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Old 08-30-2009, 07:28 AM   #1
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Default Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...qbs/index.html

Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83
Don Banks
INSIDE THE NFL

Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers have excelled in five seasons
John Elway, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly have long been the gold standard
The '04 quarterbacks already have more Super Bowl wins than the 1983 QBs

For years now, it has been accepted gospel within the NFL that the celebrated 1983 first-round quarterback draft class is the best in league history, and with the three Hall of Fame careers of John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly, how can anyone argue?

But this much is also now just as apparent: No crop of first-round quarterbacks has ever matched the start to the careers of the top three quarterbacks from the 2004 class: Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, who were selected first, fourth and 11th that year.

Now five years into their pro careers, with all of them having moved beyond their rookie deals into lucrative second NFL contracts -- Rivers signing just this week a six-year, $93-million deal that includes $38 million guaranteed -- it's the perfect vantage point to assess just where the Big Three from 2004 stand so far in the scope of history.

A word of warning: Be prepared to be bowled over by their cumulative body of accomplishment, because that's exactly the reaction I got Thursday from Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, retired Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, and Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert, the three men who drafted Manning, Rivers and Roethlisberger and know better than anyone how good they've been ever since.

"I knew they were all off to good starts, but to be honest you startled me with those facts,'' said Accorsi, who drafted Rivers at No. 4 that year, but of course traded him to San Diego on draft day for the rights to Manning, the No. 1 pick. "That's overwhelming. As a quarterback in the NFL, it's about winning. That's their job. And to hear those numbers, you can't refute this is the best start ever for a class. This is unprecedented. All those guys from 1983 were great players, but only one guy (Elway) won a Super Bowl. I'm not going to predict Hall of Fame, but they're on the road, these guys. It's quite a remarkable thing, when you figure they went No. 1, 4 and 11.''

Here's what had Accorsi, who is not one given to hyperbole, so effusive in his praise. In the first five years of their NFL careers, Manning, Rivers and Roethlisberger have accomplished the following:

• They've won three of the five Super Bowls that have occurred since they entered the league, with Pittsburgh's Roethlisberger earning rings in 2005 and 2008, and New York's Manning in 2007. New England's Tom Brady (2004) and Indy's Peyton Manning (2006) have won the other two. The Class of 2004 is 3-0 in Super Bowl appearances so far.

• In the seasons in which they have been their team's fulltime starting quarterback (the past three seasons for Rivers, the past four for Manning, and all five for Roethlisberger), they have combined to make the playoffs 11 out of a possible 12 times, and led their clubs to division titles eight out of a possible 12 times.

• They've been to a combined three Super Bowls, five conference title games (with all three qualifying at least once), and are a gaudy 15-8 (.652) as starters in the playoffs. All three have made one Pro Bowl trip each.

• Roethlisberger is 8-2 in the playoffs, and 51-20 (.718) as a starter in the regular season. Rivers is 3-3 in the post-season, and 33-15 (.688) in the three regular seasons since taking over for Drew Brees in San Diego. And Manning is 4-3 as a playoff quarterback, with a 42-29 record (.592) in the regular season. He and Rivers are a combined 7-of-7 in terms of taking teams to the playoffs as fulltime starters. Roethlisberger is four of five in that department, missing only when the Steelers went 8-8 in 2006.

"I don't know how you could expect that kind of production, because those are pretty astounding cumulative numbers,'' said Colbert, who said the Steelers never expected any of the Big Three quarterbacks would still be on the board at No. 11 in 2004. "Those numbers are kind of out there. From a success standpoint, you can definitely make the argument that's the best start ever. The great thing is they're all so young. Most great quarterbacks have best years in their later years. There are a lot of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who didn't have Hall of Fame starts.''

