NFL.com’s Greatest Quarterback of All Time bracket may be completed, but the great debate over the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL continues to rage on. The league has had many great signal callers over the years. But with guys playing in different eras with different rules and each their own unique styles, it’s almost impossible to come up with a definitive listing of the best of the best. But that doesn’t stop fans and experts alike from trying.
One such expert undertaking that unenviable task is NFL Media Analyst Elliot Harrison. The man who ranked the 16 QBs in NFL.com’s own version of March Madness is back after the bracket crowned Johnny Unitas the champion. This time he’s ranking the top 20 signal callers of all time straight up. Coming in at #5 was the most legendary quarterback in the history of the Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino.
It seems like any time a quarterback is asked about his influences or questioned about the “older” generation, the name “Dan Marino” pops out. Marino was the player all the grade-school and high-school kids wanted to be: quick and possessing an effortless delivery, able to handle having so many Dolphins games ride on his right arm. Marino broke every passing record in the book, and while he never won a Super Bowl, well, we don’t care. Being elite is being elite. Had Marino played with even half the supporting cast that Montana and late-career Elway enjoyed, who knows how things would have played out? Marino’s 1984 season might be the top offensive campaign by anyone, at any position, ever: He had 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns in a tough era to throw the ball.
Being ranked in the top 5 in no small feat, as Marino was ranked ahead of some of the games greatest, including legends like Brett Favre, Roger Staubach, and Otto Graham. He was one of the few quarterbacks let alone players to have such a lengthy career with one team, playing all 17 seasons of his in Miami,and put up some ridiculous numbers by today’s standards, let alone the era he played in.
The numbers are even more incredible given the fact of how much the game has changed since Marino played. The league now has an increased emphasis on passing the ball with numerous rule changes that tend to favor aerial based offenses. So Marino being ranked 5th overall behind the man who won NFL’s Bracketology in Johnny Unitas (third), two of the games greatest currently playing in Peyton Manning (fourth) and Tom Brady (second) and Joe Montana (first)?
It seems like a pretty good spot for Dan The Man.
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