Elite Quarterbacks in the NFL

Who are the elite quarterbacks in the NFL? It’s the debate that never stops. Every year fans and pundits alike try to add in a new name, or keep one out. While there is no clear definition of what makes a quarterback “elite,” the research gurus here at NFL.com compiled statistics for every current starting quarterback in the NFL to see who rose to the top in several marquee categories.

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Statistics – Did they lead the league this year?

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The Elite:

1-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs that are in the top 20 Passer Rating: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, Robert Griffin III

And also the top 14 most passing yards: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman

And also the top 10 fewest interceptions: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford

And also the top five most touchdown passes:

Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Eli Manning

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Playoff Success – Have they won in the playoffs?

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The Elite:

Headshot

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs that have made the playoffs: 

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III

Won a playoff game: 

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Russell Wilson

Won two or more playoff games: 

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick

Won a Super Bowl:

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger

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Fourth Quarter – Do they dominate the end of games?

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The Elite:

2

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs with at least eight fourth quarter comebacks: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Josh Freeman

And at least 15 game-winning drives: 

Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

And a career fourth quarter passer rating above 86.0: 

Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

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Winning Streaks – Can they string together multiple wins?

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The Elite:

3-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs with a four game win streak: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Andrew Luck, Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Josh Freeman, Robert Griffin III

With a six game win streak: 

Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III

With an eight game win streak:

Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

With two separate eight game or more winning streaks:

Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers

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Consistency – Are they performing year after year?

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The Elite:

4-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs that have played for five or more years in the NFL: 

Kevin Kolb, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

And have had at least 3,000 yards passing in four of five seasons: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

And have had a completion percentage above 60 percent in four of five seasons: 

Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

And have had at least 25 passing touchdowns in four of five seasons: 

Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers

And have had at least 10 wins in four of five seasons: 

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady

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Clutch – Are they at their best when it counts the most?

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The Elite:

5-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs that have a third down passer rating of 84.0 or more: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

And have a touchdown-interception ratio of 2:1 in December and January: 

Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

And at least five playoff wins: 

Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees

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Big Play Threat – Can they take over a game with one play?

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The Elite:

6-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs that average at least seven yards per pass attempt: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Jake Locker, Robert Griffin III

And also have at least one season with 40 completions of 25 or more yards: 

Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers

And also at least 15 completions on passes thrown 41 or more yards downfield: 

Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers

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Road Warrior – Can they win away from home consistently?

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The Elite:

7-1

The Breakdown:

Starting QBs with a road winning percentage over .500: 

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III

And a passer rating over 90.0 on the road: 

Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III

And a touchdown-interception ratio of 2:1 on the road: 

Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III

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