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NFL.com ranks Top 25 QB's of All Time: Jim Kelly #21

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On 7/5/2019 at 6:46 AM, Wayne Cubed said:

I can never understand the Aikman arguments. I think he borderline doesn't belong in the HoF. Put him up against his contemporaries at the time and it's not even close. That Dallas team was loaded with talent and he rode the wave, much like Bradshaw. And the argument that his teams were winning so they ran more, is ridiculous.

Let's use that same argument with Kelly.  Reed , Thomas, Lofton - Hall of Fame, - Wolford, Ritcher , Hull, Ballard - Pro Bowl lineman and worthy of HoF consideration,  McKeller, Metzellaars - high quality TE's. Our lineup was stacked just like Dallas.

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Off the cuff , if posed with the question I’d have probably said Kelly should be around 20or so all time. This isn’t far off. Some crazy takes on here. I think Aikman is probably ranked a bit too high, but saying the Bills wouldn’t have broken the drought with Brady at QB ? You have to be kidding. I hate that choad with a passion, but the Bills would easily have been a playoff team with TB at the helm during the drought years. Multiple times, to boot. 

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16 hours ago, LSHMEAB said:

Manning could easily have zero SB rings. In his first win, he beat a REX GROSSMAN led Bears team. In his second, he had one of the most dominant defensive units of this generation and played a Trent Dilfer role. 

 

Agreed on Rodgers. From a pure statistical standpoint, he's the best QB of all time. I wouldn't put him at number 1, but he's in my top 6 or 7.

I look at it this way.  If I'm starting a franchise from scratch with an average coaching staff give me Marino, Young, Manning, or Rodgers.  If I need to drive 95 yards in the road in a playoff game to win give me Montana, Brady, or Elway.

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On 7/5/2019 at 10:50 AM, ALLEN1QB said:

Stupid list Aikman doesn't belong in the top 25 for sure. I would take Jim Kelly over Ben Roethlisberger any day of the week John Elway no way he's that high. Brady is a douchebag would not be on my top 25 list. Cool Joe Montana will always be greatest of all-time in my book

If Joe Montana played under the rules of today's passing game, Brady would simply be a footnote.

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On 7/5/2019 at 6:27 PM, Gugny said:

 

You are just ADORABLE!!  I want to squeeze your cheeks!

Maybe you can someday if I go to a 518 lunch!

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On 7/5/2019 at 9:28 PM, ganesh said:

+1  on Brady.  When I used to watch Jordan kill my Knicks on the way to their 6 championship, I used to hate Jordan.   Now when I  watch his videos (especially when you are so detached from the Knicks!!!) he is simple amazing.    the same goes for Brady.   He is the GOAT

 

Every word of this mirrors my life experience.

The 1997 Knicks team would have beaten Jordan's Bulls in the ECF, and Stern knew it. Those suspensions were bogus. I hated Jordan for years. 

I'm not making that mistake with Tiger, and I'm not making that mistake with Brady.

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On 7/5/2019 at 10:36 AM, GoBills808 said:

Yes, clearly. He's first in ANY/A (the purest QB metric IMO), first in passer rating, first (this era) in TD%, first in INT%. You can easily argue he's the best QB of all time.

 

He's played his entire career in the pass happy quarterback friendly era though. Had guys like Brees, Brady and Peyton had their careers start in '07 instead of '98-2001 their averages would be much higher. And for all his greatness he only has one Conference Title. The only thing he has going for him over others is efficiency. He's also too injury prone compared to the other three I mentioned. I'd but Brees, Brady and Peyton ahead of Rodgers which means he is at best 4th in the more modern era of QBs. 

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On 7/5/2019 at 12:27 PM, GoBills808 said:

Romo is criminally underrated, yes. Wilson gets listed because of his Super Bowl appearances, but those were due just as much to LoB so they’re clearly weighing his metrics pretty highly, in which case Rodgers should be #1 by a mile. 

 

He replaces any of the four. Probably most easily Manning.

Wins are listed under the ‘team’ category of statistics. QB stats, like the ones I mentioned, are listed for quarterbacks. There’s a difference.

