Click here for Part 2, just in case you have a short attention span and clicked this link when you got to the bottom of Part 1.
- Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
During the first half of the 2014 season, Philip Rivers was the MVP frontrunner. His level of play was borderline insane, his accuracy in every area became highlight reel worthy. As San Diego stretched to a 5 game winning streak, talks of MVP ascended for Rivers.
Sadly, this was too good to be true, as it became clear the BOLO was playing unhealthy in the 2nd half of the season, signifying a decrease in accuracy and an increase in turnovers. Rivers ended up tying with Jay Cutler in leading the league in interceptions (18), but was able to keep them in playoff contention to week 17.
Going into 2015, health will continue to play a very huge role in not only Philip Rivers, but the success of the Chargers as well. Healthy, he is easily a top 3 quarterback, able to read defenses and get rid of the ball quickly. This is the guy that played the 2007 AFC Championship Game on a torn ACL, so it could be worse.
- Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Perhaps the most underrated active QB, Matt Ryan has been consistently good, even great, and yet poor supporting casts have hurt the face of the Falcons.
With above average athleticism (solid, quick footwork as he’s running) and above average arm strength, Ryan really gets by with his accuracy. He had a few ill-timed turnovers in 2014 (the pick sixes in week 17, that god-awful pick against the Lions), but for the most part he’s been fantastic with being on-target.
And another thing for people that think Matt Ryan is nothing more than an average QB that can’t lead the Falcons.
Yeah. Nothing more than average.
Playing behind a terrible offensive line and being off the field to witness perhaps the worst defense of 2014, Ryan has been playing very well on a terrible team. The arrival of Dan Quinn should help, but can he fix the OL/defense issue? We shall see.
But it shouldn’t detect from the quality QB Matt Ryan has been since his 2008 rookie season.
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Arguably one of the most talked about athletes in the NFL is Russell Wilson. Sometimes he’s talked about so much that it irritates me. Everyone has an opinion on him, and his most devoted fans are very outspoken about him.
So how do I feel about the actual QB? He’s very, very good. Boasting some of the best mobility I’ve ever seen, when Wilson struggles on the pass game (which he did on occasion in 2014), he can get by using his legs, making him a lethal part of the run game.
Game losing interception on the 1-yard line aside, Wilson has great value for the city of Seattle. Some may dismiss him as a game manager, but he’s got 5 game winning drives in each of his first 3 seasons, boasts an MVP caliber 2013 season, and can make the pass protection look better than it is.
Seattle acquiring Jimmy Graham will help not only Wilson, but also the other receivers, as they were solid backup options as opposed to #1 guys. At times Wilson lacks pocket patience, but his multidimensional playing style makes up for this. That’s exactly the kind of thing Seattle wants to hear.
- Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Times are changing in New Orleans. The current situation is so bad that I actually had to move Brees down a few spots.
Much like Matt Ryan, Brees spent 2014 playing very well on a team that couldn’t hold its own. The future hall of famer boasted great accuracy on downfield passes, though he produced a few costly turnovers at the wrong moments.
To say Drew Brees is no longer an elite signal caller is a load of BS. He can still deliver and make the players around him better. That said, losing Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks hurts big time. Kenny Stills leaving for Miami is another big blow. The Saints offseason is not 49ers bad, but it’s nothing that screams “win now.”
I predict another quality season for Brees, but on a poor team. For a guy who wants to play until he’s 45, his team doesn’t seem to want that to happen.
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
Move over, other QBs in the AFC. Sooner or later, this will be Andrew Luck’s playground.
No other QB has been as Peyton Manning-esque as the guy he passed the torch to. Despite playing with bad pass protection, bad defenses, and a coaching plan that continuously kills the Colts in the playoffs, Luck has continued to progress and get better as each year passes by. With his best receiving core yet (Andre Johnson, TY Hilton, Philip Dorsett, etc.), it should feel as if Luck will have less load to carry in 2015.
Unfortunately, the defense isn’t stable enough to beat really good teams, and come playoff time this is a team that will get stopped in its tracks. Luck has been asked to do so much for a limited team, and while he’s easily succeeded, it can’t all be placed on his shoulders.
Still, Luck is coming off an elite year, and his excellent play under pressure should continue to excel at this rate. We just might see the next possible GOAT over the course.
- Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)
It’s rare that an undrafted QB can become a success in the NFL. It’s even rarer if that same QB can consistently sustain his success. Tony Romo has managed to succeed on both accounts.
For years, people have confused the Cowboys’ fetish for 8-8 seasons with Romo being an inconsistent decision maker. In actuality, Romo was asked to carry a heavily flawed roster, battle through several injuries and surgeries, and carry the load in the 4th quarter. The fact that he’s had at least 4 game winning drives for 4 consecutive seasons should expel the narrative, but for some reason before 2014, people loved to pile on him for his lack of “clutchness.”
Enter 2014. With an improved defense, great pass protection, and a better run game, Romo had less to worry about. But unlike, say, Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, Romo actually got better, constantly playing at an elite level throughout the season, and this came in spite of several games where he sustained injuries. His accuracy, mobility, ability to extend the play, and decision making were top notch, and he escaped sacks in ways no other QB can. Considered an MVP candidate at the end of the season, he ultimately won 2nd Team All Pro honors.
It’s funny really. Romo gets this kind of team and elevates to the 2nd best QB of the season (behind the 2014 MVP). Imagine if he was always healthy and had this team from 2011-13? This is a guy that, since his arrival, has kept the Cowboys competitive and has always been someone to count on.
