Dan Marino, was he the best ever?
Just before the holiday (America’s Birthday), a few regulars talked about Dan Marino as being the best ever QB, especially if he had won one SB. That quickly gave me an idea to look into this absurd remark and write a very needed article. I tried to comment negatively and was told that as a Jets fan, I’m a Marino hater. So let me clear the air, and also give you my top QBs of all time (the ones I watched).
First of all let us go back the beginning.
Marino is from Pittsburgh, city and University, he was part of a huge class of QBs, and was the First pick of the Los Angeles Express of the USFL. However, after 26 of the 28 teams in the NFL passed on him, the Dolphins also picked him, just ahead of the Redskins. The year before the Killer Bees and the Dolphins lost in the SB. A great defense and running attack, was only missing one ingredient, a QB, since Woodley was more like a third stringer. That alone tells you he joined a good team.
That year John Elway went #1 to the Baltimore Colts, Todd Blackledge to the Chiefs at 7, Jim Kelly to the Bills at 14, Tony Eason to the Patriots at 15 and Ken O’Brien to the NY Jets at 24.
I have to admit, I had no clue who Ken O’Brien was, but unlike Jets fans of the day, I didn’t want Dan. The Jets had Richard Todd and Pat Ryan, and only reason they lost the AFCCG was because of some Shula trickery (cheating by today’s standards) in turning the stadium into a Mud Bowl. I knew Dan by fame, since he was on the news a lot, and not always for good reasons. Drugs in those days were not as accepted as they are today, and Dan was known to enjoy some (regardless of how many times he denies it, he partied a lot his senior year), as well as being a hot head.
Besides drugs, Dan’s biggest problems coming out, was not his talent, but the fact he had so many incredible players come out at once; Elway, Dickerson, Curt Warner (RB), etc.
I will rank my QBs below, but here is my opinion, which I expect to be attacked and undermined all day:
Dan Marino was as good as a QB as there was in his time. He and my team had epic battles, but generally Ken O’Brien became the anti-Marino. Dan was prolific with his passing. He joined a team with a great defense, butt as he was growing his defense was dying. Dan’s presence also lowered the talent at what was once a real good running attack, and that went AWOL too.
I hated Dan while he played, same way I hated Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Tom Brady, etc. Because they were that good against my team. Today, I couldn’t care less about that, I have written many times how I praise the others and Dan himself. To call me a hater is like calling yourself a homer for not liking my opinion. Dan never won because he and his HC, the two most important people on any team, were NOT in the same world. Shula (The GM) was great, years prior to, but, was done by the time Dan came along, and the game had passed him by. Shula didn’t know how to build a modern day team, and Dan was too selfish to become a team player, and neither won anything together.
At the NFL level Dan exceeded and stayed clean, however his achievements were always short of the goal line. Jim Kelly went to 4 straight SBs and John Elway, well, need I explain more? Dolphins today, especially at our site, make fun of the Bills for never having won a SB, yet! They don’t consider winning a SB important when ranking QBs?
Dan was a tremendous talent, but also a total selfish human. Marino never won because team management never built a team around him, however QBs of his time elevated everyone around him, Dan elevated himself, a lot like Mr. Rivers in SD has today. We make fun of Cromartie for his many kids, however Cro may forget names, but has not denied any of them, Dan has. Dan Marino wasn’t even the best QB in his class, how can he be the best ever? I’m not even sure he was Miami’s best ever, because I did watch the 1972 Fins, and in those days QBs didn’t need to pass all day, and Bob Griese was as good a game manager as there ever was. I’m sure that if drug testing was as efficient as it is today, Dan would have been banished a few times.
Best QBs I ever saw play and my rankings:
- Joe Montana – Joey’s entire game was team work. His comebacks on National TV were legendary. He did benefit for having a HC that knew how a team was to be put together. That West Coast Offense is till being copied today.
- Tom Brady – Tom is still playing, therefore as the chance to be best ever. I hate him as much as all, but you cannot deny that he has been outstanding for a long time
- Steve Young – Because he changed the game for QBs. His speed and quickness made him so unique, and to follow a legend and never miss a beat is very hard to do
- Roger Staubach – He is why Dallas became America’s Team, not Jerry Jones
- Terry Bradshaw – Kids today don’t respect him because he is a jokester on TV, but when he played, Terry was as tough as anyone ever, and he was a leader on a team full of talent. Terry could be a QB today
- John Elway – He got going late, but when he did, he put the Broncos on the map
- Peyton Manning – Would be the best ever, if he was clutch, he is not. I don’t care how many games you win and yards you throw for in the regular season. The real season, when a QB has to lead and be the best, is during the playoffs. Peyton has failed miserably. In my eyes all fluff no substance
- Kurt Warner – He has three lives, one he failed in, but the other two, he was as good as you can be. The man made us watch the Arizona Cardinals of all teams after the NY Giants shoved him to the curb
- Warren Moon – If we are judging Marino on yards then Moon has him beat. He was another QB way ahead of his time. Moon also opened the door to African American QBs. As much as I hate to admit it, before that, teams, GMs and fans thought that being black and being a QB just wasn’t a good combo.
- Ben Roethlisberger – Not a fan, but he has led his team to SBs and won, in an age when the CAP makes it hard to get there repeatedly.
- a. Jim Kelly – To go to 4 straight SBs is as hard as it gets. b. Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers is another that took over for a local legend and succeeded. He can move up a lot, still many years of football in him. c. Dan Marino – Winning a SB does matter! d. Fran Tarkenton – see Kelly. e. Bob Griese – The QB on the only undefeated team to win it all has to be here. f. Dan Fouts – Dan Marino and QBs today owe him and Coryell for showing teams that passing was possible. g. Troy Aikman – That Dallas team was so loaded, but he was the leader, and like the Dolphins, the Cowboys are still looking for his replacement. h. Brett Favre – A gunslinger, yes, but he had success……………I think any of these guys can be ranked from 10 on. I could also make a case for Joe Namath, since he did win the SB that put our four teams on the map, but only got to see Joe at the very end of his career, when he was broken and horrible.
So many QBs that we consider among the best, and I’m not old enough to have seen: Bart Starr, Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle, Len Dawson, etc. Of all I mention above, only Dan Marino,Fran Tarkenton, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts and Y.A. Tittle never won a SB.
If Marino had won one SB, he would be considered a few spots higher, but never ahead of some of these guys. How in the world can anyone claim that Dan Marino was the best ever?
NOTE: If you wish to prove me wrong, please do so by writing an article, we would all enjoy it. Your opinion does matter, make yourself heard!