Tom Brady
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Who makes your list?

With news on Tuesday morning that Tom Brady is retiring, we can officially — finally — consider his career record to be complete. Final. Done.

He’ll be eligible to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2027. We aren’t worried about him getting in… and we kinda hope Gronk does in with him. Just for the party pics.

But with Brady officially calling it a career, the conversation opens up again. TB12 is the GOAT, but who makes your top 10 quarterbacks of all-time?

Here’s our list. Please, feel free to disagree.

First, our honorable mentions. These guys didn’t make the cut for our list (these are not in any specific order):

  • Steve Young
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Troy Aikman
  • Warren Moon
  • Dan Fouts
  • Terry Bradshaw
  • Randall Cunningham
  • Mike Vick
  • Joe Namath
Tom Brady
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1. Tom Brady

  • 624 TDs (all-time rank: 1)
  • 84,520 yards (1)
  • 15 Pro Bowls
  • 7 Super Bowl championships
  • 5 Super Bowl MVPs
  • 3 regular season MVPs

There is no question who the GOAT is, sorry. Brady walks away with more than 4,000 yards more than any other quarterback in history. He’s got more rings and more black ink than any quarterback in history.

2. Peyton Manning

  • 539 TDs (3)
  • 71,940 yards (3)
  • 14 Pro Bowls
  • 7 time All-Pro
  • 2 Super Bowl championships
  • 1 Super Bowl MVP
  • 5 regular season MVPs

Manning gets the nod over others because of a couple factors. First, his five regular-season MVPs. Second, he has multiple rings; something Drew Brees cannot claim. Manning would have likely had more Super Bowl appearances if he hadn’t played in the AFC at the same time as Brady.

3. Brett Favre

  • 508 TDs (4)
  • 71,838 yards (4)
  • 11 Pro Bowls
  • 3 time All-Pro
  • 1 Super Bowl championship
  • 3 regular season MVPs

Favre was the first player in NFL history to reach 70,000 passing yards and 500 touchdowns; it isn’t his fault three players have passed him in both categories since he retired. His three regular-season MVPs also give him a bump up the list. He was fun to watch play the game and was a big part of the transformation of the NFL into a pass-heavy league.

4. Joe Montana

  • 273 TDs (19)
  • 40,551 (21)
  • 8 Pro Bowls
  • 4 Super Bowl championships
  • 3 Super Bowl MVPs
  • 2 regular season MVPs

Montana’s gross numbers aren’t as gaudy as some others on this list, but they didn’t need to be in Bill Walsh’s offense. He was considered by most to be the GOAT before the arrivals of Manning, Brees and Brady. His championships and multiple regular-season MVPs get him a bump in front of the more prolific Brees on our list.

5. Drew Brees

  • 571 TDs (2)
  • 80,358 yards (2)
  • 13 Pro Bowls
  • 1 Super Bowl championship
  • 1 Super Bowl MVP
  • 2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year

Brees retired with all of the records now owned by Brady. His comeback from what was, at the time, thought to be a career-ending injury in San Diego and emergence as an all-time great passer was remarkable. One has to wonder what might have been if he had gone to Miami with Nick Saban as the coach of the Dolphins…

6. Dan Marino

  • 420 TDs (7)
  • 61,361 (7)
  • 9 Pro Bowls
  • 3 x All-Pro
  • 1 regular season MVP

Only two players in the top ten all-time in passing yards — Favre and Peyton Manning — were in the NFL when Marino retired. His 61,000 passing yards and 420 touchdowns were astronomical numbers in the history of the game when he walked away as the greatest Dolphins quarterback ever. He appeared in only one Super Bowl, unfortunately.

7. John Elway

  • 300 TDs (13)
  • 51,475 yards (11)
  • 9 Pro Bowls
  • 2 Super Bowl championships
  • 1 Super Bowl MVP
  • 1 regular season MVP

Full disclosure: Elway was my favorite quarterback growing up. Elway ran for more than 3,400 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career; he used his legs in many ways similarly to how we see the current generation of quarterbacks utilize their running ability. He appeared in five Super Bowls, winning two in his final two seasons. And what better number to rank him than the one he wore on his Broncos jersey: 7.

8. Johnny Unitas

  • 290 TDs (17)
  • 40,239 yards (22)
  • 10 Pro Bowls
  • 5 time All-Pro
  • 1 Super Bowl + 3 NFL championships
  • 3 regular season MVPs

When Unitas retired in 1973, he was the only quarterback in history to have thrown for more than 40,000 yards and his 290 touchdown passes were the benchmark for the position. He owns four championship rings including the NFL championships before the Super Bowl Era and was considered the greatest to ever do it before Montana arrived.

9. Fran Tarkenton

  • 342 TDs (11)
  • 47,003 (14)
  • 9 Pro Bowls
  • 1 regular season MVP

Tarkenton, who will turn 82 on Thursday, broke most of Unitas’ records before calling it a career in 1978. He, like Brady, led the league in passing yards in his final season; he threw for almost 3,500 yards at age 38. During his career, Tarkenton ran for 3,674 yards and 32 touchdowns as well.

He led the Vikings to three consecutive Super Bowls, but they lost all three — to the Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders. The third was the last time the Vikings franchise appeared in the Super Bowl.

10. Jim Kelly

  • 237 TDs (29)
  • 35,467 yards (29)
  • 5 Pro Bowls

Kelly’s career overlapped with Marino and Montana, so what he was able to accomplish is too often overlooked. He led the league in passer rating in 1990 and passing touchdowns in 1991 during his historic run, leading Buffalo to four straight Super Bowls. Sadly, all four were losses. We’re also giving strong consideration to Kelly starting his NFL career at age 26; he played in the USFL after a successful collegiate career at Miami.

Who’s in your top ten? Let us know on Twitter! 

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.