Where does Favre rank among greats?

When Brett Favre zinged a laser off his back foot and into the arms of second-year wide out Greg Jennings on a crossing pattern, No. 4 further cemented his name in an argument that may never be resolved.

When Brett Favre zinged a laser off his back foot and into the arms of second-year wide out Greg Jennings on a crossing pattern, No. 4 further cemented his name in an argument that may never be resolved.

Who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time?

It's tough to argue against Favre, being the NFL's all-time leader in touchdowns, completions, attempts, wins and games started by a quarterback. He also has three league most valuable player awards and a Super Bowl ring as well.

But as great at Favre has been, is he even the greatest quarterback to ever play for the Green Bay Packers?

Bart Starr won five NFL championships for the Packers from 1962-1967, including the infamous Ice Bowl of 1966 where he snuck across the goal line to defeat the Cowboys. Since the Super Bowl, which was then called the AFL-NFL Championship, only began in 1966, Starr only picked up two of those.


Starr played for a much better team than Favre ever had, one that featured Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg and Ray Nitschke. Before Vince Lombardi came along, Starr only had 23 touchdowns and 41 interceptions in five seasons.

The question is, how do you measure greatness? Is it with statistics, championships or by leadership? For my rankings, I take into account all three. Here are my top five quarterbacks of all time.

No. 5, Steve Young

Young played for 17 seasons in professional football but less than half of his career was spent as a starter.

The BYU alumnus played his first two seasons in the USFL before heading to the NFL and Tampa Bay in 1985. He was traded to San Francisco in 1987 where he was the back up until 1991 when Joe Montana went down with an injury. His career was cut short in 1999 after he suffered his fourth concussion in three years.

Despite all of that, Young posted 2,667 completions, 33,214 yards passing, 232 passing touchdowns, 43 rushing TDs and 4,239 yards rushing in his 15 NFL seasons.

No. 4, Dan Marino

It's tough to ignore Marino's numbers, even though he now sits second to Favre in almost everything. Marino totaled 4,967 completions, 420 touchdown passes and still leads Favre by 2,656 in passing yards.


What is easy to point out is Marino's lack of Super Bowl rings, which is why he is typically not regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time. His 147 wins is third all time, one back of John Elway and four back of Favre. He just never could win the big one, falling to the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX.

No. 3, Joe Montana

Montana does not have great statistics. Of the five major categories in which quarterbacks are judged statistically - yards, attempts, competitions, touchdowns and wins as a starter - Montana is nowhere to be seen.

What he does have are four Super Bowl rings and three Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards. Because of this, he is regarded as possibly the greatest quarterback of all time, but it's easy to win that many titles with Jerry Rice catching balls and Bill Walsh running your offense.

Montana is a great quarterback, but not the greatest.

No. 2, John Elway

Elway has the numbers - 51,475 passing yards (third all-time), 4,123 completions (third) and 148 wins (second) - and the rings (2), but what keeps him from being my No. 1 quarterback of all time is that he is not responsible for his two rings.

Elway appeared in three Supers Bowls from 1987-1990, and was crushed by a combined score of 136-40. In those losses, Elway threw for two touchdowns and six interceptions. He ran for two touchdowns as well. He was only slightly better in his two wins, throwing for one TD, two picks and he ran two into the end zone.


The difference in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII was Terrell Davis. He was the true MVP of both those teams.

No. 1, Brett Favre

When I laid out the attributes of what makes a great quarterback earlier in the column, one of those was leadership. Forget about Favre's numbers, his three MVPs or his Super Bowl ring. It's his leadership that sets him apart.

The man has yet to miss a start in his NFL career since taking over from Don Majkowski in 1992, playing through a broken thumb, a sprained ankle and a concussion (he doesn't remember running back onto the field after being hit and throwing the TD pass).

He not only inspires his teammates, the city of Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin, but a nation as well. With a hurt shoulder during Week 2 facing Favre, there was no way Eli Manning was sitting out that game. Favre would have played through it.

You can call this a homer pick or maybe I'm, just too young to even be writing this column but I dare you to try and find an athlete who plays with as much heart, determination and passion as Brett Favre. You'll probably only find those on sandlots because Favre is a rarity in professional and college sports these days.

There will be no highlights of big games this week. After going 6-8 in Week 4, it's time to get back to the basics. The home teams look strong this week and thanks to the Patriots, I do not have to drink the Browns' Kool Aid yet.

Patriots over Browns; Panthers over Saints; Lions over Redskins; Giants over Jets; Texans over Dolphins; Titans over Falcons; Jaguars over Chiefs; Cardinals over Rams; Colts over Buccaneers; Broncos over Chargers; Ravens over 49ers; Packers over Bears and Cowboys over Bills.


Wellens is a sports reporter for The Dickinson Press. E-mail him your top five QBs of all time at . For more on this week's games, read his blog at

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