Football Quarterback: most difficult position in football? Best NFL Quarterbacks All Time and 2022

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons

In American football, the quarterback position is often considered to be the most important on a football team, as well as the most difficult to play. So what exactly is a quarterback, and what do they do?

What is a Quarterback, and What the Position so Difficult?

A quarterback is one of the eleven offensive players on the football field at all times. The quarterback is responsible for a wide range of duties both on and off the field, which is what makes it the hardest position to play, especially at a high level. Here are some of the things a quarterback must do:

  • Quickly and clearly relay the entirety of a play call from the coaches on the sideline to the offensive linemen, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends in the huddle
  • Watch enough film to recognize what the defensive backs, defensive ends, and defensive linemen are doing prior to the snap so they can pick up a blitz, change from a running play to a passing play or vice versa, or line up the offensive line/other offensive players to give them a better chance at executing their play or call an audible from the backfield if necessary
  • In a matter of milliseconds, read what the cornerbacks and linebackers of the opposing team do as soon as the ball is snapped and react accordingly
  • Know their team’s playbook from front to back, understanding in detail what each player at every position must do on every single play
  • Have the ability to feel pressure of defensive tackles, blitzing outside linebackers and defensive backs, or other rushers coming from their blind side
  • On the high school and college levels, some quarterbacks might have to play the difficult position of the holder for the kicker or even act as the punter in some punt formations
  • Be well-spoken to their teammates as well as represent their team and organization in a professional manner
  • Posses the size, arm strength, mobility, and vision to precisely execute plays by handing off or throwing the football to running backs, receivers, or tight ends on each play

In the NFL, quarterbacks are often the highest paid players on a team largely in part due to their importance in every aspect of the football game and the organization as a whole, as listed above. Because of how tough the position is, great quarterbacks are truly hard to come by, and many NFL teams will go through several quarterbacks before finding one that they want to build a team around going forward.

While players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have shown the ability to flat out dominate defensive players and be elite passers in the NFL, many great high school and college quarterbacks fail when they finally get to the NFL simply because of how fast the game moves and all of the mental aspects that come with it.

The list of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is comprised of players who were able to master the mental aspect of the game while also being exceptionally physically gifted. Many of the quarterbacks on this list are not only praised within quarterback conversations, but many are also considered among the greatest football players to ever live, period.

Greatest Quarterbacks of All Time

1. Tom Brady

Super Bowl LV
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  • Teams​: New England Patriots: 2000-2019 (20 seasons), Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020-present (2 complete seasons)
  • Accolades​: 7x Super Bowl Champion, 5x Super Bowl MVP, 3x NFL MVP, 15x Pro Bowl
  • Career Stats​: 84,520 yards, 624 touchdowns, 97.6 QBR

Brady’s story is nothing short of amazing, coming from being pick No. 199 in the 2000 NFL draft to an individual that many consider to be the greatest to ever play the game of football. He is one of the greatest winners in all of professional sports, and his longevity and consistent dominance is unlike anything anyone has seen before.

2. Peyton Manning

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
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  • Teams​: Indianapolis Colts: 1998-2010 (13 seasons), Denver Broncos: 2012-2015 (4 seasons)
  • Accolades​: 2x Super Bowl Champion, 5x NFL MVP, 14x Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame
  • Career Stats​: 71,940 yards, 539 touchdowns, 96.5 QBR

“The Sheriff” was not only one of the most skilled players of all time, but he was also one of the smartest players of all time. A huge part of his game was making adjustments and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage, and his success in doing so goes to show just how much preparation went into what he did on the football field each week.

3. Joe Montana

QB Joe Montana
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  • Teams​: San Francisco 49ers: 1979–1992 (14 seasons), Kansas City Chiefs: 1993-94 (2 seasons)
  • Accolades​: 4x Super Bowl Champion, 3x Super Bowl MVP, 2x NFL MVP, 8x Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame
  • Career Stats​: 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns, 92.3 QBR

Montana’s legendary career is most recognized for his stellar postseason play, as he went a perfect 4-0 in Super Bowls and seemingly lived for big moments throughout his career.