The Big Three from 1983 certainly had historic early career success, but it didn't match the bottom-line production of 2004's top three quarterbacks from a team standpoint. To wit:

• Elway, Kelly and Marino combined to go to four Super Bowls in their first five seasons as NFL starters, but lost them all (keep in mind that Kelly played two seasons for Houston of the USFL, in 1984-85, and thus his first five NFL seasons were 1986-90). Elway was the top overall pick, Kelly was 14th to Buffalo, and Miami selected Marino 27th.
Posted: Friday August 28, 2009 11:04AM; Updated: Friday August 28, 2009 11:54AM

(The best of all of course is our own Big Ben. - mesa)
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

There's NO way IMO that '04 overshadows '83. No matter what stats say.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

'83 is still better
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

Quote:
Originally Posted by LambertIsGod58 View Post
There's NO way IMO that '04 overshadows '83. No matter what stats say.
Its funny... the same thing is said about the Steelers Defense.

However, I think the truth of the matter is more that it was the first one that we saw, and thus, will always be the best in our minds.

Fact of the matter is, Ben is quickly becoming an equal to Elway... actually, better. I remember watching Elway quite a bit since he played in the same division as Seattle (living in Washington, we saw all the Seattle games).

Marino was a prolific passer, but never won the big game. Same with Kelly.

With this group, two of the three have already won the SB? That playoff record?

Sorry, I know we like to immortalize people in history--tell the youngens "it was like this son."

But this class of QB's are on path to be the best class of QB's ever.

And this year's defense has the distinct possibility of being the best Steelers defense ever.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

they definitely the richest......$$$$$$$$$
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

1983 was waaaaay before my NFL fandom but from the clips I`ve seen I`m always knocked out by Dan Marino.
Some of his passes were stunning..Would you guys say he was the best ever passer of a ball?
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

The story of the class of '04 has many chapters yet to be written.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

I watched the some old games from the eighties recently.........Here is how those guys were when they were young........Marino just had this amazing zip of an arm.......He could really toss it faster than anyone has ever seen.......I mean he was the equivilant of the quickest old west gunfighter.......That type of fast......He could have it out faster than anybody.........Not that his velocity was the fastest.......His reaction time was.....Fastest ever.............Now Elway well he was just very strong in all ways.......He was a stong powerful guy and had a rocket arm........He could knock someone over with his pass.......Bradshaw could too.........These guys now would go toe to toe with those guys..........Manning(payton) is way better at manipulating a drive than Marino was, no offense Dan........He just has all these plays he can call at the line and he can find holes in Defenses better than anybody.............

You can be all these great passers and have all these guady numbers but you are not gonna win championships just passing.........Cause in the big game the d line will get to ya cause they will be one of the best in the league......You gotta be able to run it and run it well........The mix up is what wins games.......That is what Elway and Marino lacked in ther respected attacks.......The balance.....D's new they were gonna throw it so that is all they keyed on........Now the 07 Giants the 05 and 08 Steelers had a mix...........That is what wins champiionships.....The mix.........

That is wy Ben's numbers are not on top of the fantasy league........He got the mix though....
Breeze don't........Marino didn't......Elway did not........
Bradshaw did.......Montana did........Staubach did........Starr did......Eli does.......Aikman did.....

You have to have the balanced mix of power...That keeps the Defenses guessing.......
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
1983 was waaaaay before my NFL fandom but from the clips I`ve seen I`m always knocked out by Dan Marino.
Some of his passes were stunning..Would you guys say he was the best ever passer of a ball?
Marino was the best passer I've ever seen.

And as far as the thread topic is concerned, I still give the edge to the class of '83. Marino was the ONLY reason the '84 Dolphins got to SB XIX and Elway was the ONLY reason the Broncos went to the SB 3 times in 4 years in the late '80s. Sure, the class of '04 collectively may have more rings as of now, but Marino, Elway and Kelly combined started in TEN Super Bowls.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Best quarterback class ever? Trio from '04 makes its case over '83

Quote:
Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Marino was the best passer I've ever seen.
Agreed!
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