NFL - US Sports: Five best QBs
Do the veteran arms of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady still lead the way when ranking the NFL's best quarterbacks or have the new breed taken over?
Rodgers and Brady are still churning out the yards, touchdowns and wins - and championships in the latter's case - but their career ends are nearing and maybe the era of the traditional pocket passer is too.
Teams are more willing to gamble on prospects with the ability to move the pocket and make off-platform throws in the wake of Patrick Mahomes' rise to greatness with the Kansas City Chiefs.
And what of the dual-threat QB who can scramble for big gains like Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen? Let's take a look at who's in and who's just on the outside of the NFL's five best at the position.
Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Starting with the oldest first, the 44-year-old has continually demonstrated his greatness in this league. If his body of work in New England (Six Super Bowl wins, four Super Bowl MVPs, three league MVPs) wasn't enough, then the last two years in Tampa have been vintage Brady.
Brady, 8.50 Most Regular Season Passing Yards, drove the Bucs toward Super Bowl glory in February 2020 virtually on one leg as he was dealing with a torn MCL in his left knee. When able to finally train like other fully-fit QBs in 2021, he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns.
What still separates this man from his peers, whether they are now retired or still trying to emulate his success, is the fourth-quarter comeback record and he remains the QB who no opposing head coach in their right mind would want facing his team across the line of scrimmage inside the two-minute warning.
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
The 38-year-old has chalked up back-to-back regular season MVP awards, but he has been involved in more play-off losses than wins over the last ten years. Although clearly not all of that can be laid at his door, only one Super Bowl ring from 14 seasons as a starter keeps him in Brady's shadow.
Rodgers, 9.50 to be Regular Season MVP for a third year in a row, won his contract stand-off with the Packers and now needs to deliver on it - albeit with a potentially weaker supporting cast around him in 2022.
Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Mahomes - 19.00 to be Offensive Player of the Year - set the bar so high for himself through his first three years as a starter that it's easy to overlook what a good season he still had in 2021 - when he threw an NFL-record 11 post-season touchdown passes.
The NFL's MVP in his second year in the league back in 2018, Mahomes fulfilled a childhood dream when he won a Super Bowl ring a year later
That currently sets him apart from contemporaries like Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen - +700 NFL Regular Season MVP - and Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow.
The former college baseball pitcher surpassed Brady in becoming the second-youngest QB to win a Super Bowl and Rodgers didn't win the first of his Regular Season MVP awards until he hit 28, so Mahomes is a few years ahead of the stars that he could one day outshine.
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Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
Burrow, 10.00 Most Regular Season Passing Yards, has already shown he possesses the poise to make the clutch post-season plays required to become one of the best.
He took a team that had won just four games the year before all the way to the Super Bowl - a feat made even more remarkable by him having to rehabilitate from knee surgery to repair a significant injury suffered in his rookie season.
The 25-year-old finished sixth in regular-season passing yards, posted a 34-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and the second-best passer rating in the entire NFL at 108.3, trailing only Rodgers.
Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
Herbert, 7.50 Most Regular Season Passing Yards, could be the best pure passer in the league after showing he can make all the throws within just two years as a pro.
The Chargers are building a team around him that can go toe-to-toe with the very best in the NFL and, although he's yet to prove he can perform in the post-season, he sneaks into the top five based on the jaw-dropping beauty of his deliveries.
On the outside - Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)
Allen is some quarterback and looks destined to fight for championships and Super Bowls in the future, but he misses out on the top five for now because it's still debateable if he has truly raised the level of his team.
The Bills only really became an offensive juggernaut after the trade to acquire wide receiver Stefon Diggs and it's reasonable to suspect Allen wouldn't have been so successful without the NFL's number one defense smothering opponents on the other side of the ball in 2021.
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