Rational Conservatism from the Rocky Mountains
All hail Steve Young, world’s greatest quarterback!!
Aw geez, now you’ve done it….
I like Steve Young. And I do think he is quite possibly the world’s greatest LEFT handed quarterback. But here’s a short off-the-top-of-my-head list of quarterbacks that are better:
John Elway (and I’m no John Elway fan)
Other than Dan Marino, who retired holding pretty much every passing record in the game, and Peyton Manning, who will hold them when he retires, the rest of these are all quarterbacks who won more Super Bowls or NFL championships than Steve Young (who won only one).
Just one comparison, say Troy Aikman vs. Steve Young. They were contemporaries. Both were known as extremely accurate passers. Aikman had the stronger arm, but Young was probably the best scrambler of his day. Which is no doubt why Aikman ended up retiring early due to multiple concussions.
When you look at the talent around them, Troy Aikman had Emmitt Smith and Michal Irvin, Steve Young had Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. I think that’s a wash, Smith is the career rushing leader, and Rice is the career receiving leader. Irvin and Craig were solid position players.
The Cowboys and the Niners fought in three or four NFC championship games when the Cowboys were hot in the mid 90s. The one year that Steve Young beat the Cowboys and won the Super Bowl was the year that Jerry Jones fired Jimmie Johnson and hired Barry Switzer to run his team. Had he hired a legitimate NFL coach, or kept Jimmie Johnson, I am quite certain that the ‘Boys would have whupped up on the Niners again and won four Super Bowls in a row, not just three of four.
And Aikman is probably sixth or seventh on that list, I’m not even talking about a Marino, Elway or Manning…
I like Steve Young, I think he was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to ever play the game. But if you take into account the talent he had around him, he should have won more Super Bowls. And the reason he didn’t was, in large part, due to Troy Aikman.
Oh, and after Aikman, the next quarterback to beat Young in the NFC championship game multiple times was a young quarterback by the name of Brett Favre… Who probably should have been on my list too… but Actually I think Favre and Young are pretty comparable.
I’m not Drax, so I’m not going to debate you on which quarterback is the ‘world’s greatest’. To me, Steve Young was the most exciting and fun quarterback to watch play, and I include in that assessment the games I saw him play at BYU. I’m not really a huge NFL fan and I don’t follow the pro game very closely. I do follow the careers of specific players, however, and for that reason I was a huge 49er fan while Steve was calling the plays. After he retired (due to multiple concussions by the way) I lost most interest in 49er football.
I will now follow the career of John Beck and might even become a Phins fan if John starts winning a few games. If Miami keeps losing I’ll hope John gets traded and then I’ll follow that team.
I have a huge amount of respect for Favre. He’s probably my favorite quarterback in the league right now…
The comparisons of Tony Romo to Brett Favre are getting downright embarrassing. Romo needs to get a couple of years and a few Super Bowl appearances under his belt before I’ll put him on any list of “great” quarterbacks, but he is a lot of fun to watch. He scrambles a lot like Young, actually.
I have always been ambivalent towards Favre. Part of that is because I could not understand why Favre was becoming a celebrity sensation (appearing in movies like “Something About Mary” for example) when Troy Aikman beat him like a drum every time they played each other.
I know I’m a Dallas homer, but Aikman is one of the least appreciated quarterbacks in the game in my opinion. I do consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable about the game of football, and Aikman may not have been the flashiest QB, and may not have had the highest quarterback rating, but in my opinion he was one of the best game managers who ever played the position, and game management is what QB is all about. Not to pick on your favorites, but that is what I think separates Aikman from Favre and Young. They are great physical athletes and very exciting to watch, but I don’t think either one managed games very well. In fact this year is the first year I’ve seen Favre gain kudos for that aspect of the game, and I think he does deserve it.
But game management is hard to quantify, so it never gets a lot of attention. Other QBs who were great game managers in my opinion were Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw (yes, Terry Bradshaw) and Joe Montana. They didn’t just beat you with their arms or legs, they beat you by outmaneuvering you. Tom Brady is probably the best “game manager” in the QB position today. One of the key things about game management is that the good ones take what they are given. They don’t force the game to follow their own style of play, they let their style of play adapt to the needs of the game.
I really do like Steve Young. I think he was perhaps one of the SMARTEST quarterbacks to ever play the game. And I think he was hurt by being behind Joe Montana for so long. But I mean if you have Joe Montana on your team, who do you start?
Oh, if I had to say, at least in the NFL, who the “most exciting” quarterback to play was, I’d definitely put Young in the top five. Maybe even at the top. But he’d have to go up against John Elway (the NFL record holder in 4th quarter comebacks, and the architect of “The Drive”) Roger “the dodger” Staubach (who was also very much like Steve Young), and even Randall Cunningham, who was probably the most exciting scrambling quarterback I ever saw play. And I say that as a Cowboys fan who would have a heart attack every time Randall tore through the Cowboys secondary in those years he played for the Eagles…
Young was very exciting. Maybe even the most exciting, but those other guys could send your heart into palpitations too…
Then there was that Michael Vick guy….