 

You are greatly under rating the changes to the game that have made the passing game league wide much more efficient. These changes started to really take place somewhere around 2005-2007 and have only increased with the passing years. Rodgers might hold all the efficiency records when he retires yet in a passing league he won't hold a single totals record. That is a bit of a problem in putting him in the top four and doesn't even take into account his injury proneness and lack of postseason success.

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..21 is about right....Marv's leadership or lack thereof, as in not being able to atone for his mistakes with an unconscionable four consecutive SB losses drags Kelly's rating down IMO.....Kelly or some other  leader should have been able to wake Marv from his missteps IMO..........

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11 minutes ago, OldTimeAFLGuy said:

..21 is about right....Marv's leadership or lack thereof, as in not being able to atone for his mistakes with an unconscionable four consecutive SB losses drags Kelly's rating down IMO.....Kelly or some other  leader should have been able to wake Marv from his missteps IMO..........

Levy looked worn and weary after the missed FG!

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2 hours ago, OldTimeAFLGuy said:

..21 is about right....Marv's leadership or lack thereof, as in not being able to atone for his mistakes with an unconscionable four consecutive SB losses drags Kelly's rating down IMO.....Kelly or some other  leader should have been able to wake Marv from his missteps IMO..........

Kelly was a terrible leader for a lot of his Bills career. He single handedly nearly destroyed the Bills.

On 7/6/2019 at 7:15 AM, thebandit27 said:

 

Here's the problem with Marino: he went to a Super Bowl very early in his career, lost, and never returned.

 

That, on its face, is not the story.

 

The real story is that a QB from his same draft class entered the division a year later and proceeded to dominate the division for a decade.

 

I mean, we discount Jimbo for not winning the big one, and that's a single game played at the end of a grueling 6 month run. The division is a cumulative performance. If you cant win your own division, how great can you really be?

 

Did Marino ever beat either Elway or Kelly in the playoffs? Even once? Honestly asking because I haven't looked it up (admittedly I should; I am being lazy).

 

Marino was a great passer and deserves to be on this list. He isn't in the conversation as a top-tier, GOAT guy IMO.

 

PS happy fourth to you and yours 🇺🇸

The Bills had a much better team than the Fins or Broncos.  Miami has crap rbs and a soft defense.  Those Elway teams were terrible.  Honestly we’re hairs here but if switch Kelly with either Marino or Elway, I think we win at least one SB.  Those guys were just better overall qbs than Kelly. Kelly played on one of the most stacked teams of all time.  Again, he’s very good but those guys are great IMo.

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2 hours ago, C.Biscuit97 said:

Kelly was a terrible leader for a lot of his Bills career. He single handedly nearly destroyed the Bills.

The Bills had a much better team than the Fins or Broncos.  Miami has crap rbs and a soft defense.  Those Elway teams were terrible.  Honestly we’re hairs here but if switch Kelly with either Marino or Elway, I think we win at least one SB.  Those guys were just better overall qbs than Kelly. Kelly played on one of the most stacked teams of all time.  Again, he’s very good but those guys are great IMo.

 

So great that they...did what while Kelly was playing?

 

Isn't it worth acknowledging that neither QB went to a Super Bowl during Kelly's career, but both did so before/after he retired?

 

If we can "scoreboard" Jimbo outside of top-10 consideration due to no Super Bowl rings, can't we "scoreboard" his classmates for literally NEVER beating him?

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1 hour ago, thebandit27 said:

 

So great that they...did what while Kelly was playing?

 

Isn't it worth acknowledging that neither QB went to a Super Bowl during Kelly's career, but both did so before/after he retired?

 

If we can "scoreboard" Jimbo outside of top-10 consideration due to no Super Bowl rings, can't we "scoreboard" his classmates for literally NEVER beating him?

Bandit, let me start off by saying I respect you as a poster and generally get where you’re coming from.  But man, I’ve never disagree with you more.  I think your bias is getting in the way here.  No where but a Bills board would it even be considered that Kelly is better than Marino or Elway.  

 

1). The SB argument is beyond stupid. Kelly isn’t a top 10 QBs because he lost SBs.  He’s just simply not a top 10 qb.  Aaron Rodgers, a top 10 QB IMO has lost playoff games where he scored 45 points. Eli Manning gets carried by his defense and gets lucky and has 2 SB wins.  By the rings argument, ElI is better than Rodgers which is insane.  