As his career window comes closer and closer to an end, Tony Romo should not have anything more to prove. Being on the Dallas Cowboys changes that, but going into 2015, this is a guy that’s been able to beat the odds, get back up despite being knocked down, and become an inspiration for kids looking to play in the NFL.
Isn’t that what the American Dream used to be?
- Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben. Whatever you call him, he should be more praised than he actually is. A pioneer in the “extending the play” style seen everywhere today, Ben’s size, strength, and accuracy under pressure were presented in a way never seen before when he debuted in 2004.
Coming off a career year, Roethlisberger’s decision making has never been better. With a great receiving core in Antonio Brown, Martavius Bryant, Heath Miller, etc, he was able to progress as a passer, playing elite throughout 2014.
Big Ben is the kind of guy you want your quarterback to be built like. His strength, mobility, and pump fake allow him to avoid sacks most QBs could not, and as he ages, he just seems to get better and better. His play under pressure was huge in securing the AFC North Division for the Steelers in 2014, and it can be argued he deserved to be an MVP candidate.
Whatever you feel about him, it can’t be denied that Big Ben is elite. He’s always been in the shadows of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, but has consistently played great football. That just makes being against him as a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate all that tougher.
I continue to expect great things from Ben in 2015, especially in fantasy. The loss of Le’Veon Bell may affect the Steelers for 4 games, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. Not when the Steelers have Ben as their QB.
- Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
When I think of the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, I think of a guy that has great intelligence in the huddle, an accurate arm, and the unparalleled ability to carry a team down the field and make his teammates better. Wins and Super Bowl appearances mean little when it comes to the ability to carry bad teams into the playoffs every year.
No QB qualifies more for that than Peyton Manning. Manning’s quick release has made up for his decline in arm strength, and his side stepping more than makes up for his lack of mobility.
Coming off yet another very elite year in which it seemed like every completion was a perfect pass, Peyton Manning earned the concerns of many outside Foxboro when he played a very bad playoff game against the Colts, constantly missing his receivers deep. The Sheriff is someone that I’ve felt has been underrated in the postseason, but there was nothing to save him this time.
The only reason Manning isn’t at least at the #2 spot is his health. It was noticeable at the end of the year, and in the playoffs it was obvious. This has caused many analysts to slide him down their top 10 QB polls, and in some cases outside of it.
Unlike most, I expect one last hurrah from the 39-year-old signal caller. This is the same guy that doctors said “may not play ever again” after his neck surgery in 2011. Yet in his Broncos era, he’s managed to prove everyone wrong, collecting more All-Pro honors, as well as continuing to break records. Why not continue to have extremely high expectations?
Peyton Manning is the greatest QB to ever play the game. How he ends it will have no effect on my opinion. It’s been a thrill to have watched him play, and this game will not be the same when he decides to hang up his HOF career.
- Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Remember when talk of Tom Brady being done as a QB were everywhere after Week 4 of 2014? It certainly looked that way. This was a guy that played awful in his first 4 games, not looking like the HOF QB we’ve come to know. Was this the bitter end for one of the game’s greatest QBs and players?
Apparently not, because something clicked. The excellent pass protection was back, Rob Gronkowski came back healthy, and Brady played with less hesitation, returning to his elite status and ultimately earning his 4th Super Bowl ring.
Brady has been blessed with the #1 head coach in Bill Belichick, whose Yards After The Catch style of offense has helped Brady become a top quarterback since his emergence in 2001. This has never been a QB blessed with arm strength, mobility, or strong play under pressure. TB12 has, however, managed to make up for those flaws by being an excellent decision maker. Mentally, he ranks up there with the best to ever call the signals.
While he’ll be out for the first 4 games of the season, depending on if Jimmy Garoppolo is not the future of the franchise, Brady should be able to come back and continue his career, perhaps for one final ride.
The rivalry between him and Peyton Manning rank up there with Blur vs. Oasis and the SNES vs. the Genesis. Brady’s eventual retirement will leave an empty space on the game as a result.
(I’m happy to have gotten through this write-up without using any awful deflating puns.)
- Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
How could you not have seen this coming? You could not have guessed in a million years that Aaron Rodgers would not be #1 on this list.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know this guy is my favorite QB. The reigning MVP of the league, Rodgers is currently on a stretch of play few have and will ever have surpassed. People often exaggerate when they say “this guy can make any throw you ask him to”, but it seems like Aaron Rodgers can make any throw you ask him to.
He did such in 2014. Throws on the run, throws across his body, throws on play action, intermediate throws, short throws, deep balls, red zone throws, and improvisational throws, Rodgers has an amazing style of play, and perhaps the best deep ball I have ever seen.
Like Tony Romo, Rodgers played 2014 at a very elite level despite battling through injuries at the end of the season. Even without his mobility intact, he could still punish defenses with deadly accuracy, and his performance against the Lions in week 17 might be his finest hour.
This is the kind of athlete you’ll rarely ever see. Rodgers boasts a load of talent, plays highly efficiently, and is someone you’ll enjoy watching progress as his career goes on. To me, Rodgers is a Hall of Fame lock already. I just can’t get over how brilliant of a signal caller he is, and he’s been terrific since he started in 2008.
No matter what, it seems as if you can’t knock him down. Aaron Rodgers will dazzle you with his playing style and continue to amaze so long as he has both of his legs intact. Rodgers is not only the #1 QB heading into 2015, but he is the #1 QB heading into the future.
So there you have it. Below is the actual chart with my QB Power Rankings.
Now, I’ve been asked by a few people how my list would look with Jimmy Garoppolo as the Patriots’ starting QB. Subtly different. I have him 30th, because of his status/experience. He’s taken snaps unlike Mariota/Winston, so for now I put him above them.
The resulting chart looks like this:
Thanks for the views.