A few things…first, you’re a freaking Dallas homer. Second, I’ll take exciting over well-managed any day. Third…you start Steve Young over Joe Montana because I didn’t go to college with Montana or sit in the booth next to him at the local pizza joint before he was rich and famous.
Cosmic: I can’t believe that your list excluded George Blanda…
I am a freaking Dallas homer, but you might note that both of the Dallas QBs I listed were first ballot hall of famers. So homer or not, I think they are pretty much acknowledged to be among the best.
George Blanda? Wasn’t he a punter?
A few little-known post-season Dallas Cowboys facts…
The Dallas Cowboys were an original expansion team, joining the NFL in 1960. That compares to the Green Bay Packers, who joined the NFL in 1919 or the Washington Redskins who joined in 1939, just as an example of teams with much longer histories than the Cowboys.
In 1966 the Cowboys played in their first NFL championship game (pre-Super Bowl) losing to the Green Bay Packers by a touchdown.
Despite having existed for less than half as long as teams like Green Bay, the Dallas Cowboys own the following post-season records:
Most championships won (5, tied with two other teams)
Most championship games played (9, nobody else is close)
Most post season games played (55, the next is around 44)
Most post season games won (32, Pittsburgh is next with 28).
Most seasons reaching post-season (28, or 61% of their seasons).
Most consecutive seasons reaching post-season. (9, and they are also in second place with another string of 8, separated by one year where they missed the playoffs in 1974)
Yes I am a Dallas homer. But by any objective, measurable statistic you can find, the Dallas Cowboys are far and away the most successful NFL team since the AFL/NFL merger. I started watching the Cowboys when Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Randy White and Harvey Martin were dominating the league, appearing in five Super Bowls in nine years. Unfortunately for the Cowboys that period coincided with the heyday of the Terry Bradshaw led Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat them twice in the Super Bowl, with one of those games (Super Bowl 13, Steelers won 35 – 31) considered to be the greatest Super Bowl of all time.
Yes I’m a homer, but homer or not, I picked the best team in NFL history to root for.
Just a quick comment on the “exciting vs. well managed” deal….
I enjoy watching exciting football games as much as anyone. But I prefer my teams to win than to lose in exciting fashion. Game management, to me, is all about managing the huddle, controlling the game tempo, managing the clock, working field position, adjusting to the other team’s strengths and weaknesses, etc.
Troy Aikman was not an exciting quarterback to watch. He just won football games. The same was said about Brady until this year. I think Brady finally got tired of being told that Peyton Manning was the best quarterback in the NFL and decided this year to show that he could throw for 5,000 yards too if that was his priority. Up until this year he simply won football games.
Right now if I had to pick who I personally thought was the best quarterback in NFL history, I would be hard pressed to decide between Joe Montana and Tom Brady. As much of a homer as I am, I just can’t put Aikman or Staubach at the level those two guys have performed. And every year Brady gains on Joe. If they win the Super Bowl this year, I will have to say Brady is undeniably the best NFL quarterback ever.
Oh, on exciting quarterbacks, one we left out was Doug Flutie. He was as exciting as anyone.
My preference is exciting winners which Steve Young most certainly was. Afterall, football is essentially entertainment…not an IT development project.
One final dig…
I define “winners” as “those who win.”
Aikman – 3 Super Bowls
Young – 1 Super Bowl
To me it’s a lot more exciting to see my team win Super Bowls even with a dull quarterback behind center.
Young would have won more Superbowls had he not be playing behind Montana for so many years…
Perhaps so… But I can’t help but think there’s a reason he was playing behind Joe…
And I say again, the one he won was more due to Jerry Jones mismanagement of the Cowboys coaching staff than anything else. There is no doubt in my mind that they didn’t win in ’94 because Barry Switzer had no idea how to manage an NFL team or game. They won again in ’95 in SPITE of Switzer, not because of him, which just goes to show how good that team really was.
If Young had been on a different team, say the Packers, then perhaps things would have been different and he might have had more Super Bowls. But there is no doubt that Joe Montana earned the right to take San Fran to four Super Bowls. Joe Montana was the ultimate “just win baby” quarterback. I used to love hating him.
Actually, it would be interesting to speculate on how Steve would have done if HE had been the Cowboys quarterback during that period.
You know, maybe with Steve instead of Troy, they would have won four Super Bowls… Maybe so…
I dunno… I like Troy, but Steve brought an entirely extra dimension to the game than Troy did…
The reason: sheer stupidity!
And the notion Young’s Superbowl victory was due to Jerry Jones and Barry Switzer: Utter humbug!
Heh, if you think I’m the only one who thinks so, you should go do some “Barry Switzer Cowboys Coach” searches on Google.
And it’s never fair to make such claims because the game is so arbitrary. One bounce of the football is all that it takes for one team to win instead of another. Certainly the Niners were good enough to appear in a lot of NFC championship games, so they were pretty good.
However, I will claim “homer” rights here and say that I am absolutely certain that Barry Switzer cost the Cowboys the Super Bowl in ’94. He was simply way out of his league in the NFL. And he never adjusted.