 

2) I was really young but Kelly was an awful leader. Started the bickering Bills.  Had some Big Ben type stories.  He’s matured with age but that stuff matters. 

 

3) again, I was young, but please review those Broncos and Fins teams.  They are a joke minus their qbs.  Elway and Marino carries their teams.  The Elway teams that went to the SBs before TD were literally some of the worst SB teams ever. 

 

Kelly was part of a machine.  Played with a top 10 Rb of all time. 2 HOF receivers.  The defense had a top 5 DE.  Pro bowl and HOF oline,  the talent difference between the Bills and Broncos and Fins was night and day.

 

4) Kelly was awful in the playoffs.  Like he sucked.  They won in spite of him.  And on the biggest stages, he is one of the worst SB qbs ever.

 

Kelly is our greatest QB and a well deserved HOF.  But man is he overrated here (I get it).  Frank Reich could step in and they didn’t miss a beat.  Next to the Cowboys, the Bills had the best rosters in the nfl.  One of the greatest collection of talent ever and a lot of good QBs would have thrived, JMO.

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8 hours ago, Sammy Watkins' Rib said:

 

You are greatly under rating the changes to the game that have made the passing game league wide much more efficient. These changes started to really take place somewhere around 2005-2007 and have only increased with the passing years. Rodgers might hold all the efficiency records when he retires yet in a passing league he won't hold a single totals record. That is a bit of a problem in putting him in the top four and doesn't even take into account his injury proneness and lack of postseason success.

Totals are more a record of longevity than anything, unless you think Emmitt Smith is the greatest running back ever. Gross total records and injury history don’t really factor that much to me personally.

27 minutes ago, C.Biscuit97 said:

Bandit, let me start off by saying I respect you as a poster and generally get where you’re coming from.  But man, I’ve never disagree with you more.  I think your bias is getting in the way here.  No where but a Bills board would it even be considered that Kelly is better than Marino or Elway.  

 

1). The SB argument is beyond stupid. Kelly isn’t a top 10 QBs because he lost SBs.  He’s just simply not a top 10 qb.  Aaron Rodgers, a top 10 QB IMO has lost playoff games where he scored 45 points. Eli Manning gets carried by his defense and gets lucky and has 2 SB wins.  By the rings argument, ElI is better than Rodgers which is insane.  

 

2) I was really young but Kelly was an awful leader. Started the bickering Bills.  Had some Big Ben type stories.  He’s matured with age but that stuff matters. 

 

3) again, I was young, but please review those Broncos and Fins teams.  They are a joke minus their qbs.  Elway and Marino carries their teams.  The Elway teams that went to the SBs before TD were literally some of the worst SB teams ever. 

 

Kelly was part of a machine.  Played with a top 10 Rb of all time. 2 HOF receivers.  The defense had a top 5 DE.  Pro bowl and HOF oline,  the talent difference between the Bills and Broncos and Fins was night and day.

 

4) Kelly was awful in the playoffs.  Like he sucked.  They won in spite of him.  And on the biggest stages, he is one of the worst SB qbs ever.

 

Kelly is our greatest QB and a well deserved HOF.  But man is he overrated here (I get it).  Frank Reich could step in and they didn’t miss a beat.  Next to the Cowboys, the Bills had the best rosters in the nfl.  One of the greatest collection of talent ever and a lot of good QBs would have thrived, JMO.

 

I think you can absolutely argue that Kelly was a better QB than Elway. Marino not so much.

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Posted (edited)

A few things about the article and/or posts in this thread...

 

1. I'd only be mad if Kelly wasn't on the list at all. As others said, it's somewhat subjective. I'd have him a bit higher, but this list is obviously weighing Super Bowl wins as one of the most significant factors. 

