5 Best Quarterbacks of The Last Decade in The NFL
It is a truth universally acknowledged that most NFL teams live and die on the shoulders of their starting quarterbacks. Occasionally a devastating defense will lead a team all the way to Super Bowl glory, but those seasons are few and far between.
Just ask 49ers fans, who saw their team’s monster defense dismantled by the dazzling playmaking talents of Patrick Mahomes at Super Bowl LIV in February. The likes of Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are the future, but these are the quarterbacks that have proven their ability on a consistent basis over the past decade:
- Russell Wilson
Wilson was named Rookie of the Year after bursting onto the scene in 2012, and he led the Seahawks to Super Bowl glory in his second season. He went on to make the Pro Bowl in seven of his first eight seasons, and he holds the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through seven seasons.
The Seahawks rewarded him with a four-year, $140 million contract extension in April 2019, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL at the time, and he was easily one of the best quarterbacks in the league in 2018 and 2019. Seahawks fans regularly implore Pete Carroll to “let Russ cook”, and he would have even more impressive numbers to his name if he was more involved in the early stages of games.
Yet he still deserves a place on this list ahead of such luminaries as Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Tony Romo.
- Drew Brees
Brees has made New Orleans a Super Bowl contender every year since he joined the franchise in 2006. He has led all of his rival QBs in touchdowns, passing yards, and 300-yard games since arriving in the Big Easy.
Brees has also led the NFL in passing yards a record seven times, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better pure passer in NFL history. He arguably peaked in 2016, when he set the single-season NFL record for completions, but he set another record for completion percentage in 2018.
He has 13 Pro Bowl appearances to his name, including eight in the past 10 years, and he was named Super Bowl MVP for his heroics in the Saints’ victory over the Colts at Super Bowl XLIV. Brees is now 41, but he has been playing at an elite level for the past decade.
The Saints have suffered heartbreaking playoff defeats in the past three seasons, but they are among the favorites once again in the Super Bowl odds at top betting sites like Sporting Index, and Brees could earn another ring in February.
- Peyton Manning
Manning retired in 2015, but he is still worthy of inclusion on this list. The great man earned All-Pro nominations in 2012 and 2013, and a Super Bowl title in 2015.
In 2013, he threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns that year, both of which are NFL records, making it the best statistical season a quarterback has ever produced.
For that reason alone, he would be in with a shot at making this list, but he was superb in 2012 and 2015 too, and he will go down in history as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
- Aaron Rodgers
Many football fans would argue that Rodgers is the most talented quarterback in NFL history, ahead of Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Jonny Unitas et al. He is a two-time NFL MVP and he boasts better numbers than Brady. Rodgers threw for more than 4,000 yards six times in the past decade and three more than 40 touchdowns in two separate seasons.
That catapulted him to seven Pro Bowl selections. Rodgers’ arm strength is phenomenal, and he excels in every department. He can evade pressure, display great poise in the pocket, unlock the tightest defenses, and throw eye-catching Hail Marys.
He was named Super Bowl MVP after leading the Packers to victory over the Steelers at Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011, and he led the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2018. Rodgers is also the all-time regular-season career passer rating leader.
You could make a compelling case for him being at the top of this list, but he missed most of the 2013 and 2017 seasons through injury and he has just one Super Bowl ring to his name, which hurts his case.
- Tom Brady
Brady has the records, the rings, and the wins to justify his inclusion at the top of the list. He was easily the best quarterback of the 2010s. He did not miss a game and led the New England Patriots to a 123-36 record, which includes postseason clashes.
He was named NFL MVP for the third time in 2017, and he became Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time as he led the Pats to victory at Super Bowl LI. He earned his 14th Pro Bowl selection in 2018.
Brady reached the peak of his powers in the 2000s, and he is clearly not the player he once was. His lack of mobility has been exposed in the past year or so, particularly when compared to Jackson and Mahomes. However, Brady’s track record over the past decade remains exceptional.
New England won the divisional title every year and clinched three Super Bowls. He has now decamped to Tampa Bay at the ripe old age of 42, and it will be fascinating to see if he can enjoy another few years at the top before he finally hangs up his boots.