There are countless iterations of the quarterback GOAT ranking scattered all over the internet. As far as I’m aware, every one of these lists has been compiled from the perspective of the person creating it; in other words, it’s just their opinion. In today’s post, I’m going to tackle this from a different angle. Instead of telling you who I believe the greatest quarterbacks of all-time are, I wanted to find a consensus on the beliefs of the entirety of football fandom. Of course this is impossible in a literal sense; there’s no way to aggregate the opinion of every gridiron junkie on the planet. But that won’t stop me from trying to establish a solid estimate.
At this juncture, you might be asking yourself why this even matters. For one, I find the prevailing opinions of our society interesting, even if I disagree with many of them. Think of it as a macro level peek into the human psyche. But more importantly, I want a baseline of conventional wisdom that can be compared against objective, statistical measures of QB greatness. If we rank quarterbacks using Bryan’s TAY/P VALUE metric, for example, how does the list diverge from what the general public believes?
I began the process by creating a roughshod formula that weights the importance of criterion that the populace uses to evaluate quarterbacks. These criteria include yards, touchdowns, passing titles, Pro Bowls, 1st Team All-Pro selections, MVP awards, regular season wins, playoff wins and losses, Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl Ringz, pre-merger championships, and Hall of Fame induction. I put heavy emphasis on playoff record and Ringz, because let’s face it, that’s what the majority of football fans value above all else.
My original plan was to present the ranking based solely on the scores that my made-up formula spit out. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work, because certain aspects of public perception are simply not quantifiable. Ultimately, I ended up using the scores as a baseline and subjectively adjusting the rankings until they looked right (as right as one can be with this exercise, at least).
Without further ado, here is the ranking:
|25||Norm Van Brocklin|
I believe Tom Brady has a plurality among the populace in the race for GOAT-ship. There are, of course, plenty of fans who place Joe Montana #1, and in the analytics community Peyton Manning is the overwhelming favorite. But I think Brady is the public’s favorite, and will likely continue to be for many years into the future.
Instead of summarizing a table that you can read with your own eyes, I’ll put the ball in your hands. Do you think my list is an accurate depiction of gridiron consensus? If not, which quarterbacks would you move up or down, and why? Thanks in advance for sharing your critiques!