 

2. The idea that the NFC was great and the AFC was pathetic during the Bills Super Bowl runs is actually a fallacy. The Bills also dominated the NFC in the regular season during those years and the records of the AFC vs. NFC were pretty even. It was just that during the Super Bowl years, the NFC had, say 2 or 3 of the top 3 or 4 teams in the NFL (the Bills being the lone AFC team) each year. But it wasn't like the NFC was stacked top to bottom and the AFC was pathetic. It was actually pretty even outside of those few dominant teams winning Super Bowls. The Bills may have had, say, one easier playoff game each season than their NFC opponent, but it's not like they had a cakewalk thru the season, while the NFC teams were playing All-Star rosters every week. And the Bills did beat the Giants in the regular season the same year as they lost the Super Bowl to them, they beat Dallas in the regular season between their two Super Bowl loses to them, they beat the 49ers in the regular season during their prime, etc. It's not like the Bills beat up on terrible AFC teams, but couldn't also beat the cream of the crop of the NFC (unfortunately, just not in the Super Bowls).

 

3. The idea that Marv Levy was a bad coach or even just not that good, has to be put to bed also. Yes, that team was stacked with talent, but there were also a ton of egos. Levy led those men and got them all pulling in the same direction, playing as a team and family. A lot of coaches wouldn't have been able to pull it off with that bunch. The NFL has seen a lot of very talented teams that didn't win squat because they couldn't come together. Coaching is a hell of a lot more than just Xs and Os. And for all of the Levy getting outcoached talk, he was two feet away from beating two genius coaches (Parcells and Bellichick) in a Super Bowl. And if you say it's only because the Bills had more talent, well, I would again point out the week 15 game in that same season where the Bills won a hard fought 17-13 game against those same G-Men. Those teams were actually very evenly matched. Or if the Giants were so devoid of talent that year, how did they beat Montana and Rice's 49ers in the NFC Championship game? And a last point on talent level, in 1990, the Bills had 5 first team All Pros, the Giants had 4 1st team All Pros (Bills had 3 second teamers, Giants had 2 second teamers). The Bills had 10 Pro Bowlers, the Giants had 8 Pro Bowlers. Not that big of a gap. As for Washington in the 3rd Super Bowl, what can you say but they were a team of destiny that year. And although I hate to admit it, Dallas was just a better team than the Bills by the last two Super Bowls. But, other than the Super Bowls, Levy won a hell of a lot of games, a bad coach doesn't do that even with a talented team. In his 11 full seasons with the Bills, his winning percentage was 63%. He is 21st in overall wins by an NFL coach, 11th in playoff wins, and tied for 4th in most conference championships. And don't tell me it's just because the Bills had a lot of talent. On lists of great NFL teams, those Bills teams don't even make the top 25. Every great team had a lot of talent and every coach considered to be great, had great talent. Marv was a damn good coach.

 

4. Players I think are too high on that QB list: R. Staubach, A. Rodgers, T. Aikman, R. Wilson, B. Roethlisberger, K. Warner. (Aikman shouldn't even be on the list, as others said, let alone top 15. He was a good QB on an amazing team, not a great QB.)

 

5. And no love for Dan Fouts or Philip Rivers? Is there some anti-San Diego bias? 😉

 

 

Edited by folz
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On 7/6/2019 at 7:25 PM, klos63 said:

Let's use that same argument with Kelly.  Reed , Thomas, Lofton - Hall of Fame, - Wolford, Ritcher , Hull, Ballard - Pro Bowl lineman and worthy of HoF consideration,  McKeller, Metzellaars - high quality TE's. Our lineup was stacked just like Dallas.

 

I'm not really sure what point you are trying to make and how that discounts Jimbo. He actually has the production to back up playing with those players. And let's not forget Jimbo spent 2 years in the AFL and I'm pretty sure if he were in the NFL in that time he would have blown Aikman out of the water in terms of production. Even without those 2 years, he still out preforms Aikman, in less games and about 50 more attempts. 

 

Aikman should be in the Hall of Very Good, I don't think he's one of the greatest to ever play the position.

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14 hours ago, GoBills808 said:

Totals are more a record of longevity than anything, unless you think Emmitt Smith is the greatest running back ever. Gross total records and injury history don’t really factor that much to me personally.