Calling the decision to start Joe Montana over Steve Young “sheer stupidity” is a little harsh considering Joe Montana won four Super Bowls and was MVP in two of them. The guy was pretty good. No matter how good Young was, he certainly wouldn’t have done better than Joe did.
I’ll call it anything I like and claim anything I like. Homer rights…right?
Heh, yeah, homer rights… I remember when I was watching the Cowboys back in the seventies and they had the big Craig Morton vs. Roger Staubach controversy, and I could not believe that TOM LANDRY could not see that Staubach was the real deal and Morton was not. But for a year Staubach and Morton shared starting duty until Morton finally got so mad about it that he finagled a trade to Denver, leaving Staubach to prove that he was the right choice all along. To this day I can’t see how Landry could have been so stupid…
Cosmic: I’m a Dallas homer, too…was just kidding about George Blanda, but I don’t think he was a danged punter. He was a QB and placekicker…retired as the leading scorer in NFL history.
Your slight of Blanda (the punter thing) may have been tongue in cheek…you do deadpan so well.
Yes indeed, I did know that George Blanda was a QB and placekicker (but I think he did punt sometimes too). I also knew that he retired as the leading scorer in NFL history. I just never really watched him play until he was in his forties, so I don’t have him on my list for that reason. He probably does belong there. As does Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath probably. Heck Phil Simms has the highest Super Bowl completion percentage at 88% if I recall, maybe he should be on the list too.
Nah… not Simms…
Cosmic: George Blanda does not belong on your list. It was a lame attempt at humor. I figured you were yankin’ my chain with the punter comment…but George may have punted…in those days everybody just sort of did everything as needed.
Unitas, and Namath were both great competitors, but probably don’t belong on the “greatest” list.
I’m glad you X’d Simms for good though. We Dallas homers hate Giants. We also hate 49′ers (though not so much)…but I’ll give you grace on Montana, and give Dadman grace on Young…it is hard to argue against those guys.
Cosmic: Speaking of all-time scoring champs, there is a sports story that is flying “way under the radar.” A Shreveport boy, Art Carmody (affectionately known around here as Art-omatic) is one point away from breaking the NCAA record for scoring. (my info may be bad, but I am pretty sure of this)
He is the placekicker at Louisville. I think that Louisville plays Rutgers tonight. I am hoping that the boy doesn’t sprain his ankle stepping off the bus. But, having followed this guy for a while, I think he could kick a 40 yarder in a cast (with either leg).
Interestingly, he will one day be inducted into the University of Louisville Hall of Fame…alongside Johnny Unitas.
I can’t believe that anyone would leave Johnny U. off any list of the greatest quarterbacks.
He won THREE championships and one superbowl (making for four “superbowls…”) He was MVP FOUR times. When he retired, he held the record for completions, yards, and touchdowns. He STILL holds the record for the longest streak of consecutive games in which he threw a touchdown pass (47).
He CALLED HIS OWN PLAYS, and was, arguably, the best “field general” who has ever played the game.
As for “best scrambler” or “most exciting,” sorry…gotta go with Fran Tarkenton.
I can’t put Bradshaw up there. He won a lot of superbowls, but he had an INSANE team, both offense and defense, around him. He also had only TWO more touchdowns than interceptions and barely better than a 50% completion rate.
Most yards. Most touchdowns. Most completions. Most, most, most….
And, who has he had to help him? What Hall of Famers has he had lined up on his side of the ball? What Irvin? What Rice? What Smith? What Craig (not Hall, but still…)? Where was his great, hulking offensive line?
None. None of the above. Not one. Nada.
Most, most, most….
And still doing it. Every week. Without fail.
Gotta have him in the top 10, maybe the top 5.
I forgot about Tarkenton. He was quite the scrambler. Made a career of it as I recall. But you’re a fogey, so I’ll stick with Young…
Heh. There’s no wrong there on Young and Tarkenton. Both were great scramblers.
You can’t leave Elway out of the list of greatest scramblers. Or Staubach even. But Randall Cunningham would simply take your breath away. I’ve seen him hurdle 300 pound offensive linemen. As with most things I think you reach a level where you just have to sort of say, “they were all great.” Sometimes it’s as much about the team as about the individual. Why didn’t Troy Aikman scramble much? Well, in large part because Dallas had the most imposing offensive line in the game and he rarely needed to. Would Steve Young have had the same rushing statistics if his pocket didn’t crumble around him so much? I dunno…
I’m sorry, but Aikman didn’t scramble much because he wasn’t very good at it. (It was fortunate that he had such a great line..well…designed fortune, I suppose…) He was, like Marino or Favre, great at escaping…but he didn’t have the sheer running ability of Tarkenton or Young, either of whom would have been a competent running back.
I contend that no matter how bad Aikman was at scrambling, when faced with the prospect of trying to dodge, or accepting a blow from an enraged 300 pound defensive lineman, he’s certainly going to try his best, no matter how bad his “best” might be.
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