Brady nearly unstoppable

Can any quarterback in the league right now catch up to Tom Brady? In the weeks following his career long-rival Peyton Manning’s second Super Bowl victory, there has been a lot of discussion around Manning’s legacy and where he stands on the all-time quarterback list. Brady and his four Super Bowl victories, three Super Bowl MVP awards, and two league MVP awards sits atop the aforementioned list. Which makes me wonder, could any active quarterback dethrone Brady as history’s best? Below are five guys I’ve picked who have the best shot.

The first of those who is the quarterback who has spent his whole career playing catch up with Brady: Peyton Manning. The reason he could pull off besting Brady is that he’s one of the most decorated quarterbacks in league history with 5 league MVP’s, 2 Super Bowl rings and numerous passing records. Manning comes in at the bottom of this list because —while he does appear in the record book more often than he does pizza commercials— his penchant for collapsing in big moments and 2-4 Super Bowl record keeps him from being any higher. One more Super Bowl ring would cement Manning as the best quarterback of all time— and make most forget about all of his late-game gaffs. The biggest obstacle for Manning is time, with retirement seeming more and more likely.

The quarterback who slightly edges out Manning is the same guy who Manning just edged out in the Super Bowl, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. The reason Newton is being discussed as a potential G.O.A.T. is that he has helped change the way we view quarterbacking thanks to his dynamic abilities as a runner. While there has been a litany of running quarterbacks before him, Newton is one of the first to truly be able to do it all. What keeps Newton from being ranked higher is he has only had one year of great play. Not to take away from his dominant 2015 MVP season, but he’ll need a few more seasons like that along with some Super Bowl wins to make it higher. At only 26-years-old, he has already proven that he can take a team to the Super Bowl with both his arms and legs. Consistency is the one major thing that would keep Newton from being the best.

At number three we have the dark horse of the group, Pittsburgh Steelers’ very own “Big Ben” Roethlisberger. What make him likely to become the greatest of all time is that he already has two rings and has played in a third Super Bowl. He hasn’t been seen as a prolific passer until just recently, but — for better or worse— we judge quarterback on how many Super Bowls they win, which puts Roethlisberger in a good position, despite his lack of Super Bowl and league MVP awards. The luxury of having elite weapons like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell should allow him to put up some big numbers on the back-end of his career. If not for a string of unfortunate injuries to himself and other key players the past two season, Roethlisberger could have ended up a spot or two higher. The main concern for Roethlisberger’s is and always has been his health. If he stays on the field, he has a shot at being the best passer ever.

At number two is Green Bay Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Some would argue that he is the most likely to surpass Brady as the best ever, but his recent five-year stretch of playoff struggles keeps him from the top spot. However, it’s not all bad in Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood— he already has one ring, a Super Bowl MVP award, and two league MVP awards. What really solidifies Rodgers’ case is that he is the best pure thrower of the football in the league. His golden arm will have the Packers in contention every year as long as he is healthy.

At number one, I have the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. It was not a hard pick— he already has one Super Bowl victory along and appeared in another. The biggest difference between Wilson and the four other quarterbacks is that he has arguably the strongest team around him. Not only does he have a great squad around him, it’s a roster full of young players, setting up the team to enjoy long-term success. Also, like Newton, Wilson had his first real dominant passing season last year. If it is a sign of things to come, then he should have no problem doing what he failed to do in Super Bowl XLIX and top Tom Brady.