 

Totals can also be single season. As some others have mentioned he's also nowhere near the single season leaders in TD's or yards. I do think longevity and injury history should play a factor in a players greatness too provided they played at an elite level for their entire career. Brady and Peyton are pretty good examples of this. And the fact that they hardly ever missed games or had nagging injuries helped their teams. Rodgers seems to play with a lot of injuries (like all of last season) and that doesn't bode well for helping his team win over the course of an entire season. He is going to have to prove more to me than just being the most efficient QB ever playing entirely in the pass friendly era. 

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16 hours ago, C.Biscuit97 said:

Bandit, let me start off by saying I respect you as a poster and generally get where you’re coming from.  But man, I’ve never disagree with you more.  I think your bias is getting in the way here.  No where but a Bills board would it even be considered that Kelly is better than Marino or Elway.  

 

1). The SB argument is beyond stupid. Kelly isn’t a top 10 QBs because he lost SBs.  He’s just simply not a top 10 qb.  Aaron Rodgers, a top 10 QB IMO has lost playoff games where he scored 45 points. Eli Manning gets carried by his defense and gets lucky and has 2 SB wins.  By the rings argument, ElI is better than Rodgers which is insane.  

 

2) I was really young but Kelly was an awful leader. Started the bickering Bills.  Had some Big Ben type stories.  He’s matured with age but that stuff matters. 

 

3) again, I was young, but please review those Broncos and Fins teams.  They are a joke minus their qbs.  Elway and Marino carries their teams.  The Elway teams that went to the SBs before TD were literally some of the worst SB teams ever. 

 

Kelly was part of a machine.  Played with a top 10 Rb of all time. 2 HOF receivers.  The defense had a top 5 DE.  Pro bowl and HOF oline,  the talent difference between the Bills and Broncos and Fins was night and day.

 

4) Kelly was awful in the playoffs.  Like he sucked.  They won in spite of him.  And on the biggest stages, he is one of the worst SB qbs ever.

 

Kelly is our greatest QB and a well deserved HOF.  But man is he overrated here (I get it).  Frank Reich could step in and they didn’t miss a beat.  Next to the Cowboys, the Bills had the best rosters in the nfl.  One of the greatest collection of talent ever and a lot of good QBs would have thrived, JMO.

 

I think the problem is that you're misunderstanding where I rank these guys.

 

I said from the start that when ranking Kelly, top-15 felt right to me.  I actually said that I have a top 4, then a HUGE gap to the rest of the top 16, and then another big gap.  So that is to say that I would put Kelly in the top 16, but clearly outside of the top 4 of Unitas, Montana, Manning, and Brady.

 

When it comes to Elway and Marino, what I'm saying is that there's no way on earth I'd put either guy in a tier above Kelly.  If you want to rank them above him within the same tier, fine, no qualms whatsoever.  But for either guy to be ranked a full tier above Kelly would require, for me, them to have been more successful when they were in the league at the same time.  I mean, how can either guy be considered a tier above Kelly, a first-ballot HOFer, when they literally never made the Super Bowl during his career?

 

You can say that Kelly had some advantage playing with HOFers, but let's be honest here: it isn't like Marino and Elway were playing with stiffs.  Mark Duper and Mark Clayton both had close to 9,000 career receiving yards. Both had close to 600 career receptions.  Elway got to play with Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe, and won his only Super Bowls when the Broncos had a top 5 rushing offense.

 

As for playoff career, "awful" and "sucked" are fairly hyperbolic.  You can easily support that he was awful in the Super Bowls (well, at least the last 3, I'd argue that putting up a point per minute in the first Super Bowl is pretty darn okay); even say that he was lousy in AFC Championship games (again, outside the first one).  Divisional and WC games, he was just fine (not great).  But again, compare that to Marino and Elway...I think you'll find that all 3 have fairly similar playoff passing numbers.

 

Again, none of this is to say that Kelly is better than those guys; it's to say that those 2 did nothing (IMO) to separate themselves into a higher tier than Kelly.

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Any article like this will always skew towards modern players. He at least makes an attempt to put in deserving QBs from past eras. You can definitely put older QBs in the discussion. The problem is that people just look at stats and think that they know the story.

