bad" year. Even if he is a jag.
8. Cam Newton: I fear ranking a one year wonder in the top ten because of the potential for implosion (see, Freeman, Josh), and this is maybe too high for Cam anyway, but I fear this monstrosity and you should too. He had a better rookie season throwing the ball than Peyton Manning and he ran for, I don't know, something like fourteen touchdowns. FOURTEEN. Why do the Bears have to play him this year?
9. Jay Cutler: Statistically, this is probably indefensible unless you're a person willing to look at the stories behind the statistics at times, especially at a position with so many variables. You've all seen what Jay Cutler does, what he's had to deal with, and what the team looked like without him. Sure, 2009 was a disaster, but over time Jay's learn to manage his risk-taking. He's learned to compensate for a god awful offensive line by scrambling around and firing darts that few QBs in this league could even attempt. He's had to eat sacks because his line is a sieve and his wide receivers, until now, couldn't get open in press coverage against a double amputee.
This year we will find out what Jay can really do, assuming the protection is at least average. He'll have real receivers, a scheme designed to match his talents and those of his teammates, and a chance to erase many of the "yeah, but..."'s on his resume. If he falls short I'll have to accept that maybe he's just never going to be anything more than "just" good. But I don't think he will.
10. Tony Romo: I don't know or care what he does in often imaginary "clutch" situations. If I told you a guy had a 96.9 QB rating, averages almost 270 yards passing per game, and has a career YPA of 8.0, you'd think he was a Hall of Famer if he was anybody Other than Tony Romo. I'd feel truly terrible for all of the undeserved shit he got if he wasn't a fucking Dallas Cowboy. This is payback for forty years of having "America's Team" shoved down our throats, Tony. You want to play for the self-titled Gods of the NFL? You'd better expect an entire nation to be laughing at your every fuck up.
That's it for now because I would assume that no one is even still reading at this point because, as usual, I'm extremely long winded.
Most of these rankings count backwards, to build anticipation or something, but I trust you'll keep reading as I go down the list because isn't bile towards shitty players more of your thing, anyway? You know you want to hear what I have to say about Blaine Gabbert and Rico Mirerez.