Best I’ve Seen?

1. Tom Brady– Whether you root for him or against him, you can’t deny the man’s resume and his desire to be great. We all know his story by now. He was a sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan. The sixth-round and 199th overall pick. Drew Bledsoe gets hurt in 2001 and the rest is history. He truly is the best quarterback ever to step on the field and the numbers simply speak for themselves. He’s won 25 playoff games, that’s more wins by himself than some organizations have in the postseason. He’s the all-time winningest quarterback in NFL history, he’s won two league MVP’s, four Super Bowl MVP’s and he has a handful of rings, in case you’re wondering, that’s five. He’s simply a living legend. He has never been the fastest guy on the field, he’s never been considered to have the best arm, but the guy is a warrior and he leaves it all on the field. It’s not the fact that he’s won, it’s how he’s done it. He’s won championships with receivers such as David Givens, Troy Brown, Deion Branch, Benjamin Watson and if you think about it, all those guys aren’t necessarily household names. When Tom had the opportunity to play with a legendary receiver in Randy Moss, the two set records together and if they had stayed together, we’d be discussing them as one of the best quarterback/wide receiver tandems in NFL history. However, they could never win the big game together. He’s clutch and has a history of being able to get his team down the field and in the best position to lead his team to victory. He’s truly got better with age and this is a man who’s entering his age 40 season. He could walk away from the game after this year because he has nothing left to prove.

2. Peyton Manning– I’ve seen a lot of him over the years and at one point, he was considered to be one of, if not, the best in the league. He was a model of consistency and each week that his teams were on the schedule, you had to put in double the work to prepare for him as a defense. He was that good. He made the Indianapolis Colts relevant and led them to a Super Bowl after years of dominant regular seasons and failing to show up in the playoffs. Peyton is the smartest football player that I’ve ever seen. To be a quarterback, you have to be extremely cerebral and that was number 18 to a T. He always knew what was going on around him. If he saw a veteran wide receiver on a corner with some liabilities, he took advantage of that. You’ve often heard so many say that he was a coach on the football field in pads and that’s a statement I couldn’t agree with anymore. Nobody prepared for games better than Peyton Manning did. As a defense, you almost had to have one up on him as game time was near, but that really wouldn’t mean much of anything because if you came out with a certain look on defense, he’d see that and simply change the play at the line of scrimmage. His ability to read defenses was what set him apart from other quarterbacks. He was simply the reason the Colts were always in the playoffs and a Super Bowl contender. After 14 seasons, he signed with the Denver Broncos and as he got older, he had to change up his style of play. After four neck surgeries, he lost some zip on his throws and couldn’t really throw it down the field 25-30 yards. He depended on more on the short to intermediate passing game and adapted to it quickly. In 2013, he had the best season of his career and threw 55 touchdown passes in a single season breaking Tom Brady’s record for most touchdown passes in a season. He decided to go out on top and retired after the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015-16. He’s a lock for Canton when it’s all said and done and he retired as the all-time leader in touchdown passes, yards and two Super Bowl rings, the first quarterback ever to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl and win the big game with two teams.

3. Deion Sanders– Before we heard of guys such as Richard Sherman, Josh Norman, Aqib Talib, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis, there was Deion Sanders. The brighter the lights and bigger the games were, the better he was. He’s the greatest cornerback ever and one of the strongest pass defenders in NFL history. We hear of cornerbacks shutting down one entire side of the football field, Prime started that and did it consistently. He always made quarterbacks think twice about throwing it in his direction and took away the opposition’s top receiver. During his 14-year career, he was a perennial all-pro. He was known as a triathlete in college. Besides football, he also excelled in baseball and track and during his professional career, he played in a football game during the day and a baseball game at night. Talk about busy. He was drafted in 1989 by the Atlanta Falcons and bounced around quite a bit in his NFL career. After Atlanta, he signed with the 49ers and had the best year of his career in San Francisco. He recorded six interceptions and returning them for an NFL-best and a then-NFL record 303 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his interceptions were returned for a gain of at least 90 yards, making him the first player to do this in NFL history. He also won his first Super Bowl with the Niners and was awarded the NFL’s Defensive MVP. He also won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys. He was primarily a defensive player, but he also took snaps with the offense and returned punts. He definitely had that versatility factor in him and he was effective no matter where he was. When he signed with the Baltimore Ravens at the tail end of his career, he was known for wearing the number 21 but when he got to Baltimore, he wore the number 37 and he was okay with that because he stated he wanted the receivers he covered to know how old the guy was that shut them down. He was inducted into the college football hall of fame and pro football hall of fame in 2011.