 

My rankings for top 5:

1. Graham

2. Brady (I usually do not rate players before they retire, but I make an exception here)

3. Unitas

4. Baugh

5. Montana

 

Baugh and Montana are relatively interchangeable. Using strictly QB play, Montana. However, you need to look at the totality of the player's contributions on the field. Baugh takes it over Montana.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sammy Watkins' Rib said:

 

Totals can also be single season. As some others have mentioned he's also nowhere near the single season leaders in TD's or yards. I do think longevity and injury history should play a factor in a players greatness too provided they played at an elite level for their entire career. Brady and Peyton are pretty good examples of this. And the fact that they hardly ever missed games or had nagging injuries helped their teams. Rodgers seems to play with a lot of injuries (like all of last season) and that doesn't bode well for helping his team win over the course of an entire season. He is going to have to prove more to me than just being the most efficient QB ever playing entirely in the pass friendly era. 

 

Peyton Manning player at an elite level his entire career? No nagging injuries? Wha?

 

 

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On 7/5/2019 at 7:52 PM, Joe in Winslow said:

 

Peyton and Brady?

Thanks - even though they only played in the same division for the 2001 season, it would be remiss not to mention.

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1 minute ago, 416BillsFan said:

Thanks - even though they only played in the same division for the 2001 season, it would be remiss not to mention.

 

My bad, I missed that qualifier. I'll chalk it up to old age

 

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On 7/6/2019 at 7:15 AM, thebandit27 said:

 

Here's the problem with Marino: he went to a Super Bowl very early in his career, lost, and never returned.

 

That, on its face, is not the story.

 

The real story is that a QB from his same draft class entered the division a year later and proceeded to dominate the division for a decade.

 

I mean, we discount Jimbo for not winning the big one, and that's a single game played at the end of a grueling 6 month run. The division is a cumulative performance. If you cant win your own division, how great can you really be?

 

Did Marino ever beat either Elway or Kelly in the playoffs? Even once? Honestly asking because I haven't looked it up (admittedly I should; I am being lazy).

 

Marino was a great passer and deserves to be on this list. He isn't in the conversation as a top-tier, GOAT guy IMO.

 

PS happy fourth to you and yours 🇺🇸

While I love Kelly and think he should be in the top 25. Let's not forget that a big difference between those early 90's Bills, Broncos and Dolphins were Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith.

 

Thurman was around 70% of that Buffalo offense and the Bills usually ran the ball more then they threw it. I can recall Marino saying he wished the Dolphins had a RB like Thomas all those years.  While Thurman only had two 2000 yard seasons he came close three other times. 

 

In 1989 the Broncos signed Bruce Smith to a 5 year, 7.5 million dollar contract and the Bills had a week to match the offer or get two first round picks in return. (At the time I kept hearing that Wilson wanted the Picks). Thank you, Bill Polian! 

 

Would the Bills have even made it to a SB without either Thomas or Smith?

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On 7/8/2019 at 1:27 AM, folz said:

A few things about the article and/or posts in this thread...

 

1. I'd only be mad if Kelly wasn't on the list at all. As others said, it's somewhat subjective. I'd have him a bit higher, but this list is obviously weighing Super Bowl wins as one of the most significant factors. 

 

2. The idea that the NFC was great and the AFC was pathetic during the Bills Super Bowl runs is actually a fallacy. The Bills also dominated the NFC in the regular season during those years and the records of the AFC vs. NFC were pretty even. It was just that during the Super Bowl years, the NFC had, say 2 or 3 of the top 3 or 4 teams in the NFL (the Bills being the lone AFC team) each year. But it wasn't like the NFC was stacked top to bottom and the AFC was pathetic. It was actually pretty even outside of those few dominant teams winning Super Bowls. The Bills may have had, say, one easier playoff game each season than their NFC opponent, but it's not like they had a cakewalk thru the season, while the NFC teams were playing All-Star rosters every week. And the Bills did beat the Giants in the regular season the same year as they lost the Super Bowl to them, they beat Dallas in the regular season between their two Super Bowl loses to them, they beat the 49ers in the regular season during their prime, etc. It's not like the Bills beat up on terrible AFC teams, but couldn't also beat the cream of the crop of the NFC (unfortunately, just not in the Super Bowls).

