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With the AFC Championship between the Patriots and the Broncos, we saw the 15th game between Tom Brady and Payton Manning. Because of that we heard from every sports talk show the ranking of the “5 greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.” Nearly every one was filled with quarterbacks that have played in the last 15 years. There is a MAJOR issue with that. The game has changed more than any other professional sport over the last 60 years. This is not comparing apples to oranges. It is closer to comparing apples to atom bombs.
Forget looking at passer ratings or touchdowns thrown. When Otto Graham and Bart Star played, the head slap of an offensive lineman by a defender was legal and anything short of hitting a wide receiver over the head with a folding chair was acceptable. In the current game infected by political correctness a defender will get an pass interference flag for scowling at a receiver. It is not even a fair comparison to look at wins and losses. The NFL of Graham and Star was not diluted with bottom dwellers like it is now.
Otto Graham was involved in 10 straight league championship games. While four of those were in the All-America Football Conference, six were in the NFL. He led the Browns to 7 wins in those 10 games including his first season in the NFL in 1950.
Bart Star spent his first four years riding the bench. But in 1960 he led the Packers to the division title. From that point Star led his team to five NFL titles and two Super Bowl championships. Neither Manning nor Brady can match those ultimate results.
These two men were certain Hall of Fame quality players early in their careers. So when people talk about the greatest QB list based on recent players, they should recognize the differences in the game. While I have no issue with putting both Manning and Brady into the greatest list, that list includes only recent players. Both Graham and Star belong in the “greatest ever” list regardless of what parameters are used.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.