4. Brett Farve

Green Bay Packers v Indianapolis Colts
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  • Teams​: Atlanta Falcons: 1991 (1 season), Green Bay Packers: 1992-2007 (16 seasons), New York Jets: 2008 (1 season), Minnesota Vikings: 2009-10 (2 seasons)
  • Accolades​: Super Bowl Champion, 3x NFL MVP, 11x Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame
  • Career Stats​: 71,838 yards, 508 touchdowns, 86.0 QBR

5. Dan Marino

Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino gets ready t
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  • Teams​: Miami Dolphins 1983-1999 (17 seasons)
  • Accolades​: NFL MVP, 9x Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame
  • Career Stats​: 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns, 86.4 QBR

Today's NFL is full of a wide age range of quarterbacks, from older future Hall of Famers to younger, more athletic players in the position than the league has ever seen before. Here are the best of the best going into 2022-23:

Ranking the Best NFL Quarterbacks in 2022-23: #1-5

1. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 92.2 QBR

Josh Allen has continued to make strides every single year that he’s been in the NFL since being selected No. 7 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, so another full offseason under his belt will be a big boost going into 2022-23. With an offense full of weapons including Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox surrounding him, expect him to be the best quarterback in the league not only next year, but potentially for years to come.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 111.9 QBR

After a great deal of uncertainty, the reigning back-to-back MVP returns to Green Bay in 2022-23 following another early playoff exit in 2021. Rodgers will be without his favorite target in Davante Adams, but if there’s anyone who can find a way to make it work and still tear apart defenses, it’s Rodgers.

3. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 102.1 QBR

After a brief retirement, Tom Brady returns for season No. 23 of his legendary career and his third in Tampa Bay. The first ballot Hall of Famer showed no signs of aging or slowing down in 2021-22, so if he’s anything close to that again, he’ll be one of the best quarterbacks in the league at age 45.

4. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,839 yards, 37 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 98.5 QBR

Mahomes struggled early and sometimes often in 2021-22, but nonetheless, he still put together another statistically extremely good season in Kansas City. The former MVP will have to adjust to not having Tyreek Hill on the field, but between Travis Kelce’s presence and Mahomes’ arm talent and athleticism, expect him to be one of the league’s best in 2022-23.

5. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 102.9 QBR

Stafford’s first season in Los Angeles went about as perfectly as he could have hoped, ending with him capturing a Super Bowl on his home field. The Rams return all of their main weapons going into 2022-23, leaving no doubt that Stafford will once again be one of the best quarterbacks in the league on one of the best teams in the league.

Ranking the Best NFL Quarterbacks in 2022-23: #6-10

6. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
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  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 108.3 QBR

7. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

  • 2021-22 stats​: 5,014 yards, 38 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 97.7 QBR

8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 104.2 QBR
Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints
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9. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

  • 2021-22 stats​: DNP

10. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

  • 2021-22 stats​: 2,882 yards, 16 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 50.7 QBR

Joe Burrow showed the NFL what he was capable of last season, and with improved protection going into next season, expect him to pick up right where he left off and go even beyond that. Justin Herbert has continued to improve year after year, and he goes into the 2022-23 season with the best roster that he has had around him yet. Dak Prescott has one of the strongest arms in all of football and Deshaun Watson is instantly a top-ten quarterback upon his return to the field, while Lamar Jackson is poised for a huge bounce-back year after an injury filled 2021.

Ranking the Best NFL Quarterbacks in 2022-23: #11-15

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

  • 2021-22 stats​: 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 100.6 QBR
Arizona Cardinals v Dallas Cowboys
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12. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

  • 2021-22 stats​: 3,113 yards, 25 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 103.1 QBR

13. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,804 yards, 23 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 94.0 QBR

14. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

  • 2021-22 stats​: 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 103.1 QBR
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
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15. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts

  • 2021-22 stats​: 3,968 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 90.4 QBR

If Kyler Murray can play consistently good football every week, he has the team around him to be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL next season. In his first year as a Bronco, Russell Wilson brings winning experience to a young Denver team that has several weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and Derek Carr gets a boost from the arrival of Davante Adams after amassing nearly 5,000 passing yards in an unusual year for the Raiders in 2021. Kirk Cousins continues to be quietly consistent in Minnesota, and Matt Ryan will bring his NFL experience to a young receiving corps in Indianapolis.