 

3. The idea that Marv Levy was a bad coach or even just not that good, has to be put to bed also. Yes, that team was stacked with talent, but there were also a ton of egos. Levy led those men and got them all pulling in the same direction, playing as a team and family. A lot of coaches wouldn't have been able to pull it off with that bunch. The NFL has seen a lot of very talented teams that didn't win squat because they couldn't come together. Coaching is a hell of a lot more than just Xs and Os. And for all of the Levy getting outcoached talk, he was two feet away from beating two genius coaches (Parcells and Bellichick) in a Super Bowl. And if you say it's only because the Bills had more talent, well, I would again point out the week 15 game in that same season where the Bills won a hard fought 17-13 game against those same G-Men. Those teams were actually very evenly matched. Or if the Giants were so devoid of talent that year, how did they beat Montana and Rice's 49ers in the NFC Championship game? And a last point on talent level, in 1990, the Bills had 5 first team All Pros, the Giants had 4 1st team All Pros (Bills had 3 second teamers, Giants had 2 second teamers). The Bills had 10 Pro Bowlers, the Giants had 8 Pro Bowlers. Not that big of a gap. As for Washington in the 3rd Super Bowl, what can you say but they were a team of destiny that year. And although I hate to admit it, Dallas was just a better team than the Bills by the last two Super Bowls. But, other than the Super Bowls, Levy won a hell of a lot of games, a bad coach doesn't do that even with a talented team. In his 11 full seasons with the Bills, his winning percentage was 63%. He is 21st in overall wins by an NFL coach, 11th in playoff wins, and tied for 4th in most conference championships. And don't tell me it's just because the Bills had a lot of talent. On lists of great NFL teams, those Bills teams don't even make the top 25. Every great team had a lot of talent and every coach considered to be great, had great talent. Marv was a damn good coach.

 

4. Players I think are too high on that QB list: R. Staubach, A. Rodgers, T. Aikman, R. Wilson, B. Roethlisberger, K. Warner. (Aikman shouldn't even be on the list, as others said, let alone top 15. He was a good QB on an amazing team, not a great QB.)

 

5. And no love for Dan Fouts or Philip Rivers? Is there some anti-San Diego bias? 😉

 

 

 

All good points.

 

The thing to remember also is that, when Bill Polian built that team in the mid-80s, the goal was to win the division first -- which meant besting Marino's Dolphins. That is exactly what he did. The 88-93 Bills were a team that offensively was prolific enough to keep up with the Dolphins aerial attack -- with a defense that placed a great deal of emphasis on the pass rush and secondary. Alas, those teams were NOT built to match up well against the smash-mouth teams of the NFC East. As fate would have it, all four Super Bowls were played against the NFC East.

 

A pity none of those Buffalo teams matched up against the 49ers in the Big Game.

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1 hour ago, Nihilarian said:

While I love Kelly and think he should be in the top 25. Let's not forget that a big difference between those early 90's Bills, Broncos and Dolphins were Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith.

 

Thurman was around 70% of that Buffalo offense and the Bills usually ran the ball more then they threw it. I can recall Marino saying he wished the Dolphins had a RB like Thomas all those years.  While Thurman only had two 2000 yard seasons he came close three other times. 

 

In 1989 the Broncos signed Bruce Smith to a 5 year, 7.5 million dollar contract and the Bills had a week to match the offer or get two first round picks in return. (At the time I kept hearing that Wilson wanted the Picks). Thank you, Bill Polian! 

 

Would the Bills have even made it to a SB without either Thomas or Smith?

 

Thurman was remarkable; nobody is denying that.  What I'm saying is that it's not as though Marino was playing without talent around him.  They actually had fairly productive RBs during his tenure there.  Defensively, John Offerdahl made the pro bowl 5 consecutive seasons in the 80's, Jeff Cross was a double-digit sack guy in multiple seasons; Bryan Cox had 14.5 sacks in 1992 and was a 3-time pro bowler. Toward the end of his career, Trace Armstrong put up 35.5 sacks over 4 seasons.

 

Again, the point here isn't to say that Kelly was better than either Marino or Elway; the point is that those guys didn't win over and above what you'd expect for guys that are supposed to be next-level compared to Jimbo, and the disparity in their respective supporting casts doesn't make up for the difference IMO.

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