Besides Brady, only one other contemporary quarterback makes the cut on the Top 20: In fact, Philly’s Donovan McNabb is on the very short list of just 10 quarterbacks in history who wins more often than not when called upon to carry his team (17-14-1).
Interestingly, the most famous battle between Brady and McNabb – their meeting in Super Bowl XXXIX – provided a nice case study in the difficulty of “carrying a team.” Brady attempted 33 passes that day. McNabb was forced to try to “carry his team” with 51 attempts. Brady’s team won.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts, meanwhile, recently published their list of the top eight quarterbacks in the game today. The list was typical of the trite, slanted comparisons produced by CHFF. So it seemed like an interesting exercise to see how the eight quarterbacks on that list stacked up when it came time to “carry a team.”
Interestingly, with the notable exception of McNabb, the winning percentage of quarterbacks who can “carry a team” mirrors the order in CHFF’s list fairly closely. (Records include postseason):
Brady – 17-8 (.680)
McNabb – 17-14-1 (.547)
Roethlisberger – 4-5 (.444)
Warner – 15-24 (.385)
P. Manning – 18-31 (.367)
Rivers – 2-5 (.286)
Brees – 10-28 (.263)
Pennington – 2-6 (.250)
Brady also has the best record in the postseason (4-1), the only player on this list who wins more often than he loses in the playoffs when asked to “carry a team.”
Brett Favre, for his part (whose performances when asked to “carry a team” inspired this piece), is 27-49 (.355) in these types of games. So that’s actually above the historic average of .300.